With lots of fun things to do in Chinatown NYC, the neighborhood of Chinatown is a must-visit if you’re going on a trip to New York City.
Whether you like seeing art, having delicious food, seeing great sights, or exploring beautiful parks and streets, there are many activities you will love in this neighborhood in Manhattan.
In this guide, you can find everything you need to know if you’re wondering what to do in Chinatown. From great museums to interesting tours to incredible sights, I included a large variety of activities in this guide so there’s something for everyone’s liking!
Best Things To Do in Chinatown NYC
Go to the Museum at Eldridge Street
The Museum at Eldridge Street is a museum that you can find a 12 Eldridge Street and it is inside the historic Eldridge Street Synagogue.
This synagogue was built in the year 1887 and is a National Historic Landmark. The synagogue is a symbol of the Jewish migration to the Lower East Side.
When you go to this museum, you can learn about the life of Jewish immigrants, see beautiful architecture, and learn about various cultures.
You can do a tour of the building by yourself, but it is also possible to join a public guided tour during which docents tell you about the synagogue. These tours take place several times per week.
Address: 12 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002
Do a Chinatown Food Tour
Chinatown has a lot to offer, and this includes many great restaurants. If you want to get to know the food that this neighborhood has to offer, one of the best things to do in Chinatown is a Chinatown food tour.
During this tour, which you can do during lunchtime or dinnertime, a guide will take you to various eateries in Chinatown, and at those places, you can try out food.
For example, you can try Hong Kong-style sponge cakes during this tour. Also, you’ll visit a dumpling place where you can sample great dumplings.
In addition to that, you’ll learn about the history of the neighborhood and learn about a lot of interesting facts.
Moreover, this tour also includes a tour of the Little Italy neighborhood and you can also sample Italian food during the tour.
See a Movie at Metrograph
Metrograph is a movie theater that you can find in Manhattan’s Chinatown at 7 Ludlow Street.
This is a retro movie theater with a beautiful and elegant interior, wooden cushioned chairs, and red carpet, which adds a lot to your experience! Metrograph has an amazing cozy atmosphere.
You can go here to see all kinds of independent films, and what’s great is that you can see a selection of these movies on 35mm.
Moreover, you can get all kinds of delicious drinks and snacks at the movie theater. It is even possible to go here for dinner or brunch! The restaurant of the movie theater is inspired by the golden age of Hollywood.
Address: 7 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002
Explore Canal Street
Canal Street is one of the most famous streets in NYC and in the neighborhood.
This is an east-west street that runs through Chinatown but also through other neighborhoods.
You can find a lot of vendors on Canal Street. These vendors sell a large variety of gifts and other novelty items, and there are also vendors that sell many different types of food items.
Furthermore, you can find a lot of Chinese bakeries and restaurants on and near Canal Street.
Get Sweet Treats and Coffee at Sweet Moment NYC
If you like sweet treats and coffee, a great activity in Chinatown is checking out Sweet Moment NYC.
This is a dessert cafe where you can get delicious drinks made with La Colombe coffee. What’s great is that the baristas at Sweet Moment NYC create amazing latte art. For example, you can get a drink with a cute face on it.
In addition to that, you can get delicious in-house pastries and cookies at Sweet Moment NYC, and this place is known for its delicious shaved ice with many different flavors.
Address: 106 Mott St Frnt P, New York, NY 10013
Learn New Things at the Museum of Chinese in America
The Museum of Chinese in America is an interesting museum where you can learn about Chinese-American history.
At the museum, you can learn about the living history of Chinese Americans, and you can also learn about culture and heritage here.
There is a permanent exhibition that focuses on the complete Chinese American history, and this permanent exhibition is combined with temporary ones that take place throughout the year.
Each temporary exhibition focuses on a particular type of subject related to history or art.
For example, in the past, there was an exhibition about the impact of the Chinese on the American railroad. There was also an exhibition that focused on Chinese food in America.
Address: 215 Centre St, New York, NY 10013
Get Latte Art at Round K by Sol
Round K by Sol is a wonderful cafe that you can find at 78 Canal Street and going there is a very relaxing thing to do in Chinatown. You can get great coffee and brunch at this cafe.
Round K by Sol is a Korean cafe and bar, and the food and drinks that you can get here are inspired by Korean culture.
Moreover, the food at this cafe is made with Korean ingredients.
You can get amazing coffee here, which includes latte drinks with beautiful latte art. For example, you can get a matcha latte here with a latte artwork of an animal. Furthermore, you can get all kinds of teas here, such as Yuja Honey Tea.
In addition to that, you can also try unique Korean flavor cocktails and mocktails at this place.
Address: 78 Canal St, New York, NY 10002
Check Out the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
The Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is an ice cream store that has been operating in Chinatown since the year 1978 and you can get delicious homemade ice cream here. You can find this place at 65 Bayard Street.
There are many interesting, unique, and tasty regular flavors to choose from. For example, the Black Sesame ice cream can be great to try and so are the Green Tea, Lychee, and Durian flavors.
In addition to that, there are seasonal flavors of ice cream. For example, you might be able to get blueberry ice cream, chocolate caramel ice cream, or cherry pistachio ice cream when you check out this place.
Furthermore, you can get their signature Chinese ice cream cake here as well!
Address: 65 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013
See Art Exhibitions at Mmuseumm
Mmuseumm is a very small museum that you can find at 4 Cortlandt Alley. The museum consists of one room in total, and this room is filled with contemporary objects that relate to “the modern world and the human condition”.
You can visit the museum on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, but it is also possible to get a view of the inside of the museum by looking through viewing windows.
It is a hidden gem that you should not miss out on when you are in Chinatown.
Address: 4 Cortlandt Alley, New York, NY 10013
Visit the Mahayana Temple
The Mahayana Temple of New York is a famous Buddhist temple and one of the best landmarks in Chinatown. It is located at 133 Canal Street.
This is the largest Chinese Buddhist temple in the city and you can find the largest Buddha of New York City here. In addition to that, there are all kinds of prints and other objects on display at the temple.
Furthermore, events sometimes take place at the temple, including Chinese Calligraphy classes.
Address: 133 Canal St, New York, NY 10002
Go to the Fun Cat Cafe Meow Parlour
Meow Parlour is the first cat cafe in New York City and you can find this place in Chinatown.
You can find this cat cafe at 46 Hester Street and it is a great place to hang out with cute adoptable cats. You can go here for 30 minutes, but you may also stay for several hours.
Keep in mind that you often have to have a reservation, as this is a very popular place and there often is no walk-in availability. Also, you sometimes have to make a reservation 2 months in advance.
In addition to playing with the cats, you can also get drinks and baked goods at Meow Parlour.
Address: 46 Hester St, New York, NY 10002
Go for a Relaxing Walk at Columbus Park
Columbus Park, which used to be called Mulberry Bend Park, is a popular public park that dates back to the year 1897, and going there is one of the best things to do in Chinatown.
The park, which was named after the famous explorer Christopher Columbus, is a great place to hang out or go for a relaxing stroll.
Many people play board games in the park, and it is a popular place with Chinese Americans.
Furthermore, there are beautiful flowers here and there are often musicians at the park.
You can also combine exploring other parts of Chinatown with going for a stroll here.
Check Out Keki Modern Cakes
Keki Modern Cakes is a bakery that you can find in Chinatown. The bakery was founded by Moul Kim, Lawrence Wai, and Kevin Kim in 2017.
At this bakery, you can get amazing sweet treats made with fresh local ingredients.
The bakery is known for its Japanese bouncy cheesecake. This is a cake with a light and silky texture that is made with locally-sourced ingredients.
In addition to that, you can get all kinds of other cakes at this bakery. For example, the “Cookie n Cream Fancy” and the “Green Tea Fancy” are both great ones to buy.
You can also go here to buy delicious and colorful cream puffs.
Address: 79 Mott St, New York, NY 10013
Do a Guided Walking Tour of Chinatown
A great way to get to know the neighborhood is by doing a guided walking tour of Chinatown. You can do this by doing a guided tour that combines the neighborhoods of Chinatown, Soho, and Little Italy.
During this guided walking tour, a guide will show you beautiful architecture and interesting sights in the neighborhood. For example, you’ll visit the Mahayana Buddhist Temple where you can see a 16-foot Golden Buddha, the largest Buddha in the city.
Also, you’ll walk by the Manhattan Bridge, check out the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory where you can enjoy delicious ice cream, and see Doyer Street.
While doing this, you can learn about the neighborhood’s history from the local guide.
Go to the Chinatown Night Market
The Chinatown Night Market is an annual event that takes place near the entrance of the Manhattan Bridge.
This is an open-air festival focused on the culture of Chinatown. At the festival, you can find a lot of local art and food vendors that sell many different types of items.
For example, you can see sugar paintings, paper-cutting art, and much more at the market.
Furthermore, there is a large variety of food that you can try at the market, including food from restaurants in the neighborhood, such as Round K By Sol.
In addition to that, there are a lot of performances at the night market. For example, you can listen to great Chinese songs, jazz music, and many other types of music during the event.
See the Entrance of the Manhattan Bridge
The entrance of the Manhattan Bridge on the Chinatown side of the bridge is a great landmark in Chinatown to check out.
You can find a beautiful Beaux Arts triumphal arch here that was created in 1915. This arch was based on the Porte Saint-Denis, which can be found in the city of Paris and it is one of New York City’s three triumphal arches.
The arch was designed by Carrère and Hastings, which is a team that also designed the main branch of the New York Public Library.
When you are in Chinatown, I recommend checking out the entrance when going for a stroll.
Go to Canal Street Market
Going to Canal Street Market is also one of the best activities in Chinatown, and you can find this market at 265 Canal Street.
Canal Street Market is a space with multiple purposes. It is a community space, a curated retail market, and a food hall.
You can find many different vendors here that sell a large variety of items, and this also includes up-and-coming businesses in downtown New York City.
For example, you can go here for vendors that sell clothes and art. Also, you can get a lot of different food here. From tacos to chocolate to pizza to Japanese cuisine, there’s a lot to try at Canal Street Market.
Address: 265 Canal St, New York, NY 10013
See Doyers Street
One of the most famous streets in Chinatown, Doyers Street, is a great place to check out.
This is a short street that has a length of only 200 feet and has a sharp bend in its center.
You can find many Chinese restaurants on Doyers Street. For example, you can find the famous Nom Wah Tea Parlor here, which is the oldest restaurant in the neighborhood that is still operating.
You can also find many tenement buildings on the street and in the past many speakeasies could be found on the street, and several of these can still be visited.
Doyers Street is named for the Dutch immigrant Hendrik Dohyers who lived and operated a business in the street at the end of the 18th century.
Get Bubble Tea at ViVi Bubble Tea
You can find many great places for bubble tea in Chinatown and one of the best places for this is Vivi Bubble Tea. This company has several locations in the world, and you can find one of the locations in Manhattan’s Chinatown.
Here, you can get delicious Taiwanese bubble tea drinks.
There are many unique flavors of bubble tea to choose from. Whether you want to get passion fruit bubble tea, pineapple mango jelly bubble tea, crème brûlée bubble tea, or many other types of bubble tea, you can do so at this place!
In addition to that, you can get slush, and other types of drinks here.
Address: 49 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013
Go to Nom Wah Tea Parlor
The oldest continuously operating restaurant in Chinatown that has been operating since 1920, Nom Wah Tea Parlor, is a wonderful restaurant to check out when you are in the neighborhood.
You can find this restaurant on 11-13 Doyerst Street, but it first opened at 13-15 Doyers Street as a bakery and tea parlor.
The restaurant was first known for its steamed buns, dim sum, tea, and Chinese pastries, but after locating to its current location, the restaurant became known for its almond cookie, red bean filling, and other dishes.
You can get delicious food here and I’m sure you’ll have a great time when you go here.
Also, what’s great is that the interior of the restaurant hasn’t changed a lot, so the restaurant has a vintage atmosphere.
What’s interesting to know about the restaurant as well is that it appeared in many popular TV series and movies, such as Law and Order.
Address: 13 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013
Get Delicious Steamed Buns at Golden Steamer
Golden Steamer is a bakery that you should definitely check out if you’re looking for things to do in Chinatown. This is a Chinese bakery that is known for its steamed buns.
You can get delicious steamed buns here that are fluffy and that are filled with all kinds of fillings.
For example, you can get delicious buns with red beans or pumpkin here.
What’s great is that you can get one for a very low price, so if you are in the area and want to have a cheap and delicious snack, you should go here for sure! You can also buy several different types of steamed buns if you cannot choose!
Address: 143A Mott St, New York, NY 10013
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What To Do in Chinatown NYC Tips
Chinatown is a densely packed neighborhood that has so much to offer. For example, everywhere you go you can discover great restaurants. That’s why I recommend when you are choosing what to do in Chinatown, to also try out new restaurants that are close to the activities. I’m sure you stumble upon great new spots!
Chinatown Things To Do Map
This was my guide to the best things to do in Chinatown NYC. Have fun exploring this amazing neighborhood!