Over the past couple decades NoLita has developed into one of Manhattan’s trendiest neighborhoods for shopping and dining. Nestled to the east of SoHo and situated immediately to the north of Little Italy (hence its name!), NoLita has a similar feel to its historic neighbors. At the same time, every year that passes sees this captivating area becoming more and more its own scene. Its narrow streets are lined by idiosyncratic stores helmed by acclaimed designers, as well as national and worldwide brands that cater to fashionable tastes. NoLita, with its numerous restaurants, bars, and cafés, is also a terrific destination for discerning diners.
Getting to Know the Neighborhood
In many ways, contemporary NoLita embodies the myriad ways in which New York City is an always shifting, ever-evolving place. For much of the twentieth century, what we now call NoLita—the tiny rectangle of Lower Manhattan blocks bordered by Houston Street (north), Lafayette Street (west), Broome Street (south), and the Bowery (east)—was considered part of the vibrant Little Italy neighborhood. It was near here, after all, that scenes from legendary films like Mean Streets and The Godfather Part II, as well as television’s The Sopranos, were set and shot.
However, as the culture and character of this specific portion of the neighborhood began to change during the 1990s, the area was rebranded as “north of Little Italy.” After much debate, the name stuck and NoLita as we know today it was born.
Popular NoLita Shopping Destinations
NoLita is a favorite neighborhood of those shoppers in the market for a distinctive New York City shopping experience. While it occupies only a small part of Manhattan, NoLita is home to more than its fair share of designer boutiques, quirky design stores, and independent businesses.
L’Appartement Sézane, with only a handful of locations worldwide, is a popular destination for women seeking chic vintage looks inspired by notions of Parisian luxury. It’s a quick five-minute walk from John Fluevog Shoes. This hip boutique has been a staple of the area for 30 years now, and remains a go-to spot for those individuals favoring one-of-a-kind stylish footwear designs.
Shoppers who’ve flocked to NoLita in search of fine jewelry and other eclectic accessories will want to check out Love Adorned. This charming store on Elizabeth Street sells the handiwork of designers from all over the world. On-site piercing appointments are available, and in addition to jewelry they sell books, greeting cards, art supplies, apothecary items, and more.
Everlane is another distinctive NoLita shopping experience. Everlane is known for their corporate commitment to transparency, which involves sourcing their products exclusively from ethical factories. Socially conscious shoppers will enjoy the opportunity to partake in their selection of curated cotton t-shirts, cashmere sweaters, and Italian shoes.
Other Ways to Enjoy NoLita
NoLita isn’t just a popular shopping destination, it’s a great place for “foodies” on the lookout for the next big thing in cuisine. NoLita’s roots as a predominantly Italian neighborhood remain on display today in the form of the fabulous Italian restaurants that call the area home, sure, but that’s far from the only type of meal you can grab here. There are plenty of trendy establishments in NoLita that cater to all types of tastebuds.
The Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, not to be confused with Midtown Manhattan’s massive St. Patrick’s Cathedral, is located on Mulberry Street in NoLita. It’s a fascinating historic attraction that can be enjoyed best as part of the Catacombs by Candlelight Tour, operated by Tommy’s New York. This popular 90-minute walking tour is fun, informative, and just a wee bit spooky!
If you need more shopping or dining options in your life, the lively SoHo, Little Italy, and Chinatown neighborhoods are right next door to NoLita, just a few short blocks away. Tommy’s New York offers guided walking tours of both Little Italy and Chinatown, while all three destinations can be explored together as part of ExperienceFirst Tour’s SoHo, Little Italy, and Chinatown excursion.
New Museum, on the east side of Bowery, is by most measures technically steps outside of NoLita. Still, it’s well worth your time. Specializing in cutting-edge temporary exhibitions, the New Museum’s five floors of gallery space regularly showcase some of the finest artists working today across a wide spectrum of media.