Explore New York City

New York City Guide: Highlighting the Lower East Side

What to do and where to dine in the Lower East Side.

The Lower East Side was originally a working class immigrant neighborhood that underwent gentrification in the mid-2000s. The resulting diversity of ethnic shops, restaurants, and residents makes for a fun mix of old-school Jewish delis and chinese takeout shops, as well as funky modern boutiques and bakeries. Check out some of the highlights of the area in our list below!

Eat

The service at Katz's deli is notoriously grumpy, probably because so many people reenact that scene from “When Harry Met Sally.” For all-day diner classics, hoof it to Clinton Street Baking Company where baked goods are made on site daily (the bakeri is also known for hand-crafted Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory milkshakes). You can't go wrong with any of the smoked fish bagel sandwiches at the iconic Russ & Daughters. Get your Taco Tuesday fix any day of the week at La Contenta.

Katz's Delicatessen on the Lower East Side New York City (Will Steacy/NYC & Company) | WhereTraveler
Katz's Delicatessen on the Lower East Side (©Will Steacy/NYC & Company)

Drink

Whether you want to day drink or get your buzz on before a show, there is a bar for every occasion. Attaboy's cocktail bar is housed in an industrial space with a surprise outdoor patio (and it's heated in the winter). Les Enfants de Boheme is a full service café, but head straight to the bar for French wines and seasonal cocktails in this cozy cash-only bar run by creatives. Head to Sour Mouse for a fun time with friends. Local 138 is a divey and chill spot to get your buzz on before or after seeing some live music at a nearby venue. 

A Friendly Toast | WhereTraveler
A Friendly Toast (©Drew Beamer)

Shop

If you're looking for a great, unique gift for yourself or someone else, you're in the right area. AuH20 (Goldwater, after owner Kate Goldewater, get it?) specializes in a curated selection of secondhand, vintage, and upcycled clothing. Browse Toy Tokyo for toys from the worlds of anime, kawaii, and superheroes. Collectors will love their massive area of Funko pop figurines and vintage toys. Exit9 Gift Emporium is host to fantastic gifts, unique items and stationary.

Stationary and Gifts | WhereTraveler
Stationary and Gifts (©Anastasia Anastasia)

Play

There’s a wide variety of activities in the Lower East Side and many come with a fantastic view. Explore the art of Vincent Van Gogh at “Immersive Van Gogh.” Take a walk across the Manhattan Bridge Pedestrian Path, a ride on the Pier 35 Porch Swings or set sail on the Clipper City Tall Ship for Instagrammable views.