Explore New York City

New York City Guide: A Walk Down Essex Street

This street feels just like home!

Essex Street is one of the oldest streets in New York City and was once home to many incoming immigrants. Most of this Lower East Side street has made its way into the modern era, but it still takes its remarkable history to heart. The quiet atmosphere, laid-back decor and variety in businesses genuinely bring the city’s image of a “melting pot” to life. If you’re looking for a welcoming, relaxed day in the city, stop into one of the many places that call Essex Street home.


If there are two things Essex Street is proud of, it’s their history and food. The area is surrounded by restaurants of every culture that create authentic meals from around the world. They don’t like to have fancy frills, so you’re sure to be treated to a truly down-to-earth meal. If there’s a specific type of food you’re craving, you’ll find a place that has the answer for you. You can have a traditional Japanese meal at SakaMai, try some Mexican food at La Contenta or treat yourself to some ice cream at Soft Swerve.

Tacos From La Contenta (©Sayde Slobodien) New York | WhereTraveler
Tacos From La Contenta (©Sayde Slobodien


The people who live on Essex Street never want their history to be forgotten. Wherever you go, you’ll find a way to be taken back in time and discover what New York City used to be. Many places, such as the Tenement Museum, offer visitors a history lesson on how people on Essex Street lived over 100 years ago. Once you’ve learned a little more about New York City, you can stop into a shop in Essex Market or see some photography at the International Center of Photography.

Interior of Essex Market (Courtesy Essex Market) New York | WhereTraveler
Interior of Essex Market (Courtesy Essex Market)


The bars along Essex Street are open for anyone in need of a good drink. They always want to make sure you’re comfortable as well as having fun while sipping their specialty drinks. They have a variety of cocktails, wines and whiskey in flavors that are sure to hit the spot. Many of their bars specialize in serving American comfort food along with your drink, so you’re guaranteed to feel right at home once you step inside.

Cocktail at The Whiskey Ward (©Sandee Wright) New York | WhereTraveler
Cocktail at The Whiskey Ward (©Sandee Wright) 


Just like their food options, Essex Street offers a wide array of shops that will help you find the niche item you want to find. Rather than traditional clothes stores, you’ll find stores selling unique, handmade goods that have a personal touch. Whether you’re looking for the perfect plant for your home, a new pair of glasses or a small gift to show someone you care, you’ll find it in either Essex Market or one of the shops surrounding it.

Tinted Glasses From Moscot (Courtesy Moscot) New York | WhereTraveler
Tinted Glasses From Moscot (Courtesy Moscot)