The Ultimate Guide to New York’s Lower East Side

Everything you need to know to explore the Lower East Side, from hidden gems to buzzy hotspots.

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The Lower East Side, a precise description of its geographical location within Manhattan, is a neighborhood pulsating with history, creativity and a distinctly cool vibe. Its rich history is deeply intertwined with the story of American immigration. Starting in the mid-19th century, waves of immigrants from Europe—particularly Germany, Ireland and Italy—moved into the area. These newcomers settled in cramped tenements, forming tight-knit communities and working in factories and sweatshops. 

By the early 20th century, the Lower East Side had become the center of Jewish American life. Hundreds of thousands of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe arrived, establishing synagogues, schools and businesses. This period also saw the rise of the garment industry, fueled by the labor of Jewish and Italian immigrants.

Today, the Lower East Side has transformed into a trendy hub, brimming with unique shops, contemporary art galleries and a vibrant nightlife scene. While the grittier aspects of its past remain, the neighborhood now also boasts upscale apartments, wine bars and chic boutiques alongside historic tenement buildings. It's a place where history and contemporary culture collide, offering a unique and dynamic experience for visitors.

This comprehensive guide will lead you through the neighborhood's diverse culinary landscape, highlighting the best places to grab a quick bite, indulge in a delicious meal or savor a craft cocktail. Whether you're a history buff seeking a glimpse into New York's past, a foodie craving diverse culinary experiences, or a traveler looking for a bit of New York's grittier side, the LES has something to offer everyone.

Where to Stay

Ludlow Hotel

  • 180 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

The Ludlow Hotel was designed to embody the vibrant spirit of the Lower East Side. Nestled just steps away from the iconic Katz's Deli on East Houston Street and Beastie Boys Square, it blends elegance and comfort with a touch of downtown grit and personality.

Each of the 175 guest rooms reflects the eclectic charm of the LES. Hardwood floors, handmade silk rugs and artisan-crafted Moroccan lamps create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Petrified wood nightstands and Indo-Portuguese style beds add a touch of unique character. The marble mosaic bathrooms feature luxurious brass rain showers, many with deep soaking tubs offering stunning views of the city skyline. The hotel's commitment to local sourcing extends to the minibar, stocked with healthy and gluten-free options from nearby producers. And for those seeking panoramic vistas, the oversized industrial windows offer breathtaking views of lower Manhattan, iconic skyscrapers and New York's famous bridges.

Ludlow Hotel Lounge. Ludlow Hotel

Moxy NYC Lower East Side

  • 145 Bowery, New York, NY 10002

Unveiled in November 2022, Moxy NYC Lower East Side is one of the newest hotels on the Lower East Side. This stylish hotel boasts a trendy atmosphere with curated art, sleek furniture and a rooftop bar offering stunning city views. Guests can choose from a variety of in-house dining and entertainment options, including a lobby bar and cafe, a piano bar with live music, a Japanese restaurant and a subterranean nightclub—all developed by Tao Group Hospitality.

Moxy Lower East Side. Moxy Lower East Side

Nine Orchard

  • 9 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

Steeped in history, Nine Orchard transformed the iconic Jarmulowsky Bank building on the Lower East Side into a luxurious haven. This 20th-century landmark boasts meticulously restored details like soaring vaulted ceilings, while offering modern amenities. Guests can enjoy a tranquil escape amidst the bustling neighborhood, with 113 residential-inspired guest rooms and a focus on culinary excellence, with restaurants including the all-day tavern Corner Bar and Swan Room, a sophisticated but comfortable living room during the day that turns into a swanky cocktail lounge at night.

Nine Orchard. Nine Orchard.

Public Hotel New York

  • 215 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002

Public, Ian Schrager's brainchild, injects an extra dose of suave into the neighborhood with its minimalist rooms and trendy social spaces. This hotel caters to the experience-seeker, offering a vibrant atmosphere with chic design and multiple in-house hotspots like a lobby bar, a ground-floor restaurant (aptly named Popular), a cantina and pisco bar, a gourmet fast casual café, a rooftop bar and Artspace, described as a “progressive, avant garde dance club.”

Public Hotel. Public Hotel.

Where to Eat

Barrio Chino

  • 253 Broome St, New York, NY 10002

Despite its name meaning "Chinatown" in Spanish, Barrio Chino on the Lower East Side is a New York favorite for delicious and affordable Mexican cuisine. This tiny, bustling restaurant offers a unique twist: the décor might evoke a traditional Chinese eatery, but the menu boasts an array of tacos, burritos and other Mexican-inspired dishes. Some examples include Sincronizadas, a Mexico City-style quesadilla with flour tortillas and Oaxacan melted cheese; and mole enchiladas (made from the chef's mother's secret recipe) with corn tortillas stuffed with shredded chicken, queso fresco, crema Mexicana, onions and lettuce. With limited seating but a lively atmosphere, Barrio Chino is best for grabbing lunch or dinner with friends.

Barrio Chino. marta skovro


  • 177 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

This Japanese-style cafe and diner was designed to serve the neighborhood, offering homemade bread and coffee in the morning, Japanese-style bento lunch boxes during the day, and either a full dinner or just late-night snacks that pair perfectly with sake at night. (There’s also a Sapporo draft and sushi daily happy hour.) The dining room is often packed during dinner time, so reservations are recommended. 


Clinton St. Baking Company

  • 4 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

A Lower East Side staple, Clinton St. Baking Company is a travel destination in its own right for brunch enthusiasts. Renowned for their impossibly fluffy pancakes, the restaurant offers a delightful mix of American classics with a touch of Southern comfort. Expect long lines on weekends (or even weekdays), but the wait is worth it for their signature buttermilk pancakes, alongside tempting options like huevos rancheros as well as fried chicken and waffles.

Clinton Street Baking Co. Clinton Street Baking Co.


  • 119 Delancey St, New York, NY 10002

Dhamaka touts an "unapologetic Indian" dining experience. This vibrant eatery celebrates the diverse regional cuisines of India, going beyond the typical butter chicken and naan. Expect a colorful space buzzing with energy, where you can delve into flavorful curries, unique street food dishes and fresh seafood specialties. Dhamaka promises a culinary adventure for those seeking to explore the true breadth and vibrancy of Indian cuisine.

Dhamaka. Dhamaka


  • 49 Canal St, New York, NY 10002

Dimes finds itself at the epicenter of Dimes Square, the much-talked about (and much-mocked) "micro-neighborhood" between Chinatown and the Lower East Side. Whether this is a real neighborhood or not is debatable, but the quality of the experience at Dimes, a scene-stealer known for its vegetable-forward, Californian-inspired fare, is solid. This minimalist, whitewashed space with blond wood accents offers a health-conscious approach to dining. Patrons flock to Dimes for their all-day breakfast options like scrambled eggs with avocado and pickled peppers, or their hearty lunch bowls featuring ingredients like roasted cauliflower with orange zest and pistachios. Don't miss the signature wheatgrass margarita or house-made juices.

Dimes. Dimes.

Dirt Candy

  • 86 Allen St, New York, NY 10002

Dirt Candy has long been a must-visit spot for vegans and vegetarians either living in New York or just visiting. But really, it’s a must-visit for anyone who eats, period. This critically acclaimed spot pushes the boundaries of plant-based cuisine with its innovative and artistic dishes. Chef Amanda Cohen creates playful and unexpected vegetarian takes on classic favorites, like Korean fried broccoli "wings" or portobello mushroom "mousses." The sleek, white-walled dining room with a central open kitchen allows diners to watch the culinary magic unfold, while the ever-changing tasting menus offer a delicious and surprising journey through the world of vegetables. 

Dirt Candy. Dirt Candy.

Dirty French

  • 180 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

Transport yourself to a burlesque-inspired Parisian bistro right from Lower Manhattan at Major Food Group’s Dirty French. Located at street level within the Ludlow Hotel, this bar and restaurant pulsates with a spirited energy. Patrons can choose from elegant booths or vintage chairs for people-watching under the restaurant's signature pink neon sign. The menu offers a playful twist on classic French fare, with some unexpected Thai influences thrown in. Be prepared for a high-energy atmosphere, delicious food and perhaps a glimpse of the city's fashion elite.

Dirty French. Dirty French.

Jajaja Mexicana

  • 162 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

This plant-based Mexican eatery features a colorful, aqua-hued interior buzzing with music and a playful atmosphere. Dive into a world of creative and flavorful vegan takes on Mexican classics, like jackfruit carnitas tacos and cashew cheese fundido, all alongside an extensive tequila and mezcal selection. With multiple locations in Manhattan, Jajaja is great for grabbing a quick bite or settling in for a boozy fiesta.

Jajaja Mexicana. Jajaja Mexicana.

Katz's Delicatessen

  • 205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

A New York institution steeped in history, Katz's Deli is one of the most sought-out destinations in the neighborhood among first-time visitors to New York. Founded in 1888, the corner delicatessen exudes a timeless charm with its bustling atmosphere and theatrical service. Once you get past the long lines outside (it's best to show up as early in the day as possible to avoid this), step inside and be greeted by the sight of countertops overflowing with hand-sliced pastrami and corned beef—a carnivore's dream come true. Katz's Pastrami Sandwich is one of the most famous sandwiches in the city (and cinema), and it's one of the heaviest, too, so come hungry if you plan to order it. But don't be put off by the slightly gruff demeanor of the employees at the counter—that's just part of the Katz's experience, adding a touch of old-school New York character to your visit. If you’re craving a true New York bagel, head just down the street to Russ & Daughters, and if you want to finish off with a sweet ice cream treat, make your way next door to Il Laboratorio Del Gelato. 

Katz's Delicatessen. Katz's Delicatessen.


  • 403 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

Manousheh offers a taste of Lebanese tradition right on Grand Street. This casual eatery specializes in manousheh, a flatbread similar to pita, baked fresh in a saj oven. Patrons can choose from classic toppings like za'atar, a fragrant spice blend, or opt for more adventurous options like labneh cheese with walnuts or spiced ground lamb. With its open kitchen and friendly atmosphere, Manousheh is a perfect spot for a quick and satisfying bite, taking you to the streets of Beirut with each flavorful mouthful.

Manousheh. Manousheh.

Pig and Khao

  • 68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

Chef Leah Cohen's menu is a pork-centric love letter to Thai and Filipino flavors. Expect bold, crispy bites like whole fried fish with a sweet and spicy curry sauce, alongside rich dishes like pork belly adobo, all washed down with bottomless Narragansett beer if you choose. The lively atmosphere, complete with loud music, makes this a fun spot for a flavorful group meal.

Pig and Khao. Pig and Khao.

Sunday to Sunday

  • 88 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

Sitting on a lively corner of the Lower East Side, Sunday to Sunday is your go-to, all-day hangout. This modern New Yorker diner offers a versatile atmosphere, transforming from a relaxed weekday workspace to a trendy date spot on Thursdays and Fridays—as well as a bustling brunch haven on weekends. Their menu caters to all appetites, featuring delicious coffee, brunch classics, tempting dinner options and creative cocktails. They even boast a killer soundtrack to complete the vibrant scene.

Sunday to Sunday. Sunday to Sunday.

Supermoon Bakehouse

  • 120 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

Supermoon Bakehouse is a treasured spot for pastry enthusiasts with a penchant for the extraordinary. This bakery boasts a pink neon sign that beckons passersby, and lives up to the hype with its expertly crafted and often outrageous pastries—namely the “cruffin,” a hybrid of a croissant and muffin, with flavors like chai, rose and pistachio or stuffed with Ferrero Rocher chocolate. They also offer more traditional options alongside their creative takes, all made with high-quality ingredients and meticulous technique. Be prepared for potentially long lines, but the reward is a truly unique and delectable pastry experience.

Supermoon Bakehouse. Supermoon Bakehouse.


  • 144 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

This popular daytime spot specializes in "trapizzini," a triangular street food classic in Rome, which is essentially crispy sourdough pockets stuffed with flavorful fillings. Go beyond the expected with their menu featuring Roman staples like oxtail ragu, stracciatella di burrata and cantabrian anchovies. The casual, counter-service format makes it great for a quick bite, capturing the essence of Roman street food culture with every mouthful.

Trappizino. Trappizino.

Where to Drink


  • 134 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

Hidden amongst the narrow streets of the Lower East Side, Attaboy is a speakeasy-style cocktail bar with a legendary history. Look for the small "AB" on the unmarked metal door on Eldridge Street—if you manage to gain entry, expect an intimate setting with a focus on expertly crafted drinks. And there's no menu here, either. The bartenders—veterans of the famed Milk & Honey bar— work their magic based on your taste preferences, whipping up perfectly balanced classics or innovative concoctions. This is a place for serious cocktail enthusiasts seeking a password-protected portal to a bygone era of mixology.

Attaboy. Daniel Krieger Photography

Double Chicken Please

  • 115 Allen St, New York, NY 10002

Don't be put off by the funny name, as Double Chicken Please is the place to see and be seen among cocktail connoisseurs right now. This trendy spot boasts a duality: the front room is a casual, upscale tribute to old-fashioned soda shops, offering Asian-inspired cocktails, like the popular Number Three with apple brandy, cranberry and spiced pear ginger ale. Venture into the back and you'll discover The Coop, a speakeasy-style lounge with plush seating and a focus on refined, creative cocktails. Just plan your time accordingly, as this hotspot is so sizzling that there are long lines every day of the week. (Except Monday, when it’s closed.)

Double Chicken Please. Double Chicken Please.

Kind Regards

  • 152 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

Kind Regards is a cocktail bar that caters to both the daytime and late-night crowds. This dual-level venue offers a unique experience: the upstairs is a seasonally decorated space perfect for a trendy cocktail and conversation, bathed in warm light. Descend the stairs, however, and you’ll find yourself in a Miami-inspired nightclub complete with pulsating music and a vibrant atmosphere.  Regardless of the time or your mood, Kind Regards offers a stylish and versatile space to enjoy expertly crafted drinks and soak up the energy of the neighborhood.

Kind Regards. Kind Regards.

Mr. Purple

  • 180 Orchard St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10002

Located on the 15th floor of the Hotel Indigo Lower East Side, Mr. Purple has become a place everyone in New York needs to visit at least once. This rooftop hotel bar captures the artistic spirit of the neighborhood with its reclaimed wood and exposed pipes, offering an upscale yet relaxed ambiance. During warmer months, the outdoor terrace with its sparkling pool transforms into a lively party scene, while the cooler months offer a cozy indoor escape with floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing the city skyline and views of the East River. Regardless of the weather outside, you can always indulge in elevated bar bites and handcrafted cocktails while gazing out at breathtaking city views. The best time to visit is during the week for an after-work, early evening spot to catch magic hour. Lines on the ground level can be long on weekends, especially when the weather is nice and everyone is looking for the best rooftop around. 

Mr. Purple. Mr. Purple

Skin Contact

  • 76 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

Skin Contact caters to wine lovers seeking a taste of the unconventional. This wine bar champions natural wines, eschewing mass-produced bottles for small-batch, minimal-intervention options. And don’t worry about a stuffy attitude here. The exposed brick walls and friendly staff create a relaxed space to explore the world of natural wines. Whether you're a seasoned oenophile or a curious newcomer, Skin Contact offers a curated selection by the glass or bottle, alongside delicious charcuterie and light bites to complement your chosen vino.


  • 161 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

Stepping into Thief is like stepping into a celebration of the city's vibrant 1980s art and music scene. This modern take on a neighborhood bar features a design inspired by iconic figures like Debbie Harry and the Beastie Boys. Exposed brick walls adorned with graffiti murals by Bisco Smith set the scene, while vintage cassette tape wallpaper in the bathrooms adds a playful touch. The beverage menu boasts ten expertly shaken and stirred cocktails alongside two frozen tequila and mezcal creations, all designed to transport you back to a bygone era.

Thief. mausfilms inc.


  • 188 Suffolk St, New York, NY 10002

Open since 2012, this cocktail bar prioritizes a warm and inviting atmosphere, designed to feel like your ideal New York living space. Here, quality reigns supreme. Subject boasts a concise menu of expertly crafted cocktails, each featuring superlative ice and often incorporating fresh, local ingredients. Beyond the creative tipples, they offer a diverse selection of spirits, unique wines and small-batch beers, ensuring there's something to tantalize every taste bud, whether you're a seasoned cocktail connoisseur or simply seeking a relaxed evening of good company and exceptional drinks.

What to Do

Bluestockings Cooperative Bookstore

  • 116 Suffolk St, New York, NY 10002

Founded by a collective of women, this worker-owned space offers a curated selection of books on feminism, queer and gender studies, resistance movements and social justice. Beyond the shelves, Bluestockings fosters a sense of community with a small fair-trade coffee shop serving Zapatista beans, volunteer opportunities and community events like author readings and discussion groups. 

Bluestockings. Raquel Espasande.

Essex Market

  • 88 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

A historic landmark transformed into a modern marketplace, Essex Market offers a delightful mix of culinary and shopping experiences. Browse through stalls brimming with fresh, locally sourced produce, artisanal cheeses and gourmet meats. Indulge in a global food adventure with vendors offering everything from Japanese ramen to French-inspired breakfast sandwiches. Beyond the food stalls, Essex Market boasts a curated selection of indie shops selling handcrafted jewelry, homewares and unique gifts. With seating options outside and indoors on multiple levels, Essex Market is a lively hub that serves all of your foodie and shopping needs, whether you’re eating alone or with others for any meal of the day.

Essex Market. Dustin Niles.

International Center of Photography Museum

  • 79 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

This world-renowned institution on Essex Street boasts a dynamic schedule of exhibitions showcasing everything from historical masterpieces to thought-provoking contemporary works. Beyond the galleries, ICP offers educational programs, artist talks, film screenings and special events, providing a wellspring of knowledge and inspiration for anyone interested in the ever-evolving world of photography.

International Center of Photography Museum. JEENAH MOON

New Museum

  • 235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002

The New Museum on Bowery is a champion of the bold and the new in the art world. This Lower East Side institution, housed in a distinctive stack of box-like structures, dedicates its space to groundbreaking contemporary art, design and performance. Explore thought-provoking temporary exhibitions showcasing emerging and established artists, pushing the boundaries of traditional mediums and sparking critical conversations. At the time of publication, note that the museum building is temporarily closed for a major building expansion, and is expected to reopen in early 2025. During the temporary closure, the museum is hosting online and offsite events including DEMO2024, a three-day art, design, and technology festival at WSA in lower Manhattan, and live virtual events such as storytelling workshops.

New Museum. Dean Kaufman.

Orange Glou

  • 264 Broome St, New York, NY 10002

Wine lovers on the lookout for something different should head to Orange Glou, a wine shop specializing in natural wines. Founded as an online subscription service, Orange Glou has blossomed into a brick-and-mortar store as well as an online retailer. Here, curated shelves overflow with exciting, small-production natural wines sourced from all corners of the globe. Expect to find unique and often unlabeled bottles that prioritize organic and biodynamic viticulture, perfect for adventurous palates seeking to explore the unfiltered soul of wine.

Orange Glou. Orange Glou
  • 202 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

One of the newest additions to the Lower East Side since opening this past spring, Plato Gallery was founded by Elena Platonova with the intention of fostering intercultural dialogue through contemporary art. Platonova—having lived across the U.S. and Europe, collaborating with leading international artists—curates exhibitions that showcase established and emerging artists with diverse backgrounds. Plato especially champions these "mixed types," showcasing artists who blend cultures and and those who bridge divides, whose work both honors artistic traditions and pushes boundaries, reflecting the multifaceted nature of human experience. Guests can drop in and peruse the gallery, or make an appointment to do so, and all of the works are available for sale. Exhibitions also rotate frequently, so check the gallery’s website before visiting for what’s currently on the walls.

Blazej P Sendzielski.

Tenement Museum

  • 103 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

To truly understand the Lower East Side and all of its history and importance, you must visit the Tenement Museum. This unique museum preserves two historic tenement addresses—97 and 103 Orchard Street—which were home to over 15,000 immigrants from 20 different countries between 1863 and 2011. Explore recreated apartments furnished to reflect the lives of these families, offering a glimpse into the challenges and triumphs of immigrant life in New York City. Through guided tours and walking tours, the Tenement Museum sheds light on the ever-changing story of the Lower East Side and the enduring American immigrant experience. 

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