The 2017 equivalent of the “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” philosophical enigma is probably something along the lines of “If you find a chic brunch spot but don’t Instagram the table, does it even count?”. It’s a somewhat depressing but nonetheless universal truth of our social media-centric lives today. We know it, you know it, and our Instagram followers know it too.
Despite the potentially messy implications of our reliance on social media, it does have a few good qualities. One of which is Instagram’s use as a scouting tool, where we can see every fun (and photogenic) new spot those we follow have discovered. Finding a new place to eat dinner or an underrated beach destination is a whole lot easier in the Age Of Instagram.
So in the spirit of usefulness, we’ve compiled the ultimate summer guide to New York City according to the photo-sharing app. Here, some of our favorite spots for your most Instagrammable weekend ever.
Most Instagram-Worthy Decor:
The perfect brunch spot, Egg Shop has locations open in both Nolita and Williamsburg. The brand-new Williamsburg branch is the one to try, decked out in custom design pieces like watercolor paintings and geometric-print wallpaper. Stop by for some healthy eats or hangover cures (looking at you, Eggshop B.E.C).
138 N 8th St, Brooklyn; eggshopnyc.com
Most Instagram-Worthy View:
To get the best shot of the Manhattan skyline, you actually have to leave Manhattan. That’s where Cecconi’s comes in: The Dumbo eatery has incredible city views that are almost as impressive as the drool-worthy menu. Featuring everything from whipped ricotta toast to wood-fired pizzas, this new Italian restaurant is a must for dining al fresco.
55 Water St, Brooklyn; cecconisdumbo.com
Most Instagram-Worthy Food:
If there ever was a real-life manifestation of Instagram, it would probably be Café Henrie. Not to sound too much like SNL’s Stefon, but this place really does have everything: 1930s salvaged benches from France, neon installations, and a selection of artful magazines and newspapers to read while dining. Oh, and then there’s the food. Choose from a long list of items like smoothie bowls and salads, all bursting with color and flavor.
116 Forsyth St, Manhattan; cafehenrie.com
Bonus: Most Instagram-Worthy Bathroom:
You might think it’s a little odd to include an eatery largely based on its bathroom, but then you haven’t seen Verde. While the entire place is impeccably decorated, the geometric wallpaper-clad bathroom is definitely a design stand-out. A newbie to the New York food scene, Verde is great for those looking for a healthier place to grab a bite this summer. Each seasonally-driven dish is locally sourced either from the nearby Union Square Farmers Market or family-owned businesses.
22 W 25th St, Manhattan; verde.nyc
Most Instagram-Worthy Boutique:
Katie Long, the owner of the Rockaways-based mobile boutique The Swellife, had previously worked in the fashion department of major magazines before becoming a freelance stylist, and her expertise definitely shines through in the decor. She renovated a former food truck to a bright and summery store selling everything from handmade woven baskets to brass jewelry.
Most Instagram-Worthy Philanthropic Shop:
Bulletin Broads is all about girl power, and its feminist message is backed up by tangible results: 10% of all proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood. Open only for the summer, this Brooklyn pop-up is a shopping destination and community gathering place all in one. You can buy female empowerment-centric merch here, but don’t miss the workshops and social events that celebrate women and promote real change.
145 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn; stage.bulletin.co/#/bulletin/markets
Most Instagram-Worthy Decor Shop:
Attention, design aficionados: don’t miss Tictail Market during your next New York weekend. Escape the heat and spend a few hours (there’s that much to discover) browsing through the global marketplace nestled in the heart of the Lower East Side. Bright Scandinavian-inspired decor is balanced out by pops of color from the eclectic collection of products, making this light-filled store both a decor marketplace and a design destination in its own right.
90 Orchard St, Manhattan; tictail.com
Most Instagram-Worthy Concept Shop:
The first IRL outpost of e-retailer Jet.com is a temporary food-centric concept shop called Story. While it changes its offerings every few weeks, it remains an uber cool and colorful shopping spot that looks like a magazine come to life.
144 10th Ave, Manhattan; thisisstory.com
Most Instagram-Worthy Nail Salon:
Wild Oleander is a tropical paradise masquerading as a nail salon. Full of kitschy accent pieces and bright, decidedly summery colors, this retro-looking salon is definitely Instagram bait. And of course, the manicures are as photogenic as the place itself.
222 Varet St, Brooklyn; wildoleander.com
Most Instagram-Worthy Spa:
A wellness cafe-meets-relaxing spa already sounds like something ideated by every chic lifestyle Instaceleb in existence, but Chillhouse takes it to another level. From the beach-y massage area to healthy drinks like golden lattes and beet chatas, this spot is the perfect place to escape from the busy city and indulge in some me-time this summer.
149 Essex St, Manhattan; chillhouse.com
Most Instagram-Worthy Cocktail Hour:
If it’s known as the “Willy Wonka of cocktails”, it has to be good. ROKC is the spot for unconventional and innovative drinks served up in the most photogenic presentations ever, like a lightbulb or birds’ nest. Each beverage is inspired by the cocktail scene in Tokyo and is a literal work of art.
3452 Broadway, Manhattan; rokcnyc.com
To Cool Off
Most Instagram-Worthy Pool:
The William Vale Hotel pool is allegedly the longest in the city, so book a day pass, grab your swimsuit, assemble your friend group, and head over to cool off. As an added bonus, you’ll get killer views of the Manhattan skyline.
111 N. 12th St, Brooklyn; thewilliamvale.com/pool
Most Instagram-Worthy Beach:
If you don’t want to go too far away from New York City to get your beachside fix, try the Rockaways! Starting with the ferry ride over —which costs the same as the subway but with infinitely more Instagram-friendly views— you can make a full day of enjoying all the beach has to offer. Rent bikes to ride down the boardwalk or try the famous fish tacos at Tacoway Beach. Seriously, those tacos are worth the trip alone.
Rockaway Beach, Queens
Most Instagram-Worthy Ice Cream:
Black ice cream is a thing, and it’s guaranteed to be the coolest thing to grace your Instagram feed all summer. Find it at Morgenstern’s, a retro-looking ice cream parlor with an abundance of funky flavors like burnt sage, cinnamon whiskey, and black coconut ash (that’s the infamous black ice cream).
2 Rivington St, Manhattan; morgensternsnyc.com
Most Instagram-Worthy Museum:
The MOMA and the MET get the bulk of the tourists, so for a slightly less crowded art museum experience head to the Whitney. Beat the heat by perusing contemporary art —including work by living artists— in the comfort of air conditioning. Sandwiched between the High Line and the Hudson, even the building itself is Instagram-worthy.
99 Gansevoort St, Manhattan; whitney.org
Most Instagram-Worthy Outdoor Activity:
Yes, Central Park is definitely busy (especially during the warmer months), but the plus side is that it’s so big you’re pretty much guaranteed to find some spot off the beaten path. Grab a few friends and a basket (or shopping bag) of food for a park picnic à la française.
59th-110th St, centralparknyc.org
Most Instagram-Worthy Rooftop:
Make the most of the summer sun with a glass of wine and sweeping skyline views at the Met’s rooftop bar and garden. The rooftop overlooks Central Park and features a new art installation each summer. It’s the perfect way to end a day of sightseeing and museum-hopping in style.
1000 Fifth Ave, Manhattan; metmuseum.org
Most Instagram-Worthy Exercise (kind of):
The trek across the Brooklyn bridge is a long but photogenic one. If you go early enough, you’ll have a better shot at snapping pictures without huge crowds in your way —and you have fabulous views of both Manhattan and Brooklyn. As an added bonus, this totally counts as your exercise for the day.