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.
Getting To Little Italy and NoLita
The easiest way to get to Little Italy and NoLita is to take the following trains to Canal St. The trains are,J N Q R W 6.
Walking Through Little Italy NYC and NoLita
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.
Our Top 5 Things to Do in Little Italy and NoLita
Here are our recommended locations that you should check out in Little Italy and NoLita.
- Former Police HQ Building – 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. (240 Centre St, New York, NY 10012, Subway 6 Spring Street Station)
- Italian American Museum – 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. (Address: 155 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013, Subway 6 Canal Street or Spring Street Station and Subway BD Grand Street)
- Gelso and Grand – 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! (Address: 186 Grand St, New York, NY 10013, Subway 6 Canal Street or Spring Street Station and Subway BD Grand Street)
- Lombardi’s Pizza – 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. (Address: 32 Spring St, New York, NY 10012, Subway 6 Canal Street or Spring Street Station)
- Rubirosa – 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! (Address: 235 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012, Subway 6 Canal Street or Spring Street Station and RW Prince Street Station)
Things To Do in Little Italy NYC and NoLita
The Police Headquarters Building
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).
Food & Drink
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.
Street Festivals and Food
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.
- The Grey Dog (244 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012)
- Lombardi’s Pizza (32 Spring St, New York, NY 10012)
- The Butcher’s Daughter (19 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012)
- Pietro Nolita (174 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012) – Come here if you want an awesome social media picture.
- Rubirosa Ristorante (235 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012)
Authentic Italian Restaurants
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!
Shopping in Little Italy and NoLita
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.
Museums in Little Italy NYC and NoLita
The Italian American Museum
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.
Graffiti Hotspot in Little Italy
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.
Best Area to Stay in or near Little Italy NYC and Nolita
Here are a few hotels in Little Italy/Nolita or close to the area that are worth booking.
- The Nolitan Hotel (30 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012) – Click to book here.
- NoMo SoHo (9 Crosby St, New York, NY 10013 ) – Click to book here.
- Crosby Street Hotel (79 Crosby St, New York, NY 10012) – Click to book here.
Neighborhoods Nearby Little Italy NYC and Nolita
There are many interesting neighborhoods nearby Little Italy NYC and Nolita. Below are some of the more interesting ones close by.
Neighborhoods That Are Similar to Little Italy NYC and Nolita
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Hip & Trendy
You’re walking through the streets as you spot bearded men in flannel shirts in the distance. They are wearing sunglasses with thick black frames. The women next to them are wearing small, black hats that cover their autumn color hair, falling onto their leather jackets and ponchos. The group is drinking from Mason jars and eating sweet potato fries topped with truffle mayo served on wooden boards. What do you do?
You are using the front camera of your smartphone to ensure your mustache is twisted properly - or - your pastel colored clutch that you just snagged from a fancy pop-up store is hanging off your shoulder. You're happily walking toward the crowd.Next
You're curious about these people. You decide to observe them from a closer distance, as you wanted to head that way anyway.Next
You're not really in the mood for a circus, so you decide to turn around and go somewhere else.Next
Food & Drink
You’re enjoying your day in New York. When your stomach starts rumbling, you decide to…
... get a quick snack to satisfy your hungerNext
... look for a top restaurant nearby to sit down and eat, because what could possibly make the day better than a great meal?Next
... ignore it! Time is too precious to spend at restaurants.Next
You’re strolling through a park and observe a family having a picnic. Immediately, the sight makes you..
... smile, because spending quality family time is the best thing in the world!Next
... think that you could really use a cold beer and a hot dog right now.Next
... laugh, because (thank God)- you're by yourself and don't need to take care of anybody. Instead you're free to do whatever you want!Next
For you, meeting fellow tourists in the most amazing places in the world is like…
... a bonfire at camp: the perfect opportunity to learn incredible stories.Next
... a night at a wild party followed by a nasty hangover. You can't have one without the other.Next
... a large glas of expired milk: simply the worst!Next
We say shopping, you say…
... Michael Kors meets Sex and the CityNext
... drop a new item into the online cart and click "Order Now".Next
You and nightlife, that’s like…
... the cast of the Jersey Shore out first pumping.Next
... Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn in the Golden Havana Bar.Next
... two bears hibernating in their cave for the winterNext
Art & Culture
Back in 2015, one of Picasso’s art pieces was auctioned for a record breaking $200 million. What’s your first thought?
A masterpiece like this belongs into a museum, so everybody can enjoy it.Next
I would sell my last shirt to own one of Picasso's works.Next
Who would have thought that Pokemon could paint!Next
Being a photographer and creative in general, New York City, I think is the perfect place to be. I moved to NYC from Boston in 2013 and never looked back. Loving New York has given me the opportunity to do what I love and share those images with you all.