How to Enjoy Lower Manhattan in One Day

04/01/2024
How to Enjoy Lower Manhattan in One Day

Exploring Two Centuries in One Square Mile 

If you’ve got only one day to explore downtown, there are a few must-sees for you to hit up. This itinerary is perfect for adults and families, although keep in mind that it requires a lot of walking, and little ones might get a tad overtired. (If you can’t get to all of this in one day, feel free to mix and match as you see fit!)

What to See Downtown in One Day

  1. Leo’s Bagels (3 Hanover Sq.) and 787 Coffee (66 Pearl St.)
  2. Staten Island Ferry (4 Whitehall St.)
  3. Trinity Church (89 Broadway)
  4. New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall (corner of Wall and Broad streets)
  5. Tin Building (96 South St.)
  6. 9/11 Memorial & Museum (180 Greenwich St.)
  7. One World Observatory (117 West St.)
  8. Stone Street (Broad Street to Hanover Square)
  9. Perelman Performing Arts Center (State Street and Battery Place)

First Stop: Leo’s Bagels (3 Hanover Sq.) and 787 Coffee (66 Pearl St.)

To help you fuel up for a big day of downtown exploration, start your morning with a fluffy bagel and schmear from Leo’s Bagels, before swinging by 787 Coffee for a cup of coffee. Consider springing for a dulce de leche latte, or even opt a rum-infused coquito latte if you’re feeling spicy — you’re on vacation! 

Second Stop: Staten Island Ferry (4 Whitehall St.)

Walk south along the water past Casa Cipriani to the Whitehall Terminal. There, you’ll catch the Staten Island Ferry, which runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week to connect Staten Island to Manhattan. The trip, which takes about an hour there and back, is a great way to catch Statue of Liberty views for free.

Staten Island Ferry

Third Stop: Trinity Church (89 Broadway)

Trinity Church was, at the time of completion in 1846, the tallest building in Manhattan, but is famous for its graveyard, which serves as the final resting place for the likes of famous New Yorkers Alexander Hamilton and Robert Fulton. If you’re visiting on a Sunday, keep your ears open for the sounds of church bells ringing throughout the streets of Lower Manhattan. The church’s steeple houses the nation’s only 12 change-ringing bells, which rotate 360 degrees. 

Fourth Stop: New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall (Corner of Wall and Broad Streets)

No visit to Lower Manhattan is complete without stopping by the New York Stock Exchange, which, in addition to being the world’s largest stock exchange, has been in popular movies like “The Dark Knight Rises.” While access to the building’s interior is limited to special tours, the facade, public IPO celebrations and surrounding attractions are worth the visit. Be sure to say hi to Fearless Girl, who faces down the Stock Exchange from her perch across the street. You can’t miss Federal Hall — a huge statue of George Washington prominently guards the front. Inside is a small, informational museum dedicated to the nation-shaping events of postcolonial New York, including the first U.S. Congress and the inauguration of America’s first president.

Fearless Girl

Fifth Stop: Tin Building (96 South St.)

Head over to the Seaport and grab lunch at the Tin Building. This food hall from renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten includes 12 dining options that span culinary traditions from all over the world, plus a 54,000 square-foot market featuring fresh produce, meat and seafood. If nothing there strikes your fancy, or you’d prefer to save the Tin Building for dinner, there are plenty of other incredible downtown restaurants to choose from. 

Sixth Stop: 9/11 Memorial & Museum (180 Greenwich St.)

Head up Broadway to the World Trade Center. At the World Trade Center site, you’ll find the 9/11 Memorial & Museum and the Reflection Pools. Set aside two hours for a visit inside the museum, which is an emotional, moving tribute commemorating the September 11 attacks. Outside, the memorial includes the largest manmade waterfall pools in North America at an acre each in size, surrounded by bronze parapets with the names of the victims.

9/11 Memorial

Seventh Stop: One World Observatory (117 West St.)

Just north of the Memorial plaza, you will find the tallest building in the western hemisphere and the symbol of a revitalized district. Head inside for a trip on the SkyPodElevators, which climb 102 stories in 47 seconds to reach the One World Observatory. Take in the city, and surrounding states, with views for up to 45 miles in all directions.

Eighth Stop: Stone Street (Hanover Square to Broad Street)

Wind your way towards this pedestrian-only, cobblestone street lined with restaurants and bars. This quaint passage became New York’s first paved street in 1658, and a historical landmark in 1996. In nice weather, you can enjoy a pre-dinner drink outside and take in the area’s thriving post-work happy hour scene. 

Stone Street

Ninth Stop: Perelman Performing Arts Center (251 Fulton St.)

If you’ve got the time, dinner and a show takes on a whole new meaning at the Perelman Performing Arts Center (PAC NYC), which opened its doors in September 2023. Make your way back to the World Trade Center campus to enjoy a meal at chef Marcus Samuelsson’s lobby restaurant, Metropolis — which he considers a love letter to NYC —and end the night by catching a performance at one of the building’s three theaters, which are state-of-the-art and fully customizable.  

If you have two days to spend, check out our expanded trip plan.

Related articles

The Neymarc Brothers Talk Sibling “Rivalry,” Visual Effects and the Filmmakers Who Inspire Them
The Neymarc Brothers Talk Sibling “Rivalry,” Visual Effects and the Filmmakers Who Inspire Them

Forget about “Brat.” It’s Filmmaker-in-Chief Summer in Lower Manhattan.

Take a BYOB Trip Through Time (and the NY Harbor) on the 19th Century “Pioneer” 
Take a BYOB Trip Through Time (and the NY Harbor) on the 19th Century “Pioneer” 

All aboard this historic ship for a two-hour BYOB tour.

Need Lunch Plans? Stop By Our Final Free Summer Concerts on July 10 and 17
Need Lunch Plans? Stop By Our Final Free Summer Concerts on July 10 and 17

Strap on your dancing shoes and head to a lunchtime concert.