Little Italy

Top choice area in SoHo & Chinatown

This once-strong Italian neighborhood (film director Martin Scorsese grew up on Elizabeth St) saw an exodus in the mid-20th century when many of its residents moved to more suburban neighborhoods in Brooklyn and beyond. Today, it's mostly concentrated on Mulberry St between Broome and Canal Sts, a stretch packed with checkerboard tablecloths and (mainly mediocre) Italian fare. If you’re visiting in late September, be sure to check out the raucous San Gennaro Festival, which honors the patron saint of Naples.

For a more authentic insight into an Italian community in New York, head to Arthur Ave in the Bronx.