The Best Things to Do in Lower Manhattan

The Ultimate Guide for Lower Manhattan NYC

Image of author Maureen
31. October 2019
1135 ratings

Being the financial hub of New York, Lower Manhattan is typically associated with Wall Street, countless banks, impressive skyscrapers and corporate prestige. This guide will show you how Lower Manhattan has much more to offer than just that. We will share all our insider tips with you, so you won’t miss out on the best things to do in Lower Manhattan. Whether you are looking for attractions, the best restaurants, bars or shopping spots in Lower Manhattan – we’ve got you covered!


How to Get to Lower Manhattan

There are a lot of great things to do in Lower Manhattan, so make sure you know how to get there. The easiest way to get there is by subway. Take lines 12 or 3 to ‘Christopher Street’ or lines AC, or E  to ‘Chambers Street’. If you prefer starting in the South of Lower Manhattan hop on line 1 and get off at ‘South Ferry’.

Walking through Lower Manhattan NYC

Walking through Lower Manhattan, you will find yourself surrounded by high rise buildings. Streets are not numbered, as well-known streets like Wall Street or Canal Street demonstrate. Especially when strolling through Wall Street in the Financial District, you may literally feel as though you’re surrounded by giant walls. If you want to escape the bustle of the city, Lower Manhattan also offers many parks along the river that can be a great way to enjoy some tranquility and gorgeous view.

Things to Do in Lower Manhattan

Top 5 Things to Do in Lower Manhattan

Top 5 Sights

  • One World Trade Center:  In response to the attack on 9/11, New York decided to build the tallest building in the country, standing exactly 1776 feet tall: The One World Trade Center, colloquially called ‘Freedom Tower’. With the 1WTC, Lower Manhattan won back its landmark. It represents the strength and willpower of the city. Its observation deck gives you the ultimate view over Manhattan. (Address: 285 Fulton St | Subway 1 to WTC Cortlandt Street Station)
  • 9/11 Memorial: September 11th, 2001 – this tragic day is part of Lower Manhattan’s history. The attacks that took place more than 16 years ago destroyed the iconic twin towers that used to be New York’s landmark. Today you will see two large pools where the twin towers used to stand. A few steps away from there, you can visit the moving 9/11 Memorial Museum. The memorial is a very emotional place to visit and a must-do when you are in New York.
    (Address: 180 Greenwich St| Subway 1 to WTC Cortlandt Street Station)
  • Battery Park: Battery Park is one of the most popular parks in Manhattan. More than 6 million people, including local residents, students and tourists visit the park and its landmark, the Castle Clinton National Monument, yearly. Why? Because it’s a beautiful park that not only lets you overlook Hudson River but also lets you marvel at the Statue of Liberty.
    (Address: Battery Park | Subway 4 to Bowling Green)
  • Governors Island:  The former military base on Governors Island is worth a visit, especially in the summer. In only 3 minutes and for only $2, the Governor’s Island Ferry will take you across the East River. You’ll find the Governors Island Ferry Terminal right next to the Staten Island Ferry. The island is a nice contrast to Manhattan’s bustle and you don’t have to worry about it being flooded with tourists.
    (Address: Governors Island | Subway 1 to South Ferry Station)
  • South Street Seaport: New York’s charming South Street Seaport is a lesser-known historic district in Lower Manhattan. The district is home to Downtown Manhattan’s oldest buildings, including historic office buildings from the 19th century. Located by the East River, it was heavily flooded and destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Following extensive renovations, in subsequent years everything has returned to normal and South Street Seaport is more popular than ever. Despite its renovations, it is holding on to its historic charm. Today, South Street Seaport is known to be a vibrant place to go and popular for its shopping and dining spots.
    (Address: South Street Seaport | Subway 23 to Wall St)

Attractions in Lower Manhattan

When you are looking for things to do in Lower Manhattan, there is no way around Wall Street, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. However, these are only some of the many attractions in Lower Manhattan.

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Restaurants in Lower Manhattan

Exploring different restaurants is only one of the many great things to do in Lower Manhattan, as the district offers a fantastic variety. We wouldn’t be shocked if you end up spending hours dining in restaurants here. Because of its many cozy restaurants, it was very tough to select the best of the best – but here you are:

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Bars and Rooftop Bars in Lower Manhattan

After a delicious meal it’s time to head over to the best bars in Lower Manhattan. Check out our favorites:

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Shopping in Lower Manhattan

People often underestimate shopping opportunities in Lower Manhattan. We get it; it’s simply not what one would expect from the financial district – but that’s not true at all! There is a flurry of great stores in Lower Manhattan, such as the Century 21 Store. On a lucky day, you will find yourself paying only 65% of the retail price. Despite the designer bargains, Century 21 Store feels a lot like a rummage table, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Either way, it’s definitely worth checking out if you are in the area.

You should also try Century 21 Store’s counterpart: Luxury Shopping Mall Brookfield Place in Lower Manhattan. In this shopping mall, you’ll find posh shops such as Burberry and Gucci surrounded by a variety of delicious restaurants. If you are on a tighter budget (we all need to keep an eye on our budget when in New York!), make sure to at least stroll around the mall and do some window shopping. Alternatively, you can enjoy a nice lunch at the mall’s terrace. That alone is totally worth the visit!

One of the newest and most beautiful destinations for shoppers is the Oculus within the WTC transportation hub. With more than 100 retail stores, ranging from Michael Kors over Fossil to H&M and many more, it offers the perfect mix for a diversified audience. The architecture and design of the Oculus will make it the most unique place you’ve ever shopped at.

The clean and spacious bathrooms are also a big plus and much needed for a long day of shopping. If you’re starting to feel hungry (or hungry maybe), do not worry – you’ll find yourself surrounded by great choices of food. One of our favorite burger places is located here: Shake Shack. For more information about the Oculus click here.

Our Insider Tip: South Street Seaport

Now let’s talk about our true shopping insider tip in Lower Manhattan, South Street Seaport.
As mentioned in our top 5 things to do in Lower Manhattan, South Street Seaport is home to some of the oldest buildings in Manhattan.

Now some of those buildings have been filled by restaurants and stores, such as Abercombie & Fitch, Guess and Superdry – just to name a few. Click here to see the complete list of stores inside the mall. On top of the great shopping opportunities in the Southern part of Lower Manhattan, you can also enjoy exceptional views of the city skyline and its famous Brooklyn Bridge. 

In summary: If you like shopping, you should absolutely put Lower Manhattan on your ‘things to do in New York’ bucket list.

Pier 17 in Lower Manhattan

Pier 17 is a brand new event venue that recently opened up in Lower Manhattan. During the winter months, there will be a rooftop ice skating rink along with a restaurant to grab a quick bite or drink. Also, numerous shops, restaurants and events will be held here such as New York Fashion Week.

Hotels in Lower Manhattan

With all those great things to do in Lower Manhattan, you may also want to look into staying in the area. After an exhausting day of shopping or spending the night out in one of Lower Manhattan’s best bars, a short walk ‘home’ can be super convenient. These are the best hotels in Lower Manhattan:

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Nearby Neighborhoods around Lower Manhattan

After you have no more things to do in Lower Manhattan, you should check out other neighborhoods in the area. You’ll see the huge differences between the neighborhoods and that’s what makes NYC so special.

Neighborhoods That are Similar to Lower Manhattan

If you liked the feel of Lower Manhattan, then we suggest visiting these other neighborhoods below.

Which NYC Neighborhood Do You Belong In?

Are you a Brooklyn Boy or maybe a Queens Queen? Find out now!

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.

  • You're curious about these people. You decide to observe them from a closer distance, as you wanted to head that way anyway.

  • You're not really in the mood for a circus, so you decide to turn around and go somewhere else.


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 hunger

  • ... look for a top restaurant nearby to sit down and eat, because what could possibly make the day better than a great meal?

  • ... ignore it! Time is too precious to spend at restaurants.



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!

  • ... think that you could really use a cold beer and a hot dog right now.

  • ... 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!


Attractions in New York


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.

  • ... a night at a wild party followed by a nasty hangover. You can't have one without the other.

  • ... a large glas of expired milk: simply the worst!



We say shopping, you say…

  • ... Michael Kors meets Sex and the City

  • ... drop a new item into the online cart and click "Order Now".

  • ... *facepalm*



You and nightlife, that’s like…

  • ... the cast of the Jersey Shore out first pumping.

  • ... Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn in the Golden Havana Bar.

  • ... two bears hibernating in their cave for the winter


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.

  • I would sell my last shirt to own one of Picasso's works.

  • Who would have thought that Pokemon could paint!

About the author

Oh, how lucky I am… always at the pulse of the greatest city in the world – what could be better? New York City is my passion and I’m happy to be able to share my experiences along with insider tips and helpful tricks with you. With me by your side, you’ll never miss a beat!

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