Best of New York City

2Trying to do the best of New York City in a few days is like announcing you plan to see Africa in a week: it minimizes just how much there is to experience and completely disregards travel times.

Our menu of the best of New York City eats, drinks, sights and photo ops ensures you don’t waste a New York minute — which Johnny Cash supposedly once defined as the time it takes for a traffic light to turn green and the guy behind you to honk his horn.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the city, OK?
Located atop one of the twin sentries comprising the Time Warner Center, the five-star Mandarin enjoys unobstructed views through its floor-to-ceiling windows of the Hudson River, Central Park, Brooklyn and Portugal (at least, it feels that way).

Its best of New York City position in bustling Columbus Circle centralizes it near perfectly — just north of Midtown — with subways linking to virtually every part of the city.

Unlike in much of the rest of the United States, there’s no shame in walking in New York.

Plenty of attractions are within an easy stroll, including Lincoln Center, Broadway, Hell’s Kitchen and Times Square.

With high ceilings and full length windows reflective of SoHo’s history as a factory cum gallery district, Hotelier Firmdale’s only non-London property is an all-new structure built in the neighborhood’s classic style, its 86 guest rooms each receiving their own individual designs.

As charming as the cobblestone street out front, the hotel has an outdoor sculpture garden, all-day afternoon tea service with cakes and sandwiches in the bar and a 100-seat screening room with a Sunday Night Film Club open to all.

The neighborhood’s overall lower profile makes the Crosby’s upper floors all the more recommended.

Just in case one window stops working, you can still see New Jersey from the other.
If aesthetics are a requisite, The Standard, High Line — situated directly above a stretch of old elevated railway now known as High Line Park — is a best of New York City landmark in Manhattan’s most model-intensive neighborhood.

The decor is mod and the vibe is downtown, so go ahead and pack your shiniest shirts for the clubs, bars and bistros of the surrounding Meatpacking District.

Among the property’s greatest draws are its views.

Of models, yes, but also of the Hudson River, downtown and, to a lesser extent, New Jersey.

Ensure you see as much as possible by getting a room ending in 24, which will net you two walls of windows.

Best hidden bars and restaurants in New York

10Lantern’s Keep, Midtown West
Opened in the early 1900s, both the Algonquin and the Iroquois hotels exude the glamour of times past. Inside, the Algonquin has its famed Round Table restaurant, where Dorothy Parker gathered with editors of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. But the Iroquois has a hidden little jewel box of a cocktail bar called Lantern’s Keep. There’s no sign for it, but in-the-know imbibers are aware that if the lantern affixed to the Iroquois’s facade is lit, they can go inside and have a drink. Lantern’s Keep opened in 2011, but you wouldn’t know it from the decor, which looks more like a Parisian beaux-arts salon than a New York bar. Chic black panelling contrasts with marble tables and Louis XIV chairs upholstered in powder blue velvet. Head bartender John Ploeser and his team designed the list of 40 cocktails, from the refreshing Regal Business (gin, grapefruit, honey, lime) to the boozy Double Barrel (rye, dry vermouth, sweet vermouth, angostura and orange bitters). Ploeser has a polite, midwestern air that makes him instantly likeable and easy to talk to and he loves the social aspect of bartending.
Alphabet City was the first location for Blind Barber, which opened in 2010 and has since expanded to Williamsburg and Los Angeles. The entrance is a working two-seat barbershop. Designed to feel like a retro dentist office, even the barber’s tools are on rolling dental trays. The back room bar is hidden behind a rolling door, which opens up to a large lounge. And the name? It’s a reference to the titles given to speakeasies during prohibition such as Blind Tiger and Blind Pig, a message to policemen to turn a blind eye to the activities going on behind the scenes. The cocktail menu has a core selection of classics, including Strawberry Fields with vodka, lemon juice, honey, strawberries and parsley, and the Smoke + Dagger of whiskey, jalapeno-infused Combier, lemon juice, cucumber, and ginger. The seasonal cocktails change in fall and spring, and pizza is provided until 10pm by Gnocco next door.
Back to the barbershop: the small room takes advantage of the original exposed brick of the building and the decor features distressed metal boards, vintage Koker barbershop chairs, and wooden auditorium seats. The underlying concept is a nod to the barbershops of yore where a community would come together. To that end, Blind Barber offers a drink with your shave – anything from spirits to beer. Just no cocktails until the bar opens at 6pm.
During the day, the outside of Nublu looks like a shuttered storefront, with metal grates perpetually down except for where the slats have broken off. Sometime between 2013 and 2014, street art appeared which added a splash of colour. At night, the only sign of something happening is the little blue light marking the entrance. Inside, however, activity is truly buzzing, as Nublu has become a stronghold for musical improvisation across genres. Nublu had humble beginnings in 2002 as a simple clubhouse where friends of owner Ilhan Ersahin would come and play music. Ersahin, himself a musician, describes its early days as more of a rehearsal space. He acquired the wine and beer licence just so they could drink during and between jams, as the space was always open to the public. It’s a haven for musicians getting their careers started, as well as for famous ones such as Moby, Norah Jones and David Byrne, who come to perform secret shows or take in the latest sounds. At the bar, expect a wide range of sake, along with beers and wine.
Though the William Barnacle Tavern itself is no longer hidden, the bar is one of the few authentic speakeasies left over from prohibition, and the building itself still holds a rich history of secrets – including intact mafia escape tunnels and safes. The entrance to the bar was originally through a butcher shop next door, concealed from the street. Behind the bar was a dance hall, which later became a jazz club and is now the theatre. The William Barnacle Tavern specialises in absinthe — 28 variations of it — and single malt whiskies. The bar owner, Lorcan Otway, used to be a shipbuilder, so the maritime theme of the bar is a nod to his past, creating a dive-y, non self-conscious pub. Unlike many of the trendier prohibition-style bars in New York City, the tavern is not only authentic, but every item in the bar also has a fascinating history connected to Lorcan and his family. Lorcan himself is often behind the bar, too, making 1920s-inspired cocktails or serving absinthe.

Archaeologists hope dig has unearthed Aztec tomb

5The MailOnline reports that up to now, it was understood the Aztecs cremated their leaders during their period of rule from 1325 to 1521. However excavators, having unearthed a three-ton slab of rock, then found gold ornaments and an offering box full of bones of infants and eagles. Stone knives, often used in human sacrifices, were also found as well as two feet and a human hand.

Archaeologist Leonardo Lopez Lujan led the National Institute of Anthropology and History team in the discovery of the 8.4-metre long tunnel. The team are of the opinion that the hidden chambers could house incincerated remains of the leading rulers of Tenochtitlan, including Moctezuma, Axayacatl and Tízoc. Moctezuma seized power in 1440, and pushed the boundaries of the Aztec empire from the Valley of México right up to the Gulf Coast.

Lopez Lujan warned that there was a possibility that the exciting discovery was still a theory that could be proved incorrect. However strong indications are that the findings appear to be a logical place for rulers’ remains to be interred. The site at Templo Mayor was the most important temple complex known as Tenochtitlan in the Aztec capital.

Eight years ago, archaeologists detected underground chambers underneath a huge stone monolith leading Lopez Lujan to suspected that an emperor’s tomb might lie beneath. In 2011, archaeologists thought they had unveiled Mexico’s first Aztec royal tomb but on further probing, nothing was found. However, more artifacts linked to an emperor would bring tremendous prestige and tourism interest to Mexico.

The ‘significant’ find at the Templo Mayor ruin complex could unearth the burial ground of the leaders of this ancient civilisation, experts predicted this week.

New York City for Kids

6New York City is a giant playground for kids. With world-class museums, famous zoos, a huge park, exciting theater, celebrity restaurants and iconic attractions, “Mom, I’m bored” isn’t heard very often in the city. Here, some favorite NYC spots to see with your kids (before they don’t want to be seen with you.)

If your children have enough patience for only one museum, The American Museum of Natural History is it. They’ll want to spend a week here exploring the IMAX films, Hayden Planetarium Rose Center for Earth and Space, and many permanent exhibition halls. Especially popular is Fossil Halls (think dinosaurs) and the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life where a 94-foot-long model of a blue whale makes quite a splash.

Tour the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, located in a neighborhood that was once a “Gateway to America.” Costumed guides tell tales of how the newly-arrived immigrants endured life in their impoverished living quarters and new homeland.

Boys love the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum for the ships, jets and, soon, the space shuttle Enterprise.

Tell your tweens and teens you’re taking them to see Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber and the Parent of the Year award goes to…you! The Madame Tussaud Wax Museum features more than 200 life-size wax celebrities. (Kids under 7-years-old might get spooked by the wax effigies.)

Take the littlest ones instead to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. In the summer, they’ll cool off at the City Splash outdoor exhibit. And Brooklyn is home to the country’s first and oldest children’s museum, The Brooklyn Children’s Museum.

The “Panorama of the City of New York,” the world largest architectural scale model, at the Queens Museum of Art, is worth the subway ride.

Eateries and Stores
Talk about eye candy. Kids love the towering rows of colorful confections, and gooey hot fudges sundaes at Dylan’s Candy Bar. The Café’s peppermint-shaped stools elicit giggles. The serendipitous Serendipity3 is where NY celebrities come to slurp a frozen hot chocolate. It’s a rite-of-passage kind of experience ( The Toys-R-Us toy store is as manic as its Times Square location. Kids go wild for the 60-foot-tall indoor Ferris Wheel.

FAO Schwarz is on most children’s top 10 list. Toys are expensive but you can play (channel Tom Hanks in Big and dance on the piano). Well, hello dolly. Your child’s favorite doll can get her ears pierced and her hair done at the American Girl Place store. Botox, too (kidding!). SoHo’s Scholastic Store stocks educational books and houses a studio where shows are held. If you build it they will come. The colorful Lego store holds frequent building events.

Kids go ape for the Central Park Wildlife Center and Children’s Zoo. Plan your visit around the sea lion feedings. The Tisch Children’s Zoo is where the diaper set feeds the animals. Bonus: overnight sleepovers.

The Bronx Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Park is the country’s largest urban zoo. The Congo Gorilla Forest and Butterfly Exhibit are popular. Little kids can pet the animals at the Bronx Children’s Zoo. Bonus: Family Overnight Safari.

New York kids consider Central Park their backyard. They ride the vintage carousel with 58 hand-carved painted horses, located mid-park. They climb the Alice in Wonderland Statue. And they watch puppet shows at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater. Teens sing Beatle’s tunes at Strawberry Fields’ IMAGINE mosaic.

Bryant Park’s Le Carrousel, a French-inspired carousel that twirls to French cabaret music, is one compelling reason to visit this lovely French-inspired park.

A trip to Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty, designated National Parks of New York Harbor, is educational. Enrich the visit and sign up for the self-guided Junior Ranger program.

The New Victory Theater produces family-oriented dance, comedy, theater and puppet shows. And tickets are cheap. Young actors (8- to 18-years-old) stage 1-hour musical theater performances at Tada! Youth Theater.

The beauty of visiting New York with kids is, that while there’s so much to do, sometimes all you need is an ice cream cone, a bench and a sidewalk packed with real-life action figures for the best entertainment of all.

New York City

7One of the world’s great cities, New York City (also referred to as “New York,” “NYC,” “The Big Apple,” or simply “The City”) is a global center for media, entertainment, art, fashion, research, finance, and trade. The bustling, cosmopolitan heart of the 4th largest metropolis in the world and by far the most populous city in the United States, New York has long been a key entry point and a defining city for the nation.

From the Statue of Liberty in the harbor to the Empire State Building towering over the Manhattan skyline, from the tunnels of the subway to the skyscrapers of Wall Street, from the bright signs of Times Square to the naturalistic beauty of Central Park, and from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx to Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York’s landmarks are quintessential American landmarks. The city’s neighborhoods and streets are so iconic they have become ingrained into the American consciousness. Here the power, wealth and culture of the United States is on full display in one of the largest and most iconic skylines in the world, in the food and music to be found around every corner, and in the diverse population of immigrants who come from every corner of the globe to take part in what this city has to offer.

Lying at the mouth of the Hudson River in the southernmost part of the state of the same name and at the center of the Mid-Atlantic region, New York City has a population of approximately 8.2 million people. The New York Metropolitan Area, which spans lower New York, northern New Jersey, and southwestern Connecticut, has a population of 18.9 million, making it the largest metropolitan area in the U.S.

New York City is one of the global centers of international finance, politics, communications, film, music, fashion, and culture, and is among the world’s most important and influential cities. It is home to many world-class museums, art galleries, and theaters. Many of the world’s largest corporations have their headquarters here. The headquarters of the United Nations is in New York and most countries have a consulate here. This city’s influence on the globe and all its inhabitants is hard to overstate, as decisions made within its boundaries often have impacts and ramifications across the world.

Immigrants (and their descendants) from over 180 countries live here, making it one of, if not the most cosmopolitan city in the world. Travelers are attracted to New York City for its culture, energy and cosmopolitanism.

Uber plans app that can turn commuters into taxi drivers

4Uber has totally transformed the taxi industry since its introduction and now wants to go a step further by turning ordinary commuters into temporary drivers.

David Plouffe from Uber told the Daily Telegraph said the ultimate goal was that there would be no Uber drivers per se, only people who drive a car and make money while doing a message or going to the airport.

He said that when people drive to and from work 10 times each week, it creates massive opportunities for this development. The idea is that a person in such a position would press a button on the phone to say they are available and then picked up other people who were interested in getting a lift on the route.

Ultimately the hope is that it will lead to lower fares while also growing a totally new side of the business.

Before a person qualifies to make extra money in this fashion, Uber says it would check out the drivers licences and their previous driving records to ensure passenger safety. It is envisaged that the cost would be less than UberPool where three strangers share a ride in a car.

Mr Plouffe believed that the new arrangement would have a massive impact on the environment by reducing parking and gridlock problems normally associated with rush hours in major cities.

In terms of London, there are over one million cars around the city centre each working day, virtually all of which have only one driver in them. It would be much more efficient to change that situation, he told BBC’s Radio 4.

He said such arrangements could lead to a reduction in personal car usage and in some case it would mean people could eschew the expense of ever buying a car.

This new trend by Uber was made possible by the prevalence of smartphones and with their technology the aim was to get cars to pick up people much quicker than at present.

New Yorkers’ New York

8Though I’m not usually very chatty on planes, I do love when, flying home to New York City, I end up sitting next to first-time visitors. They almost always have a slightly wild look in their eyes; it’s a sign that they’re worried they won’t be able to see everything. Their questions spill out, and I’m happy to answer them: Where should I go for dim sum? How do you get to Brooklyn? Have you ever been to the Apollo? What they really want to know: Is three days or five days or even a week enough time?

No. No, it’s not. Sorry. I’ve clocked 40 years living in or near the city, and, though my love/hate for the place grows stronger each year, I would be a fool to say I know it, that I’ve seen all of it. I know my version of the city. I have my New York. It overlaps the New Yorks of my family members and friends, but my personal map and experience of the city has been of my own making. You will have yours, too.

Lose the list of must-see attractions. Decide that this will be one trip of many. And do as we do: Get to know the city’s neighborhoods. In town for a week? Choose three neighborhoods. Maybe four. Spend a day or two in each. Walk up the avenues. Wander the side streets. Select a random pizza place/food cart/

coffeehouse and pronounce it NYC’s best. (But say it out of earshot of any locals. We’re nicer than you’ve heard but three times as opinionated.)

Give your neighborhoods of choice a chance. Reject or love them for totally irrational reasons. (New Yorkers do it all the time.)

By day two or three you’ll see that each neighborhood is its own New York. The city is no perfect jigsaw puzzle. Smash some pieces together and create your own map. —Jenna Schnuer

Central Park and the East River bracket this well-heeled neighborhood’s undersung charms.

The Upper East Side may be the oddest of underdogs. Its blocks—stretching from 59th Street to 96th, from the East River to Central Park—house the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the Whitney, and the Frick. Prominent names live on Park Avenue. Pricey shops—Calvin Klein, Prada, Giorgio Armani—line Madison Avenue. But the Upper East Side gets very little respect from other New Yorkers. “For years it was kind of synonymous with ladies who lunch, and people don’t want to be associated with that,” says Susan Cheever, a lifelong UES resident and author of Louisa May Alcott: A Personal Biography. Upper East Siders don’t rush to correct the record. They’re happy keeping the neighborhood’s riches for themselves—and we’re not talking money here.

“It’s a small village. It’s sophisticated but not uptight,” says Eric Ripert, chef-owner of Michelin-starred Le Bernardin, who moved to the UES from the Upper West Side in 1996.

People don’t just live in apartments on the Upper East Side. They live on the Upper East Side. They don’t live near the museums. They use the museums as extensions of their living rooms. And then there’s Central Park—claimed by all New Yorkers but a true backyard for those who live uptown. “I’m a fanatic of Central Park,” says Ripert, who spends at least part of every day he’s in town on its paths. “I know the saxophone player and the Rollerbladers. I know everyone over there.”

Feel free to pick your own favorite park bench. Afterward head across Fifth Avenue on 86th Street to the Neue Galerie’s Café Sabarsky, which serves Viennese coffee on silver trays. The café’s soft pretzels (paired with Bavarian sausage) put street-vendor versions to shame. Or stroll over to the corner of 81st and Third to share meze at Beyoglu, the best Turkish restaurant in the city. (I’m not usually fond of superlatives, but Beyoglu deserves it.) If you get in line at Two Little Red Hens Bakery on Second Avenue, pray that the people ahead of you are placing big orders. You’ll need time to decide between the Brooklyn Blackout cupcake and all those cookies.

Pay homage at the Met but escape to one of its tucked-away spots. Ask a guard in the Asian galleries to point you toward the moon gate of the Astor Court, recommends Cheever. Walk through it into a Ming dynasty scholar’s garden. Don’t ignore the neighborhood’s smaller cultural gems like the Cooper-Hewitt for modern design or the Jewish Museum, housed in a mansion built in 1908.

Visit the independent bookstores that still dot the Upper East Side, including Crawford Doyle, the Corner Bookstore, and Kitchen Arts & Letters.

On a bright spring day, it’s challenging to secure space around one of the best free with-or-without-kids entertainments New York City has to offer: the small-dog run at Carl Schurz Park. A standout little sibling to Central Park and named for the first German-American senator, Carl Schurz starts at the butter yellow Gracie Mansion and curves down along the East River. “The Esplanade on the East River is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, especially at night,” says Cheever. “The river is just alive with activity.”

You don’t mind if we keep it our little secret, do you? —Jenna Schnuer

Around the Corner There’s no shame in taking a break to see a movie at the Ziegfeld Theatre in Midtown (141 W. 54th Street). One of the last single-screen houses in New York City, the 1,169-seat theater turns movies into events. Crystal chandeliers light the grand (though suitably shabby) interior, awash in gold and red velvet. But this is no art house theater. Blockbusters rule the screen. If you’re lucky, you’ll be in town for the opening night of a musical flick. The place often inspires audiences to burst into applause as credits roll.

My Kind of Town: New York

10Also for a willingness to forgo basic comforts. I grew up in California, where even middle-income people have a patio on which they can eat breakfast and where almost everyone has a car. In New York, only upper-income people enjoy those amenities. The others would like to share them. I sometimes get into conversations with taxi drivers, and since most of them are new to the city, I often ask them what they miss about the place they came from. Almost always, they name very ordinary pleasures: a slower pace of life, a café where they could sit around and talk to friends, a street where they could play kickball without getting run over. Those who miss these things enough will go back home. That means that the rest of us, statistically, are more high-strung, hungry and intent on long-term gains—traits that quite possibly correlate with intelligence.

But I think it’s also possible that New Yorkers just appear smarter, because they make less separation between private and public life. That is, they act on the street as they do in private. In the United States today, public behavior is ruled by a kind of compulsory cheer that people probably picked up from television and advertising and that coats their transactions in a smooth, shiny glaze, making them seem empty-headed. New Yorkers have not yet gotten the knack of this. That may be because so many of them grew up outside the United States, and also because they live so much of their lives in public, eating their lunches in parks, riding to work in subways. It’s hard to keep up the smiley face for that many hours a day.

It is said that New Yorkers are rude, but I think what people mean by that is that New Yorkers are more familiar. The man who waits on you in the delicatessen is likely to call you sweetheart. (Feminists have gotten used to this.) People on the bus will say, “I have the same handbag as you. How much did you pay?” If they don’t like the way you are treating your children, they will tell you. And should you try to cut in front of somebody in the grocery store checkout line, you will be swiftly corrected. My mother, who lives in California, doesn’t like to be kept waiting, so when she goes into the bank, she says to the people in the line, “Oh, I have just one little thing to ask the teller. Do you mind?” Then she scoots to the front of the line, takes the next teller and transacts her business, which is typically no briefer than anyone else’s. People let her do this because she is an old lady. In New York, she wouldn’t get away with it for a second.

World’s Best Trip: New York City

3We all cherish classic Manhattan moments—a walk in Central Park, seeing the Jackson Pollocks at the Museum of Modern Art, a pastrami sandwich at Katz’s Delicatessen. But the reason we love New York City is its constant hatching of new scenes. The latest neighborhood to be colonized is the northern frontier of the Chelsea Arts district, between 10th and 11th avenues, where more warehouses are being transformed into galleries and cacophonous nightclubs, and where the Hôtel Americano, the first U.S. outpost of the splashy Mexican hotel chain Grupo Habita, recently materialized. Right down the street is the just opened second section of the High Line, an innovative landscaped strip of elevated public space designed in part by Dilpler Scofidio & Renfro. On nearby blocks you’ll find buildings by Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, and Shigeru Ban, as well as marquee galleries such as Pace and Gagosian. Even now, this is the rare Manhattan neighborhood that has too few places to eat and drink. But you can snack on pintxos and sip zurracapote, a Basque variation of sangria, at tapas bar Txikito. Or head to Co., whose wood-fired pizzas are an update on another Gotham icon: the classic New York slice.

New York City Affordable Tip: Chinatown comes to Chelsea at local favorite Grand Sichuan, where the authentic food—soup dumplings; green beans with minced pork; spicy beef with green peppers—outshines the garish lighting and curt waitresses. 229 Ninth Ave.; 212/620-5200; dinner for two $40.

New York City Family Tip: Tucked under the High Line at West 16th Street is Chelsea Market, a food-court-on-steroids with plenty of kid-friendly enticements: an indoor waterfall, children’s readings at Posman Books, and five specialty bakeries.

New York City: World’s Best Scorecard
No. 4 city overall
No. 1 city in United States + Canada

36 Hours in Quebec City

1Quebec City has long drawn admirers to its historic district — the famed ramparts, quaint cobblestone lanes and handsome stone houses. Get swept up in this squint-and-you’re-in-Europe charm, however, and you risk missing out on the Canadian city’s most compelling attractions. Over the last few years, a gradual revival has spread from one outlying neighborhood to the next, ushering in a wave of new boutiques, bars, bistros and more. But can hip and historic coexist? Quebec’s capital, now alive with cultural and culinary enticements for all demographics, says, mais oui!


The most exciting district to explore right now is revitalized St.-Roch (san-ROCK), a once-seedy neighborhood northwest of the historic center where a bunch of cool secondhand and design shops have bloomed. The souvenir hunt starts at Si Les Objets Pouvaient Parler, a curios shop filled with vintage finds and conversation starters ranging from old typewriters to Polaroid cameras. Next browse nearby Rétro Bordello, a narrow boutique that recently stocked zany mushroom lamps and hockey pennants for the former hometown Nordiques team. Then visit Bois & Cuir, a sleek year-old home-furnishings store selling unconventional pieces like metal trunk desks and birdcage chandeliers.


The gentrification of St.-Roch has begun spreading westward into the St.-Sauveur neighborhood, where a two-block stretch is now home to some of the city’s most interesting dining establishments. Begin at Kraken Cru, a raw seafood bar that opened in June with nautical décor and a seashell-studded counter. The best order here is a dozen oysters chosen from the chalkboard menu’s lengthy list of fresh, mostly Canadian bivalves (25 Canadian dollars, or $18.35 at 1.35 Canadian dollars to the United States dollar). Then proceed up the block for a proper dinner at Patente et Machin, a convivial bistro with a few tables and an inventive menu, which recently included a spectacular croquette de chèvre, a ball of meltingly tender goat meat drizzled with syrup on a bed of tomato sauce (11 dollars).


No DeLorean is needed to transport you back to the ’80s if you head back to St.-Roch and into the Macfly Bar Arcade. This two-room bar, which actually opened in 2014, has an electrifying orange color scheme, craft beers and vintage arcade games that are all free to play. Order a bottle of citrusy Saison Du Tracteur from the outstanding Québécois brewery Le Trou Du Diable to sip between games of Ms. Pac-Man and Double Dragon. Later, sidle up to the bar at the nearby Brasserie Artisanale La Korrigane for an only-in-Quebec nightcap: a pint of the microbrewery’s Croque­mitaine, a seasonal beer made with maple syrup.


A late-night debate with a Quebecer about the best poutine is akin to arguing about cheese steaks with a Philly native, so bite your tongue and try the faithful rendition prepared at Chez Gaston. This St.-Roch hole in the wall is no-frills, but the piping-hot poutine is spot on: crisp fries with crunch and curds with squeak, all doused in gravy (5.65 dollars). For more comfort with your comfort food, try the city’s first location of the small Canadian franchise Poutineville, which opened in an airy, brick-walled space last summer. Here all ingredients are customizable, but the house specialty (10 dollars) substitutes crushed potato chunks for fries and adds a pile of braised beef to Canada’s so-called “national dish.”


The wonderfully preserved Basse-Ville (Lower Town), between the fortifications and the waterfront, dates back over 400 years and is not where you’d expect to find daring artwork. But for the last two years, the Exmuro Arts Publics organization has enlivened this historic area during warmer months with outdoor art installations. This temporary “Quartier Création” has previously featured neon-hued, tactile works and playful sculptures like three giant pigeons inspecting a huge Campbell’s Soup can by Cooke-Sasseville, the moniker of two stars of the local art scene. If your visit doesn’t coincide with another series of installations, instead stroll these quaint streets until you encounter the area’s two massive trompe l’oeil murals — Fresque des Québécois and Fresque du Petit-Champlain — whose depictions of prominent Quebecers and life in the Cap-Blanc harbor district double as local history lessons.


On bustling Rue St.-Jean, a delicious, light lunch can be cobbled together along the street’s less-trafficked western end. Begin at Le Paingrüel, a tiny artisanal boulangerie where the fresh-baked goods — buttery croissants (1.85 dollars), spiral orange-flavored pastries (2.60) — are among the tastiest in the city. Then head northeast two blocks to Cantook Micro-Torréfaction, a micro-roastery and third-wave coffee shop. The gorgeously designed interior has a vaguely Pacific-Northwestern atmosphere (dark wood ceiling, decorative antlers) in which to savor a single-origin espresso.


The northern working-class neighborhood of Limoilou, with its tree-lined blocks of three-story, multiunit houses fronted by curving staircases, is nowhere near the typical tourist trail. But it’s worth the trek across the St.-Charles River to explore 3e Avenue, one of Limoilou’s main arteries. Start at Article 721, a funky boutique stocked with an eclectic mix of jewelry, clothing and design objects, many from Québécois artisans and designers, like adorable onesies with kangaroolike pouches from Electrik Kidz and T-shirts emblazoned with colorful pockets from Poches & Fils. Continue to the kitchenware shop La Folle Fourchette, if only to admire the handmade ash-wood pepper mills from Pierre Chayer Artisan. Then dip in to Le Lièvre & La Tortue, a serene teahouse that opened in September, to join hip patrons alternating MacBook clicks and sips.