If you find yourself on the Lower East Side of Manhattan but you’re unsure what to do, know that you are in one of the most happening and historical neighborhoods of the city.
From countless immigrant stories that all began on the Lower East Side, to iconic locations and establishments that have been captured in some of the most famous movies in existence, the Lower East Side is anything but boring.
So whether you’re interested in eating, exploring, or learning something new, here are our favorite recommendations for all of the best things to do on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
1. Katz’s Deli
One of NYC’s top dining attractions is Katz’s Deli on the Lower East Side. Stop in for their famous pastrami on rye—but be prepared for a line! You might even recognize it from a memorable lunch scene in “When Harry Met Sally.”
Where: 205 E Houston St, New York
2. Scarr’s Pizza
You’ll be overwhelmed with options at Scarr’s Pizza, from their sides like eggplant parm and garlic knots to their full pies. Listen to us and order the Hotboi pie with sauce, cheese, pepperoni, jalapeños and Mike’s extra hot honey.
Where: 35 Orchard St, New York
Crowned one of NYC’s top 10 new restaurants in 2021 by The New York Times, Dhamaka is a culinary destination serving “unapologetic Indian” food. It’s quite a hot reservation so be sure to secure your table well in advance.
Where: 119 Delancey St, New York
4. Russ & Daughters
Russ & Daughters may have just opened a brand new location in Hudson Yards, but their roots can be found on the Lower East Side. Though they offer up one of the best lox bagels in the city, don’t miss out on their latkes, black & white cookies and rugelach.
Where: 127 Orchard Street, New York
5. Clinton Street Baking Co.
You could hate pancakes and still love the ones served at Clinton Street Baking Co. Think fluffy, pillowy clouds topped with a variety of ever-changing ingredients from whipped cream to fresh fruit, that’s never too sweet. However, savory lovers can decide between items like their Buttermilk Biscuit Sandwich, Spanish Scramble or Clinton St. Omlette. They also have a to-go bakery when you’re in a rush.
Where: 4 Clinton Street, New York
6. Beauty & Essex
Behind an unassuming pawn shop lies a fabulous lounge and restaurant serving up an assortment of unforgettable bites and eclectic cocktails. It would be an absolute shame to go here and not get their grilled cheese soup dumplings. It’s a dish we see every night in our dreams—seriously, we’re not being dramatic.
Where: 146 Essex Street, New York
7. Black Cat LES
If you’re ever searching for a new cafe to work from home at, Black Cat LES is a perfect contender. With comfy seating, caffeinated beverages (yes, they even offer macadamia milk—the royalty of nut milks), and WiFi to mooch off of, you’re sure to be productive.
Where: 172 Rivington Street, New York
8. Supermoon Bakehouse
Supermoon Bakehouse has created a cult following with their out of this world flavor profiles and pastry creations. To name a few examples, they’ve offered treats such as a Thai iced tea doughnut, lavender cruffin, and a blackberry and elderflower croissant. The menu is ever changing, but beware they only operate Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays from 10am-6pm.
Where: 120 Rivington Street, New York
9. Pause Cafe
Another fantastic spot to work from home, Pause Cafe offers spacious indoor and outdoor seating. The Moroccan influenced menu goes above and beyond pastries with options like superfood bowls and crepes. Plus, their plate ware is gorgeous—perfect for a little aesthetic cafe moment on the feed.
Where: 3 Clinton Street, New York
You may have seen this Japanese (kissaten style) cafe’s viral toasts before, ranging from Mentai Mayo to Black Sesame and Cream Cheese. Pair one of those with Kyoto-style cold brew or instead order one of their Japanese curries.
Where: 102 Suffolk Street, New York
11. Double Chicken Please
Ranked as the 6th best bar in the world, Double Chicken Please can be found on the corner of Delancey and Allen Streets. Visitors can head to the coop in the back for experimental cocktails like Cold Pizza and Mango Sticky Rice, before ending the night with a chicken sandwich from the front room.
Where: 115 Allen Street, New York
When you’re looking for a laissez-fare bar with a unique cocktail menu, Lullaby is a great spot to check out. The entire concept is intended to offer elevated cocktails in an unthreatening environment. Our favorite drink definitely has to be The Dole Whip, taking a boozy twist on Disney’s iconic Dole Whip Soft Serve.
Where: 151 Rivington Street, New York
Bellied up at the bar but unsure what to order? At Attaboy you don’t have to stress because there’s not even a menu to choose from. The bartenders will ask you what your into and from there concoct a drink specially for you. It might take you a few walks down Eldridge to locate this inconspicuous spot, as no sign lets you know you’re in the right spot. Best of luck!
Where: 134 Eldridge St, New York
14. The Flower Shop
From their cheetah print pool table to 70s-style furnishings, The Flower Shop will transport you back a few decades for a night of drinking and good company.
Where: 107 Eldridge St, New York
15. The Late Late
Found off Houston, head downstairs to a dark atmosphere with energetic music at this Irish-influenced bar.
Where: 159 E Houston Sreet, New York
16. Ye’s Apothecary
Hiding in plain sight, Ye’s Apothecary’s door on Orchard Street will lead you down a few stairs before you enter into an eclectic space. Offering an expansive gin menu, each drink promises to please with a blend of Chinese herbal infusions.
Where: 119 Orchard Street, New York
17. The Back Room
Where beer is served in paper bags and cocktails in tea cups, The Back Room transports you to a different era. It’s actually one of the two still existing speakeasies that operated in New York City during the Prohibition. And yes, the hidden entrance is the same as the one that was used 85 years ago.
Where: 102 Norfolk Street, New York
18. The Gutter LES
For the competitive types, get your gang together and head out for a day at the bowling alley. Order a pitcher of beer and keep the drinks flowing as you try your best to score a turkey.
Where: 77 Essex Street, New York
19. Happy Medium
Let out your creative side at this art café with a menu entirely offering a variety of art experiences. From clay to charcoal to collaging, spend the day letting your mind roam away from the craze of the city. Plus, you get to take your masterpiece home with you!
Where: 49 Market Street, New York
20. Economy Candy
Stock up on candy from NYC’s oldest retail candy shop dating back to 1937. Economy Candy spoils its customers for choice, with nostalgic items from your childhood to modern favorites.
Where: 108 Rivington Street, New York
21. Tenement Museum
Learn all about NYC’s immigrant history and actually take a step inside recreated apartments of former residents that lived in the museum’s two tenement buildings between the years 1860-1980. Beyond apartment tours, the Tenement Museum additionally offers walking tours that take you around historical sites of the neighborhood.
Where: 103 Orchard Street, New York
22. Essex Market
Essex market is your one-stop-shop for groceries, specialty ingredients, and vendor dining. The expansive market also has a community fridge located 220 Broome Street that’s accessible 24/7. And in the winter, they’ve been known to host the world’s largest gingerbread village.
Where: 88 Essex Street, New York