Discover Lower Manhattan with Val Baynton, as she reveals why this part of New York City has it all.Downtown New York, the southern part of Manhattan Island, is famous as the home of Wall Street and the World Trade Center but has become the perfect location for groups to base themselves on a trip to the Big Apple. Staying in one of Downtown’s many hotels, your group will be within walking distance of key attractions, top restaurants, shops, the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, and yes, Wall Street – but without the crowds and traffic of Midtown Manhattan. Instead, a 20-minute subway ride puts you into the heart of the theatre district for a Broadway show.
The high life
One of the iconic experiences of a visit to NYC is walking the streets surrounded by tall skyscrapers and Downtown does not disappoint. You can weave your way through the narrow backstreets with towering buildings built centuries ago, exploring inland from the waterside to the One World Observatory at One World Trade, which has views of the New York skyline from the 100th, 101st and 102nd floors. Of course, the view right from your hotel room window is likely to have incredible views too! Groups can also walk the Brooklyn Bridge or enjoy the skyline from the ferry to and from the Statue of Liberty.
9/11 Museum and Memorial
Built on the site of the former World Trade Center towers, the 9/11 Museum and Memorial commemorates the events of September 11th, 2001 and its aftermath. Outside, two reflecting pools are in the place of the original structures of the towers, and the names of those killed in the attacks are etched around the pools. Self-guided or guided tours of the 9/11 Museum are easy to arrange for your groups.
- Institute of Culinary Education – take a cooking class!
- Museum of Jewish Heritage.
- 9/11 Tribute Center (great for school groups)
- Charging Bull – the sculpture at the Bowling Green, the oldest public park in NYC next to the site of the original Dutch fort of New Amsterdam.
Explore New York’s history
Discover Downtown’s must see iconic locations including Fraunces Tavern, a group-friendly restaurant and museum that dates back to 1762. This is where George Washington declared the end of the American War of Independence, and, decades later, where Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr got into an argument that would lead, one week later, to a fatal duel. You can visit Hamilton’s grave at Trinity Church – also within walking distance.
Washington was inaugurated as the nation’s first President at America’s first ‘White House’ on 30 April 1789. Today, this building is a free museum known as Federal Hall, and is on the corner of Broad Street and Wall Street, just across from the New York Stock Exchange. Find out a host of facts about Downtown – such as that Wall Street was named after a wall built by the Dutch to keep the British out – by booking in with a popular walking tour of the area. Wall Street Walks was founded by South African, and former Wall Street employee, Anneline Dinkelman, and The Wall Street Experience was founded by former banker Andrew Luan. The Downtown Experience, operated by The Ride, is the world’s first sightseeing tour to incorporate a fully-integrated virtual reality experience. For the 90-minute historical ride around Downtown your group will board a converted luxury coach with theatre style side-facing seating and during the guided tour, by donning the VR headset at key places, your members will be able to step back in time and also enjoy 360 degree re-enactments of significant historical moments.
Waterside attractions and cruises
South Street Seaport, already the home of dozens of new shops, restaurants and the South Street Seaport Museum, is in the final stages of a major upgrade this year after being devastated by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Pier 17, due to open in the summer, will include a rooftop venue for up to 4,000 people, restaurants by David Chang and Jean Georges Vongerichten, and the latter will also curate a global food hall at the pier.
In addition to booking with Statue Cruises for a trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, you can book your group on a gorgeous sailboat and cruise the Hudson River with Manhattan by Sail.
Battery Park, on the southern tip of the island and named after the artillery batteries positioned there to protect the early settlement, is now a haven for wildlife and has gardens designed by internationally acclaimed Dutch plantsman, Piet Oudolf.
World class shopping
Downtown Manhattan has become a modern day shopping mecca, with hundreds of shops located right in the heart of the area. The new Westfield World Trade Center, a subterranean mall set within the futuristic Oculus, is home to hundreds of shops. The space also connects to Brookfield Place, home to dozens of luxury brands including Saks, and is just a stone’s throw from Century 21, a high fashion discount store incredibly popular with locals and travellers alike.
- 20 minutes via the subway to Broadway theatres and Times Square
- 20 minutes to New Jersey via the Path Train (Jersey City)
- 10 minutes to Brooklyn via the subway for Brooklyn Heights and the trendy Dumbo quarter with cobbled streets, classic brownstone houses and converted warehouses.
Thirty-two hotels covering all budget points such as The Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn, W Downtown, the Four Seasons, The Ritz, Aloft Hotel, Conrad New York, Holiday Inn, The Beekman, and others.
Downtown offers top dining options for all different cuisines including Danny Meyer’s North End Grill and Blue Smoke, Blue Ribbon Federal Grill, Cut, by Wolfgang Puck, Nobu Downtown and the Michelin-starred L’appart in the French Le District food hall in Brookfield Place, also home to Beaubourg, a fine dining restaurant. Contemporary American dining can be found at the Tuck Room, Bill’s Bar and Burger, and Del Frisco’s.
Delmonico’s is America’s oldest restaurant – and welcomes groups of all sizes, as do nearby Bobby Van’s and Harry’s – all classic Wall Street restaurants.