Little Italy NYC and NoLita is a must-see neighborhood in Lower Manhattan and is popular with most New York tourists.
Little Italy is bordered by Center Street to the west, Houston Street to the north, Canal Street to the south, and Bowery Street to the east. North of Little Italy is another small section called Nolita, the “North of Little Italy”. One of New York’s best-known streets is Mulberry Street, which runs through the area as the main street. In this guide we’ll briefly explain the things to do in Little Italy NYC and NoLita.
The easiest way to get to Little Italy and NoLita is to take the following trains to Canal St. The trains are,.
Here are our recommended locations that you should check out in Little Italy and NoLita.
Police HQ Building (240 Centre St.)
This building used to house the police headquarters from 1909-1973 and is a true piece of NYC history. Not only is its architecture very impressive, it is the home today of a few very wealthily individuals looking for immense privacy.
Italian American Museum (155 Mulberry St.)
This museum was opened in Little Italy in 2007 to exhibit the story of the Italian Americans in NYC. With the largest population of Italian Americans in NYC and the whole of North America, the museum discusses a huge part of the local culture. The museum is located in an old bank building that used to be the link between immigrants and their families back home through the many services that they offered. If you are interested in the local history & culture, this museum is well worth the visit.
Gelso and Grand (186 Grand St.)
This restaurant offers homemade pasta with a great ambiance. With its amazing food and rustic atmosphere it is definitely restaurant you must visit when in Little Italy. Must tries are the Burrata Salad, anything from the grill menu, as well as the homemade pasta of course!
Lombardi’s Pizza (32 Spring St.)
This was the first pizzeria in the United States – it also happens to sell one of the best pizzas we have had in NYC! This pizza is as traditional and as tasty as it gets. Definitely worth a try if you are looking for a lunch break when walking around Little Italy. This crusty coal oven fried pizza with tomato sauce and basil might look simple but the depth of flavors from its fresh ingredients is a real culinary experience.
Rubirosa (235 Mulberry St.)
Another great restaurant in Little Italy that offers traditional Italian food of the best quality. If you are looking for a late afternoon glass of wine with some snacks or a quality evening meal this is definitely a good choice. There is also a pizza hour, where – you guessed it – they sell 2 pizzas for $16!
Little Italy used to be much bigger than it is today. This part of Manhattan has a lot of history. For example, there is a brick house located on 247 Mulberry Street, between Prince and Spring St. This house used to be a meeting place of the Italian Mafia bosses. Today, that area is a shoe store. Also, if you’re in the area around September, there are street festivals that close down the roads. Here you’ll find pop-up stands and street vendors that sell delicious food.
This former French Neo-Renaissance style police headquarters was converted into an apartment building in 1988 by the architects Ehrenkranz Group & Eckstut. It occupies the entire block between Grand, Centre, Broome Street and Centre Market Place. It stands out and gives you an idea of how the NYPD used to go in and out. You can’t miss this building (address: 240 Center Street).
Little Italy NYC and NoLita is filled with good eats and some of the best pizza in NYC. Theres also a huge festival in September that offers great choices of food and goodies.
Little Italy comes to life in September. Former residents and their families, as well as other Italians living in New York, come to the neighborhood to celebrate the “Festa di San Gennaro”, the Feast of San Gennaro. The annual 11-day feast is celebrated in honor of an Italian Saint and Bishop of Naples.
It will remind you of a classic folk festival with many vendors offering delicious delicacies. There’s music, carousels and colorful parades for the people of all ages to enjoy. For Little Italy, it’s the highlight of the year and is considered one of the best events in September . During this festival, there is also the annual world-famous cannoli-eating contest. If that’s too much for you, at least try the “fried oreos” at one of the vendors. You’ll be amazed how delicious fried Oreos are with powdered sugar!
If you’re not in the area in September, definitely check out some of the spots below as well as the few articles.
Probably the best pizzeria in New York is Lombardi’s (32 Spring Street) which has been serving their legendary pizza since 1905. Lombardi’s was the very first pizzeria in the US. If you want to eat Italian in New York, this is the place to be. Also a great Italian restaurant in New York is Il Cortile (25 Mulberry Street). Here, you will find more classic northern Italian dishes. For example, there are delicious fried mozzarella, anchovies and capers with delicious olive oil bread, quiche with artichokes and much more. If you want to eat in a relatively relaxed atmosphere, definitely check out La Mela (167 Mulberry Street). The shells are highly recommended. The decor is not the most aesthetically pleasing, but the food comes from the hands of an Italian family and is prepared with tender love and care. If you’re in New York during the summer, go to Da Nico (164 Mulberry Street). The restaurant in the heart of Little Italy offers plenty of outdoor seating and is therefore very popular location. If you have a sweet tooth, we strongly recommend a visit to the Ferrara Bakery & Cafe (195 Grand St) in Little Italy. They serve goodies such as carrot cake to canolli s(of course) and an Italian interpretation of the cheesecake with ricotta and lemon zest for only $ 5/piece!
There are plenty of great vintage stores that sell unique fashion pieces and accessories. NoLita is a great location for shopping.
The store Creatures of Comfort comes from Los Angeles and has a good mix of expensive fashion, but also trendy pieces that are quite affordable (address: 205 Mulberry Street). Another brand in the neighborhood is Christian Siriano. This designer won the fourth season of Project Runway in the US and opened his store in the chic neighborhood. The collection goes from fancy evening wear to more reasonably priced, funky streetwear and trendy accessories (address: 252 Elizabeth Street). A boutique named Condor, is located at 259 Elizabeth Street. Here you will find pretty printed scarves, fine necklaces, silk tops surrounded by marble stones and many plants.
Handcrafted accessories under a hundred dollars can be bought at the store of Erica Weiner. For real vintage lovers, check out New & Almost New. The price range here is from $15 – $600 and definitely worth a visit (address: 171 Mott Street). We found a ring that dated back to 1908 also.
The popular Italian American Museum ( shows a fascinating exhibition of Italian history in the US, especially in New York. The relatively small museum deals with the lives of Italians in America and exhibits a historical collection of documents, images, art and personal biographies.
Each neighborhood has their own vibe and culture. New York City has some of the best street art and Little Italy is known for their great hidden graffiti. One of the most well-known of the city is located at 176 Mulberry St which features a mural of the the icon, Audrey Hepburn. Many more great spots can be photographed and admired there.
Here are a few hotels in Little Italy/Nolita or close to the area that are worth booking.
From Little Italy NYC and Nolita, you can either go to SoHo or Chinatown. Chinatown is a neighborhood with a rich history and amazing restaurants. If you want to get some shopping done, definitely check SoHo. All of the major brands and designers have a shop in that neighborhood.
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