LIVING IN SOHO
Contemporary SoHo is Manhattan’s go-to neighborhood for all things chic. Yet its deeply avant-garde roots give the area a distinctive edge. You’ll walk a cobbled road as you approach a high-end designer shop; you’ll sip a frothy coffee as you stride past cast-iron buildings of old. It’s this inviting medley that makes living in SoHo so exciting.
SoHo stretches from Houston Street on the north to Canal Street on the south, and from Lafayette Street on the east to the Hudson River on the west. Centuries-old buildings and narrow roads paved with Belgian blocks lend the area a venerable feel. It’s a bit like peeking into 'forgotten' New York City—an area that doesn’t stray far from its artisanal roots.
Brimming with character and history, SoHo is a neighborhood where post-Civil War homes are just as relevant as neon-lit clothing stores. It’s easily accessible via the A, B, C, D, E, F, M, N, R and Q lines, along with the 1 and the 6.
SoHo real estate
SoHo real estate is some of the finest in Manhattan, and you'll find many distinctive options in the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District. Dating from the 19th century, the area’s historic buildings feature imposing floor-to-ceiling windows that characterize the modern lofts for which SoHo is so renowned. Luxurious condominiums, elaborate rooftop penthouses and single-room studios all coexist in this vibrant, pedestrian-friendly community.
Well-preserved buildings on Spring Street and Elizabeth Street, refurbished with modern amenities, have given rise to SoHo’s evolution from bohemian to hyper-luxurious. In-demand properties are known for their fine balance of old and new—just what you'd expect from the area's stylish intersection of pre-war SoHo homes and contemporary constructions.
During the 18th century, SoHo was home to many fortifications and breastworks of the American Revolution. It was poorly developed at the time, but houses and retail shops quickly popped up once sidewalks and pavement appeared along Broadway and Canal Street. Many of these buildings arose in the Greek Revival style that characterized American housing in the 19th century.
Eventually, ornate façades became the norm, mingling with the growing commercial entities on Broadway. The neighborhood came alive, its thriving economy supporting the bustling SoHo real estate market. Despite a period of economic decline following the Civil War, SoHo regained its footing in the 20th century. It became a refuge of sorts for the creative community, with many artists making their homes in unused, expansive SoHo lofts.
This movement pioneered SoHo’s reputation as a creative haven—it was a welcome space for artists of all types, including Paula Cooper, who opened SoHo’s first art gallery in 1968, and ‘70s dandy-art specialist Bill Beckley.
SoHo is a veritable culinary paradise for foodies who yearn for meals both traditional and unexpected. Many establishments are neighborhood mainstays. Raoul’s, a chic, Parisian-style bistro, was established in the 1970s, while the late ‘90s favorite, Balthazar Restaurant, is now a buzzy spot that occupies a former industrial leather warehouse typical of classic SoHo.
In-the-know locals head straight for charming cafés, bagel shops or quintessentially New York sandwich delis for their lunch fix. You’ll also find global eateries galore, mingling with several specialty restaurants that focus on just one or two foods—think Greek yogurt, hot dogs, and mac and cheese.
After dark, SoHo takes on a different personality. Just as spirited and lively, it suddenly feels bolder; more sophisticated. A medley of options, ranging from smoky, speakeasy-style lounges to upscale music venues to thumping nightclubs, means that SoHo really does never sleep. Whether you favor the genteel Club Room at the SoHo Grand Hotel or drinks at the award-winning Pegu Club on Houston, you’ll find a comfortable niche in SoHo. Manhattan’s first full-service winery, City Winery, is also here. The combination wine bar/performance space makes it one of the city’s most energetic evening hangouts.
In SoHo, the question isn’t whether to shop—it’s where to shop. Familiar names line the streets, but there are plenty of new faces in the mix, too. In fact, SoHo is famous for this eclecticism. Minimalist boutiques displaying globally sourced clothes share space with high-end designer shops like Kirna Zabête. Trendy spots abound, including online beauty hotspot Birchbox's brick-and-mortar and H&M sister brand COS.
After sampling the haute couture, SoHo real estate owners can walk around and take in the rest of the area's shopping scene. You'll encounter everything from chocolate shops and multi-story bookstores to Japanese outlets like no-brand retailer Muji and casualwear powerhouse Uniqlo.
SoHo’s attractions are reminders of its deep industrial roots. The New York Public Library on Mulberry Street, with its dark brick walls and hardwood floors, is housed in a former chocolate factory. And one of SoHo's most iconic spots, the New York City Fire Museum, presents 18th-century fire engines and commemorations to the heroes of September 11, 2001, in a renovated 1904 Beaux-Arts firehouse.
SoHo art galleries
SoHo has a rich history as the city’s most prestigious art playground. There are still plenty of remnants of this colorful past—particularly at Team Gallery on Grand and Greene streets, where some of the country’s most revered new artists are showcased, and at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, devoted solely to the work of LGBTQ artists. The 1970s Artists Space remains one of SoHo’s most provocative art galleries. And while Broadway is more about haute couture now, that's where you'll find the Janet Borden art gallery: a hidden gem tucked away on the sixth floor of an antiquated building. Deeper investigation reveals the area is packed with these covert galleries—it’s just a matter of immersing yourself in the local art scene.
Best New Speakeasy
"The Handy Liquor Bar on Broome Street is the perfect place to entertain clients or bring out-of-town guests. Located in the lower-level of Chalk Point Kitchen, it is a welcome addition to the neighborhood."
What's In The Area: Soho/Nolita
Local tips and information for going out in the Soho/Nolita from The Corcoran Group. Explore dining, shopping and nightlife.All Soho/Nolita tips