Things To Do in Alphabet City NYC

The Ultimate Guide for Alphabet City in Lower Manhattan

The Alphabet City neighborhood gets its name from its location in Downtown Manhattan: it begins south with 1st Street and is bounded by 1st Avenue to the west. As a result, all street names have only letters in their names.

I like Alphabet City, which is located between the East Village and the East River. It is a residential area with many bars and smaller restaurants and therefore offers you a glimpse of “normal” New York.

There are no big and famous sights here, but you can go out and have a good time in Alphabet City. Which bars and restaurants in Alphabet City should be on your itinerary for New York City, I show you here in my best list. Have fun!

By the way: you’ll find many more New York City spots in our Loving New York travel guides.

My TOP 5 Things To Do in Alphabet City NYC

  • Relax in Tompkins Square Park
  • Enjoy the view of the Williamsburg Bridge from John V. Lindsay East River Park
  • Visit the Karma Gallery for Contemporary Art
  • Eat the best fried chicken in NYC at the Bobwhite Counter
  • Talk a walk along the East River Promenade

Is Alphabet City NYC dangerous?

No – once upon a time there were drug problems here around Tompkins Square Park, but now it’s more like the adjacent East Village.

Where is Alphabet City located?

Alphabet City is located at the eastern part of Downtown Manhattan directly on the East River River.

Alphabet city nyc Map

How to Get to Alphabet City

  • Subway: You can take the L train to 1 Av, or the F train to 2nd Ave.
  • Hop on Hop Off Bus: Stop 7 of the downtown loop of BIG BUS or stop 14 of the downtown loop of Gray Line Sightseeing. Here you find more about Hop on Hop off in NYC.
    My tip: the tickets for the buses are included in many of the New York City passes – which one is the best for you, you can see in my Pass Comparison for New York!
  • By boat: Take the NYC Ferry, which arrives and departs from Stuyvesant Cove.

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The 7 Best Things To Do in Alphabet City NYC

Here are some more things that you can explore in Alphabet City if you have more time.

  1. 01

    Visit the Tompkins Square Park Greenmarket

    Park in Alphabet City
    180927123616017_Tompkins_Square_park_Alphabet_City_East_Village
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    Tompkins Square Park is the little green heart of Alphabet City, where you can relax. Concerts take place here from time to time – I find it most authentic on Sundays, when the weekly market (“Tompkins Square Park Greenmarket”) is held.

  2. 02

    East Village Haunted Manhattan Walking Tour

    Walking Tour in Alphabet City
    Best_Haunted_Walking_Tour_NYC_East_Village_Haunted_Manhattan_Walking_Tour
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    On this haunted walking tour you’ll explore one of the oldest neighborhoods in Manhattan: the East Village (and Alphabet City). And at night! There are 13 haunted locations on the list – from historic pubs to the Public Theater to a subway stop known for its “ghost train”.

  3. 03

    Get the best fried chicken in town!

    American Restaurant in Alphabet City
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    Bobwhite counter is known for their fried chicken, which is particularly juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. The Coleslaw is sensational and the chicken is served with a homemade spicy BBQ sauce and honey. The menu is small and manageable, but if you’re hungry for good Southern fried chicken, there’s no way around it.

  4. 04

    Stroll along the East River Promenade

    Park in Lower East Side
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    The park offers a great view of the Williamsburg Bridge!

  5. 05

    Enjoy a mezcal based cocktail in The Cabernet

    Bar in Alphabet City
    Bar_Alphabet_City_NYC_The_Cabinet_John_Shyloski_210825081209002
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    I love the bar “The Cabernet”: it is super-stylish, the cocktails are super-tasty and the team is always friendly. You’re guaranteed to feel right at home here. They have focused on the “big brother” of tequila: mezcal. I like it a lot and if you feel the same way, you should definitely visit The Cabernet! 

  6. 06

    Pineapple Club: sip on a tropical cocktail!

    American Restaurant in Alphabet City
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    The Pineapple Club in Alphabet City is one of the hottest restaurants in the neighborhood and is always worth a visit! As the name suggests, both the dishes and the drinks have a tropical twist. The Piña Chili Margarita and the Mezcal Ginger Margarita are super-tasty – and the Avocado Fries and the Grilled Octopus were also insane!

    And the best part? Monday through Thursday from 5 pm – 7 pm is happy hour!

  7. 07

    Head over to Katz's Delicatessen for a pastrami sandwich

    American Restaurant in Lower East Side
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    An absolute institution in New York is the Katz’s Delicatessen Restaurant in Manhattan, founded in 1888. Cineastes will immediately think of the film scene with Sally’s fake orgasm during “Harry and Sally”. And what should we say? Those were really the best sandwiches (we tested corner beef and pastrami) we ever had.

Best Guided Tours in Alphabet City

There are no special walking tours just for this neighborhood. Instead, there is a huge selection of walking tours in the adjacent East Village and Lower East Side, which is very similar to Alphabet City.

These are the most popular walking tours that we can recommend to you:

  1. A_Slice_of_Brooklyn_Pizza_Tour

    01 A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour

    The A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour is a combination of sightseeing tour, bus and walking tour. It starts not far from Union Square Park in Manhattan: with your New York guide you drive to Brooklyn to get to know one of the most important neighborhoods like  Sunset Park, DUMBO, Bay Ridge and also Coney Island. 

    On this sightseeing tour you will learn where movies like Goodfellas, Once Upon in America or Annie Hall were filmed and you will stop at two of the best pizzerias in Brooklyn. Because pizza and New York simply belong together!

  2. Best_Walking_Tour_NYC_NYC_Lower_East_Side_Walking_and_Food_Tour

    02 NYC Lower East Side Walking and Food Tour

    The Lower East Side is still an absolute insider tip among the neighborhoods of New York City and a part of Lower Manhattan that I love to visit. There are countless authentic bars and delis, some of which have been family-owned for more than 100 years and are thus an important part of the community.  

    The NYC Lower East Side Walking and Food Tour deals exactly with these small spots and stores and is therefore a TOP Thing to do for foodies!

  3. Best_Haunted_Walking_Tour_NYC_East_Village_Haunted_Manhattan_Walking_Tour

    03 East Village Haunted Manhattan Walking Tour

    On this haunted walking tour you’ll explore one of the oldest neighborhoods in Manhattan: the East Village (and Alphabet City). And at night! There are 13 haunted locations on the list – from historic pubs to the Public Theater to a subway stop known for its “ghost train”.

If guided tours interest you, be sure to check out the Best Walking Tours NYC!

Best Restaurants in Alphabet City NYC

  1. Bobwhite_Counter_New_York_01

    01 Bobwhite Lunch and Supper Counter

    Bobwhite counters are known for their fried chicken, which is particularly juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. The Coleslaw is sensational and the chicken is served with a homemade spicy BBQ sauce and honey. The menu is small and manageable, but if you’re hungry for good Southern fried chicken, there’s no way around it.

  2. 02 El Camión Cantina

    There’s nothing like homemade corn tortillas, and classically trained chef Juan Escobedo makes the best in The East Village. El Camión Cantina uses only locally sourced, fresh ingredients, making it one of the best taco places in NYC. Their tacos include non-traditional flavors, such as the beer-battered shrimp tacos with guacamole, cucumber relish, and cured onion, but all of the creations come out perfectly. The beef tacos with shredded beef, guacamole, and fried onions are another popular choice for tacos. Don’t forget to end your night with a crispy and sweet Mexican fried ice cream. 

  3. 03 Pineapple Club

    The Pineapple Club in Alphabet City is one of the hottest restaurants in the neighborhood and is always worth a visit! As the name suggests, both the dishes and the drinks have a tropical twist. The Piña Chili Margarita and the Mezcal Ginger Margarita are super-tasty – and the Avocado Fries and the Grilled Octopus were also insane!

    And the best part? Monday through Thursday from 5 pm – 7 pm is happy hour!

  4. raclette_restaurant_new_york_190731092205001

    04 Raclette

    Raclette is not a normal restaurant. Here you get everything with melted cheese – directly from the cheese wheel! Located in the heart of Alphabet City, the restaurant is just one block from the East Village.

Looking for more recommendations? We’ve got you covered! Here you find the Best Restaurants in Alphabet City NYC.

Best Bars in Alphabet City NYC

And these are my personal recommendations when it comes to bars in Alphabet City – you will love it!

  1. Bar

    01 The Summit Bar & Cafe

    Summit Bar is, in my opinion, the best cocktail bar in Alphabet City NYC. You can sit both indoors and outdoors and enjoy top notch cocktails. They are known for their oysters, which are generally not my taste. The menu is small but nice and I highly recommend the Buffalo Chicken Sider!

    The cocktails are $7 – so the travel fund is happy! In addition, there are six different white and red wines – so there is something for everyone!

  2. Bar_Alphabet_City_NYC_The_Cabinet_John_Shyloski_210825081209002

    02 The Cabernet

    I love the bar “The Cabernet”: it is super-stylish, the cocktails are super-tasty and the team is always friendly. You’re guaranteed to feel right at home here. They have focused on the “big brother” of tequila: mezcal. I like it a lot and if you feel the same way, you should definitely visit The Cabernet! 

Looking for more recommendations? We’ve got you covered! Here you find the Best Bars in Alphabet City NYC.

Hotels in Alphabet City

There are no hotels in Alphabet City that I can recommend – but you have a great choice in the adjacent East Village:

  1. Moxy_NYC_East_Village_Hotel_New_York_Booking

    01 Moxy NYC East Village

    4 Stars | Such a stylish hotel! The Moxy NYC in the East Village is the sister hotel of the Moxy Chelsea NYC and is a boutique hotel at its best. The interior is a blast, the people super nice and the location top-notch. Can highly recommend!

  2. East_Village_Hotel_New_York_Booking

    02 East Village Hotel

    3 Stars | The spacious studios at the East Village Hotel are equipped with a kitchenette, dishwasher and cooker. So it’s great if you are on a budget and don’t want to constantly eat out. Astor Place underground station is a ten-minute walk from the hotel.

  3. The_Bowery_Hotel__East_Village_New_York_Booking

    03 The Bowery Hotel 

    5 Stars | This luxurious boutique hotel offers first-class service and great views of the city from the cozy rooms. If you want to explore New York by bike, you can rent one for free at the hotel. 

  4. Standard_East_Village_180927123616005_1600x960_1

    04 The Standard East Village

    4 Stars | The Standard East Village is the sister hotel of The Standard High Line and is equally stylish and clean. The location in the East Village is perfect for those who appreciate the food scene. What sets The Standard in the East Village apart is the beautiful design and clean decor. I’m a very big fan of that – and the view from your hotel room is unmatched!

    Unlike many other hotels in this star category, the rooms are relatively spacious, and you can admire the city wonderfully through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Only one thing bugged me a bit: the closets are too small.

Recommended article: The Best Hotels in Alphabet City NYC and the Best East Village NYC Hotels.

Neighborhoods Nearby

Alphabet City is right next to some of the most popular neighborhoods and definitely worth a visit.

Neighborhoods that are Similar

If you enjoyed Alphabet City, then here are neighborhoods that have a similar feel:

About the author
Steffen

I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 20 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!

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