A Local's Guide to Downtown Manhattan

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Advisor - Sydney Alepa
Curated By

Sydney Alepa

  • City Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Arts & Culture

  • New York

  • New York City

  • Downtown

  • Guided Tours

  • Local culture

New York Manhattan from a distance with a coin-operated binocular machine at the forefront.
Curator’s statement

I have spent the past four years living in Manhattan and it will never cease to surprise me and give me new experiences everyday. With neighborhoods such as SoHo, the East Village, Greenwich Village and Lower East Side, downtown Manhattan has everything to offer from trendy restaurants and charming shops to inventive cocktail bars. For a first-timer to the city, or an experienced New Yorker, this downtown guide will be sure to help you plan a fantastic weekend.

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Where to stay in Downtown Manhattan

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Things to do in Downtown Manhattan

Stoney Clover Lane is a cute fashion accessories store.

While downtown Manhattan is a relatively small land area, the space is jam-packed with things to do, eat, and drink! Below are a few mini itineraries based on different neighborhoods in the area.

A Morning In The West Village

After waking up at the Dominick Hotel, walk ten minutes to Breakfast by Salt’s Cure, where you will try the most delicious pancakes. hey specialize in oatmeal griddle cakes, which are a must-try. Pro-tip: Arrive before 10 AM as the lines get pretty crazy! After breakfast, stroll through the Village and make sure to hit Bleecker Street, there are loads of cute shops from Stoney Clover Lane, Isalis and Diptyque. Be sure to stop by Magnolia Bakery to pick up some cupcakes and banana pudding to snack on later!

When you are ready for a pick-me-up, stop by and grab a coffee at Sogno Toscano, an adorable Italian cafe, where you will find yourself seated at an outdoor bistro table, drinking coffee creations out of a wine glass! Make sure to people-watch when enjoying your coffee! After strolling around a bit more after your coffee, stop by John’s of Bleecker Street for some of the best pizza in New York! They do not do slices, so be sure to bring your appetite! After pizza, you should be sufficiently ready for a nap back at the Dominick!

An Evening in the Lower East Side

The Lower East Side is a super-trendy neighborhood with tons of up-and-coming and delicious restaurants. Start your evening by checking out some of the shops on Orchard Street: Coming Soon is a colorful design lover’s dream where you can shop for funky candles or other adorable home decor items. A block uptown is Bode, where you can window-shop for one-of-a-kind handmade clothing housed in a space akin to an old American modernist hotel lobby.

After strolling through a few more shops, make your way to Le Dive, where you can sit outside in a Parisian-inspired cafe, where you can pretend you are people-watching in Europe while drinking a glass of natural wine. After drinks, head over to Cervo’s, a modern Portuguese restaurant, where you can enjoy a negroni along with a delicious lamb burger and piri-piri chicken. This restaurant is also known for its seafood, so be sure to get an order of the Louisiana prawns and the mussels. After dinner, stop by Parcelle wine bar for a nightcap in the green-velvet adorned space.

A Food Tour in Chinatown

One of the best things to do in downtown Manhattan is to do a food crawl through Chinatown- especially if you are on a budget. First, stop into Shu Jiao Fu Zhou, where you can try delicious peanut-butter wheat noodles for only $3! They are creamy and savory, and one of the best things you can eat in the area. Next, stop into Super Taste, where you can try 10 pork dumplings for $5, and then Wah Fung Fast Food to try the iconic roasted duck over rice. When you are ready for a sit-down restaurant, head to Deluxe Green Bo, where you can try some of the best Chinese food in the city. When you are full and satisfied, head over to Renew Day Spa to end the tour with an incredible foot massage!

Places to eat & drink in Downtown Manhattan

Charlie Bird is a restaurant with a classic spot.

Breakfast

Breakfast by Salt’s Cure- A charming spot that serves an inventive spin on a traditional pancake: oatmeal griddle cakes. Be sure to order a combo plate that includes eggs and sausage!

Popup Bagels- A Connecticut-import that serves some of the best bagels in New York! Note that they only serve bagels and spreads (no sandwiches) and they promote the “rip-and-dip” method of bagel eating.

Golden Diner- An Asian-inspired diner in Chinatown that serves creative classics such as honey butter pancakes and a chicken katsu club.

Lunch

Revelie Luncheonette- A recently opened spot by the owners of Raoul’s restaurant across the street that transports you to an old-fashioned soda pop counter. One of the few places where you can get cola the traditional way: soda water and syrup. Come here if you’re craving a taste of nostalgia.

Scarr’s Pizza- This pizza place in the Lower East Side is simple but delicious. They mill their own flour, so this is no ordinary pizza.

Parisi Bakery- A classic Italian sandwich shop that serves some of the best sandwiches in the city. Be sure to go early and bring cash!

Dinner

Cervo’s - A trendy spot that is inspired by coastal Portuguese cuisine will be sure to bring more than just amazing seafood, the crowd is always fun to watch and the cocktails are divine.

Pinch Chinese - A vet of the Taipei-based Din Tai Fung chain started Pinch Chinese, which is known for delicious soup dumplings. Surprisingly, the restaurant also boasts a fantastic wine list!

Charlie Bird - This restaurant is a classic spot that will be sure to please everyone. They serve incredible pasta and vegetarian dishes and they also have a killer playlist!

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out Fora Travel Advisor Aparna Rathod's guide, A Native's Summer Guide to NYC's Exquisite Food & Culture.

Advisor - Sydney Alepa

Travel Advisor

Sydney Alepa

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to New York City.