Looking to explore the lower east side of New York City? Why not take a walking tour? This is a great way to familiarize yourself with the area and learn about its history. Plus, it’s a lot of fun! Our guide will take you on a tour of some of the most popular sights and tell you all about what makes this area so special. So put on your comfortable shoes and join us for an unforgettable experience.
by David Stone
The Roosevelt Island Daily News
Start at the most LES of parks – Tompkins Square Park.
Our walking tour of the Lower East Side begins at Tompkins Square Park – no need for a magnifying glass, even though it is possibly the world’s tiniest park! What it lacks in square footage, however, it makes up for in history and charm. Come with us so that you can explore this exceptional spot and discover why it has been such an integral part of NYC life since 1836.
Spanning nearly nine acres, Tompkins Square Park has been a historically important location in the Lower East side of New York City since its founding in 1834.
Bounded by Avenue A, East 10th Street, Avenue B and East 12th Street, the park has constantly adapted to the changing face of NYC. Over its long history, it has served as an epicenter for revolutionary action such as labor strikes and equality movements and also hosted a range of musical concerts and popular events.
With over 200 years of history, this lower east side park is a landmark that continues to empower many generations to come.
Head to Katz’s Deli for a pastrami sandwich (and don’t forget to get a pickle on the side!)
When it comes to the strong immigrant history of the lower east side in NYC, there’s simply no better stop than Katz’s Deli. With their world-famous pastrami sandwich, you’ll understand why this establishment has been around for so many years.
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If this is your first time at Katz’s Deli, we highly recommend getting a pickle on the side. Trust us – all the delights at Katz’s will keep you coming back for more!
Walk by the Tenement Museum to learn about life in NYC during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
On a walking tour of the lower east side of NYC, no visit is complete without a stop by the Tenement Museum at 97 Orchard Street.
There, you can absorb fascinating history about life in this now bustling neighborhood from the late 19th to early 20th centuries.
Step back in time and explore how residents experienced poverty and resilience through an interactive space that’ll make you laugh, nod your head in understanding, and cry for those who lived not so long ago on these same streets.
Check out some street art on the Lower East Side – there’s always something new to see.
A unique way to explore the Lower East Side, why not do some freelance strolling?
Get up close and personal with vibrant street art that nobody else has seen – there’s always something new waiting to be discovered. Walk along and follow your instincts. Peak around corners, looking for the unexpected.
Whether it’s edgy murals, witty graffiti tags, or captivating pop-ups, you can check out some of the most creative works of art on the Lower East Side while getting to know the area better.
Who knows – you might become an expert on the local art scene before you know it.
Finish up at Russ & Daughters, an iconic NYC institution, for some smoked salmon or caviar.
If you’re looking for a true New York City experience, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Russ & Daughters, not far from the Tenement Museum at 127 Orchard Street.
This iconic institution has been serving up smoked salmon and caviar to locals and visitors alike for over 100 years. Trust us, it’s worth the line!
- Some additional suggestions from Mad Hatters.
Exploring NYC can be a daunting task, but a walking tour of the lower east side is certainly worth the effort.
From Tompkins Square Park to Katz’s Deli for the classic pastrami sandwich (and a pickle on the side!), to soaking up some incredible street art and stopping by the Tenement Museum to learn about NYC during its early days, this walk is full of fascinating history and culture around every corner.
Oh, and don’t forget to cap off your day with something really special from Russ & Daughters – you can never go wrong with their smoked salmon or caviar! Whether you’re from New York or an international visitor, taking a walking tour of the Lower East Side will make for an unforgettable experience.