Lower East Side
Lower East Side Guide
The Lower East Side has long been known as one of Manhattan’s most creative and edgy communities. Even as the neighborhood undergoes rapid gentrification, the LES’s artistic, make-do spirit continues to shine through.
In New York City’s earlier days, the Lower East Side was home to many of Manhattan’s working class immigrant communities. Many immigrant families who arrived in New York in the 19th and 20th centuries settled in tenements on the Lower East Side. Thousands of Americans whose ancestors arrived in the US through Ellis Island can still trace their family history back to the area. Life wasn’t easy in the neighborhood’s overcrowded tenements. While today’s Lower East Side couldn’t look more different, there’s no doubt that the grit and determination of those early residents made a lasting impact on the community.
These days, the Lower East Side is known for its non-stop action. Some of the best restaurants and bars in the city are here, and nightlife fans are known to stay out until the wee hours. Famous venues like Arlene’s Grocery, the Mercury Lounge, Pianos, and the Bowery Ballroom feature both big-name stars and up-and-coming acts. Beloved artistic institutions like the Angelika Film Center, the First Street Green Art Park, and avant-garde galleries line the streets.
Despite once being known as the “Bargain District,” the modern Lower East Side is a popular spot for high-end shopping. Here, you can duck into one-of-a-kind independent boutiques sandwiched between shops owned by famous luxury brands.
If you’re looking for more context on the neighborhood, the Lower East Side has fantastic museums to offer. The New Museum is a leading contemporary art museum. The beautiful Museum at Eldridge Street offers a tour of a stunning restored historic synagogue. You can even get a glimpse of what life was like for the Lower East Side’s earliest immigrants at the immersive Tenement Museum.
What To See On The Lower East Side
- Katz’s Delicatessen
- Russ & Daughters
- The Tenement Museum
- The New Museum
- The Museum At Eldridge Street
- First Street Green Art Park
- Angelika Film Center