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Looking for amazing things to do in Lower Manhattan? If so then you’ve come to the right place you beautiful, lovely reader you. 

Because guess what? SURPRISE! I’ve lived in New York City for well over twenty years and know a ton of secret expert tips that will help you find some of the more unusual things to do in New York City

But, not to worry my first-time visitors. Because you too will find some iconic New York City landmarks on this list that you could easily add to any 4 days New York City itinerary

So, whether it’s your first or ten-thousandth time to New York City, you’ll definitely find some wicked awesome things to do in lower Manhattan that will satisfy your curiosity and leave you thinking something along the lines of, “Holy Hannah Batman, I never knew THAT was in NYC”. 

And yes, that exact phrase has gone through my head countless times.

That’s why, if you’re ready to be equal parts, stunned, amazed, and excited, then frolic with me into this detailed guide to the 20+ most amazing things to do in lower Manhattan. 

Heck, you’ll even get a free interactive map along the way that will help you plan the perfect trip to NYC. 

Yup, you’re welcome.

Because here at Girl with the Passport, my only goal is to make your life a whole hell of a lot easier as you plan the ultimate New York bucket list, you intrepid traveler you. 

Dear wonderful, beautiful, and oh-so-amazing reader (Yup, I lay it on thick for my dozens of fans). Since I am incapable of making it rain money, there’s a high probability (like 99.999%) that this post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

***Booking a flight to NYC and not sure where to stay in NYC? Then check out 414 Hotel (Rooms at this chic, Hell’s Kitchen hotel start at $159 per night and include fridges, flat-screen TVs and iPod docks. There’s even a working fireplace in the lobby!), The James New York (Chic, modern rooms at this Soho hotel start at $177 per night and feature high ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, glassed-off bathrooms, plush linens made from natural materials, and more), The Bowery Hotel (Rooms at this 5-star, Nolita hotel start at $300 per night and are cozy, but stylish, with free Wifi, free bike rentals, exquisite city views, and more). and Pod 39 (Located in Murray Hill, this pod hotel sits inside a residential home from 1918. Rooms here start at $120 per night and are cozy and outfitted with queen-size beds or stainless-steel bunk beds with individual TVs and bedside shelves).***

Contents hide

Wait, Should I Get the New York Pass?

Before I even start this post on all of the insanely awesome things to do in lower Manhattan, let’s talk about the New York Pass

Because there are a ton of different NYC discount passes out there that can save you a whole bunch of money if you know how to use them.

And while I’m not gonna go into great detail about the New York Pass here, (I wrote an entire post about it with an insanely detailed review of all the NYC discount passes available, including an in-depth price breakdown to help you determine if the pass is right for you), suffice it to say that the New York Pass is worth it if you’re planning on seeing a whole bunch of big-name sites like the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the MET, etc. 

Therefore, if it’s your first time in NYC and you want to see ALL the things, that the New York Pass will be perfect for you. 

However, if you’ve been to NYC 10,000 different times and are looking to get off the beaten path, then the New York Pass may not save you a whole lot of money.

But, to make a more informed decision, feel free to read my full review here. Seriously, it’s awesome and really does have everything you need to know. 

Best Things to do in Lower Manhattan – Landmarks

1. Take a Ride on the Staten Island Ferry

A view of the Staten Island Ferry going from Manhattan to Staten Island. It's also one of the best things to do in Lower Manhattan!

A view of the Staten Island Ferry going from Manhattan to Staten Island. It’s also one of the best things to do in Lower Manhattan!

I cannot in good conscience create a list of the best things to do in lower Manhattan without mentioning the Staten Island Ferry!

“Why?” you may rightly wonder?

Well, for a couple of really good reasons. Firstly, the Staten Island Ferry is totally free to ride and offers killer views of the Statue of Liberty – stunning panoramas that you just won’t get if you book a Statue of Liberty Tour and actually go on Liberty Island itself. 

No really, trust me on this. The Statue of Liberty Tour is super over-priced and not really worth your time.

Sure, the views can be nice, but that’s about it since there really isn’t all that much to do on Liberty island once you get there. 

It’s also kind of difficult to take really beautiful photos of Lady Liberty when you’re on the island itself. 

Therefore, I’d personally skip the Statue of Liberty Tour and just opt for the Staten Island Ferry instead.

And if you’re a sucker for all things history, then I’d also check out Ellis Island since it’s easily one of the best museums in NYC

But, more on that later. 

So, if you wanna do as all the super savvy locals do, then go ahead and board the Staten Island Ferry at the aptly named “Staten Island Ferry Terminal” in Battery Park. 

As you walk into the park, the terminal will be on your left. Yeah, it’s huge and has “Staten Island Ferry Terminal” in big a$$ letters on it so you definitely won’t be able to miss it. 

It’s also one of the few free things to do in New York City that is actually cheaper now than it was in 1817 when a round trip ticket for the ferry cost $0.25. 

FYI, the ride to and from Staten Island will last around twenty-five minutes each way (The best views of the Statue of Liberty will also be on the right-hand side of the ferry, as you make your way from Manhattan to Staten Island. Try to find a window that opens so that you don’t have to take pics through the window though for the best photo ops), so be sure to give yourself plenty of time. 

You also won’t be able to just stay on the ferry and will actually have to disembark in Staten Island and then re-board the ferry back to Manhattan.

However, luckily for you, the ferry is actually just like the city that never sleeps and runs twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, with boats departing every 15 to 30 minutes. 

That being said though, the ferry can get ridiculously crowded during rush hour. And for those of you not in the know, that is typically on weekdays between 6:00 am and 9:30 am and then again between 3:30 pm and 8:00 pm.

So yeah, do your best to avoid the Staten Island Ferry like the plague during these times of day. 

***Really wanna live it up while you’re exploring New York City? Then check out this stellar, 60-minute sunset cruise around New York Harbor. Not only is this cruise reasonably be priced, but you’ll also be able to enjoy sweeping, sunset views of the Manhattan skyline, but you can also admire various New York City icons like the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Brooklyn Bridge. and more. So, book now and start planning the New York City itinerary of your dreams!***

Address: Staten Island Ferry Terminal, New York, NY 10004

Hours: Ferries depart every 15 to 20 minutes 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

How to Get There: Take the 4 or 5 train to Bowling Green and then walk to the ferry terminal in Battery Park. 

Price: FREE!

2. The Seaglass Carousel

The nautilus shaped building that houses the seagrass carousel in Battery Park.

The nautilus shaped building that houses the seagrass carousel in Battery Park.

This is one of those super cool things to do in lower Manhattan that not everyone knows about.

A fact that is kind of surprising since it’s conveniently located in Battery Park and will make you feel like a total kid again. 

Plus, a ride on this one-of-a-kind carousel will also cost you a mere $5 and will have you sitting inside an LED illuminated fish that will exquisitely dance its way around a Nautilus shaped building – a place that is also just a short walk away from the aforementioned Staten Island Ferry Terminal. 

So yeah, you could easily see both attractions at the same time. 

However, I know what you’re thinking. Why a random fish carousel in Battery Park?

Well, apparently the creators of Battery Park wanted to add something light and bright to the seemingly mundane design of this iconic New York City park.

Accordingly, they created the beyond whimsical Seaglass Carousel – a super cool experience in NYC that is perfect for anyone looking to embrace their inner child. 

Also, Battery Park was actually the former home of the very first aquarium in New York City, So yeah, builders definitely wanted to pay homage to this park’s unique past. 

So, take a whirl and enjoy all that Battery Park has to offer. Besides, you’re in the area anyway so might as well. 

Address: Water St &, State St, New York, NY

Hours: Open every day from 10 am to 10 pm.

Price: Tickets are $5 for everyone.

How to Get There: You can either take the 1 line to South Ferry Station OR the 4/5 to Bowling Green Station.

3. Check out the Used Books at Strand Bookstore

The miles of used books you'll find at Strand used bookstore in Lower Manhattan.

The miles of used books you’ll find at Strand used bookstore in Lower Manhattan.

Known for being one of the best bookstores in NYC, Strand is a straight-up New York institution.

And that makes sense once you realize that this fine purveyor of used books in lower Manhattan is home to 2.5 million books that span a glorious length of 16 miles.

Yeah, I see that skeptical look on your face right now. But no, I’m NOT exaggerating. This place is THAT gigantic. 

However, in spite of its massive size, this bookstore is still pretty well-known and is located right next door to Union Square.

Therefore, it can get quite crowded and is best visited on a quiet, weekday morning. 

Although, what this place lacks in solitude, it more than makes up for with top-notch customer service since the staff here are incredibly knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful, easily making any book-buying experience here a total joy (They also have a stellar selection of literary-inspired souvenirs on-sale here if you’re not looking for any new books). 

Oh, and another super cool fact for you? This place was actually first opened by Benjamin Bass in 1927, an immigrant from Lithuania whose family now owns one of the oldest bookstores in all of NYC. 

Yup, true story.

Also, don’t leave without visiting the third floor. It’s brimming over with an awe-inspiring collection of rare books that are all for sale. Which is kind of appealing if you have an extra $300+ lying around to spend on the super rare, antique, leather-bound book of your choice. 

Address: 828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003 (main location, but there is also a pop-up shop and two kiosks)

Hours: Open daily from 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm, with curbside pick available daily from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Price: Free, unless you want to buy a book. 

How to Get There: Take the 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R, or W trains to 14th Street-Union Square Station and walk to the store from there. Otherwise, you can take the M1, M2, or M3 bus to 4th Avenue/E 13th Street.

4. Explore Washington Square Park

An aerial view of Washington Square Park and the Stanford White Arch.

An aerial view of Washington Square Park and the Stanford White Arch.

Definitely one of the most famous things to do in Lower Manhattan, Washington Square Park is an iconic New York City greenspace.

A place where all the cool NYU students go to relax, hang out, and live the proverbial NYC dream when they’re not studying 

That’s why, as you enter the park, you’ll see tons of uber-trendy, Greenwich Village residents captivated by street performers, skateboarding along the park’s many walkways, and playing a rousing game of speed chess amidst the area’s many beautiful Greek Revival style townhouses. 

However, no trip to Washington Square Park would ever be complete without stopping to admire the Stanford White Arch, a 73-foot tall structure that is made of nothing but white Tuckahoe marble.

And if you think this icon looks a whole lot like the Arc De Triomphe in Paris, you’d be 100% correct since this edifice was actually modeled after that immortal Parisian attraction. 

Yup, you’ll find it quietly sitting along the Northside of the park, just waiting for you to snap a photo since this is easily one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC

Just stand facing the Stanford White Arch (straight on) while looking down Fifth Avenue and you’ll easily be able to frame this amazing Washington Square Park landmark around the Empire State Building in the background. 

Just be sure to get here early if you want to avoid having tons of mildly angsty teens and college students constantly walking in and out of your shots. 

Address:Washington Square, New York, NY 10012

Hours: Open 6:00 am to 12:00 am daily.

Price: Free!

How to Get There: Just take the A/C/E train or the B/D/F/M train to stops at Washington Square Park and walk from there. 

5. Visit the Flatiron Building

The flatiron building in lower Manhattan. One of the best things to do in lower Manhattan.

The flatiron building in lower Manhattan. One of the best things to do in lower Manhattan.

Perhaps one of the most instantly recognizable pieces of architecture in all of Lower Manhattan is the Flatiron Building in Gramercy. 

It’s got that iconic, well, flatiron-like shape that was the brainchild of Daniel Burnham, who first built the structure way back in ye olde 1902, when it was still known as the Fuller Building.

Since then though, the narrow, triangular shape of this 20-story, traditional beaux-arts limestone building (with a terracotta facade) has become somewhat legendary and is now easily one of the top things to do in lower Manhattan. 

For the best photo ops though, capture it from the traffic island that sits on 23rd street, right in between Broadway and Fifth Avenue.

Whatever you do though, do NOT photograph it straight on since you’ll totally lose the beautiful shape of the building.

Address: 175 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

Hours: Open twenty-four hours a day since you’ll just be admiring it from the outside. 

Price: Free (You’ll just be looking at the otuside). 

How to Get There: Take the R or W train from Times Square to 23rd street station and walk to the building from there. 

6. Chelsea Market

A red with a cow advertising for Chelsea Market.

A red with a cow advertising for Chelsea Market.

Want to eat every single one of your feelings while in Lower Manhattan? Or, are you just a diehard foodie looking for super-cool things to do in Lower Manhattan?

Well, if you answered yes to either of the above questions then run, don’t walk, to Chelsea Market. It’s located in the ever-vibrant Chelsea neighborhood and was once an industrial factory that is now overflowing with a variety of different food stalls and quaint little shops that are sure to satisfy visitors with a variety of different tastes (both gastronomically and aesthetically speaking).

It’s also pretty dang popular so don’t expect to have the place all to yourself, even if you visit during the week since a lot of people stop by for a quick to-go lunch. 

And on the weekends? Well, this epic market is packed with people, people, and, oh yeah, more people. So much so that you’ll probably feel more like a Sardine than an actual person.

That’s okay though since Chelsea Market is home to some of the best eateries (and shops) in the entire city. 

Also, here’s a shortlist of some of my personal favie faves for your pure, unadulterated, gastronomic, and non-gastronomic pleasure. 

  • Artists and Fleas – Quirky little flea market style shop that has a ton of trendy souvenirs and knick-knacks for sale that are made by a variety of different local artists. 
  • Bar Suzette Creperie – You go here for, DUH, freshly made crepes.
  • Doughnuttery – Great selection of freshly made mini-doughnuts. 
  • Mok Bar – Serves delicious Korean-style Ramen.
  • Takumi – It’s an odd but delightfully delicious combo since they perfectly fuse Japanese and Mexican style ingredients. 
  • Very Fresh Noodles – Really good hand-pulled noodle dishes from Northern China
  • Ninth Street Espresso – Honestly, their lattes are amazing and this is easily one of the best coffee shops in NYC
  • Num Pang – Killer Cambodian style sammies,
  • Fat Witch Bakery – For the love of God and all that is holy, do not leave without getting a brownie. 
  • Posman Books – A fun bookstore DEFO worth checking out if you’re a book lover like me. 
  • Heatonist – For anyone who is obsessed with hot sauce almost as much as I am. 

Address: 75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Hours: Open daily from 7:00 am to 2:00 am and on Sundays from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm. 

Price: It’s free to walk around but you’ll obviously have to pay if you want to buy anything. 

How to Get There: Take the A/C/E from Port Authority, get off at 14th Street, and walk to Chelsea Market from there. 

7. Stroll Along The Highline

Some of the stunning views you'll see along the Highline.

Some of the stunning views you’ll see along the Highline.

Holy Hannah batman!

The Highline actually made it onto this list of awesome things to do in Lower Manhattan. 

And that is shocking…to exactly no one since this is easily one of the most famous parks/walkways on this list – a now immortal attraction that also doubles as one of the most romantic things to do in New York City.

However, just in case you’re not quite in the know, the Highline is a 1.5-mile-long walkway that runs along the west side of Manhattan (it starts at the Javits Center and runs all the way down to the Whitney Museum of American Art). 

It was also first opened in 2009 when it was built atop an old railway track. A beautiful piece of NYC’s architectural past that now provides exceptionally lucky visitors with some of the best views in the entire city.

You’ll also discover various modern art displays along the way when you’re not, you know, totally captivated by the views, enjoying a quick bite to eat at nearby Chelsea Market, or taking in the botanical beauty all around you. 

FYI, while you’re in the area, you could also stop by the Whitney Museum of American Art or explore nearby Hudson Yards (this is where you’ll find the Vessel) since both are literally right here. 

Address: Since the Highline spans 1.5 miles, check here (under accessibility) for an entry point near you.

Hours: Open daily from 12:00 am to 8:00 pm

Price: Free

How to get there: Check here (under transportation) for transportation information since it will depend on your starting point.

8 Charging Bull Statue

The iconic Charging Bull statue near New York City's stock exchange.

The iconic Charging Bull statue near New York City’s stock exchange.

Honestly? This is probably one of my LEAST favorite things to do in lower Manhattan. 

Because truthfully, all there really is to do here is take a photo with this sculpture designed by Maestro Arturo Di Modica and then leave. 

Plus, this place is a total mecca for tourists and is forever brimming over with crowds of selfie stick-wielding photo mongers who want to take a quick snapshot with this immortal New York City statue.  

So, if you desperately want to procure a photo op with this bronze statue of the Wall Street Bull (aka the Bowling Green Bull) then get here super early (like right at the crack of dawn). 

Yeah, this is probably the only time of day when there won’t be anyone here. You know, like photo mad hordes of visitors desperately seeking selfies on Broadway, just north of Bowling Green in NYC’s iconic Financial District. 

***Since you’re in the area anyway, you can also see the Fearless Girl statue and visit the New York Stock Exchange since both are less than a 5-minute walk away. ***

Address: Bowling Green, New York, NY 10004 (just type “Charging Bull Statue” into Google maps and you’ll be able to find it no problem. 

Hours: Open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. 

Price: FREE!

How to Get There: Take the 4/5/6 train to Bowling Green station and walk to the statue from there.

9. Trinity Church

Trinity Church interior in New York.

Trinity Church interior in New York

Sadly, the original Trinity Church was actually destroyed by fire in ye olde 1776.

Womp, womp, womp.

However, the church was then later rebuilt…and then totally demolished in 1839.

I know, this building clearly doesn’t have a whole lot of luck of the good variety.

Thankfully though, the current neo-Gothic structure, which was designed by Richard Upjohn, still stands today and was actually New York City’s tallest building in 1846, when it first was constructed.

And although it has long since lost that alluring title, it’s still an iconic NYC landmark that features a 280-foot tall bell tower and a stunning glass window display that sits above the church’s central altar.

It also has a beautiful adjacent cemetery that is a great place to take a walk and marvel at the final resting place of none other than famous New York City resident, Alexander Hamilton. 

So yeah, clearly one of the best things to do in lower Manhattan for all my fellow history lovers out there.

If you want, you can even swing by at 1:00 pm on Fridays for the church’s ongoing organ-recital series, which is locally known as Pipes at One, or for an assortment of lovely evening choral performances that are held throughout the year. 

***PSST…just so you know, the church is currently closed for a renovation project that should be completed sometime in early 2021. As a result, you probably won’t be allowed to go inside the church or the associated churchyard where you’ll find Alexander Hamilton’s grave.***

Address: 89 Broadway, New York, NY 10006

Hours: Open daily from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. 

Price: Free!

How to Get There: Take either the 2/3 train or the 4/5/6 train to Wall Street station and walk to the church from here. 

10. The Oculus 

The beautiful modern architecture of the Oculus.

The beautiful modern architecture of the Oculus.

Oh, hello, you icon of modern architecture you. I think you’re looking mighty fine today! A fact that is very much UN-surprising since this is easily one of the best photography spots in NYC

A fact that makes total sense since this transportation hub sits at the center of the new World Trade Center and was designed by the famous architect, Santiago Calatrava.

Completed in March of 2016. the bright white, symmetrical design of this uber-modern building was actually created to mimic the outstretched wings of a dove that is about to take flight. 

Yeah, not gonna lie, I totally missed out on all  that symbolism when I first laid eyes on this beautiful, white steel and glass structure. 

However. now that I know what the building is supposed to represent, I can kind of see the resemblance. 

For the best photos though. try and go in the evening when the white of the building sits in sharp contrast to the darkness of the sky. 

You can also try shooting the building’s unique exterior or head inside and capture the Oculus’ stunning interior from the center of the viewing platforms that sit on either side of the building (just below the street level entrance).

For another impressive panoramic view, try standing in the center of the ground floor of the building. This way, you’ll get a fantastic perspective of the massive size and symmetry of the edifice. 

And if you’re not really into photo ops, you could always go on a shopping spree at one of the Westfield World Trade Center Mall’s more than 100 shops, catch a train to nearby Brookfield Place (another stunning mall/restaurant area right along the water). or eat all your feelings away at the on-site Market Lane food court. 

Personally, though, I usually just grab some authentic Italian cuisine from nearby Eataly since they have a delicious market where you can shop for authentic Italian food, grab a to-go latte, enjoy a scoop of fresh gelato, or dine at their amazing sit-in restaurant.

Yeah, it’s basically like a thin slice of Italy right here in Lower Manhattan.

Address: The Oculus, New York, NY 10007

Hours: Open 24/7. It will be least crowded though between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm and then again after 7:00 pm on weekdays. You can also try to stop by in the evening when it is all lit up. 

Price: Free! Unless you buy something and one of the many stores here.

How to Get There: Take either the E train from Port Authority to the World Trade Center or the 2/3 train from Times Square to Chambers Street. 

11. Take in the Views from Atop the One World Observatory

The views from atop the One World Observatory in Lower Manhattan.

The views from atop the One World Observatory in Lower Manhattan.

It’s not really all that surprising that the One World Observatory made it on this list of the best things to do in Lower Manhattan.

Especially since well, I mean, hello! This is easily one of the best observation decks in the entire city (#TrueStory).

So, although the price for a single ticket may seem more than a little high (they start at a hefty $38 per person), the panoramic views that you get from the 102nd floor of the One World Trade Center really are bananas level awesome. 

Plus, if you look super closely, you’ll be able to see other immortal New York City landmarks like the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Hudson River, the Top of the Rock, and more. 

Whatever you though:

  • Book Your Tickets in Advance – Trust me on this. This is an insanely popular New York City attraction and you do NOT want to spend your entire day waiting in line for tickets. Yeah, ain;t nobody got time for that kind of madness.
  • Check the Weather Forecast Before You Book Your Tickets – The worst is when you pay $38 per person for a ticket and get to the top, only to discover that it’s totally overcast and that you can’t see a damn thing. Yup, I 100% have been there done that. So, moral of the story? Check the weather BEFORE purchasing your tickets and make sure you’re going on a bright and sunshiney day. And if this is difficult because you’re booking your tickets months in advance, then upon arrival, check with employees to see if you can exchange your tickets for a clearer day and time (I’ve done this at the Empire State Building so it’s worth a shot). 
  • Try to time your Visit for Sunset – Do I need to say anything else? Because sunset views here of the Empire State Building are magnificent, end of story. 

Address: 285 Fulton St, New York, NY 10006, United States

Hours: Open daily from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm with the last admission at 8:15 pm (hours may change so check their website for more details).

Price: Tickets start at $38 per person, Again, PLEASE book your tickets in advance (like right now) to avoid spending the entire day waiting in line. 

How to Get There: Take the 1,2, or 3 train to Chambers Street and walk to One World Observatory from there.

Best Things to do in Lower Manhattan at Night

12. Stop for a Drink at Please Don’t Tell

Four people holding their cocktails together at a bar.

Grab a drink at a local New York City speakeasy.

Come with me my friends and travel back in time, to a prohibition era-inspired speakeasy in St. Mark’s Place where the drinks are cold and the atmosphere is somewhat mysterious. 

That’s because Please Don’t Tell is a fun, somewhat secret bar in lower Manhattan that is hidden behind a random, vintage-style phone booth near Crif Dogs (an after-hours hot dog joint that serves some of the best hot dogs in the city). 

And to get inside, you’ll first need to find the aforementioned phone booth of awesome and then dial in a super-secret telephone code. 

However, once you finally do cross over the threshold and step inside this glorious speakeasy, you’ll be delighted to find a relaxed feeling bar that is fully outfitted with stylish leather booths and a series of rather quirky animal heads that line the establishment’s walls. 

Although, let’s be real. You’re not really here for the decor, are you?

Nope, you’re here for the wealth of fresh and oh-so-delicious cocktails that are served up to you by uber-talented, former Pegu mixologist, Jim Meehan.

And while I’m keeping the deets behind their incredibly fabulous drink menu a total secret, I will reveal that you really can’t go wrong with anything you order here. 

That’s why, if you’re looking for a fun and funky place to grab a decadent, late-night drink, then this is easily one of the best things to do in Lower Manhattan for you.

 ***PSST. Don’t just stop by unannounced! Be sure to make a reservation, by phone, since this bar can get quite crowded, with wait times that regularly exceed an hour.***

Address: 113 St Mark’s Place, New York, New York, 10009

Hours: Open Sunday through Thursday from 5:00 pm to 2:00 am and Friday/Saturday from 5:00 pm to 3:00 am.

Price: UN-CHEAP.

How to Get There: Take either the 4 o6 6 train to Astor Place and walk to the bar from there.

13. Sleep No More

Some of the masks you wear for the Sleep No More Performance.

Some of the masks you wear for the Sleep No More Performance.

Looking for a unique theatrical experience in Lower Manhattan? If so then Sleep No More is where it’s at. Because this show is a truly, one-of-a-kind reproduction of the Shakespearean classic, Macbeth.

Yeah, it’s one of those uber-cool things to do in lower Manhattan that was almost single-handily responsible for starting the immersive theater movement way back in 2011 (Seriously, how can that be ten years ago already?). 

It’s also tucked away inside the McKittrick Hotel at west 27th street and sits right next door to the Chelsea art galleries. So yeah, feel free to stop by and check out some wicked awesome art while you’re here.

Now, upon entering Sleep No More, you’ll receive a plain white mask that you’ll wear to help distinguish you from the performers. So, if you wear glasses, be sure to rock a nice pair of contacts before you go see this show.

Next, once the show actually starts, it will be like one of those choose-your-own-adventure type performances since you can wander throughout the hotel and observe various scenes that are happening simultaneously.

However, to truly enjoy this performance, I suggest choosing a single cast member and then following them around wherever they go.

This way, you’ll always be at the center of all the action and will never really miss a thing.  

Also, fair warning. When I say “immersive” here, I mean totally, 110% interactive.

So, do expect all of the actors to come right up to you, whisper in your ear, give you kisses on the hand, and basically treat you like you’re just another member of the cast. 

And if being approached by total strangers makes you want to vomit? Well, then just stay in the middle of the audience and avoid standing at the front.

But, honestly, it really shouldn’t be a problem since these actors are trained NOT to freak you out and will actively check to see how comfortable you are before actually doing anything. 

Okay, phew, Glad we got all that out of the way. Now, onto the insanity that is buying tickets. 

So, as you might have already guessed, purchasing tickets for this performance isn’t quite as straightforward as you might think. That’s because the first available tickets for an 8:00 pm show actually start at 7:00 pm.

And from 7:00 pm onwards, you can then get tickets that start at subsequent, 15-minute time intervals (so 7:15 pm, 7:30 pm, etc…) until the show actually begins.

Personally, though, I’d try to snag an earlier ticket so that you can hang out with the cast and spend some time at the Manderlay Bar, Gallow Green (the hotel’s rooftop bar and easily one of the best rooftop bars in NYC), or the uber-cool, pop-up restaurant, the Illusionist’s Table.

Yup, there really is so much to do and so little time when it comes to NYC. 

Address: 530 W 27th St, New York, NY

Hours: The show begins at 8 pm, but tickets can be purchased for time slots that start at 7:00 pm. Performances then typically last for a solid 3 hours and conclude at 11 pm.

Price: Tickets are $159.50 per person or $220 for a priority access seat with a guaranteed table reservation.

How to Get There: You can either take the 7 train to Hudson Yards or take the C train to the 23rd street station

14. The Comedy Cellar 

The exterior of NYC's famous comedy cellar, one of the best things to do in Lower Manhattan at night.

The exterior of NYC’s famous comedy cellar, one of the best things to do in Lower Manhattan at night.

Comedy and New York City go together like peanut butter and jelly. So yeah, a total match made in heaven.

But, is that really a surprise? I mean, SNL is filmed here, so obviously there are some wicked awesome comedians and comedy shows scattered throughout the city that never sleeps. 

And one of the best just happens to be The Comedy Cellar.

No, legit. This is NOT a drill since this place in the Village regularly hosts shows where some of the top comedians in the world perform.

So, if you’re imagining comedic legends like Dave Chappelle, Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer, and Robin Williams, then you’d be 100% correct because THOSE are the type of people that perform here. 

However, if you really wanna check out one of the best things to do in lower Manhattan, then DEFO make a reservation since this place is, not surprisingly, pretty darn popular.

But if you do this and play it safe, then you’ll be guaranteed a seat. Which is something that this neurotic AF New Yorker is all about.  

Even if this aforementioned seat happens to be in a cramped basement with like 10,000 other people (not an exact number, OBVI).

That being said, it’s obviously worth it since the performers here are top-notch and will probably leave you laughing so loud that your abs will burn and be begging for mercy by the end of the night. 

Just a little FYI though. When you purchase a ticket for a show here, there is a two beer minimum and three beer maximum.

Something that will absolutely NOT be cheap since this is NYC. So yeah, come prepared to spend some cold, hard, $$$.

Although, I have heard through the grapevine that if you’re a polite and pleasant human (and I know you are dear reader), then your server may let the three beer maximum fall by the wayside and help you get your drinkie drank on.

Also, if you really want to live large and go where all the uber-cool celebs go, then hit up The Olive Tree (the restaurant above the Comedy Cellar) after the show since this is where most of the performers will hang out.

***PSST… you can also walk down the street and get some of the BEST falafel in the city at Mamoun’s Falafel or try a slice of artichoke pizza from Artichoke Basille (it’s basically like spinach artichoke dip on a piece of pizza. Sooo good). ***

Address: 117 Macdougal St #1267, New York, NY 10012

Hours: Open Monday through Sunday from 11 am to 3 am.

Price: Tickets are $17 apiece, plus the cost of your 2 beer minimum.

How to Get There: Just take either the A, C, E train or the B, D, F train to the West 4th Street station.

15. The Empire State Building

An aerial view of the empire state building lit up at sunset.

An aerial view of the empire state building lit up at sunset.

Easily one of the most recognizable buildings in all of New York City, the Empire State is forever and always one of the best things to do in lower Manhattan. 

It was also built in just 410 days during the Great Depression – an NYC fact that I found supremely interesting during my amazing private tour of the facility (The building also has its own zip code. Seriously, who knew).

I also love that the viewing area was completely redesigned in 2019, transforming the Empire State Building into a multi-faceted, wonderfully fascinating, interactive experience.

So, even though the views from its 86th-floor outdoor deck and the 102nd-floor indoor observatory are next-level sublime (time your visit for sunset to get the best and most impressive panoramic views of NYC), they are not the only thing that you can look forward to during your visit.

Not surprisingly though, the Empire State Building is easily one of the most popular attractions in New York City. Therefore, lines will be long – even though the recent redesign of the main entrance has helped with the flow of traffic. 

However, currently, your must pre-book your tickets online in advance since the Empire State Building now has timed admissions to help protect visitors during the global pandemic. 

Other than that, just relax and enjoy the wealth of exciting multimedia exhibits on display here, like the Story of an Icon Museum on the second floor. They provide historical context for your visit and help you appreciate the unique architectural features of this amazing, art-deco style structure. 

Trust me, you’ll find yourself in total awe as amazing displays demonstrate exactly how the Empire State Building was constructed and seamlessly built atop the site of the former Waldorf Astoria. 

You’ll also see super snazzy exhibits about opening day,  enjoy a full-scale replica of the original elevator, understand exactly how the Empire State Building is striving to become more sustainable, see movie clips in which this famous building has made a special guest appearance, laugh at a special nod to King Kong,  and even see a wall of photographs that are filled with A-list celebrities who have visited this iconic structure throughout the years. 

A mesmerizing journey that concludes with a stop at the building’s main elevators, which will take you all the way up to the observation decks, the topmost of which features 360 degrees panels of floor-to-ceiling windows that offer visitors views that will quite literally take your breath away. 

Yup, just an all-around amazing experience that is only enhanced by incredibly helpful and friendly staff members.  Amazing people who are full of knowledge and only too happy to answer any questions that you might have, 

***For an extra special experience, plan your visit for Thursday evenings when your 86th-floor views are accompanied by live saxophone music. Also, try and visit on a clear day since clouds can easily obstruct the gorgeous view at the top.***

Address: 20 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001

Price: Tickets are typically $45.73 per person. 

Hours: Open daily from 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm. 

How to Get There: Take the N, R, or W train to 34th street and Herald Square and walk to the Empire State Building from there. 

Best Things to do in Lower Manhattan Monuments and Museums

16. The Tenement Museum

The red brick exterior of New York City's awesome Tenement Museum.

The red brick exterior of New York City’s awesome Tenement Museum.

Why do I love the Tenement Museum oh so much? Welp, for a couple of really good reasons.

Not only is it an incredible museum that expertly recreates the terrible living conditions that immigrants were forced to endure at 97 Orchard Street in 1863, but it’s also just a kick-ass museum in general and easily one of the coolest museums in NYC.

Plus, it’s pretty underrated so it won’t be nearly as crowded as big-name museums like the MET, MOMA, and the Guggenheim.

It’s also kind of small so yeah, you really couldn’t fit that many people inside anyway. You also will have to take an organized tour of the museum if you want to visit. 

So, choose between a variety of different themed tours that will introduce you to the very cramped living conditions that residents endured.

Homes in which disease quickly spread and where people had limited access to nifty little things like plumbing and freshwater.

However, the really awesome thing about the Tenement Museum is that it doesn’t just present you with artifacts from the past.

Nope. Instead, it allows you to live out a unique period in history by putting you in the same exact situations that residents themselves faced. 

That’s why, if you’re a total history nerd like me, then mosey on over to their website and pre-book one of their awesome 90-minute tours (do this well in advance since tickets sell out quickly). 

You’ll also have a buttload (Yup, I really did just type that) of themed tours to choose from like under one roof, shop life, sweatshop workers, hard times,  building on the lower east side, Irish outsiders (They also have neat food of the Lower East Side tour for $45 per person), etc.

So what are you waiting for? Buy your tickets today and enjoy one of the top things to do in Lower Manhattan!

Address: Located at 97 and 103 Orchard Street on the Lower East Side.

Price: Tickets are between $27 and $29 per person.

Hours: Open every day from 10 am to 6:30 pm.

How to Get There: You can either take the F or the J to Delancey Street Station.

17. Visit the African Burial Ground National Monument

Established in February 2006, after local construction workers found more than 400 different coffins in the area, the African Burial Ground National Monument is one of those cool things to do in lower Manhattan that not a lot of people know about.

It’s also pretty easy to find since it sits on the corner of Duane Street and African Burial Ground Way and pays homage to all those African Americans who were buried inside one of the oldest (and largest) African cemeteries in the United States.

Dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, the people inside these caskets are now honored with a moving memorial site and an associated visitors center, complete with four different rooms that help educate the public about the 15,000 different people that were buried here. 

Also, just a little FYI. Because the visitor center actually sits inside a federal government building (they share a space with the IRS), you will need to go through a security checkpoint before stepping inside. 

It’s totally worth it though since this is easily one of the most unusual (and fascinating) things to do in New York City. 

Address: 290 Broadway, New York, NY 10007

Hours: Open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. 

Price: Free

How to Get There: Take the 1/2/3 train to Chambers Street or the 4/5/6 train to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall and walk to the memorial from there. 

18. The National Museum of the American Indian

The exterior of the National Museum of the American Indian which sits inside the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House.

The exterior of the National Museum of the American Indian which sits inside the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House.

Associated with the Smithsonian Museum of the same name in Washington DC, NYC’s version of the National Museum of the American Indian sits inside New York’s beautiful, beaux-arts style custom house from 1907.

It’s a truly one of a kind museum with a variety of different exhibits that celebrate all things Native American culture 

Also, be one the lookout for four massive female sculptures that sit just outside the building. They were created by artist Daniel Chester French at the start of the 20th century and represent (from left to right) the continents of Asia, North America, Europe, and Africa, 

Therefore, if you’re a history lover of even the smallest measure, then step inside the vast rotunda of this museum (with a ridiculous, 140-ton skylight on top) and enjoy a series of fascinating, modern galleries that host a series of rotating exhibits on Native American culture, art, lifestyles, and traditions.

What, still not convinced this place is beyond awesome and one of the top things to do in lower Manhattan?

Then check out their vast permanent collection, which showcases various Native American technologies in the imagiNATIONS Activity Center and details the diverse nature of Native American culture through a dizzying array of decorative arts, textiles and ceremonial objects that are on display here.

If you want, you can also watch various dance and musical performances that are routinely held here, in addition to sitting in on children’s book readings, craft seminars, film showings, educational workshops, and more.

Plus, if you have a bit of money to burn, then stop by the museum gift shop, which is overflowing with all sorts of Native American-inspired music, jewelry, crafts, apparel, etc.

Address: 1 Bowling Green, New York, NY 10004

Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and on Thursdays until 8:00 pm. 

Price: Free

How to Get There: Take the R/W train to Whitehall Street station or the 4/5/6 train to Bowling Green and walk to the museum from there. 

19. Ellis Island

Exterior View of historic Ellis Island Immigrant Museum

Exterior View of historic Ellis Island Immigrant Museum

Omg, no joke? I seriously ADORE Ellis Island and easily think it’s one of the absolute BEST things to do in lower manhattan. 

Because unlike the Statue of Liberty tour, a trip to Ellis Island (and its associated museum) is super fascinating and well worth your time.

And if it’s your first time in New York City, you could always get a pretty reasonably priced combination ticket to Ellis Island AND the Statue of Liberty (it’s only like $20 and a trip to both landmarks is included).

I would just plan to spend the majority of your time on Ellis Island since, well, it’s basically the single most famous immigrant entry point into the United States.

Seriously, when you imagine people immigrating into the United States, I DARE you not to think of Ellis Island.  

Although what you may not know is that only steerage class passengers (a grand total of 12 million of them between 1892 and 1924) actually entered the country through this iconic island.

So yeah, if you were high faluting, son of a gun, then Ellis Island was not for you.

Anyway, even though Ellis Island is no longer in active use, you can still take a ferry to the island and visit the three-level Immigration Museum that currently stands here.

It features a wealth of fascinating artifacts (think personal objects, photographs, and official documents) and intriguing narratives, from both historians and immigrants, that tell the incredible true story of these amazingly brave people.

Also, when you arrive (via the ferry to the Statue of Liberty) on the island, be sure to stop by the museum lobby and pick up a free audio guide since it will offer valuable commentary on everything that you’ll see here.

You know, super cool things like the Through America’s Gate exhibit (it explains the rigorous, step by step intake process that immigrants went through upon arrival), the Peak Immigration Years section (it looks at why people came to this country and what their life was like once they arrived), and the third floor, where you can find remnants from when the building fell into disrepair (think trashed chairs, desks, etc.). 

Just do yourself a favor and be sure to purchase a ticket BEFORE you visit, make sure you arrive.

Otherwise, you’ll either never get a ticket, or have to wait in line forever. A situation that is fun for exactly no one. 

Address: 17 Battery Place #210 

Hours: The museum is open daily from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm but check their website for any seasonal time changes.

How to Get There: Take the 4 or 5 train to Bowling Green and then walk to the ferry terminal in Battery Park. 

Price: Tickets are $19.25 for adults, $14 for seniors 62+, $9 for children between 4 and 12, and free for kids 3 and under.

20. The Whitney Museum of American Art

The panoramic views from atop the Whitey Museum of American Art.

The panoramic views from atop the Whitey Museum of American Art.

Nestled along New York City’s iconic Highline, the Whitney Museum of American Art recently opened in 2015 and is one of those fantastic things to do in lower Manhattan if you’re a big fan of art. 

Heck, even if you’re not all that into art, you should still visit since this massive, 63,000 square foot museum space is home to a diverse collection of 20th and 21st contemporary American art (this is what makes up the majority of the work on display) that everyone will love. 

I mean, no joke, this place is brimming over with exquisite pieces done by iconic artists like Edward Hopper, Alexander Calder, and Georgia O’Keefe, just to name a few.

What, still not convinced you should go? Then beeline it on up to the rooftop for some next-level, stunning panoramic views of the nearby Hudson River.

Or, simply stop by and admire one of the many rotating exhibits that the museum hosts on an almost monthly basis. 

And if you find yourself eternally broke like a joke (like this chick right here), then definitely visit on a Friday evening, between 7:00 pm and 9:30 pm, when you’re allowed to pay-what-you-wish for tickets (PSST…definitely book your tickets in advance to avoid long lines). 

However, not surprisingly, this offer is eternally popular among locals and toruists alike. So, if you want to avoid long lines and intense crowds, then try to visit on Thursday evenings between 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm, when the museum is very much, un-crowded. 

Yeah, I just made that word up and we’re totally just gonna go with it. 

Address: 99 Gansevoort St, New York, NY 10014

Hours: Open 11:30 am to 6:00 pm Mondays and Thursdays, 1:30 pm to 9:00 pm Fridays, and 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm Saturdays and Sundays (Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays). 

Price: Tickets are $25 for adults, $18 for students/seniors/disabled visitors, and free for anyone 18 and under. 

How to Get There: Take the A/C/E train from Times Square to 14th Street/8th Avenue and walk to the museum from there. 

21. The National September 11 Memorial and Museum

A beautiful blue watercolor mural that sits inside the museum and that honors all of the 9/11 victims.

A beautiful blue watercolor mural that sits inside the museum and that honors all of the 9/11 victims.

Umm, could you really have a list of the best things to do in Lower Manhattan without mentioning the World Trade Center Museum and Memorial?

And just in case you were wondering, the correct answer to that question is an emphatic no. 

Because if you only visit one attraction in lower Manhattan, let this be it.

Also, technically speaking, these are actually two sites in one. So, if you really don’t want to visit the National September 11th Museum, you could always just swing by the September 11th Memorial instead.

It’s free to visit and features the aptly named, “Reflecting Absence”, two enormous, black, reflective pools that sit exactly where the Twin Towers once stood.

Stand along the perimeter and you’ll see thirty feet of water cascade down into a central void that is framed by a series of bronze panels – pieces that have the names of the more than 3,000 victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks inscribed on them. 

Honestly, it’s a really moving tribute that still chokes me up every time I visit since I’m a local New Yorker who was there in the city on that fateful day. 

However, to get a full understanding of these tragic events, I highly recommend a visit to the September 11 Memorial Museum.

Yes, tickets are a little expensive, but they are totally worth it since the museum is extremely well-done (it actually houses what little remains of the original towers) and serves as a beautiful tribute to all those rescue personnel and innocent victims who died in those horrific attacks.

So, I dare you not to be moved (I definitely shed more than a few tears) as you make your way through a heartbreaking collection of artifacts, videos, and photos that tell the story of that terrible day in US history. 

You’ll start by walking in through the museum’s glass entranceway and pavilion, which is designed to look like a broken tower (Yeah, definitely missed the symbolism but I’m also an incredibly oblivious human).

Next, an escalator (you’ll see a series of 70-foot tall steel beams that once made up the base of the North tower along the way) will ascend into the museum’s basement level galleries, where you’ll see the Survivors Staircase (used by survivors to hide and flee the building), the Foundation Hall (there’s a WTC retaining wall here as well as a column encrusted with messages of hope, missing person posters, memorials to victims, etc.), a destroyed Engine Company 21 Fire Truck, and more.

There’s also a devastatingly sad portion of the museum called, “In Memoriam”, which is made up of a series of walls that are lined with the names and accompanying photos of everyone who died in the attacks.

And while they weren’t in operation during my visit, there are also various touch screens scattered throughout this part of the museum that you can use to learn more about each of the victims, including a reflective area where friends and relatives talk in greater detail about anyone who died in the attacks.

Additionally, there are various temporary exhibits scattered throughout the museum that routinely rotate in and out of the building, like a display I saw that paid tribute to all of the rescue dogs that were used to locate victims directly after the attacks. 

So, be sure to bring a hankie and definitely visit this museum ASAP (you must book your tickets online, in advance since the museum currently has mandatory timed admission to help protect visitors during the global pandemic).

Trust me on this.

I mean, I was definitely a bit nervous prior to my visit since I didn’t know if I could handle it or if the museum would adequately memorialize anyone who lost his or her life on that tragic day.

However, I am pleased to say that It’s a seriously amazing place that not only helps you better understand the events of that fateful day but that also beautifully and respectively honors anyone who died as a result of those horrific attacks. 

Address: 180 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10007

Hours: The 9/11 Memorial is currently open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm while the museum is open Thursday through Monday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.  

Price: Museum tickets are $26 for adults, $20 for young adults (13-17)/seniors (65+)/college students, and $18 for US veterans. Be sure to skip the line and book your tickets now!

How to Get there: Take the 1 to Rector Street, the 2/3 train to Park Place, or the 4/5 to Wall Street station and walk from there. 

22. Federal Hall

The Greek Revival Facade of New York City's Federal Hall.

The Greek Revival Facade of New York City’s Federal Hall.

Tucked away inside of NYC’s iconic Financial District, Federal Hall is pretty dang recognizable with its Greek Revival-style architecture. 

I mean really. Those columns look like something that was plucked right out of Athens. Although, I suppose the massive statue of good old George Washington right out front kind of gives this building away as a New York City icon. 

And, another fun little factoid for you. This structure actually served as NYC’s second City Hall but was later renamed Federal Hall after it was completed in 1788 by engineer Pierre L’Enfant. 

Believe it or not, no less than George Washington himself actually took his presidential oath of office on this very balcony in 1789.

However, the structure’s current design didn’t really come into being until 1812, after the original building was destroyed and replaced with the design you see today, an edifice that served as the home of the US Customs House until 1862.

Anyway, the real magic of this place only happens once you step inside and discover a pretty impressive museum all about post-colonial life in New York, as well as the stunning Washington Inaugural Gallery. 

So yeah, expect to learn all about things like George Washington’s inauguration, Alexander Hamilton’s relationship to NYC, and the various setbacks that John Peter Zenger faced as a printer in 1734 (he was basically arrested for exposing government corruption).

If you want, you can even take advantage of a nifty little visitor city where you can speak with a park ranger and find various city maps and brochures that are free for the taking. 

Free thirty-minute tours of the facility are also available daily at 10:00 am, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, and 3:00 pm respectively, making this a great way to expand your understanding of this building’s beautiful historical significance. 

Address: 26 Wall St, New York, NY 10005

Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. 

Price: Free!

How to Get There: Take either the 2/3 train or the 4/5/6 train to Wall Street station and walk to Federal Hall from here. 

23. The Museum of Jewish Heritage

 An aerial view of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan.

 An aerial view of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan.

Overlooking the beautiful Hudson in lower Manhattan is this awesome museum right here.

It’s equal parts fascinating and equal parts heartbreaking since many of the permanent and temporary exhibits here deal with sometimes difficult topics that relate to modern Jewish identity and culture.

Plus, interesting factoid for you. The building itself actually has size sides that are meant to represent the Star of David and the six million Jews who were killed during the Holocaust. 

That’s why you should expect to find a wealth of displays here that are brimming over with art pieces and fantastic information about Jewish religious traditions.

Additionally, the central area of the museum actually takes up a whopping three floors and contains three aptly named sections entitled, “Jewish Life a Century Ago”, “Jewish Renewal”, and “The War Against the Jews” – an examination of the tragedy of the Holocaust through a series of photographs, documentary films, survivor testimonies, and personal items.

Also be sure to visit the museum’s outdoor installation, “Garden of Stones”. It’s a beautiful narrow corridor that is lined with 18 large stones that appear to be holding up living trees.

Yeah, I’m not really doing a good job describing it because it’s infinitely more exquisite than it actually sounds. It also stands as a moving tribute to all those who lost their lives during the Holocaust and is well worth a visit. 

FYI, LOX in Café Bergson serves some pretty decent food like Lox (aka smoked salmon) in fascinating flavors like pastrami spice, gin, and grapefruit. So yeah, feel free to get your foodie swerve on while you’re here. 

Address: 36 Battery Pl, New York, NY 10280

Hours: Open Thursday, Sunday, and Wednesday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. The museum also closes for major Jewish holidays so check their website for more information. 

Price: Tickets are $16 for adults, $12 for seniors and the disabled, and $10 for students and veterans (Some special exhibitions may require an extra ticket since a ton of films, concerts, lectures, workshops, and special holiday events are held here throghout the year). 

How to Get There: Take the 4/5/6 to Bowling Green and walk to the museum from there. 

24. Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge

New York's iconic Brooklyn Bridge.

New York’s iconic Brooklyn Bridge.

Looking forward to walking the Brooklyn Bridge? Yeah, I don’t blame you. 

It was first built in 1869, the Brooklyn Bridge is a stunning suspension bridge that has quickly become an integral part of the NYC skyline.

It’s also open twenty-four hours a day and offers visitors stunning panoramic views of the surrounding area.

So, grab the 4/5/6 train to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall station, follow the signs, and make the iconic walk from Manhattan into Brooklyn.

And once in Brooklyn, definitely check out the DUMBO (down under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) area and experience all of the amazing things to do there. 

Cough…go early…cough…there will be tons of people…cough this is easily one of the most touristy things to do in Lower Manhattan. Yup, you have been warned. 

Other Cool Things to do in Lower Manhattan

An aerial view of Lower Manhattan.

An aerial view of Lower Manhattan.

  • Visit St. Paul’s Chapel – Sitting just across the street from the 9/11 Memorial and Museum is this tiny little chapel. Funnily enough, it actually survived the fall of the Twin Towers and contains a beautiful tribute to all of the rescue personnel who came here to help the victims.  
  • Explore South Street Seaport – Home to two blocks of cobblestone streets, South Street Seaport is the perfect place to go for exquisite views of the East River, Brooklyn Promenade, and Brooklyn Bridge. There are also a ton of different restaurants, museums, shops, bars, and historic ships here that are just waiting to be explored. 
  • Visit Wall Street – Wall Street is easily one of the most famous streets in all of New York City. And that makes sense since it is home to the New York Stock Exchange. So, take a look and visit one of the most iconic financial centers in the world. 
  • Woolworth Building – This is a stunning, neo-gothic style skyscraper that sits in lower Manhattan. If you want, you can get an up-close and personal look at this building when you take a tour of the facility (they’re actually really good and well worth your time) and learn all about the structure’s unique history. 
  • Skyscraper Museum – As you might have already guessed, this museum details the evolution and history of the skyscraper through a series of well-done displays and miniature replicas. It’s also pretty cheap since tickets cost a reasonable $5 per adult.
  • Visit the abandoned City Hall Subway Station – Honestly, it’s a really beautiful abandoned subway station that was actually the first of its kind in New York City.  It was also open from 1904 to 1945, and can actually be visited as part of a formal tour with the Transit Museum. You can also learn how to visit for free by reading this article right here.  
  • Take a Free Tour of the Federal Reserve Bank – Yeah, I’m not really all that into banking and finance. That’s why a tour like this really isn’t my thing. But, it’s totally free and will introduce you to one of twelve banks in the Federal Reserve System that stockpile gold in the good old US of A.
  • Canyon of Heroes – A section of Broadway that runs from City Hall to Battery Park. Yeah, this is basically where NYC’s famous ticker-tape parades were born.  And if you look down,you’ll see granite strips on the sidewalk that bare the names of various historical figures. 
  • Castle Clinton – Located in Battery Park, this is where you can go to get tickets for Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. It’s also an attraction in its own right since it is a round fort that was actually built to protect NYC during the war of 1812. However, it was never used and is now a small outdoor museum where you can see replica cannons and an exhibit room filled with documents, maps, photographs, and more. 
  • Visitors Center at the Municipal Archives – Although not a typical tourist hotspot, this museum is free to visit and filled with a wealth of artifacts that chronicle the history of New York. The building itself is also beautiful to behold since it features lovely, Beaux-Arts style architecture. 
  • Fraunces Tavern Museum – Although it’s small, this is actually the only museum in Manhattan that is completely dedicated to Revolutionary War history. It’s also the place where George Washinton said a fond farewell to all of his military officers at the end of the war in 1783. And yes, just in case you were wondering, this is still a fully functional tavern where you can relax and enjoy a bit of pub grub. 

Where to Eat in Lower Manhattan

Although I do mention a ton of great places to eat in lower Manhattan throughout this article, I wanted to give you a nice little list so that you know exactly where to eat while in this part of the city. 

Also, FYI, this list is in no way exhaustive since I could 100% write an entire article about some of the best places to eat in lower Manhattan. 

And who knows, I just might do that. 

  • Dominique Ansel Bakery – Home to the now infamous cronut (half donut, half croissant), this amazing  SOHO bakery serves up delicious baked goods of every variety and actually creates a different and unique flavor of cronut every single month. So swing by and try one of everything today. And just in case you were wondering, yes, cronuts (aka flakey carb bombs of delight) really do live up to all the hype. 
  • Artichoke Basille – This place serves amazing pizza and is home to the iconic artichoke slice. It’s basically like spinach artichoke dip on top of a slice of pizza and is SOO good. Only get one though since their slices are MASSIVE and exceptionally filling.
  • Chelsea Market – See below. I talk about Chelsea Market in greater detail in this article.
  • Eataly – Half grocery store half amazing authentic Italian restaurant, Eataly is a food market founded by Mario Batali that has anything and everything you might want, including fresh pasta, espresso, gelato, pizza, and more. So whether you want to grab something to go or are craving a nice sit-down dinner, this is the place for you. No really, it’s insanely good. I beeline it here every time I’m in lower Manhattan. 
  • Mamoun’s Falafel – This place is super informal and serves up some of the best falafel in the entire city. So, if you get the late-night munchies, THIS is the place to be. 
  • Katz’s Delicatessen – This New York institution is located on the Lower East Side and serves up some iconic, insanely huge, pastrami and corned beef sandwiches. 
  • Beer Garden at the Standard Hotel – Open all year round (it’s enclosed in glass throughout the winter), this is a traditional German-style beer hall that is the perfect place to go after walking along the Highline (think beer, bratwurst, sausages, pretzels, and more). 
  • Chinatown – The food is cheap and next-level delicious in this part of New York City. So, if you want beyond delicious Chinese food, bring cash and check out Green Garden Village (try the beef Chow Fun), Yi Ji Shi Mo, Harper’s Bread House (great Cantonese style bakery with delicious egg tarts), Friendship BBQ, Wah Fung Fast Food (cash only and get the roasted pork over rice), etc. 
  • Little Italy – AVOID it like the plague. I mean, it’s a nice area to walk around and take in all of the amazing street art, but that’s about it. That being said though, Lombardi’s does serve some pretty good pizza. However, most of the eateries here are just insanely expensive and really not that good. So, if you really want delicious Italian food, then try going to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx instead. 

Where to Stay in Lower Manhattan

The modern, ground-floor coffee and lounge area of the Selina Chelsea Hotel.

The modern, ground-floor coffee and lounge area of the Selina Chelsea Hotel.

There are a ton of amazing hotels in Lower Manhattan. And although I did mention several epic accommodations at the start of this article (just beneath the intro), here are two more that I absolutely love. 

They’re well-appointed, offer a ton of great amenities, feature stellar customer service, are reasonably priced, and are centrally located so that you can quickly and easily see all of the amazing things mentioned in this article. 

And they are, drum roll please, the following:

Club Quarters Hotel at the World Trade Center (mid-range) – Located right down the street from the World Trade Center, well-appointed rooms at this modern 4-star hotel start at just $100 per night. They’re also exceptionally spacious (at least for New York) and include free WIFI, Keruig coffee making facilities, flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, comfy beds, expansive desks, marble bathrooms with premium toiletries, and more. There are also nightly wine hours held here, as well as free snacks and drinks available in the communal lounge area. There’s even a Morton’s steakhouse on-site, in addition to a gym, meeting rooms, and a 20th-floor restaurant/terrace with exceptional views through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Selina Chelsea (mid-range) – Tucked away in the ever-trendy Chelsea neighborhood, this gorgeous, well-located, uber-modern hotel has rooms that start at just $90 per night. Step inside the well-decorated, communal ground-level lounge for check-in and grab a complimentary cup of coffee while using the incredibly fast, free WIFI. Once the hotel’s friendly staff members have confirmed your reservation, grab an elevator to your room. Open the door with an easy-to-use touch keycard and enjoy a flat-screen TV, a modern-style bed, free toiletries, a spacious work desk, and a luxurious modern bathroom with stainless steel fixtures and stunning marble walls. The perfect place to relax and rejuvenate when you’re not walking along the Highline or exploring nearby Chelsea Market. 

And there you have it dear readers who are infinitely cooler than me!

Because that’s all she wrote when it comes to this insanely long post on the 24+ best things to do in lower Manhattan!

But, if you found this post even a little bit helpful, then definitely pin this now so that you can read it again later!

Come on…you know you want to!