Things To Do in the Lower East Side

A vibrant neighborhood, mixed of old and new, filled with historic tenement buildings, alleys, galleries, and open art spaces, interesting museums, parks, great places to eat, nightlife, and many more. Here are some ideas of things to do when you spend a day in the Lower East Side, with highlights of #MadeByWomen creations and legacy.

Outdoor Art Gallery

First Street Green Art Park
33 E 1st St., New York, NY.

An open art gallery in a park showcases murals and hosts occasional cultural activities. The murals are changing every 2-3 months, giving an opportunity to artists to express themselves on the walls. There is no restriction to raise political issues, environmental awareness, and other criticism.
The park was co-founded by Ann Shostrom and John Bowman, who transformed a vacant lot into an urban culture space. Among the female artists who presented their art are the NYC-based street artist Lexi Bella, the cartoonist Arianna Margulis, the visual artist Kristy McCarthy (“D.Gale”), Brooklyn artist Danielle Mastrion, and Vanessa Powers, who is famous for her plastic bags murals.

Always open, but it is nicer and feels safer to visit during the day.
Click here for more information.

One of the hidden gems of the Lower East Side. This narrow, hidden alley is a popular location for graffiti artists to express themselves without getting caught. Different street art, changing daily, graffiti, stickers, and posters all over the walls without any order. Beautiful!

Shopping Break

Although this is not what this neighborhood is known for, there are some local boutiques and stores along E Houston St. and Orchard St., and at Ludlow St., between E Houston St., and Grand St.
If you are in the area on Saturdays in spring and summer times, check out the Hester Street Fair @ Seward Park
Click here for more information.


“New Art, New Ideas” is the motto of the New Museum, a contemporary art center presenting rotating exhibitions since 1977. It was founded by Marcia Tucker, who, as a curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, saw the need for a museum that will present new and innovative art from all over the world.
The museum showcases all types of art, from paintings and sculptures to video arts, and interactive, hands-on exhibitions.
There are also tours, gallery talks, family events, and many more.

Open daily 11 AM – 6 PM, Thursday till 9 PM.
Thursday 7 PM – 9 PM is Pay-What-You-Wish.
The Sky Room is open during the weekend.
Click here for more information.

Located at the restored tenement buildings, which were the home to more than 15,000 people from 20 countries. The museum preserves and explores the immigration and migration experience through the true stories of the families who migrated from all over the world and lived in the Lower East Side between the 1860s and 1930s. All this can be seen with a tour guide who will lead you through the buildings, inside the apartments, making the experience authentic.
There are also special family tours, neighborhood walking tours, as well as Tenement talks and the late-night Thursday experiences.
The museum was founded in 1988 by Ruth Abram and Anita Jacobsen.

Open: Monday-Thursday 10 AM – 5:30 PM, Friday and Sunday 10 AM – 6:30 PM Saturday 10 AM – 7 PM.
Click here for more information.

International Center of Photography Museum
79 Essex St, New York, NY 10002.


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An integrated center for photography which includes a museum and school. At the center, there are rotating exhibition galleries, media labs, classrooms, darkrooms, an equipment room, and shooting studios, as well as an extensive research library, a shop, café, and public event spaces.

Open Wednesday – Monday 11 AM – 7 PM, Thursday – till 9 PM.
Free admission on Thursday 5-9 PM and last Saturday of the month 11 AM – 2 PM.
Click here for more information.


Sara D. Roosevelt Park
Sara D. Roosevelt Park, Chrystie St &, Forsyth St, New York, NY 10002.

Named after the mother of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the mother-in-law of Eleanor Roosevelt, Sara Roosevelt, despite her objection to this honor.
The park stretches over 7 blocks, has several sports amenities, as well as the M’finda Kalunga community garden.
The community park lays on the ground of an African-American burial ground. A small plaque is commemorating it.

Lillian D. Wald Playground
Lillian D. Wald Playground, 55 Montgomery St, New York, NY 10002.

Another park that commemorates a woman in the Lower East Side is Lillian D. Wald Playground, few blocks from the Henry Street Settlement House, which she founded in 1893. The Settlement House supported the poor and immigrants who arrived in the city. Nowadays, it is a social service agency and a community center. Learn more about the women of the Settlement House Movement in the US in this article.

Places To Eat

  • Breakfast at Russ & Daughters
    One of the iconic institutions of the Lower East Side selling bagels, lax, and other delights for more than 100 years. Founded by Joel Russ and since 1935 co-owned and operated by his three daughters – it was the first business in the United States to have “& Daughters” in its name.
    179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002
    More info on the website

  • Night Snack at Beverly’s
    A full bar, which is also an art gallery and music, party, and performance venue – the program is changing every night. The place to engage with people from the neighborhood. Co-founded by Leah Dixon and Leah Malone.
    21 Essex St, New York, NY 10002
  • Essex Market
    A historical culinary center, operating since 1937, is the Essex Market. A great spot for groceries, special produce as spices and cheese, as well as prepared food and other goods. While there, do not miss the LES Girls Club – Girl-made and fair trade social venture, supporting the programming and mentorship offered by the Lower Eastside Girls Club organization.
    88 Essex St, New York, NY 10002
    More info on the website

Places To Stay

  • Sanctuary NYC Retreats
    * $ * 3-star hotel @ 196A Stanton St.
    Retreat-style, spiritual accommodations with fully equipped kitchen and complimentary breakfast.
    Check availability

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