Once a hub for newly arrived immigrants, then later, a gritty part of New York City largely populated by struggling artists, the Lower East Side is now one of Manhattan’s trendiest neighborhoods. You’ll find unique boutiques, small galleries, and plenty of character in this district bordered by East Houston, Essex, Canal, and the Bowery. The Basics
A good way to immerse yourself in the Lower East Side’s history, culture, or culinary diversity is to join a tour of the area on a topic that interests you—whether that’s street art, multiethnic cuisine, the immigrant experience, or the influence of organized crime groups. Alternatively, wander the streets on a broader walking tour that introduces you to the neighborhood’s landmarks and hidden gems.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Lower East Side is a must for New York City history buffs.
- Unlike in much of Manhattan, the Lower East Side’s streets are numbered, making navigation slightly trickier.
- Be prepared to wait in line to get into the long-standing Katz’s Delicatessen, recognizable from the movie When Harry Met Sally.
How to Get There
Manhattan’s Lower East Side is easily accessible via subway, 24 hours a day. Or, take the M15 bus, which travels along Houston Street.
When to Get There
There’s always something going on on the Lower East Side, but the neighborhood is generally liveliest after dark. On Friday and Saturday nights, New Yorkers hit the many bars, clubs, and music venues clustered around Ludlow and Orchard streets. Late Sunday is another popular time, when area restaurants serve brunch.Lower East Side Museums
A handful of museums cater to different interests on the Lower East Side. Check out the Tenement Museum to see how Manhattan’s earliest immigrants lived, or view the current exhibition of contemporary art at the New Museum. And if you want to learn more about Manhattan’s Jewish history, don’t miss the Museum at Eldridge Street, housed in a synagogue that opened in 1887.