Each little neighborhood in New York City might as well be its own country. Cross over one street and you’re bound to find yourself surrounded by different cuisines, a host of new shops, and a whole new set of characters buzzing around. Stretching from Allen Street all the way to the East River, with Houston Street as its northern border, NYC’s Lower East Side is certainly one of the most fun and eclectic neighborhoods in all of New York.
No longer as wonderfully gritty as it once was, the Lower East Side still boasts great graffiti art, indie shops, artists from a mix of genres, and plenty of hipsters. Yes, gentrification has already taken the neighborhood by storm, but its true character remains. Below, we’ve compiled a list of fun ideas for what you should do once you’re there.
The Sago Hotel
Open since February 2016, the 20-room Sago Hotel serves as a great home-base and reprieve from the business outside. Minimalist designs and simple decor help you unwind from the chaos of the city. The boutique hotel offers both queen and king rooms, each with a kitchenette and comfortable window seat that can adjust into a daybed. The upper floors house the larger suites, with the most impressive being the penthouse, of course. The 2-story space offers accommodations for 4, a living room, kitchenette, 2 bathrooms, and killer patio on which to enjoy wine and city sunsets.
Explore The Street Art
From graffiti to whatever ↓ is, each new block has something to cool and funky see. We could spend hours just wandering and snapping pictures of all the artsy scenes.
Pick Up Posies at Flower Girl
Maybe you’ve read about this cozy, LES flower shop in the pages of Vogue or Glamour – it’s constantly being raved about for its beautiful blooms and thoughtfully designed arrangements. Snag a pre-made posie or have them hand-tie a personalize bouquet.
Catch A Concert At Rockwood Music Hall
The small and intimate venue hosts a lot of great local talent and sometimes even a big name, like Mumford & Sons. The music here runs the whole spectrum from jazz & blues to pop & rock. You can always find a good crowd and great artist. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a concert for free on the occasional week night.
Soak In A Killer Sunset At Mr. Purple
Set atop the Indigo Hotel, Mr. Purple is a new rooftop cocktail bar and offers some pretty gorgeous city views. Grab a drink and watch the sun melt into the Hudson while the sky explodes with color.
Order Mexican And Chinese At The Same Restaurant
Yep, you read that right. The funky East side eatery, Missions Cantina, serves an awesome mix of Mexican and Chinese. Order General Tso’s Chicken and the Fish Tacos and then wash it all down with a refreshing margarita.
Enjoy Appetizing at Russ and Daughters
One of the last true ‘appetizing’ shops in the city, Russ and Daughters has been serving up authentic Jewish foods for over 100 years. Pop in to pick up smoked fish and caviar or head to their new Café across the street for a proper sit-down, bagel-and-lox breakfast.
Pony Up to a Window Seat at Pizza Beach
This bright and cheery pizza joint is a favorite for a good pie and some throw back tunes. Pro tip: order the Pineapple & Speck ‘za and a bottle of rosé!
Try Your Damnedest To Get A Table At Barrio Chino
The tiny, chill Mexican joint can be a bit of a wait sometimes, but only cause it’s that good. Put your name down with the hostess and head two doors down for a drink at Ten Bells, and you’re table will be ready before you know it. It’s a walk-in only spot, but you can reserve the chefs table for a party of 8 or more. Go on and gather your group together, because it’s a guaranteed good time.
Get Coffee + A Sweet-Tooth Fix at Doughnut Plant
Yeast, cake, and filled doughnuts – OH MY! They’re all delicious – you seriously can’t go wrong – so the only advice we can offer is to order a few and share with friends!
Katz’s Delicatessen has been operating in the LES since 1888 and a few bites into your hot pastrami sandwich and you’ll know why. Sure, the servers are brash and the lines are long, but a meal here gives you a glimpse into the real New York and leaves you with a full belly.
Get A Boozy Coconut
We ♥♥♥ the coconut cocktail at Lucky Bee. Served an the shell with a fun umbrella, it’s refreshingly delicious. The chicken wings, dumplings, buns, and curries are out of the world good and the space is fun with bright and funky decor.
Eat Old-School French Food With A Modern Twist
Dirty French is reason enough to spend 20 minutes in a cab getting across town. The first thing you’ll notice are the heavy hot pink velvet curtains and the magenta accents dotting an otherwise proper looking room. That’s a clue that this isn’t your average, stuffy French place. The menu offers mouth-watering classics like Duck A l’Orange, and the wine list is long and lovely.
Wait An Hour (or more!) For Breakfast
Clinton Street Baking Co. taught us a big lesson about patience. Even on weekday mornings, the line can wrap around the block. However, there’s a reason for such madness. The blueberry pancakes are so heavenly, the egg dishes are on point, and the coffee has a bold and flavorful kick.
That’s all we’ve got for you, now go enjoy your visit to the Lower East Side!
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