A good set of street maps is available at Not for Tourists. I LOVE these books, and highly recommend them. They are life savers, even for natives like myself. they also describe various neighborhoods very well. Check out their webiste. All their map are on line and printable - as they say - "we kid you not":
Soho does not really have many art galleries anymore. The area for cool, cutting edge galleries is West Chelsea. See these websites:
Here's a walk that I do from Greenwich Village to Soho:
You can start at Union Square (14th St and Broadway) and walk south on 4th Ave. or Broadway Make a left (east) on 8th St.
Or you can start more west on 8th. Start at Sixth Ave and walk east until around Third Ave.
East of Broadway, the street changes names. It becomes Astor Place and then becomes St. Marks Place - the "blue mohawk" street.
Walk St. Marks to about 1st Ave. Turn around and go back to Broadway and walk south. Once you cross Houston St., you're automatically in Soho (i.e. "SOuth of HOuston"). I'd turn right on Prince St., go to West Broadway, and turn left and go south to Spring, and walk along Spring.
This is a good walk, so you may get tired - especially if you browse the gazillion jewelry street vendors. Luckily, there are plenty of cafes around for a rest.
This is a good interactive map for Soho shopping
Or, you could cover the same ground, but go south to north. Here's a suggested walk from Chinatown to Soho to the Village:
Start around Canal and Mulberry St. or Elizabeth St. Walk west (you can zig zag around this area) on Canal Street.
You can make a right on Broadway (different street from West Broadway) and check out Pearl River Mart. Great Asian gift shopping.
(bet. Grand and Broome Streets)
If you take Grand St. west to around Greene St. or West Broadway, take a right. Now you're in Soho. West Broadway, Thompson or Mercer Streets are good strips to explore.
Keep walking north. Once you cross Houston St., you're out of Soho (and in Greenwich Village.
Walk north to Bleecker Street. Now you have a choice of walking east or west. West takes you to the West Village, east takes you central Greenwich Village and East Village. Before you decide, zig-zag around MacDougal and Thompson Streets, bwn Bleecker and West 3rd.
If you go west, go to 7th Ave or Hudson St. Good shops and dining.
If you go east, go to Broadway and make a left (north). Walk up to 8th Street. Make a right and walk on St. Marks Place to 1st Ave.
Bring good walking shoes!!