Once home to the world's largest Jewish community, the Lower East Side is now best known for great shopping bargains and delicious food.
Bargain hunters will enjoy the many shops along Orchard Street, which are well known for offering clothing and shoes at great prices. Along other neighborhood streets you can find great deals on housewares, lighting and linens. Sundays are the best weekend days for visiting the Lower East Side, as many shop owners close on Saturdays to observe the Sabbath.
Call ahead if you're visiting on a Saturday and want to confirm that a shop is open.
From pickles and knishes to bialys and corned beef sandwiches, many stores and restaurants feature delicious foods reflecting the neighborhood's rich Jewish heritage, but there are also lots of indications that the neighborhood is ever-changing, with new restaurants constantly opening and many Asian spots within the neighborhood boundaries from nearby Chinatown.
The Lower East Side is also home to one of New York City's most impressive museums, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Housed in a former tenement building, the museum offers visitors a glimpse into neighborhood life during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries through tours and visits to the Tenement Building where families once lived. They have lots of options for visitors of all ages (including children as young as five!) and it's perennially on my list of Favorite Things To See & Do in NYC.
Lots of people joke that this neighborhood was one that everyone's grandparents were striving to escape from and now all their grandchildren and great-grandchildren are struggling to afford to live here. It's a neighborhood that's always changing and adapting, making it a wonderful place to visit.
Lower East Side Subways:
- Delancey Street (transfer to J, M, Z also available)
- East Broadway
- B, D
- Grand Street
- J, M, Z
- Essex (transfer to F also available)
Lower East Side Neighborhood Boundaries
- Houston Street
- Canal Street
- FDR Drive
Lower East Side Architecture
- Breaks from the uptown grid structure with smaller streets that run at a variety of angles.
- Many of the remaining 19th century tenement buildings have been converted to apartments.
- Buildings housing both current and former Synagogues reflect the strength of the Jewish community on the Lower East Side.
Lower East Side Attractions
Lower East Side Shopping
- Orchard Street vendors (many closed Saturdays)
- Pickle Guys
- Essex Street Market
- Economy Candy
- Russ & Daughters - smoked fish, caviar, etc.
- More Lower East Side Shopping