I know that a trip to New York City is usually all about midtown. You gaze in fascination at the bright lights of Times Square, you climb to the Top of the Rock or Empire State Building for killer views, and you barely touch the edge of central park before you call it quits and hit the hotdog cart. I’ve been there. I did that trip.
But then I lived in New York and I avoided those places like the plague.
The first time I lived in New York, I lived all the way downtown in the Financial District. While the FIDI gets a bad reputation for being boring or low energy after about 6pm, I actually loved it and had a great time living down there. You could spend a whole weekend just in this area, and to prove it to you that you don’t need to stay in midtown for your entire trip, here are a few of my favorite spots in the financial district.
Sites to see…
The Brooklyn Bridge
Nothing feels more Taylor Swift-style “Welcome to New York” than walking from Brooklyn to Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s a short walk, but a great experience (I’ve done it a bunch of times and it was still exciting each time!).
Statue of Liberty
Seeing Lady Liberty in person and up close will make you feel 1. very small and 2. rather patriotic. Head to battery park to get your tickets if you want to take the ferry, and prepare to wait in line for a while. If you don’t feel like investing the time in taking the boat (plan on pretty much a whole day for the entire experience), you can look at her from the park or while you have a drink at Pier A Harbor House.
This is truly a bittersweet experience, because you get to see the beautiful waterfall reflecting pools engraved with the names of those we lost in September 2001, but you’re also reminded of the sadness they’re built in honor of. The museum is just fine, but it will take you a while to walk through thoroughly and, honestly, it’s a lot. It would take multiple trips to absorb it.
South Street Seaport
South Street Seaport is a series of shops and restaurants right on the water, at the port, if you couldn’t have guessed. There are some cute paper shops with great cards and Lee Lee’s Forest, which is a cute boutique that has clothes and some home goods (oh, and funny socks!). I miss this shop now that I don’t live in New York! Plus, if you want to go to a discount broadway show, the TKTS booth at the seaport never has the line that the Times Square one has.
Where to Eat…
Try to get a reservation about a month before your trip, because this place fills up fast! It’s for good reason, because the food is great. I love the Lemon Ricotta pancakes, and the pork and apricot sausage is awesome. They have locations around the city in case you want to venture north of the neighborhood.
Be prepared to wait for stellar pizza, since everyone stops here before walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. You’ll fit right in if you do the same (I would recommend it!), as long and you fold your pizza to eat it.
This one is across the bridge and located on Stone Street, known for being the place where suit-type wall streeters eat outside on tables in the (pedestrian) street. It can be a confusing mess, but navigate through it to, yep, another pizza place. This one has a bit thicker crust and the ‘za comes out in big sheet pans with the edges of your pepperoni just starting to curl up.
Crepes du Nord
Right by Adriennes, I can’t recommend this place enough for breakfast/brunch. The Scandinavian crepes come in both savory and sweet varieties, and I would suggest getting one of each (yes, get dessert with breakfast) and skipping lunch to be happily stuffed.
Have you been to New York? Let me know your favorite areas in NYC in the comments!