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NYC Lower East Side Food and Culture Small-Group Tour

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New York, United States
NYC Lower East Side Food and Culture Small-Group Tour
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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance. Learn more
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Safety measures
icon3 hours  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds

Overview

From stroopwafel to mozzarella to knishes; there are many amazing eats on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. On this small-group walking tour, discover the neighborhood's diverse cultural heritage and learn how its immigration history has influenced its dynamic foodie scene. Along the way, visit markets, bakeries, and restaurants, and sample delicacies from all around the world.
  • Explore Manhattan’s Lower East Side like a New Yorker with a local guide
  • Sample New York’s famous knishes and four other dishes
  • Small-group tour offers a more personalised experience
  • Receive insider tips and recommendations on where to eat in the city
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Traditional Cookie
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Professional Local Guide
Gratuities

Departure Point

290 Broadway, New York, NY 10007, USA

Departure Time

10:00 AM

Return Details

Lower East Side, New York, NY, USA
Today the Lower East Side is crammed with bars, clubs and trendy restaurants. But if you know where to look, you can find very edible remnants of its intriguing past. The neighborhood was once home to many of the city’s new immigrants and the old-school food of the area still reflects this.

So come hungry for this fun small-group tour, where you’ll munch on the sample some of the best snacks and learn a lot about the history of the Lower East Side. Start off with some stroopwafel, which is Dutch for ‘syrup waffle.".

Next, try knishes, representative of the Jewish immigrants who once populated the area, at some of the bakeries that are still sprinkled around here. Munch on mozzarella in nearby Little Italy, today just part of Mulberry Street, but once a bustling part of town with thousands of immigrants from southern Italy.

Learn about the history of the neighborhood from your local guide. From Poles to Jews to Italians, many different immigrants have called the Lower East Side home and they’ve all left their mark. Also learn about the erstwhile African burial ground, where Africans, both enslaved and free, were put to rest through most of the 18th century. 

Finally, step into chaotic Chinatown, where steamed pork buns and succulent soup dumplings compete for your taste buds.

The tour finishes back on the Lower East Side, where you can continue exploring on your own.

It’s advisable to wear or bring clothing that is weather appropriate depending on the season, as you’ll be outside for at least 3 hours. It’s also recommended you book the tour at least 48 hours before.
Itinerary
Stop At:  
African Burial Ground National Monument
We discuss the discovery of the burial ground and the building of the memorial and monument, including the significance of some of the design. We also talk a little bit about the early African experience in New York through those that were brought here as slaves and those that were freed.
Duration: 5 minutes
Admission Ticket Not Included
Stop At:  
New York City Supreme Court
We talk about the history of the surrounding area that was once a poor Irish community and before that a polluted pond. You get to see the building that is now most famous for being featured on most episodes of Law & Order.
Duration: 5 minutes
Admission Ticket Not Included
Stop At:  
Columbus Park
We briefly walk through this park on the edge of Chinatown and talk about what used to be here: the notorious neighborhood of the Five Points. We discuss the Irish immigration and show photos of what the neighborhood used to look like.
Duration: 5 minutes
Admission Ticket Not Included
Stop At:  
Chinatown
We walk through part of the neighborhood, discuss Chinese immigration, and visit a dumpling shop that is a local favorite. We also give tips on where else to visit in the large community.
Duration: 20 minutes
Admission Ticket Not Included
Stop At:  
Little Italy
We head up and around Mulberry Street and discuss Italian immigration. We get to see some amazing modern street art, hear stories about organized crime, and visit an historic local Italian food shop for a delicious tasting.
Duration: 20 minutes
Admission Ticket Not Included
Stop At:  
Nolita
We cruise through one of the most trendy neighborhoods in New York today and discuss the changing neighborhood. This used to be Little Italy, but today it’s loaded with hip bars and restaurants and we get to see some of the best street art in the city.
Duration: 15 minutes
Admission Ticket Not Included
Stop At:  
St. Patrick's Old Cathedral
As we walk through Nolita, you get a chance to see the original St. Patrick’s and learn about the hardships Catholic immigrants first suffered when coming to this country.
Duration: 5 minutes
Admission Ticket Not Included
Stop At:  
Sara D Roosevelt Park
Learn about the history of this park, named for FDR’s mother, and take a quick stroll through the northern end. We’ll also stop at the M’Finda Kalunga Garden inside the park to discuss Latin American immigration and how this neighborhood has changed throughout the decades.
Duration: 10 minutes
Admission Ticket Not Included
Stop At:  
Lower East Side
See the transformation of the neighborhood from an area filled with run-down tenements and poverty to one that is currently being gentrified. See lots of great street art and community gardens. Learn about Jewish, German, and Latin American immigration in this neighborhood and sample some traditional food.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Not Included
Pass By:  
Tenement Museum
We share stories about the founding of the museum and its important part in Lower East Side history. Our tour ends very close to the museum and our guides can give you tips on how to get tickets and explore their excellent gift shop.
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Children aged 5 years and younger are welcome at no charge
  • Tour runs rain or shine
  • Comfortable walking shoes recommended
  • Maximum group size is 12
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 12 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Urban Adventures USA

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What is the social distancing policy during NYC Lower East Side Food and Culture Small-Group Tour?
A:
The policies on social distancing are:

  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
  • Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons
See all safety measures taken by NYC Lower East Side Food and Culture Small-Group Tour.
Q:
What measures are being taken to ensure staff health & safety during NYC Lower East Side Food and Culture Small-Group Tour?
A:
The policies on staff health & safety are:

  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
See all safety measures taken by NYC Lower East Side Food and Culture Small-Group Tour.
Q:
What is the maximum group size during NYC Lower East Side Food and Culture Small-Group Tour?
A:
This activity will have a maximum of 12 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by NYC Lower East Side Food and Culture Small-Group Tour.

Traveler Photos

Traveler Tips


  • "The food sampling was okay, but would be better, if it started a little sooner." See review
  • "Alex Pappas was an excellent guide and I would highly recommend him and the tour." See review

Reviews

5.0
star-5
468 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 468 reviews
star-5
Not to be missed!
Arlene_B
, Jul 2021
African monument and burial ground. Ashley was a fantastic guide! She was so knowledgeable and receptive to questions.
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
good food with a great leader
Gustavo_H
, Jul 2021
Our tour guide (Brian) was very informative & provided great information on how immigrants lived their lives and the history of their food. He was enthusiastic, fun and open to questions.
HelpfulHelpful
star-1
Hungry and Disappointing
Arminda_J
, Jul 2021
The only thing that was good about this food tour was the first stop, which was the dumplings place in Chinatown. I don’t know how the other reviews said that they were full at the end of this food tour. We had 5 pieces each of dumplings (it’s usually 25 pieces for $5 & there were only 4 of us in the tour!), a slice of Sicilian pizza that i had to split with my husband, a Colombian empanada, a small bialy bagel with cream cheese that I had to share with my husband, and a piece of pickle that my husband enjoyed on his own because I don’t like pickles (thank God for that; one thing that we didn’t have to share/split lol!). We did a food tour in New Orleans with Viator, and sadly, there is no comparison! I will give the tour guide Alex a score of 3 for at least trying hard, but this whole experience is very disappointing for the amount of money we paid for it ($80), considering we didn’t even eat $25 worth of food on this tour.
HelpfulHelpful1 traveler found this review helpful
star-5
Awesome experience encapsulating all the history and culture of New York from an immigrate's perspective.
Ed_G
, Jun 2021
Great food, spectacular guide and so much history! Would recommend to any one visiting New Your City!
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
Just Do It
Tourists
, Jun 2021
Brian was absolutely fantastic. He was super friendly and knowledgable. Not only did we get to try a lot of great food, but we learned so much about NYC! Could not recommend this more highly
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
Tour Excellent, Viator Terrible
SnoopA
, Jun 2021
Our tour guide, Alex, was excellent! We had a great mix culture and delicious ethnic food, I highly recommend taking this tour. With that said, Viator was a disaster to work with, so I ended contacting the tour company directly. I give Viator 1 star.
HelpfulHelpful1 traveler found this review helpful
star-5
Wonderful experience!!
Clair_Tommy
, May 2021
This is the second time I have done this tour and loved it both times. Getting to taste authentic cuisine at eateries (some historic and iconic) that we would have never been able to find on our own. Our guide was awesome, knowledgeable with a great personality. The history of all of the different immigrant groups was SO interesting as well.
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star-5
Good day
Jason_S
, May 2021
Enjoy the food and the history about the area. Always something new to learn and easy to get to the meeting point easy to get back to upper East side
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star-5
Do this tour!
Lynda
, Mar 2021
Great tour! It was raining but not cold and tour guide Alex found many places to stand under and talk. The food was great and I learned a lot about areas I had not been as well as secrets in areas I had been many times! Great way to spend Sunday!
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star-5
Can’t wait to take another tour!
Gina_G
, Dec 2020
My fiancé and I have lived in NYC for 10+ years and took this tour as an opportunity to learn more in-depth about the LES neighborhood and find some hidden gems. We were super pleased with learning history about the area and found 3 new restaurants that we wouldn’t haven’t normally considered and still go there to this day! Very pleased with this tour and will gladly attend other tours around NYC with this company.
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