Have a thing for history? Manhattan’s Financial District is home to more historical landmarks than any other New York neighborhood, making it a must-visit for history buffs. Mix in a few modern attractions, like ethnic institutions and a seriously standout pizza joint, and you have an ageless area that’s not quite your grandmother’s FiDi, but she’ll enjoy it all the same.
A tribute to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the events of September 11, 2001 and a testament to New York’s resilience, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum may be the city’s most unforgettable attraction. In the place once occupied by the Twin Towers, the largest artificial waterfalls in the country, twin reflection pools, and inscriptions of the names of every victim of the 1993 and 2001 terror attacks now stand.
Those willing to brave the crowds at New York City’s iconic Brooklyn Bridge will be rewarded with sweeping views of both the Brooklyn and Manhattan skylines.
Tip: by beginning your journey across the bridge in Brooklyn (as opposed to the more commonly used Manhattan-into-Brooklyn route), you can make Manhattan’s Financial District— and all its restaurants, bars, and attractions— your destination.
Fraunces Tavern Museum
A timeless taste of America’s Revolutionary era is what’s on the menu at Fraunces Tavern Museum. Here, informative tours on spies of the Revolution are offered alongside jazz brunches, where fish and chips, scotch eggs, and more colonial cuisine are enjoyed by eaters of all ages.
Only in New York could a piece of illegally-installed guerrilla art become a globally-recognized symbol of success and of a city itself. Measuring 11 feet tall and weighing 7,100 pounds, the Charging Bull stands guard over Manhattan’s Financial District, and is the city’s most menacing mascot.
Seaport District NYC
Seaport District NYC, or ‘South Street Seaport’ as it’s known colloquially, is one New York City attraction tourists and locals alike can agree on. Old-fashioned ice cream parlors, a luxury movie theater, and breathtaking vistas of New York’s East River and Brooklyn Bridge all have a place at this timeless FiDi find.
South Street Historic District
Enjoy Old New York charm and timeless tastes at South Street Historic District, a cobblestone corner crowded with 19th-century architecture and internationally-inspired restaurants. Since its establishment as a historic district in 1977, this compact culinary haven has made history with cult-favorite world cuisine from Germany, Scandinavia, and beyond.
Since 1837, the best steak in New York City has been served by FiDi’s Delmonico’s. Trust the eatery that invented such modern-day staples as Eggs Benedict and Baked Alaska to transform classic American cuisine into something refreshingly foreign. Here, American Waygu tartare is served alongside potato chips, crisp maple bacon is cured in-house, and top-tier steak (Delmonico’s signature dish) is served in five unique styles.
New York Stock Exchange
The only thing bigger than the amount of stock traded at the New York Stock Exchange each day? The impact of the building’s appearance. Equipped with gargantuan Corinthian columns and a massive American flag, the Exchange boasts a bounty of style (ironically, one thing that can’t be bought).
Staten Island Ferry
Long before bridges (and even longer before Lyft), New Yorkers traveled between the city’s boroughs via ferry. While the ferry system has been mostly forgotten in our age of Uber, the Staten Island Ferry, which dispatches from Manhattan’s FiDi, is still going strong, shuttling 70,000 passengers each day. A best-kept-secret among locals, this free 25-minute ride provides the city’s best views of the Statue of Liberty.
National Museum of the American Indian
The Smithsonian-affiliated National Museum of the American Indian proves Manhattan’s cultural scene amounts to more than Museum Mile. Situated within the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, this renowned institution preserves and promotes Native culture through original exhibitions, music and dance performances, and much more.
One World Observatory
Have your head in the clouds at One World Observatory, a viewing point situated atop the tallest building in the United States. Experience the Financial District (and Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey, while you’re at it) from 100 stories above the ground at this attraction, equipped with panoramic views, a clear glass floor, dining options, and much more.
Architecture afficionados take note: amid FiDi’s mass of ultra-modern skyscrapers stands Trinity Church, a church and graveyard consecrated in the mid-1800s. Notable features of this National Historic Landmark include the final resting place of Alexander Hamilton and a Gothic spiral that in 1846 earned the church the title of New York’s tallest building.
Industrialists throughout history have had dreams of succeeding—or simply surviving—on Wall Street. Blend in with the bankers (if you can keep up, that is) by joining the street’s bustling crowds, exploring its 18th-century architecture, and perhaps even pondering the world’s next billion dollar idea.
Statue of Liberty
New York City is home to many celebrity icons, one of whom stands above the rest—literally. Today, more tourists than ever are setting out to shake hands with the Statue of Liberty. She can be experienced in various ways, from enjoying free views via the Staten Island Ferry to stepping into the Lady’s crown, the closest anyone can get to getting inside America’s head.
Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
Discover the power of the past and the people at the Museum of Jewish Heritage— A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. As ‘New York’s contribution to the global responsibility to never forget,’ the museum works to preserve painful Jewish history with the aim of inspiring a more positive future. Relying heavily on recorded testimonies of Holocaust survivors, the museum illustrates the individual’s ability to create—and reclaim—one’s own narrative, a powerful lesson for visitors of all ages and backgrounds.
New York City Hall
Red or blue, you’re bound to enjoy this government institution. While New York City Hall is home to the Mayor’s Office, it’s the building’s exterior that will have your vote as the city’s most exciting government attraction. Built between 1803 and 1812, New York City Hall is a National Historic Landmark, a New York City landmark, and a supporting character in films such as Ghostbusters and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Museum of American Finance
A financial capital of the world, New York City has a rich (no pun intended) history of entrepreneurship and development. There’s no better place to explore America’s finance industry than New York’s Smithsonian-affiliated Museum of American Finance. Situated within a historic bank building on Wall Street, the museum makes finance accessible—and exciting!—with exhibits like Blacks on US Currency, information on bank robberies, and displays of historical piggy banks.
Immigrants have always had a place in New York City: before Ellis Island was erected in 1900, that place was The Battery. When the park’s Castle Garden became the first immigrant depot in the world in 1855, the future of New York City and of America as a whole would be forever altered. Though the depot has since become defunct, visitors can still see the city through new eyes thanks to The Battery’s unobstructed views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
African Burial Ground
Between 1991 and 1992, 419 sets of human remains were discovered in Lower Manhattan, prompting a mystery that captivated the archaeological world. Eventually, the 6.6-acre area would be unveiled as an African Burial Ground, dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Visitors interested in paying respect to ‘past, present, and future generations of Africans and African descendants’ are invited to do so at this outdoor memorial.
One of many (and we mean many) pizza joints in New York City, Adrienne’s Pizzabar stands out for its big pies and even bigger flavors. Here, super-sized square-shaped pizzas (no single slices here!) come topped with gourmet ingredients, such as crispy potatoes, broccoli rabe, and prosciutto.