Downtown East, from Canal Street to Houston Street, from the East River to the Bowery.
The Lower East Side is an expanse in Manhattan that ranges from the historic — renters can still find a great selection of walkups, mostly without doormen — to the modern. Blue, a bold condo from French abstract architect Bernard Tschumi, offers Lower East Siders a roof terrace and a cold storage locker for Fresh Direct deliveries in addition to 24-hour doorman service. At 17 Orchard on the Lower East Side, floor-through condos with oversized windows have stacked washer/dryers and custom cabinets.
Living in the Lower East Side
The Lower East Side has experienced a dramatic transformation over the 20th century from working-class neighborhood to eclectic, cultural hub. The varied nightlife, eye-catching street art and flowing creative energy draw New Yorkers from all over the city.
Nestled between Canal Street and Houston Street and stretching from the East River to the Bowery, it’s well connected too. You can catch the J, M, Z subway lines to and from Essex Street and the F at Delancey Street and East Broadway.
Lower East Side Restaurants
This dynamic area’s roots as immigrants’ entry point to the city has resulted in a rich and culturally diverse mix of dining options. If you’re after a snack, grab a donut at Doughnut Plant on Grand Street, between Essex and Norfolk. Locals go there for the crème brûlée donuts which come with the classic hardened caramel topping. For a lunch that will keep you full throughout the day, head to the famous Katz’s Deli on East Houston Street. It’s a good idea to get there early to beat the lunch rush and the line that snakes round the block for their corned beef and pastrami sandwiches. Russ & Daughters is an iconic spot for Jewish comfort food.
You’ll find plenty of atmospheric Lower East Side restaurants for dinner too, with Asian dishes, in particular, drawing a buzzing crowd.
Lower East Side nightlife
LES is renowned for its nightlife and caters for all tastes, whether you’re looking for a rowdy dive joint or an upscale cocktail bar. It’s also the breeding ground for many of the city’s best rock’n’roll acts like The Strokes. Highlights include live music at the Bowery Ballroom on Delancey Street, where the split-level design and mezzanine create an intimate atmosphere despite the generous capacity. Close by is the Delancey, which spreads out over three floors. Sit on the rooftop terrace for a view of the Williamsburg Bridge in the midst of tropical plants, before heading downstairs to enjoy the energetic live music and DJ sets.
Lower East Side history
The Lower East Side continues to pay homage to its diverse history. Immigrants from all over Europe settled in the Lower East Side during the late 19th and early 20th century, and the former slums have evolved into thriving neighborhoods that have retained their worldly influences. Its later association with radical politics attracted influential creatives to the area, leading to a regeneration. The late ’90s and early 2000s saw the area surge in popularity, but it retains its no-nonsense and expressive vibe.
It’s commonly known to be New York City’s first racially integrated neighborhood.
Lower East Side events
There’s always something going on in LES. For example, in September, Little Italy celebrates the Feast of San Gennaro by blessing the streets and hosting its annual cannoli eating contest.
The Lower East Side Festival of the Arts has been running for 20 years. This free celebration of the area’s cultural contribution to the city takes place in May and has featured appearances from leading figures like Kurt Vonnegut, Arthur Miller and Quentin Crisp.
Lower East Side parks
Fresh air and outside space might not be the first things that come to mind when you think of Manhattan. However, there are plenty of places to while away sunny afternoons in LES. The pathway along the East River has dedicated running and cycling tracks, leading eventually to Corlears Hook Park at the intersection of Cherry and Jackson Streets. This dog-friendly park has iconic views over the water and Williamsburg Bridge. There are more pockets of green space further inland, including leafy Seward Park, the country’s first municipally built playground.
Lower East Side shopping
On Orchard Street LES’s industrial past and trendy future sit by side. While most of the bargain shops have transformed into up-to-the-minute boutiques selling sleek menswear and upcycled vintage accessories, old-school fabric stores and tailors still exist. If you’re looking for an outfit worthy of wearing out to the Bowery, here’s where you’ll find a suitable rock’n’roll look.
Chinatown’s supermarkets are the answer to your Asian cooking questions but there’s much more to the area than just food. The area is quickly filling up with quirky streetwear outlets that wouldn’t look out of place in the East Village.
Lower East Side real estate
A lot of the Lower East Side real estate available comes in the form of pre-war walk-ups. More modern Lower East Side condos prioritize light with floor-through designs and large windows. The futuristic Blue Condominium high-rise is a modern option, offering residents the use of a roof terrace, full concierge service and
Lower East Side attractions
Living in the Lower East Side puts you within easy reach of some of the city’s most culturally rich neighborhoods. Step back in time at the Tenement Museum at 97 Orchard Street. This walk-up records the lives of real immigrant families from all over the world at different points of the 19th and 20th centuries. Guided tours bring the six meticulously restored apartments to life. The museum also runs walking tours throughout the LES charting the immigrant experience.
"Looking for that new twist on Chinese food? Head to Mission Chinese for a yummy cocktail and some numbingly spicy wings!"
What's In The Area: Lower East Side
Local tips and information for going out in the Lower East Side from The Corcoran Group. Explore dining, shopping and nightlife.All Lower East Side tips