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6 Reasons to Ditch Midtown Manhattan and Explore Downtown NYC Instead

Thousands flock to New York City every year to take in Manhattan’s glorious sights. For many a New Yorker Midtown Manhattan is their personal hell – look no further than Times Square.

Many forget there is a world beyond the borders of their offices and the Empire State Building. From Chinatown to Katz’s Deli, Lady Liberty to Battery Park, Bowling Green to Ellis Island, Wall Street to the Village, there is so much to see and experience in Manhattan’s Downtown district. So on your next visit, ditch the Empire State Building and the trap that is Time’s Square and discover these places instead…


Greenwich Village

To get a real feel for New York City and escape the avenues lined with skyscrapers and tacky tourist souvenir shops, spend a day or two exploring the labyrinth of Greenwich – yes labyrinth… The village is one of the few places in Manhattan where you can get lost. Every corner is lined with charming brownstones, bustling cafes and quirky boutique shops that rival the commercialised stores on 5th Avenue. Quaint havens offer endless opportunities for intimate dining and drinking – theres no reason not to go! Picnic and people watch in Washington Square, go on a literary pub crawl and of course indulge in a cupcake at the Magnolia Bakery.

9/11 Museum and Memorial

The memorial’s two gigantic reflecting pools are without a doubt a symbol of hope and renewal for New Yorkers, if not America. Titled ‘Reflecting Absence’, the memorial pays tribute to the thousands of people who lost their lives to terrorism. Whilst plagued with selfie sticks, it is a striking and solemn place and is a stark reminder of the events and consequences of that fateful day in September 2001. Next to the pools you will find the newly built One World Trade Center and the incredible National September 11 Museum, documenting September 11 with a fascinating array of exhibits and displays that tastefully remember the city’s once great icons.

Federal Hall National Monument:

The site at which George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States is situated just opposite the New Stock Exchange and Wall Street. The building itself stands on the original site of New York City’s original City Hall, where the first U.S. congress convened. One of the highlights of the museum includes the slab of stone on which Washington stood while been sworn in as President.

One World Trade Center:

The newly opened Freedom Tower is New York’s latest skyscraper attraction and is the tallest building in the Western Hampshire. New York’s most exclusive address, now home to the likes of Condé Nast publications and many others, offers tourists the chance to see the iconic New York skyline from another perspective. From 102 stories up, admire stunning views over the harbour, the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty and the iconic Empire State Building. Tickets for the observation deck can be booked here.

South Street Seaport

This is the perfect place to unwind after a walk along the Brooklyn Bridge or after a visit to Lady Liberty. Packed with restaurants, stalls and interesting shops, indulge in grilled cheese (cheese on toast if you are British) and a host of other NY culinary treats. Not known to many New Yorkers, this 11-block enclave of cobblestoned streets and maritime warehouses showcases the best in historic preservation. Frequent street performers, among other entertainments can be found and the area puts on a good show during the holidays, especially Halloween. You will also get fantastic views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn skyline from here.

Strand Bookstore 

Standing proud and just around the corner from the iconic Flatiron building you will find the Strand Bookstore. Packed with 18 miles of books, this is the perfect place for any literature fan! Selling everything from quirky souvenirs to rare books, you can find just about any edition of a book published, well, since the beginning of time! It is also a great place to buy your souvenirs. They are a little more expensive but after a while you will think its worth it as you get sick of the sight of tacky miniature green crowned statues.


-Luke Abrahams

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