When people ask for advice about what to see in New York City, we tell them to visit the greatest hits: Central Park, the World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, and yes, even Times Square. But after they’ve seen all that, we tell them to see the real New York City. New York City comes alive in its varied and diverse neighborhoods, and this is also true for the wonderful city of London.
While charming neighborhoods like Notting Hill make you feel like you’ve stepped into a series of postcards, hip neighborhoods like Shoreditch make you feel like you’ve stepped into a graphic novel. There are so many things to see here, but one of the largest attractions is something close to our heart: street art.
Shoreditch is an urban street art gallery where you’ll find murals big and small from artists near and far. Here are some of the many gems we uncovered on a recent visit:
Perhaps our happiest discovery was British artist SHOK-1, who has a unique x-ray art signature. One of his pieces in Shoreditch is called “The Future is Garbage”, and was created for Pentatonic, a company that makes furniture out of recycled trash.
Pair it with:
There are so many food options in Shoreditch that we couldn’t possibly cover them all. But here are a few stops you really shouldn’t miss:
Salt Beef Beigel
Before our New York readers gasp in horror at the idea of eating a bagel somewhere other than New York City, we should clear something up. These are not bagels. Pronounced as it’s spelled (by-gel), beigels are not bagels. You don’t come here to get one with shmear. You come to get the one thing everyone else is there for: the salt beef beigel. Salt beef is similar to what Americans know as corned beef, where the beef is brined in a mixture of sugar, salt and spices for several days then boiled until tender. They smear a little mustard on the beef and you’re good to go. There are two well-known locations on Brick Lane: Beigel Bake and Beigel Shop, located steps from each other. We’re not going to wade into the argument of which one’s better. We think you can’t go wrong with either.
Cereal Killer Cafe
Cereal has come a long way. Today they’re made with whole grain and real fruit, but I grew up in darker (better?) times when the stuff was just sugar and… more sugar. Well, Cereal Killer Cafe is here to exploit that dark past. Offering over 120 types of cereal, you can pop in here for any combination of cereal, milk and toppings. Using classics like Trix or hard-to-find ones like Boo Berry, you can create the cereal monstrosity of your dreams. And don’t miss the cereal portraits on the wall!
Dark Sugars Cocoa House
Dark Sugars is a chocolate shop and cocoa house that had humble beginnings in Spitalfields Market. The owner’s Ghanaian heritage and West African influences are a good fit for the funky neighborhood. Pop in to pick up some truffles or chocolate pearls. And while you’re there, try one of the signature hot chocolate flavors like Hazelnut Praline and White Matcha. Oh, and if you’re lactose intolerant, there’s a large variety of vegan options here too.
So the next time you’re in London, hop on the Northern line to Old Street Tube station, or take the overground to Shoreditch High Street station. Just come hungry for both art and food, there are endless treasures to be uncovered here.
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