Often we are asked for some ideas on what to do after our tour of Chinatown and Little Italy. We find that sometimes museums are overlooked as a fun thing to do in New York City and so we enjoy recommending a few of the gems that are located nearby and in lower Manhattan. Here is a quick list of some museums near Chinatown and Little Italy that offer snapshots of the rich history and culture of both and the surrounding neighborhoods. This is a great resource if you are looking to make plans after our food tour or simply if you are in the area.
The Italian American Museum – 155 Mulberry St
The Italian American Museum is a small museum in the heart of Little Italy and it showcases the fascinating history of Italian American immigrants, including their struggles and their triumphs. This museum is housed in the former Stabile bank dating back to 1865.
Lower East Side Tenement Museum – 103 Orchard St
Approximately ten minutes from where we conclude our tour you will find the Tenement Museum. This museum is on our very short list of things that you MUST do in New York City. The museum is housed in a preserved tenement building and brings visitors back to a very interesting yet difficult time period for New York City. Previous New Yorkers living in these tenements had many obstacles to overcome and this museum brings their stories to life.
Museum of the American Gangster – 78 St Marks Pl
Gangster, mobsters and speakeasies play a big part of Little Italy’s history and you can explore that and more at the Museum of the American Gangster. Their tour is enlightening and highly recommended.
9/11 Memorial Museum – 1 Albany St
9/11 Memorial Museum is finally opened to the public. There are a number of powerful and moving exhibits to make sure that we never forget one of the darkest days in history.
Museum of Chinese in America (MoCA) – 215 Centre Street
The Museum of Chinese in America aka MoCA, just on the outskirts of Chinatown is the premier museum to check out exhibits on Chinatown, Chinese culture, Chinese history, Chinese art and everything in between. Be on the lookout for fun cultural events on their calendar.
Museum at Eldridge Street – 12 Eldridge St
In addition to the Chinese and the Italian immigrants, the Jewish immigrants have played a big part in shaping the neighborhood known today as the Lower East Side. The Museum at Eldridge Street aka the Eldridge Street Synagogue was one of the first synagogues in the United States, built in 1887. It was recently renovated and the museum highlights the history of Jews in New York, immigration and the Lower East Side. On June 8th, the museum will hold the 14th annual Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival, celebrating both Jewish and Chinese history and culture. It sounds like a lot of fun!