The 13 Best Things to Do in Chinatown NYC

The ultimate guide on things to do and see in Chinatown NYC

This is definitely one of the places you don’t want to miss visiting when you are in NYC. There are not only many things to do in Chinatown NYC, the history and unique character of this Manhattan neighborhood speak for themselves. You will find some amazing food, interesting street vendors, and some great photo opportunities. 

With its small streets and dense immigrant population, Chinatown NYC is the place to go if you are looking for some unusual shops, culinary delights or culture. There are many things to do in Chinatown NYC, many of which are free of charge. Definitely make sure you take an afternoon to stroll through the busy streets and let the impressions sink in.

Chinatown is easily one of the most interesting places in NYC – A must-see!

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 Chinatown NYC

  • Temple Mahayana: This is the oldest Chinese temple on the east coast of the united states. (Address: 133 Canal St, Subway J Z to Canal St)
  • Columbus Park: Columbus Park is the biggest park in Chinatown and is a great place to have a seat and watch life unfold around you. (Address: 67 Mulberry St, Subway J Z to Canal St)
  • Museum of Chinese in America (MoCa): The Museum of Chinese in America is the place to go if you want to learn more about the Chinese culture and Chinese history in NYC. (Address: 215 Center St, Subway 4 6 to Canal St)
  • Super Taste:  The amazing food is reason alone to visit but with the amazing prices on offer, this is a no-brainer to get a quick and delicious bite to eat on your way through Chinatown. (Address: 26 Eldridge St, Subway F to E Broadway)
  • Chinatown Ice Cream Factory: The family-run Chinatown Ice Cream Factory has some of the best ice cream in the whole of NYC.  From adventurous flavors like Thai Iced Tea, Zen Butter, and Taro to more conventional yet equally delicious flavors like Coconut and Cherry Vanilla, everyone will find something here for their particular taste. This is a must-visit! (Address: 65 Bayard St, Subway J Z to Canal St)

Where is Chinatown located?

Chinatown is located in the heart of Downtown Manhattan. It is a city within the city with its own unique charm and character. It is surrounded by Little Italy and the Lower East Side and should definitely be on your itinerary for NYC!

Things To Do in Chinatown NYC Map

How to Get to Chinatown NYC

  • Subway: The 6 N W R Q J or Z takes you to Canal Street. You can also take the A C or E line, which also stops on Canal Street (6th Avenue). The B D line takes you to Grand St. Station.
  • Hop on Hop Off Bus: Stop 9 of the downtown loop of BIG BUS or stop 9 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!

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The 13 Best Things to Do in Chinatown NYC

From food locations, souvenir shops to museums, Chinatown NYC is a neighborhood you need to check out. Here are some spots that you should check out while you’re in Chinatown NYC:

  1. 01

    Doyers Street (The Bloody Angle)

    Other Attraction in Chinatown
    Things_To_Do_In_Chinatown_1_171026124757005
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    One of the things to do in Chinatown NYC is to visit Doyers Street or “The Bloody Angle”. This particular street has a lot of rich and dark history. This area is the location of New York City’s first Chinese language theater. On top of that, this street used to be one of America’s deadliest areas because of numerous shootings between organized gang members. Today, there’s a bunch of restaurants and is a very photogenic street.

  2. 02

    Soho, Little Italy & Chinatown Walking Tour

    Walking Tour in Hudson Square
    Our Highlight
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    Now known for their many excellent restaurants, shops and tourism, Manhattan’s SoHo, Little Italy and Chinatown neighborhoods offer the most varied stories of New York City. Take a 2-hour tour with a local guide and discover hidden gems and 19th century buildings.

  3. 03

    Enjoy the breathtaking views from The Crown Rooftop Bar

    Rooftop Bar in Chinatown
    210601162421002_The_Crown_Rooftop_Bar_Chinatown_New_York
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    The Crown Rooftop Bar in Chinatown is one of my newest highlights of the city and made it directly into our list of the best rooftop bars in New York. It offers probably the most beautiful view of Manhattan AND Brooklyn.

  4. 04

    Columbus Park

    Park in Chinatown
    210813120120002_Chinatown_NYC
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    Columbus Park is the biggest park in Chinatown and is a great place to have a seat and watch life unfold around you. You will see that many of the locals meet here to do everything from play chess and exercise to just sitting down reading a book. It is a well known social hangout in the city and is a great place to sit down and have some of the street food you picked up in the nearby streets. 

    In the morning you will see people doing Tai Chi to fuel up for the day. In the afternoon there are mainly fortunetellers and people who play cards. During the warmer months, Columbus Park becomes a popular place to escape the tumultuous Chinatown.

  5. 05

    Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

    Ice Cream in Chinatown
    ice_cream_190715111714002
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    One of our favorite things to do in Chinatown NYC is grabbing an ice cream from here and stroll through the busy streets. With amazing flavors and many unique ones at that, this is a must-try. The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory offers some of the most unique ice cream flavors in New York City!

  6. 06

    Visit the Canal Street Market

    Food Market in Chinatown
    Food Market
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    The Canal Street Market is a great street market with many food vendors (including Korean cooking & sweets) and a small dining area. You will also find many other stalls here selling souvenirs and art which in combination with the food stalls makes this place very unique and worth visiting.

  7. 07

    Super Taste

    Asian Restaurant in Chinatown
    Our Highlight
    super_taste_nyc_180411093222005
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    Here it can quickly get crowded, the shop is really super small. Super Taste is probably the best place to visit in Chinatown NYC if you are looking for some authentic and great quality noodles. The amazing food is reason alone to visit but with the amazing prices on offer, this is a no-brainer to get a quick and delicious bite to eat on your way through Chinatown.

    Make sure to try the pork belly bao – one of our favorites!

  8. 08

    Nom Was Tea Parlor: Experience Chinatown of the 1920's

    Asian Restaurant in Chinatown
    Nom_Wah_Tea_Parlor_NYC_180304192127010
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    This vintage dim sum parlor dates back to the 1920s and is a great place to stop and grab a bite to eat. With an extensive menu that includes tea beer and wine, it is one of the local favorites to grab some authentic Chinese food. We recommend making a reservation online as it can get busy here during lunch and dinner. Make sure to try the house special roast pork buns – delicious!

  9. 09

    Walking Through Chinatown

    Districts in Chinatown
    Chinatown_180808120041001_1600x960
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    When walking around Chinatown there is never a dull moment. There are always things to do in Chinatown NYC. It can get confusing when getting around. The streets are not numbered like the rest of Manhattan and there are some roads that aren’t in a grid. Also, always be aware of your surroundings as Chinatown can get really busy and really crowded fast. When you walk around, make sure to check out the different restaurants and markets. The food here is absolutely amazing.

  10. 10

    Chinese New Year Parade

    Other Events in Chinatown
    Chinese_New_Year_Parade_NYC_190206114455003
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    Usually, locals and tourists alike will (obviously) flock to New York City’s Chinatown to celebrate the Lunar New Year. A huge Chinese New Year Parade takes place there every year. The official name of the event is called the Lunar New Year and Festival.

    The parade will down Mott and Canal Street. It will then make its way down East Broadway and head towards Manhattan Bridge, and it will ultimately end at Sara D. Roosevelt Park. During the parade, there will also be smaller activities going on in Chinatown NYC. It will have all sorts of street vendors and festivities.

  11. 11

    Mission Chinese Food NYC

    Asian Restaurant in Chinatown
    Mission_Chinese_Food_in_NYC_190111104951002
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    Mission Chinese Food in NYC is a trendy and hip restaurant in Chinatown, Manhattan. The restaurant is heavily influenced on Sichuanese style cuisine and is geared towards millennials. This place with its electric funk atmosphere and dim lights is the place to be if you are looking for a cool evening hangout with amazing food. Be sure to try their Mapo Tofu!

  12. 12

    Photo from Manhattan Bridge

    Other Attraction in Two Bridges
    210813120120001_Chinatown_NYC
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    A very famous photo motif of Chinatown with the One World Trade Center in the background can be taken from the Manhattan Bridge. The view is unique – especially at sunrise!

  13. 13

    Apotheke: Discover one of the best speakeasy bars in NYC

    Bar in Chinatown
    Bar
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    If you know, you know. Apotheke in Chinatown is one of those speakeasy types of bars that are still super trendy to go to. It still maintains the classic look and almost speakeasy vibe from back in the days.

Attractions in Chinatown

Many of New York’s major New York attractions like the 9/11 Memorial & Museum or the One World Observatory are located in Lower Manhattan and are therefore easily reachable from Chinatown. But Chinatown also has some unique attractions to offer – namely these:

  1. 210813120120002_Chinatown_NYC

    01 Columbus Park

    Columbus Park is the biggest park in Chinatown and is a great place to have a seat and watch life unfold around you. You will see that many of the locals meet here to do everything from play chess and exercise to just sitting down reading a book. It is a well known social hangout in the city and is a great place to sit down and have some of the street food you picked up in the nearby streets. 

    In the morning you will see people doing Tai Chi to fuel up for the day. In the afternoon there are mainly fortunetellers and people who play cards. During the warmer months, Columbus Park becomes a popular place to escape the tumultuous Chinatown.

  2. Mahayana_Temple_things_to_do_in_chinatown_nyc_180201091539003

    02 Mahayana Temple

    This is the oldest Chinese temple on the east coast of the united states. It is a beautiful expression of Chinese culture and architecture and is open to the public year-round. On the weekends you will also find Buddhist services taking place here often completely in Mandarin. Bring a dollar for a fortune!

  3. Museum_170423115755026-1

    03 Museum of Chinese in America (MoCA)

    The Museum of Chinese in America is the place to go if you want to learn more about the Chinese culture and Chinese history in NYC. The main and permanent exhibition With a Single Step: Stories in the Making of America is a great place to find out more about the last 160 years of Chinese history in NYC. With 2+ rotating exhibitions on top of this, the MoCa is definitely worth a visit.

  4. Things_To_Do_In_Chinatown_1_171026124757005

    04 The Bloody Angle

    One of the things to do in Chinatown NYC is to visit Doyers Street or “The Bloody Angle”. This particular street has a lot of rich and dark history. This area is the location of New York City’s first Chinese language theater. On top of that, this street used to be one of America’s deadliest areas because of numerous shootings between organized gang members. Today, there’s a bunch of restaurants and is a very photogenic street.

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Many of the attractions and tours in Chinatown NYC are included in one of the New York City passes. So you can easily and quickly save up to 70% – how does it work?

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Best Guided Tours

There are a lot of very popular tours where New York guides show you the best parts and the history of this neighborhood:

  1. Best_NYC_Food_Walking_Tour_Chinatown_and_Little_Italy_Food_Fest

    01 Chinatown and Little Italy Food Fest

    Explore the flavors and traditions of  New York’s Chinatown and Little Italy during this exciting food tour. You’ll leave with a full stomach and lots of interesting information about the history and culture of these two neighborhoods.

  2. Best_Street_Art_Walking_Tour_NYC_Sidewalks_and_Skyscrapers__Street_Art_Is_This_Way

    02 Sidewalks and Skyscrapers: Street Art Is This Way

    This walking tour shows that there is also street art and graffiti worth seeing in Manhattan. You start your exploration in Soho, and then in two hours learn the stories behind the large and small works of art. Some of the graffiti is an impressive 20 meters high, so always have your cameras ready!

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

Best Restaurants in Chinatown NYC

Chinatown is a prime spot for food. From authentic noodles to roasted duck and amazing street food at the Canal Street Market, there are endless possibilities to satisfy any taste. We have listed our favorite restaurants below for you to try.

  1. Shopping

    01 Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

    The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory offers some of the most unique ice cream flavors in New York City.

  2. great_ny_noodletown_170907090244005

    02 Great NY Noodletown

    Great NY Noodletown is a noodleshop, Chinese restaurant in Chinatown located right next to the Manhattan Bridge. Great insider tip for this area!

  3. Restaurant_170423115755029-1

    03 Joe's Shanghai

    Here you get the probably the best duck in town. This restaurant has already won an award from the New York Times. Also recommendable is the Joe’s Shanghai soup with dumplings.

  4. Mission_Chinese_Food_in_NYC_190111104951002

    04 Mission Chinese Food NYC

    Mission Chinese Food in NYC is a trendy and hip restaurant in Chinatown, Manhattan. The restaurant is heavily influenced on Sichuanese style cuisine and is geared towards millennials. This place with its electric funk atmosphere and dim lights is the place to be if you are looking for a cool evening hangout with amazing food. Be sure to try their Mapo Tofu!

  5. Nom_Wah_Tea_Parlor_NYC_180304192127010

    05 Nom Wah Tea Parlor NYC

    This vintage dim sum parlor dates back to the 1920s and is a great place to stop and grab a bite to eat. With an extensive menu that includes tea beer and wine, it is one of the local favorites to grab some authentic Chinese food. We recommend making a reservation online as it can get busy here during lunch and dinner. Make sure to try the house special roast pork buns – delicious!

  • Vanessa’s Dumpling House (118 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002)

One of our favorite places things to do in Chinatown NYC is grab some authentic food, and if you like us, are looking for something to excite your tastebuds this is the place to go. Vanessa’s Dumpling House features a great menu of classics including dumplings, sesame pancake sandwiches, noodles, and soups. This place is definitely worth a visit if you are looking for some comfort food.

Looking for more recommendations? We’ve got you covered!

Here you find the Best Restaurants in Chinatown and the Best Chinese Restaurants in NYC.

Best Bars in Chinatown NYC

  1. Bar_170423115755006-2

    01 169 Bar

    The bar is very popular with New Yorkers, the prices are sensational and the audience is mixed. Colourful is also the bar and for this reason alone worth a visit.

  2. Bar

    02 Apotheke in Chinatown

    If you know, you know. Apotheke in Chinatown is one of those speakeasy types of bars that are still super trendy to go to. It still maintains the classic look and almost speakeasy vibe from back in the days.

  3. Gallery93_Rooftop_Bar_New_York

    03 Rooftop93 Bar & Lounge

    You will find the bar on the 18th and 19th floors of the Wyndham Garden Hotel. On the roof terrace you can have cocktails and enjoy the view of the One World Trade Center and the Empire State Building.

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    04 The Crown

    The Crown Rooftop Bar in Chinatown is one of my newest highlights of the city and made it directly into our list of the best rooftop bars in New York. It offers probably the most beautiful view of Manhattan AND Brooklyn.

  5. Bar_170423115755006-8

    05 Whiskey Tavern

    If you are looking for a relaxed atmosphere and very good drinks, the Whiskey Tavern is your destination in Chinatown.

Looking for more recommendations? We’ve got you covered!

Here you find the Best Bars in Chinatown NYC and the Best Rooftop Bars in Chinatown NYC.

Shopping in Chinatown NYC

Chinatown NYC is filled with colorful shops packed with souvenirs and unique items. You will also see a lot of fakes like Louis Vuitton bags or Rolex watches.

Please keep in mind, if you do purchase any of the fake items, there’s a chance you might encounter problems going through customs.

There is also a great and very unique minimalist store called Project No. 8 and has selections from local designers. If you want your own personal chopsticks, check out Yunhong Chopsticks Shop. If you are looking for places to shop in Chinatown NYC however, all you need to do is take a stroll around.

Hotels in Chinatown NYC

If you are looking to stay in Chinatown, look no further. Below are our favorite places to stay:

  1. 01

    Hotel 50 Bowery

    Hotels & Accommodations in Chinatown
    Hotel_50_Bowery_Chinatown_New_York_Booking
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    4 Stars | Hotel 50 in Chinatown New York is a stylish boutique hotel with a cool roof terrace and very stylish rooms. You’ll be right in the middle of the action and within easy walking distance of great spots like the Lower East Side, East Village and Soho. 

  2. 02

    Mimosa Hotel Chinatown

    Hotels & Accommodations in Chinatown
    hotel_chinatown_nyc_mimosa_254069841
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    3 stars | The Mimosa is one of the most authentic and best value for money accommodations in New York’s Chinatown. Its location in the heart of this popular neighborhood makes it especially popular with Asian travelers. The rooms are always very clean and the service is excellent. 

  3. 03

    Mulberry Hotel

    Hotels & Accommodations in Chinatown
    murberry_hotel_chinatown_nyc69656989
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    3 stars | The Mulberry is a basic hotel but in very good condition. Always clean and with attentive and efficient service and great value for money for this area of Downtown Manhattan. The best part? Some rooms even have terraces overlooking the city!

    Its location just a few meters from one of the city’s main subway stations makes it ideal for sightseeing and shopping days.

  4. 04

    Walker Hotel Tribeca

    Hotels & Accommodations in Chinatown
    hotel_walker_tribeca_chinatown_nyc_276344893
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    4 stars | This beautiful boutique hotel is strategically located between the Tribeca and Chinatown neighborhoods, two of the most unique areas of New York. Its location, combined with its beautiful design of sober lines and colors, makes the Walker Tribeca one of the ideal places to rest after a busy day discovering the city. 

  5. 05

    Wyndham Garden Chinatown

    Hotels & Accommodations in Chinatown
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    4 Stars | The hotel is located right in the middle of Chinatown and is a very popular one among tourists. Each room is equipped with a flat-screen cable TV and a fridge. From the suites’ balconies you can enjoy gorgeous views over the city. T A nice restaurant and bar in the hotel and enjoy the evening.

Recommended article: The Best Hotels in Chinatown NYC.

Neighborhoods Nearby

Here are some neighborhoods that are walking distance from Chinatown NYC:

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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 this blog, I want to share everything I have learned and discovered, so you can have the best time in the greatest city in the world. By the way: Did you like my article? Then think about becoming a supporter of us on Patreon!

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