Lower East Side has become one of the most hip and art driven neighborhoods of New York over the years. During the 1800s, the Lower East Side was known as a “gateway neighborhood” due to all of the immigrants who came here. The neighborhood was known for small scale garment factories and also slums. As the years went on the area improved and artistic community has grown. Today’s Lower East Side is a perfect place to enjoy art, food, and drinks! From an insider’s perspective, this is where you typically end up on the weekends if you do not live in the neighborhood. Below we have laid out what we think are the must-see and go-to spots are. Check out the inside scoop on things to do in the Lower East Side below!
Let’s start with the streets. As you walk through the neighborhood you will recognize the amount of street art immediately! 100 gates is a project that emerged in 2014. A numerous amount of roll down security gates for businesses have been beautifully painted by local artists. It not only makes it more enjoyable to walk around, but it also gives artists jobs. Another unique attraction in the Lower East Side NYC is the Tenement Museum. Tour the building of 97 Orchard St. where over 7,000 immigrants had lived. These are the people who shaped Lower East Side. You can also visit the restored apartments and walk past businesses of previous residents and merchants from different time periods.
Calling all coffee lovers! The Lower East Side has a few hidden gems to enjoy a cup of coffee at. One is the Roasting Plant. Choose the beans you would like from their selection on the wall and they will personally grind the beans and brew a cup of coffee for you. If you want a rich and full-bodied cup of joe, make a stop at Roasting plant! Another insider spot is Caffe Vita. If you are looking for a rich and creamy cup of coffee, make a stop at Caffe Vita. This is not a place where you can sit for a bit because they do not have many seating options. Now that you know where to go for your mid-day pick me up, let’s head into where to go for dinner.
Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya is a fun Japanese-style tavern and a traditional Sushi Bar with a fine dining experience. This spot is all about melting together a fun place to drink with delicious food offerings. From small plate options to family-style platters, Blue Ribbon has got you covered. The location of this Lower East Side restaurant is also beautiful and convenient if you want to jump right into East Village. It is located in the SIXTY LES Hotel at 190 Allen Street. Insider tip- visit when it is warmer out so you can enjoy their outdoor patio. It’s a great place to spend time at! La Contenta is also a quality Lower Manhattan restaurant to visit in the LES. This Mexican spot offers great customer service and an authentic menu. The vibe of this restaurant is similar to all over Lower East Side with the unique art decor. Their drink menu is also one of the best with a robust variety of agave spirits!
The Lower East Side is one of the best neighborhoods in NYC for nightlife activities. Like we mentioned this before, this is typically where a lot of people end up on the weekend to go out. Los Feliz and Hotel Chantelle are two insider favorites! Los Feliz not only serves as a restaurant, but they also have a club like space on the two lower levels. If you are looking for a trendy and dance filled night, check this place out! Hotel Chantelle is also a 3-level bar where the music only makes more and more people move! In the basement you will typically find a crowded and dimly lit dance floor where everyone is there to have fun none the less. The second floor is another dance floor filled with people and private tables for those with big groups of people. One floor above that is a little calmer. On the third floor is another bar where you will find couches to lounge on. We recommend getting to both of these places before 11pm to avoid lines, but the clubs won’t fill up until about 12am!