Summary of contents of this post
Welcome to SoHo, Chinatown and Little Italy! If you have already read our New York guide, you will have seen that these are three of the areas of New York in which we divide our post on New York neighborhoods to make the visit easier. Well, in this post we are going to tell you everything you can see and do in Chinatown and surroundings, the most important points of interest, the best museums, timetables, prices, where to sleep, where to eat, etc …
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If you want more information about our trip to New York, you can find it here: essential in New York, New York neighborhoods, the best travel insurance for New York, how to find cheap flights to New York, how to get around New York or the best activities, excursions and tours in New York.
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If you don’t feel like reading much, we have also made this video-guide in which we talk about what you can see and do in Chinatown and surroundings, but a little more entertaining 😉
If you ask us what to see and do in Chinatown, SoHo and Little Italy, without a doubt these would be the places that we recommend and that you can’t miss.
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Map and points of interest of Chinatown and surroundings
In the map below you will find the most important points of interest in Chinatown, SoHo and Little Italy:
What to see and do in and around Chinatown
If there’s an area full of contrasts in New York, it’s this one, without a doubt: alternatives and hipsters doing exclusive fashion shopping in SoHo and Nolita, Chinese families running restaurants and Chinese shops in Chinatown and Italian-Americans trying to make their Little Italy (which is no more than a street) not disappear altogether.
Our advice to organize the itinerary in this area is that you wander, let yourself be carried away by the smell of the best Chinese food that you will find in New York, enter all the shops that attract your attention and get lost in the charm of that contrast between one and the other.
What to see and do in SoHo
Formerly SoHo was a neighborhood of artists who turned old buildings and industrial buildings into lofts and workshops, making it the most modern and bohemian neighborhood in New York. Today it’s like a big open-air mall. It’s not that there’s anything to see there, it’s just nice to walk its streets on the way to Chinatown while enjoying the shop windows of the shops in this area. In SoHo you will find the typical brick buildings with their fire escapes outside just like in Greenwich Village.
What to see and do in SoHo: Broadway StreetWhat to see and do in SoHo: Broadway Street
If you are a cultureta, in SoHo you will find a lot of art and photography galleries:
Drawing CenterNew York Earth RoomLeslie-Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian ArtArtist SpaceInternational Center of Photography
If you’re traveling with children, you might also be interested in stopping by the New York Fire Museum because they’ll love it.
In the northern area of SoHo, known as NoHo, is a good area to go out for drinks and listen to live music.
What to see and do in Chinatown
Chinatown, along with San Francisco’s Chinatown, is one of the largest Chinese communities in the world. Although we thought the San Francisco one was more authentic, you can’t miss it, because it’s one of the classics on a visit to New York. Don’t forget to visit Columbus Park, or Canal and Prince Streets for some shopping. In addition, Chinatown is a perfect place to eat in one of its authentic restaurants.
What to see and do in ChinatownWhat to see and do in Chinatown
Without a doubt this is for us the most authentic park in New York. And it’s not that I have anything special or that it’s a nice place. It is more because of the atmosphere there, with corros of older Chinese men and women, some playing cards and others dominoes. It’s a picture to admire. Chinatown is like going into another world without leaving New York.
What to see and do in Chinatown: Columbus ParkWhat to see and do in Chinatown: Columbus Park
For the inhabitants of Chinatown, Columbus Park is the meeting place par excellence, for you, in addition to the environment, will be an ideal place to make a technical stop in their public bathrooms 😉
Canal Street is like the backbone of Chinatown. In it you will find, besides quite a lot of noise, a lot of restaurants, shops where you can buy almost everything, stalls full of super appetising food and another that is not so appetising, Chinese citizens who will try to sell you counterfeits …
What to see and do in Chinatown: Canal Street
Get lost and lose again, buy souvenirs and what are not souvenirs, eat some bao in one of their stalls … And is that Chinatown more than see, has things to do. If you like markets, you can also visit Canal Street Market.
What to see and do in Chinatown: Canal Street MarketWhat to see and do in Chinatown: Canal Street Market
Also, if you are interested in buying counterfeits, this is your place 😉
Museum of Chinese in America
This interesting museum and its temporary and permanent exhibitions tell the life and history of the Chinese living in the United States: immigration, racial stereotypes, problems of exclusion, cultural identity…
Their exhibitions are multimedia and quite interactive: they have maps, chronologies, photographs, film letters…
Entrance to this museum costs 12 USD per person (it is free on the first Thursday of each month) and the schedule is as follows:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 to 18:00 hours. Thursday from 11:00 to 21:00 hours. Monday closed.
Buddhist temples: Mahayana and Eastern States Buddhist Temple
The Mahayana is the largest Buddhist temple in Chinatown and is home to a huge 5-metre Buddha sitting on a lotus flower. Its entrance is guarded by two enormous golden lions, and is especially striking for the contrast it generates with its surroundings.
For its part, the Eastern States Buddhist Temple is home to an infinite number of Buddhas.
Lunch or dinner in one of the Chinese restaurants in your alleys
And this is a must in Chinatown. You can skip everything else (not really), but don’t let them eat in one of their hidden alleys, because you’re going to be surprised for good. I’m sure of it.
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What to see and do in Little Italy and Nolita
Between SoHo and Chinatown are Little Italy and Nolita (NOrth of LIttle iTaly), two areas that have been losing ground over the years and are now reduced to almost a couple of streets. In Little Italy you will find mostly restaurants (of questionable quality due to our experience) and bakeries specialized in typical Italian sweets, such as Ferrara.
Just like SoHo, it’s not that Little Italy has much to do with it, but don’t stop walking around and eating some Italian candy in one of their bakeries.
Mulberry Street is to Little Italy what Canal Street is to Chinatown, famous for being the epicentre of this ‘neighbourhood’, which is actually just one street (that street). Like Canal Street, it’s a lively street full of shops and restaurants.
Among all establishments there are a few that you can not miss:
Alleva, a well-known and peculiar cheese shop. Ferrara, to taste some authentic cannolis. Mulberry Street Bar, which has appeared in series like The Soprano or Law and Order.
Other points of interest in the vicinity of Chinatown
TribecaTenement MuseumOld Merchant’s House
How much time do I need to see Chinatown and surroundings?
In our opinion the ideal time to visit this area is mid-morning or mid-afternoon, in a walk of a couple of hours you have it done, but it depends on whether or not you are entertained in shopping, seeing a museum, or eating one of its restaurants.
What to see and do in Chinatown: streets in Chinatown
How to get to SoHo, Chinatown and Little Italy
The best way to get to SoHo, Chinatown and Little Italy, as almost everywhere else in New York, is by subway. What you need to be clear about is where in this area you want to start. Here’s the map with the metro stops you’ll find near SoHo, Chinatown and Little Italy:
How to get to Chinatown
In this post you have more information about how to get around New York.
Where to Eat in SoHo, Chinatown and Little Italy
One of the best things about New York in general is the large number of choices you have to eat. As always, we are preparing videos and posts about this, but without a doubt, SoHo, Chinatown and Little Italy are three exceptional areas to eat something and soak up the contrasts of an area in which you can not avoid salivating with the smells that emanate from restaurants.
Where to Eat in Chinatown: Joe’s Shangai
Depending on where you are at mealtimes you can search our dark blue map for places we recommend you to eat/dinner. We had some delicious dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai that day, but we had dinner nearby in Brooklyn (we’ll talk about that later). In the post we’ll write about where to eat in New York, we’ll tell you in depth about all the places we recommend.
Where to Eat in Chinatown: Joe’s Shangai
Other dining options in SoHo, Chinatown and Little Italy:
Where to Sleep in SoHo, Chinatown and Little Italy
This is one of the most interesting areas of New York to stay, because although Chinatown is quite bustling (not so much SoHo), it is very well communicated and with most major points of interest at hand.
What to see and do in Chinatown: Graffiti
When looking for accommodation in New York, you have to take into account depending on the season in which you travel, staying in Manhattan is really expensive, I dare say almost prohibitive. So it might make sense that if you travel in high season, you stay off the island, in Brooklyn or Queens. In fact, Chinatown, being well communicated, is one of the most expensive areas.
We’re going to talk in depth about accommodation in New York in upcoming posts, but at the moment I’m showing you three super scored options in Booking in and around Chinatown:
CITY ROOMS NYC SoHo >> 8,1/10 de puntuación en Booking y alrededor de 201 euros la noche sin desayuno.SoHo Garden Hotel >> 7,8/10 de puntuación en Booking y alrededor de 141 euros la noche sin desayuno.Orchard Street Hotel >> 8.2/10 of Booking score and about 167 euros the night without breakfast.
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