There’s so much to do in Lower Manhattan, two days here will only begin to scratch the surface.
At the northern edge of Lower Manhattan is the African Burial Ground National Monument, where both free and enslaved Africans were buried from the 1690s until 1794; the sacred site was discovered during the construction of a federal office building in 1991 and highlights an important and once forgotten part of New York City history. From there, you can make your way to the Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge is a marvel of 19th century engineering, offering captivating views of the Lower Manhattan skyline and a quintessential New York City experience.
After the bridge, take your time strolling from Park Row to Broadway and across Fulton, ultimately reaching the South Street Seaport. The Seaport is undergoing a radical and exciting transformation. While Pier 17 is under construction, visitors can enjoy daily events sponsored by the SEE/CHANGE program as well as unique shopping and dining experiences at the many shops and restaurants along picturesque Front Street. If you’re looking to take in some theater while in town, the TKTS Discount Booth at the corner of Water and John has the same discounted deals, but with fewer crowds, than its Times Square counterpart.
Continue south along Water Street, make a right on Broad Street, and you’ll arrive at historic Fraunces Tavern. The tavern has been around since America’s earliest days. Built as a house in 1719 and turned into a tavern in 1762, it has been the site of nation-changing events and is also one of New York’s oldest surviving buildings as well as a museum and restaurant.
Next, head over to Bowling Green and take a picture in front of the famous Charging Bull. Sculpted by artist Arturo Di’Modica, the bull mysteriously appeared one night in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Having been moved to its current location on the north point of Bowling Green, it has become the symbol of Wall Street’s optimism and a must-see NYC attraction.
Make your way to the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, located inside the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House. Aside from being one of the city’s premier beaux arts buildings, the museum houses an impressive assembly of exhibitions documenting the sweep of Native American history. Elaborate crafts, textiles and ceremonial pieces are just a few of the fascinating objects in the museum’s permanent collection. While there, join a tour of the Collector’s Office, the ornate oaked-paneled room designed by Tiffany Studios and made famous in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Spike Lee’s Inside Man.
Directly across from the museum is Whitehall Terminal, home to the Staten Island Ferry. The trip takes about 25 minutes each way and offers good views of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. Upon your return, head west and spend some time at the Skyscraper Museum or Museum of Jewish Heritage.
Every long day in Manhattan deserves a scenic end. Newly renovated Pier A is the perfect place to grab a drink and something to eat while enjoying Manhattan’s harbor and Statue of Liberty views. Likewise, the many restaurants at Brookfield Place and along the Hudson River are great for waterfront dining.