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The West Village is quite literally off the grid of Manhattan. The cobblestone streets twist and curve and come to dead ends, making it the most lovely place to wander and get lost (whether on purpose or not). And while we’ve strolled Bleecker more times than we can count, lately we’ve been finding ourselves spending more time on Hudson Street and beyond. It’s a little more subdued and home to some of our favorite cafés, galleries and boutiques, plus one of the city’s loveliest green spaces.

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Fuel Up on Caffeine and Vibes at The Elk

This West Coast–inspired gem is far more than the cozy little coffee shop it appears to be. It actually has a small but mighty hidden kitchen in the basement that is responsible for some tasty breakfast and lunch bites (like grapefruit brûlée and baked egg toast with zucchini). Plus, the sunny, blond-wood-accented space is the kind of place where you’ll want to hang out all day—but for the sake of this piece, we’ll just grab a matcha for the road.

128 Charles St.; theelknyc.com

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Get your butt kicked at Refine Method

Founded by a former New York City Ballet dancer, this basement fitness studio serves up one of the city’s most challenging (and rewarding) workouts. Each high-intensity class consists of moves using weighted pulleys, slide boards, kettlebells, battle ropes, medicine balls and more—and because you’re constantly doing something new, you’ll be almost too busy to notice you’re sweating like a maniac. (Don’t worry, there are showers.)

131 Perry St.; refinemethod.com

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Enjoy a breakfast (sandwich) of champions at The Wild Son

Hungry yet? Duck into the Wild Son and devour a Good Morning Sunshine breakfast sandwich or gluten-free buckwheat pancakes. The menu also includes a mean Bloody Mary with beet and carrots (so basically a salad). Best of all, this laid-back oasis is filled with natural light and plants so you can feel like you’re outside even when it’s too hot to actually be out there. 

53 Little W. 12th st.; thewildsonnyc.com

Take in the art at the Eli Klein Gallery

We’ve already visited the Whitney and shopped at the Lumas, but for serious art aficionados a visit to the Eli Klein Gallery is a must. The gallery, which reopened in the Village earlier this month, has an international reputation as one of the foremost galleries specializing in contemporary Chinese art. The space itself is unassuming, but the art inside is edgy and fascinating.

398 West St.; galleryek.com

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Stock up on elixirs for your mystical arsenal at Cap Beauty

This is the kind of store you pop into “just to look” and emerge three hours later with items you don’t know how you lived without for so long. What started as a beauty site with a serious cult following has evolved into a brick-and-mortar shop stocked with whimsical items like Sun Potion He Shou Wu, an adaptogen that boosts circulation for shiny hair and radiant skin, and Moon Juice Dream Dust, which promotes natural melatonin production and restful sleep. And did we mention there’s a full-service spa on site?

238 W. 10th St.; capbeauty.com

Watch the sunset at Hudson River Park

Don’t leave the neighborhood without stopping at the nation’s longest waterfront park (four and a half miles long in total). Along with impeccably maintained lawns and bike paths, you’ll find free live music on the waterfront at Pier 45 every Friday at sunset during the summer.

West Side Highway between Battery and 59th St.; hudsonriverpark.org

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Get (Re)acquainted with Couscous at Kish-Kash

We’ve picked up boxes of couscous at Trader Joe’s many times, but the authentic hand-rolled Moroccan version at this new spot from chef Einat Admony (who’s behind our all-time favorite falafel at Taim) takes the starch to ethereally fluffy heights. It’s the ideal flavor-soaker-upper for dishes like three-lemon chicken tagine and slow-cooked lamb with dried fruit.

455 Hudson St.; kishkashnyc.com

Sip Cocktails at Upholstery Store

While we love the Michelin-rated Wallsé for special occasions, when we’re craving a more low-key atmosphere we cozy up at its sister restaurant next door. The rustic-chic joint is open until 1 a.m. so it’s the perfect place to grab a late-night drink. Try one of the signature drinks like the Casablanca (made with vodka, peach puree and lavender-infused agave) or let the bartender whip up a bespoke cocktail. And we love that the spot plays homage to the actual upholstery store that preceded it by filling the space with comfortable couches and leather accents.

713 Washington St.; kurtgutenbrunner.com

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