What’s the deal with Little Italy?
Little Italy fills every tourist's must-see list—its romantic, old New York atmosphere is world famous and its authentic pasta dishes, served by the best Italian restaurants, can't be beat. The once-Italian enclave stretched from Canal to Houston Streets, between Lafayette Street and the Bowery, as immigrants from Naples and Sicily flooded the area in the 1880s. Now, it's mostly on the blocks surrounding Mulberry Street, where some of the trendiest clothing stores and the best bars in NYC are located, but what's left is still going strong.
If you only do one thing
Eat. Pull up a chair at one of the neighborhood's oldest restaurants (Lombardi's or Angelo's of Mulberry Street) to experience Little Italy in the best way—through its food. And finish off a hearty meal with a cannoli from Caffé Palermo.
Go off the beaten track
Don't just eat Italian food and think you're done. Check out the Little Italy Street Art Project to see some impressive murals by a group of diverse artists. The initiative offers tours or you can go solo.
On a sunny day
Take a historical walking tour to learn more about the neighborhood's history, its immigrant roots and how much of those roots still exist today. GPSMYCITY has a self-guided tour you can take right now.
On a rainy day
Shop its specialty stores (Di Palo's Fine Foods, Ferrara, and Alleva Dairy)
Check out the Italian American Museum's small permanent collection devoted to the history of Italian Americans.
Grab a glass of wine at La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, which has an approachable list of vin that’s complemented by chef Eric Bolyard’s “fringe France” cooking. Otherwise, head over to The Randolph at Broome, a 1,500-square-foot dive that serves classic cocktails (think rickeys and fizzes) and frozen boozy slushies.
Nearest subway stations
What else is nearby?
Soho, a shopping enclave full of high-end boutiques and buzzworthy pop-up shops, as well as a sea of street vendors touting designer knockoffs in the form of sunglasses, handbags and scarves. Though many of the art galleries that made Soho New York a contemporary-art hot spot are gone, some excellent art spaces remain. Walk along the cobblestone streets and find great New York restaurants, bars and things to do in this downtown neighborhood.