Day Three: Soho
No longer the gritty artists’ district of the 1970s, Soho offers up an unrivaled selection of places to eat, shop, and play.
9 a.m.: Breakfast with the editors. Many stores don’t open until 11 a.m., so ease into the day at the Mercer Kitchen, where fashion arbiters and stylin' out-of-towners sit side by side while ordering omelettes made with Coach Farm goat cheese ($14).
11 a.m.: Begin with a (relative) bargain. 3.1 Phillip Lim is not only beautiful, it’s packed with well-priced soft blazers and supremely well-cut trousers for men and women.
Noon: Step over to Prada. Channel Anna Wintour as you slip over to Prada's flagship, celebrated for Rem Koolhaas’s enormous wooden wave, which connects the upper and lower levels. Just as noteworthy are the store’s garments and accessories: beautiful overcoats, bewitching dresses, and this season’s “It” bags and shoes.
1 p.m.: Meet the H&M of Japan. With your bank account busted, shuffle over to Uniqlo, a Godzilla of a store from the Japan-based company. Skip the mediocre collection of athleticwear and children’s duds in favor of the main floor’s prized designer collaborations from Christophe Lemaire, Carine Roitfeld, and the like.
2:15 p.m.: Sample some scents. Head down Broadway to freshen up at Sephora, home to every new lip gloss and scent on the market.
2:45 p.m.: Fuel up on Mexican food. After all that hard work (and, yes, it is hard work), treat yourself to zesty grilled-chicken tacos at Dos Caminos Soho, a hot spot for the fashionable set.
4 p.m.: Take fashion’s pulse. Walk off your lunch with the 15-minute trip to Opening Ceremony, a store with a reputation for predicting tomorrow’s trends. The shop’s owners have been known to spend months abroad culling the latest and greatest—like high-waisted jeans and bustier dresses.
5 p.m.: Stock up on fast fashion. Check out the first American outpost of British chain Topshop, with four floors that house designer collaborations, a large shoe shop, and a whole floor of menswear.
6 p.m.: Toast your purchases. Stroll a few blocks to Thompson and Grand streets, where the James New York hotel's rooftop cocktail bar Jimmy offers a near-360-degree view of lower Manhattan.
7:30 p.m.: Dine at restaurateur Keith McNally’s masterpiece. Just six blocks east on Spring Street is the celebrity-beloved Balthazar. The bouillabaisse, a Friday-night special, or moules frites will temporarily transport you to Paris. If your budget’s aching, dash into the Balthazar Bakery for brioche with prosciutto ($5) or smoked salmon tartine ($6.50). (It’s open daily until 8 p.m.)