Things to Do in Lower Manhattan and Downtown NYC

By Kirsten McCroskrie

Looking for things to do in Lower Manhattan?

The lower portion of New York City is one of the busiest places in the world; so naturally, there are a ton of fun things to do.

Lower Manhattan is defined as everything south of 14th Street toward the New York Harbor (also referred to as “Downtown”). Downtown Manhattan is known for its presence of government infrastructure and lots of businesses.

From waterfront Battery Park to cruises and museums, Lower Manhattan offers visitors a diverse assortment of activities that you can’t find elsewhere in the city.

Waterfront/The Battery

The Battery, formerly known as Battery Park, is an excellent area to relax and enjoy the waterfront, as well as numerous water-based activities like harbor cruises.

A historic park in itself, named after the artillery batteries that were stationed there in the early years to protect the city, a visit to the park is a great way to soak up a little bit of early-NYC history.

In addition to The Battery's proximity to the harbor, it’s a popular spot for New York natives to work out, attend seasonal public entertainment events, or enjoy a take-away meal al fresco.

Cruises in Downtown Manhattan

If you’re looking to cruise in historic fashion, Manhattan By Sail offers the Clipper City Tall Ship Cruise and the Shearwater Classic Schooner; both are notable cruise ships that have stood the test of time and provide beautiful views of NYC.

The Clipper City Tall Ship was originally a cargo ship that was first used in Wisconsin just before the Civil War. As for the Shearwater Classic Schooner, the ship was first launched in 1929 and was officially deemed a National Landmark in 2009.

Battery Park is also where you can hope on the Statue Cruises ferry which takes visitors to and from the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The iconic statue is widely recognized as a symbol of hope in New York, the United States, and beyond and attracts visitors from around the world. After visiting Lady Liberty, you head to Ellis Island’s Immigration Museum to learn all about the history of immigration in the US.

Walking Tours in Downtown Manhattan

With so much history in Lower Manhattan, the area is a great venue for guided walking tours, like the Secrets of Downtown Tour, NYC Slavery and Underground Railroad Tour, and the NYC Gospel Walking Tour.

Discover interesting little-known facts about Downtown on the Secrets of Downtown – Tour Lower Manhattan. It’s a great way to get familiar with the area’s history and learn about other fun things to do in Downtown Manhattan.

If you’re interested in the role NYC has played in finance, find out everything there is to know on the Wall Street Walks Tour which explores the Financial District and the history of the United States’ financial institutions and some of its most influential players, like Alexander Hamilton.

Museums in Downtown Manhattan

Continue your financial exploration at the Museum of American Finance, which incorporates high-tech interactive media displays, before checking out some of Downtown Manhattan’s other museums.

One of the most popular NYC attractions, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum is located Downtown in the footprints of the Twin Towers. The museum features gorgeous waterfalls honoring the September 11th attack victims. Inside, you can find artifacts from September 11, such as fire trucks that were on the scene, pieces of the original building, and more.

If you’re interested in New York City’s impressive skyline and architecture, head to The Skyscraper Museum. The museum even includes a detailed model of Manhattan with all of the borough’s buildings on display.

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New York Shopping - Discounts with The New York Pass®

New York is a shopper's paradise! You can find anything and everything in the many stores throughout the city and now you can shop TAX-FREE in NYC on clothing and shoes priced under $110. There are thousands of shops, so whether it's upscale Madison Avenue or the bargain-friendly Lower East Side, the Big Apple offers everything for everybody! The New York Pass adds something to your shopping experience as well. Some places will have a special gift waiting for New York Pass holders. Others like Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s will offer you an 11% discount. Also, don’t forget to visit the Century 21 Department Store. They sell designer merchandise at 40% - 70% off retail prices. Another huge shopping experience is the world-famous Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, where you can enjoy everyday savings of 25% to 65% from Dolce & Gabbana, Gap Outlet, Nike Factory Store, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Salvatore Ferragamo, Timberland, and many more. With the New York Pass, you will receive a VIP Coupon Booklet upon arrival. It's worth hundreds of dollars of additional savings at participating stores. Intrigued? Here's where you can enjoy shopping perks with your New York Pass B&H Photo-Video-Pro Audio If you’re looking for the ultimate shopping experience, this is it – the world’s largest discount camera and video electronics superstore. Bloomingdale's When you visit the legendary Bloomingdale’s flagship store at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue, you’ll know why New Yorkers say “It’s Like No Other Store in the World”. Dylan’s Candy Bar Dylan’s Candy Bar was founded in 2001 by Dylan Lauren and is renowned for merging the worlds of art, fashion, and pop culture with candy. Macy’s Herald Square Visitors Center Macy’s is not only a fashion institution – it’s an American icon. Visit the famed Macy’s Herald Square, the world’s largest store with over 2 million square feet of retail space. Store at The Museum Of Sex Regarded as “one of the best” in New York according to Time Out magazine, the store at the Museum of Sex presents a curated selection of top quality products across various categories allowing customers to further explore their sexuality. Sunglass Hut This offer is valid only in New York City Sunglass Hut stores and may not be combined with any other offers, discounts, promotional offers, or gift cards. Offer valid while supplies last! Trinity Place Department Store Being the only one of its kind in NYC, Trinity Place Department Store is indeed a ‘very different’ kind of specialty store. Woodbury Common Premium Outlets/ Short Line/ Coach USA Bus Visit the world-famous Woodbury Common Premium Outlets and shop at 220 designer and brand-name outlet stores less than one hour’s comfortable bus drive from Manhattan.
Kirsten McCroskrie

Ideas For New York City Days Out

Big Bus Hop on Hop off Tours Jump right into the sights of New York City by taking the Big Bus Hop on Hop off Tour. With each New York Pass, you receive a ticket for the Big Bus which includes the Uptown and Downtown tours. Along these guided tours, you have the option of getting off at major NYC attractions like the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, and more. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Hop off of the bus at stop 28 on the Uptown Route which is for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Inside of the museum, you'll see one of the most extensive art collections in the world featuring works by the legendary Pablo Picasso, Van Gogh and many more. Empire State Building Travel to the Empire State Building where you can view the vibrant lights of New York City at night from the world's most famous observatory. On the 86th floor of the ESB, you can enjoy the beautiful panoramic view until 2am. On the Hudson river High Line-Chelsea-Meatpacking Tour Walk along the beautiful elevated High Line Park on the Chelsea-Meatpacking tour. The tour runs daily at 9:30am and shows you what is perhaps the most unique park in NYC. You will also get to learn about Manhattan's Meatpacking district before heading next door to the High Line's neighbor, the Whitney. Whitney Museum of Art After the tour, step inside of the Whitney Museum of Art and view new exhibitions as American Art pieces fill the rooms. Inside you will also find works from the Whitney's permanent collection which contains over 21,000 objects and features artists like Georgia O'Keeffe. Once you're done in the museum, take advantage of your 15% discount on Liberty Helicopter Tours. You'll get an amazing view of the city as you fly over the Hudson River. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Head to the fascinating Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum where you can find exhibits on a legendary aircraft and ship. You can also utilize your New York Pass' Fast Track Entry to get in and start viewing the Intrepid quicker than you would with general admission. Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises Close out the day on a relaxing cruise down the Hudson River with Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises. You have the choice of several cruises that will give you the best waterfront views of New York City. Soho and Greenwich Village Big Bus Hop on Hop off ToursNormal entry $60.00 Wake up and take the Big Bus Hop on Hop off Tour's downtown route which will bring you to SoHo (Stop 8) where you can take the SoHo-Little Italy-Chinatown Walking Tour SoHo-Little Italy-Chinatown TourNormal entry $35.00 Discover some of New York City's most exciting neighborhoods like SoHo, Little Italy and Chinatown on an informative walking tour that teaches about the many cultures co-existing in the city. New MuseumNormal entry $16.00 After touring some of NYC's most cultured neighborhoods, you can explore the great innovation on display at the New Museum which specializes in contemporary art. Discover Downtown and the Statue of Liberty Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island No trip to NYC is complete without visiting the Statue of Liberty. Head to Battery Park in the morning and take the Statue Cruises ferry to Lady Liberty and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Fraunces Tavern The ferry will take you back to Battery Park and from there you can discover some of the true gems of Downtown like Fraunces Tavern. The Tavern has a rich history and once was the headquarters for George Washington, the 1st president of the United States. Wall Street Walks Catch an afternoon tour of NYC's Financial District on the Wall Street Walks tour. The journey lasts approximately 90 minutes and is jam-packed with information on early America. Museum of American Finance After exploring Wall Street, take a walk to the Museum of American Finance where the economical history of the country is on display for all to see. There are interactive exhibits used to teach visitors about finance in the U.S.A as well as financial figures like Alexander Hamilton. 9/11 Memorial & more NYC Gospel Walking Tour On Sundays, treat yourself to the best Gospel that New York has to offer on the NYC Gospel Walking Tour. The tour even concludes with an actual church service. 9/11 Memorial & Museum For every other day of the week, you can begin with a trip to the lovely Downtown area of Manhattan where you can visit the 9/11 Memorial & Museum as well as the 9/11 Tribute Center. Both attractions offer great insight on the September 11th attack of 2001 with a series of installations. 9/11 Tribute Center Clipper City Tall Ship When you're done at the museum, you can enjoy a special waterfront trip on the Clipper City Tall Ship Cruises from Manhattan By Sail. Whether day or night, you'll have an amazing view of New York City's most popular landmarks. South Street Seaport New York Water Taxi Make your way to the nearest New York Water Taxi stop and ride the cruise to Pier 11 at South Street Seaport where you can indulge in the many flavors at restaurants and great shops in the area. Circle Line Downtown Within walking distance is the Circle Line Downtown which takes you on a scenic cruise across the Hudson River. Blazing Saddles Bike Rentals Once the cruise is over, head to Blazing Saddles and ride around New York City in style. You can rent out a bicycle for a full 24 hours and also take part in guided group tours. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO Tour Get your day started with the Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO neighborhood tour at 11am. You'll get to walk across one of the most iconic bridges in the world and discover the steadily developing area underneathe the Manhattan Bridge. Brooklyn Museum of Art Venture into one of the premier art institutions that this world has to offer. Breath-taking exhibits are always on display at the Brooklyn Museum. New York Transit Museum Then make your way to the New York Transit Museum and learn about the advancements made in the MTA's subway system over the years. You can also spend some time inside of a real NYC train displayed in the museum. After this, you'll still have plenty of time in the day to attend more attractions in the city. Empire State Building Empire State Building If you're looking to escape the large crowds at the Empire State Building, it's best to arrive early. You can enter the ESB at 8am and enjoy the 360 degree panoramic view from the 86th floor Observatory before the crowds pile in. Madison Square Garden Tour Take a short stroll down the block and tour the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. During the tour you will get to know the arena's history and even step foot inside of the locker rooms for the New York Knicks and Rangers. Fashion Windows Walking Tour In the afternoon, join the Fashion Windows Walking Tour and discover NYC's greatest high fashion stores as well as the favorite stores of well known celebrities like Sofia Vergara. Times Square & Broadway The Ride If you're lucky enough to secure tickets for The Ride, it can be an excellent start to the day as you cruise the streets of New York City with a few special surprises along the way. Madame Tussauds Once the ride is over, head to the fabulous Interactive Wax Attraction Madame Tussauds in the heart of Times Square and see some of your favorite celebrities. All of that excitement sure can work up an appetite. Enjoy a delicious meal at Planet Hollywood and take advantage of your 15% discount with the New York Pass. Inside Broadway Tours Later on, learn about what it is like to be a Broadway actor as you take the Inside Broadway Tours. You'll hear from real Broadway performers and visit famous NYC theaters. NFL Experience, Times Square End the day by visiting the NFL Experience, Times Square. Feel like you are a part of a professional NFL game in The Stadium- a 4D theater. Wear comfortable clothing to visit the Equipment Room, where you can partake in both digital and physical activities similar to an NFL practice. Rockefeller center Top of The Rock Thanks to Rockefeller Center being home to a few popular attractions, you can certainly get your money's worth without having to move too far. Start the day at Top of The Rock and marvel at the beautiful view of New York City from the 3 observatory floors. Rockefeller Center Tour When you're done admiring the view of the city, take the Rockefeller Center Tour and learn the history of the plaza in addition to all the great activities to take part in while you're there. Radio City Music Hall Tour Step behind the scenes at Radio City and learn about the great shows that have taken place there since its opening in 1932. The Radio City Music Hall Stage Door Tour will answer all of your questions and even give you the chance to meet one of the Rockettes. Midtown attractions Big Bus Hop on Hop off Tours Get to know the city with an early morning ride on the Big Bus Hop on Hop off tours and feel free to get off the bus to do some exploring. You can get right back on the next bus from the nearest stop. Grand Central Terminal Audio Tour Take the Grand Central Terminal Audio Tour and learn more about the historic commuting station that sees more than 750,000 people per day. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) After the audio tour, take a trip to the world-renowned Museum of Modern Art and view the exciting exhibits on display. You'll also find works by legendary artists such as Van Gogh and Claude Monet. Food On Foot Tours At this point, you'll be ready to eat and Food on Foot Tours is the perfect introduction to the best New York style dishes. Bring a bib. Central Park on a bike Central Park Sightseeing Bicycle Tours & Rentals The sun is shining in NYC and it's the perfect day to go for a ride. Get things started with an early Central Park Sightseeing Bicycle Tour or if you feel like riding at your own pace, rent out a bicycle for up to 4 hours. Tour at Lincoln Center Following your bike ride in Central Park, you can take the Tour at Lincoln Center and discover all of the famous organizations that have theaters within the plaza such as the Metropolitan Opera House and the New York Philharmonic. New York Historical Society Central Park with kids On Location Tours Central Park TV and Movie Sites Central Park is filled with excitement and activities for everyone, old and young. The children will certainly enjoy visiting famous areas from the big screen when they take the On Location Tours Central Park TV and Movie Sites tour. Along the journey you'll see familiar sights from Home Alone 2 and Stuart Little. American Museum of Natural History Then take a trip to the American Museum of Natural History and explore the many different exhibits highlighting various species like humans and dinosaurs. AMNH is quite a popular attraction in NYC but not to worry as you have access to Fast Track Entry which will allow you to avoid the general admission line. Museum mile The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York City is known to have great variety when it comes to art museums. A section of fifth avenue starting at 82nd street is even called 'Museum Mile'. Take a stroll and explore the great museums in the area starting with the Metropolitan Museum of Art which features more than 2 million works in their permanent collection including pieces by Picasso. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Later you can venture to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the elegantly designed building housing art from some of the world's most iconic creators of all time. Museum of the City of New York Continue your journey to the Museum of the City of New York where innovative multimedia installations like Timelapses are always on display. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Visit the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and explore the country's one and only museum dedicated to historic, contemporary design. Uptown & Harlem The Cathedral of St. John the Divine Explore one of the nation's premiere religious centers, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and learn the rich history that this landmark has built in New York City. Harlem One Stop Tour Explore the many cultural gems in Harlem such as the One Stop Cultural & Heritage Walking and Step-On Group Tour Packages. Botanical gardens and Yankees stadium New York Botanical Garden Make your way to the Bronx for a day of adventure as you take in all of the borough's greatest sights. First stop by the New York Botanical Garden to see the beautiful displays of plant life in numerous gardens. Yankee Stadium Tours You can easily spend a few hours in amazement at the NY Botanical Garden but there's still more to see in the Bronx. Plan a reservation ahead of time and secure your spot for the Yankee Stadium Tour. Get an inside look at the 27 time World Series champions, the New York Yankees and their iconic stadium. Right outside the stadium, you can access the subway and still have time to fit more attractions into your day. Hallelujah! Gospel Wednesday Tour On Wednesdays, you can also take the Hallelujah! Gospel Wednesday Tour that highlights the most iconic religious centers in Harlem. Harlem Bike Rentals Get acquainted with Manhattan's historic and culturally vibrant neighbourhood of Harlem as you go at your own pace with Harlem Bike Rentals. Dive into the culture of Harlem and explore all of the great scenery along the ride. Unlimited Biking offers up to a Full Day's rental that you can enjoy for free with your New York Pass. The Cloisters Museum and Gardens Before the day is done, pay a visit to the Cloisters Museum and Gardens at Fort Tryon Park. The Cloisters is a branch of the MET museum that specializes in medieval art pieces. During the summer you can also enjoy extended hours at the museum.
Shashia Mitchell

New York Cruises for Sightseeing

Imagine seeing the beautiful Manhattan Skyline from New York Harbor and the Hudson River. By taking a sightseeing cruise, you will have enough photo opportunities to fill your Instagram feed. Here are just a few of the most popular NYC attractions you will see from the water: Battery Park, Museum of Jewish Heritage, Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, United Nations, Roosevelt Island, Gracie Mansion, Harlem, Yankee Stadium, Columbia University, Palisades of New Jersey, George Washington Bridge, Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, The Intrepid, One World Trade Center and many more New York Pass exclusive arrangement with Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises entitles you to free admission to the following cruises - Liberty cruise - Harbor Lights sunset cruise The Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises are valued at $43 for an Adult ticket, but the New York Pass holders don’t pay a cent – another great reason to buy the New York Pass Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise Downtown Climb aboard this fun express ride to view the Statue of Liberty from the unique perspective of the waterfront and learn more about New York’s historic skyline. Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises Circle Line is billed as 'America's Favorite Boat Ride'. Cruise past some of New York's most memorable landmarks on the 'Best of NYC' cruise, the Landmark cruise, the dazzling 'Harbor Lights' sunset cruise and more. Clipper City Tall Ship – Statue of Liberty Cruise Join us for a shipboard experience you will remember for all of your life. Hop-On Hop-Off Water Taxi: All Day Access Pass The only harbor cruise that lets you hop off, explore, and hop on again! 1929 Shearwater – Statue of Liberty Sail For something different, see Manhattan By Sail! on the 1929 Shearwater, an 82-foot double-masted Great Gatsby Era sailing yacht.
Shashia Mitchell

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