New York City is a collection of high-density, culturally unique communities. Perhaps no area of New York is as historically diverse and contains as many secrets as the Lower East Side. It’s one of our favorite areas of the city. So let’s take a walk.
A Quick Background
Part of what gives the Lower East Side - the LES - so much character is its deep history. The area south of Houston and east of Bowery was the home to the majority of immigrants arriving in New York City during the 1800’s, who crowded in dense tenement housing and brought flavors of their own cultures. The LES has been a rapidly evolving area of New York, and is incredible during both day and night.
Get Your Mind Right
Let’s take a walk down Orchard street, one of the LES’s most picturesque streets. Grab a green juice from Dr. Smood on the corner of Houston and Orchard, if you’re feeling some health fuel.
As you walk south on Orchard, you’ll pass an array of designer clothing shops and art studios - a great way to spend the afternoon. And if you want to get fresh for the evening, hit up Frank’s Chop Shop on Essex and Hester - a barbershop giving some of the best cuts in the LES.
There’s something for everyone in the LES. Barrio Chino (on Broome between Orchard and Ludlow) is an atmospheric Mexican restaurant with a consistently fun scene; grab a margarita while you wait for the table.
Kiki’s, an energetic Greek restaurant on the corner of Division and Orchard, is perfect for a date or dinner with friends. The Fat Radish - right across the street from Kiki’s - is a more upscale option, serving modern British dishes in an enticingly lit setting.
The options for nightlife are many in the LES. We could write a dissertation on this topic… but we’ll keep it brief and highlight some of the most special places.
Bar Belly - on Orchard near Canal - is a lively bar always filled with a fun-loving crowd and often some live music. Head east to discover Fig 19 - a secret bar hidden behind the wall in an art gallery (there are no signs on the outside so you’re going to have to trust us - Chrystie Street, between Broome and Delancey).
A more well-known example of another ‘hidden’ bar in the LES is Beauty and Essex - a trendy restaurant and bar located on Essex Street, where the entrance requires you to walk through a pawn shop. End the night at Vandal, a late night hot spot serving food and drinks on the Bowery.
So many places to go in the LES, so little time. But use these recommendations and you’ll be off to a great start.