a personal style blog by Lauren Pfieffer

Sunday, March 26, 2023

New Yorker Recommendations for Things to Do | A Week in NYC with My Sister

Living in NYC the last seven years, it's sometimes easy to forget all of the fun things to do, see and eat that are right here. I definitely have my favorite tried-and-true spots I love going to, but I'm always inspired when someone comes to visit me to try something new.

It's been six years since my sister visited me in New York City, so I was excited for her to finally come again for a week on her spring break. She's a pretty low-key person, so we spent a lot of time at my apartment making food and hanging out, but I wanted to put together a list of other things we did in case it could be helpful for someone else visiting! So, let's get into it: my recommendations for visiting New York City! 


HAPPY MEDIUM, ART CAFE | 49 Market Street, New York | Website

This inspiring art cafe is tucked away on a quiet street and perfect for a relaxing afternoon of creativity. You choose from a menu of mediums like collage, clay, charcoal, or pastels to create in this stunning loft space for 2 hour intervals. Rentals for supplies range from $15-$24.

Spacious and inviting, the cafe has vignettes set up around the studio to take inspiration from and even a library of art books to flip through. There is also a small space to purchase in-house drinks, snacks and merchandise. 

We tried out the clay and pastels this time and it was so relaxing creating in this softly lit space with 80s music twinkling through the speakers.

Reserve a spot in advance via DM on Instagram

MAGIC JEWELRY, AURA READING + CRYSTALS | 238 Canal Street, New York | Website

If you're interested in spirituality, this shop is a must-go to. This small shop in Chinatown is full of inspiration. When you walk in, you're surrounded by beautiful crystals and chakra charts, but what most come to visit are for the aura readings.

These aura readings are taken using photography to examine the electromagnetic fields or "auras" existing around you right now. They're seen through a variety of vibrant colors surrounding and inside of you.

The process is simple and quick, taking only a minute for a photo and a few to develop. An aura photo is $30 and a photo with reading is $40. We thought we'd be able to clearly read our photos with the chakra chart provided, but the reading really is a must. The explanation and detail our reader provided for our photos was incredible -- everything was spot on. In overhearing others visiting the shop during this time also felt like the reading was accurate.

Walk-in only, shop closes early!


HAO NOODLE, CHINESE | 343 W 14th Street, New York | Website

Perhaps our favorite meal of my sister's stay was at Hao Noodle in Chelsea. They also have a West Village location. The space is beautiful and serene, featuring high ceilings and indoor greenery. 

We came for the homemade noodles, each of us getting the Dandan noodles, my sister stepping her's up a notch and going for the extra spicy. So much flavor and dimension in this dish, and we topped off dinner with some steamed pork dumplings.

Fairly priced and truly delicious, highly recommend stopping by if you're a fan of Chinese food. We reserved a spot ahead of time, but looks like they accept walk-ins. 

SUNDAY IN BROOKLYN, AMERICAN | 3438 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn | Website

My favorite pancakes in the city, there's a reason this Williamsburg brunch spot is always booked (once I was told the wait time was an hour and a half!). A reservation is a must in advance for this brunch spot.

Downstairs feels like a rustic cabin and upstairs is airy and plant filled where we sat. Although pricey, presentation is part of the delight of this restaurant. I ordered an oat milk latte which arrived in a beautiful teacup, complete with a miniature rosette on the side.

They're known for their fluffy Sunday Stack of pancakes with hazelnut topping and brown butter, which I got yet again. My sister opted for savory with their chicken sandwich and she said it was one of the best she'd had.

No cocktails for me this time, but if you're in search for a boozy brunch with lots of photo opportunities, this is your place.

STONEFRUIT ESPRESSO, FARM TO TABLE | 1058 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn | Website

If you've been following along for any amount of time, you know that Stonefruit remains one of my favorite coffee shops in Brooklyn for it's ambiance and delicious seasonal pastries and lunch options. 

This sweet cafe is part kitchen, part flower shop. Let's first talk about the kitchen. The vibes in Stonefruit feel settling into a warm, familiar friend's home. They update their menus with seasonal produce and many of the selections are vegan and gluten-free. Some of my favorites are the maple banana espresso loaf and the many scone varieties. If you're looking for a more hearty meal, they do have a menu of ready-to-order dishes. I went for an avocado toast on this day and my sister did some oats with fruit! 

In the back area is a plant and flower shop where you can also shop for curated home goods. I love to take a walk through when I visit to see all the varieties they have in stock for the next season.

Tip: get there early if you want a good seat. This place always fills up quickly! 


MCNALLY JACKSON BOOKS | 76 N 4th Street, Brooklyn | Website

One of my favorite independent NYC bookstores that captured my heart years ago, the Williamsburg location of McNally Jackson is one of their newest locations (the other is in Downtown Brooklyn).

The bookstore is an expansive two levels filled with books for every kind of reader. I'm particularly fond of their fashion section, which houses large coffee table books and lesser-known paperbacks on theory and history.

Their stationary and journal sections are also excellent and always leave me wanting to take up bullet journaling.

AWOKE VINTAGE  | 132 N 5th Street, Brooklyn | Instagram

I could write a whole blog post on vintage stores worth visiting in Brooklyn, but one of my favorites I like to recommend for its approachability is Awoke Vintage. This hot spot is right off  Bedford Avenue, one of the main shopping strips in Williamsburg (and also great for people watching!). 

Awoke is a packed, two room store organized with racks of color coordinated vintage from the 60s - 00s, mixed in with new, independent labels. I find it easy (and not overwhelming) to look through their stock and their pricing is definitely above traditional thrift store pricing, but reasonable when it comes to NYC vintage.

They also sell small goods like trend-forward hair clips, earrings and sunglasses which are always fun to look through. 

If you're already in Williamsburg, this is a great shop to stop by to browse!

GLOSSIER  | 77 N 6th Street, Brooklyn | Website

If you're by McNally Jackson, not too far away is the Glossier store that just opened in Brooklyn. Whether a Glossier fan or not, it's a fun, aesthetic experience to visit the new store and play around with the products in an exploratory environment. 

Lots of cute stations for selfies and social moments, if you're into that kind of thing! 

Thanks so much for reading if you made it all the way through. Let me know if you visit any of these in the comments -- I'd love to hear how you enjoy! You can find more recommendations on my Instagram

With much love,



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