Soho London Vs. Soho New York: How The Trendy Neighborhoods Compare

With their reputation for fashion, art galleries, restaurants, and nightlife, the London and New York districts both called ‘SoHo’ are world-famous destinations. But beyond the name, what exactly do these two trendsetting neighborhoods across the pond have in common and how do they differ? This in-depth guide will compare and contrast SoHo, London vs. SoHo, New York.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: While both are stylish hubs for shopping and entertainment, London’s SoHo has a more Bohemian character from its art and literary roots, while New York’s SoHo glitters with high-end boutiques and luxury lofts.

The History Behind the SoHo Name

SoHo, a trendy neighborhood known for its artistic vibe and fashionable boutiques, has become a symbol of urban chic in both London and New York. But how did these two neighborhoods get their names? Let’s delve into the fascinating history behind the SoHo name.

18th Century Origins in London

The origins of the SoHo name can be traced back to 18th century London. SoHo, short for “South of Houston Street,” was originally a name associated with the area south of Oxford Street in the West End of London.

The neighborhood was known for its vibrant atmosphere, with bustling markets, theaters, and a thriving artistic community. Today, London’s Soho continues to be a hub of creativity and entertainment, with its lively nightlife and diverse range of cultural offerings.

20th Century Naming Convention in NYC

In the 20th century, the name SoHo made its way across the Atlantic and found a new home in New York City. The name was adopted for the neighborhood located south of Houston Street in Lower Manhattan. This area was once an industrial district, characterized by its cast-iron buildings and industrial warehouses.

In the 1960s and 1970s, artists began to flock to the area, drawn by the spacious lofts and affordable rent. The neighborhood soon became a hotbed of artistic activity and creativity, with galleries, studios, and unique shops popping up around every corner.

It’s worth noting that while both SoHo neighborhoods share a similar name, they have distinct characteristics and identities. London’s Soho is known for its vibrant nightlife, eclectic food scene, and historic charm.

On the other hand, New York’s SoHo is renowned for its high-end fashion boutiques, upscale restaurants, and trendy art galleries. Despite their differences, both neighborhoods have left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape of their respective cities.

If you’re interested in learning more about the history and attractions of SoHo, check out for a detailed exploration of the neighborhood’s past.

Architecture and Planning

London’s Georgian Buildings

One of the defining features of SoHo London is its stunning Georgian architecture. The neighborhood is known for its elegant, symmetrical buildings with grand facades and intricate details. These historic buildings have stood the test of time and are a testament to the city’s rich architectural heritage.

The Georgian style, popular during the reigns of George I to George IV in the 18th and early 19th centuries, is characterized by its proportioned windows, decorative molding, and classic symmetry. Walking through the streets of SoHo London, visitors are transported back in time, surrounded by the beauty and grandeur of the past.

New York’s Cast Iron Historic District

On the other side of the Atlantic, SoHo New York boasts a unique architectural gem – the Cast Iron Historic District. This neighborhood is famous for its cast iron facades, which have become synonymous with the area’s industrial past.

The use of cast iron in architecture was a revolutionary development in the mid-19th century, allowing for the creation of intricate designs and ornate details. Today, the Cast Iron Historic District is a designated landmark, preserving the architectural heritage of the neighborhood.

Walking along the cobblestone streets of SoHo New York, visitors can admire the intricate cast iron facades that give the district its distinctive charm.

While both SoHo neighborhoods have their own architectural styles, they share a common thread – a commitment to preserving their historical buildings. In both London and New York, efforts have been made to protect and maintain these architectural treasures, ensuring that future generations can continue to appreciate their beauty.

The Arts Scene

London’s Avant-Garde and Counter-Culture

When it comes to the arts scene, SoHo London is known for its avant-garde and counter-culture vibe. The neighborhood has a rich history of artistic expression, dating back to the 1950s and 1960s when it became a hub for the Beat Generation and bohemian artists.

Today, SoHo London is home to a diverse range of art galleries, independent theaters, and experimental performance spaces. Visitors can immerse themselves in the vibrant street art that adorns the area’s walls or explore the numerous art exhibitions showcasing both established and emerging artists.

One iconic art institution in SoHo London is the Tate Modern, which houses an impressive collection of contemporary and modern art. The gallery attracts millions of visitors each year, making it one of the most-visited art museums in the world.

Additionally, the area is also known for its street markets, such as the Sunday UpMarket and the Brick Lane Market, where artists and designers showcase their unique creations.

For those interested in the counter-culture scene, SoHo London offers a plethora of alternative venues that cater to different subcultures. From underground music venues to independent bookshops, there is always something intriguing happening in this part of the city.

New York’s Contemporary Galleries and Performing Arts

SoHo New York, on the other hand, boasts a thriving contemporary art scene. The neighborhood is home to numerous world-renowned galleries, showcasing a diverse range of artistic styles and mediums. From contemporary paintings to avant-garde installations, art enthusiasts can find it all in SoHo New York.

One of the most well-known art institutions in SoHo New York is the New Museum, which specializes in contemporary art and hosts groundbreaking exhibitions. The neighborhood also houses a multitude of smaller galleries, each with its own unique artistic voice.

Walking through the streets of SoHo New York, visitors are greeted with an array of vibrant murals and sculptures, adding to the neighborhood’s artistic charm.

In addition to its visual arts scene, SoHo New York is also renowned for its performing arts. The neighborhood is home to several theaters, including the iconic SoHo Playhouse, which has been showcasing Off-Broadway productions since 1961.

Visitors can catch a variety of performances, ranging from critically acclaimed plays to experimental theater.


London’s Markets and Boutiques

SoHo in London is renowned for its vibrant shopping scene, offering a unique blend of markets and boutiques. Visitors can immerse themselves in the buzzing atmosphere of the iconic Borough Market, where they can explore a wide array of fresh produce, artisanal products, and international cuisine.

The market has been a staple of London’s food scene for over 1,000 years and attracts both locals and tourists alike.

Additionally, SoHo London boasts a plethora of independent boutiques and vintage shops that cater to a diverse range of tastes. From quirky clothing stores to antique bookshops, there is something for everyone.

One popular spot is Carnaby Street, which has a rich history as the birthplace of Swinging London in the 1960s. Today, it continues to be a hub for fashion enthusiasts seeking unique and trendy finds.

For those seeking a more curated shopping experience, Covent Garden is a must-visit destination. This historic market is home to a mix of high-end boutiques, designer labels, and luxury brands. The picturesque streets are filled with charming shops, making it a delightful place to explore and indulge in some retail therapy.

New York’s High-Fashion Flagship Stores

SoHo in New York City is synonymous with high fashion and luxury shopping. The neighborhood is dotted with flagship stores of renowned brands, attracting fashion enthusiasts from all over the world. One of the most iconic destinations is Prada’s flagship store on Broadway, which showcases the brand’s cutting-edge designs in a sleek and modern setting.

In addition to Prada, SoHo New York is also home to other high-end fashion brands such as Gucci, Balenciaga, and Louis Vuitton. These flagship stores offer an immersive shopping experience, with beautifully designed interiors and exclusive collections.

SoHo’s shopping scene extends beyond luxury fashion. The neighborhood is also known for its diverse range of independent boutiques and concept stores. Visitors can explore unique shops like Opening Ceremony, which showcases emerging designers and international fashion trends.

The vibrant mix of both established and up-and-coming brands makes SoHo a haven for fashion-forward individuals.

Food and Nightlife

London’s Pubs, Cafes, and Street Food

When it comes to food and nightlife, SoHo London offers a unique and vibrant experience. The neighborhood is known for its traditional British pubs, where locals and tourists alike gather to enjoy a pint and soak in the lively atmosphere.

From historic establishments like the Dog and Duck to trendy gastropubs like the Duck & Waffle, there is something for everyone’s taste.

Aside from pubs, SoHo London is also home to numerous quaint cafes and coffee shops. These cozy establishments offer a variety of hot beverages, pastries, and light bites, making them the perfect spot for a morning pick-me-up or a leisurely afternoon break.

Whether you’re in the mood for a classic English breakfast or a freshly brewed cup of coffee, SoHo London has it all.

Another highlight of SoHo London’s food scene is its street food. The area is teeming with food stalls and markets, offering a diverse range of cuisines from around the world. From spicy Indian curries to mouthwatering Italian pizzas, you can find it all in the streets of SoHo London.

Grab a quick bite while exploring the neighborhood or indulge in a full-fledged food tour – the choice is yours!

New York’s Trendy Restaurants and Lounges

When it comes to trendy restaurants and lounges, SoHo New York is unrivaled. The neighborhood is known for its vibrant culinary scene, offering a plethora of dining options for every palate. From upscale eateries to trendy cafes, SoHo New York has it all.

One of the highlights of SoHo New York’s food scene is its trendy restaurants. These establishments are known for their innovative menus, creative presentations, and stylish interiors. Whether you’re craving sushi, steak, or vegetarian cuisine, you can find a restaurant that caters to your taste in SoHo New York.

Some popular spots include Balthazar, known for its French bistro fare, and Jack’s Wife Freda, a beloved brunch spot.

In addition to its restaurants, SoHo New York also boasts a vibrant lounge culture. The neighborhood is home to numerous trendy bars and lounges, where you can sip on expertly crafted cocktails and enjoy the lively ambiance.

From rooftop bars with stunning views of the city skyline to cozy speakeasies tucked away in hidden corners, SoHo New York has something for every nightlife enthusiast.

SoHo London and SoHo New York both offer unique and exciting food and nightlife experiences. Whether you prefer the traditional British pub scene of SoHo London or the trendy restaurants and lounges of SoHo New York, you’re sure to have a memorable time in either neighborhood.


With rich histories, eye-catching architecture, and trendsetting arts and shopping scenes, London and New York’s SoHo districts both exemplify urban style and creativity with their own distinct flavors. Whether exploring cobblestone streets lined with pubs or glittering boutiques, visitors are sure to be charmed by these two world-famous neighborhoods.

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