Find out all the cool spots to visit in Chinatown NYC with a suggested walking route below. You can go to Chinatown after visiting Soho and Little Italy since they are next to each other! Chinatown NYC is a neighborhood filled with shops & restaurants. In this post, you’ll find the coolest spots to visit in Chinatown.
Tip: If you’re planning on buying NY Souvenirs, I’d suggest buying them in Chinatown or Little Italy because they are cheaper than the NY Gift Shops in Times Square 😉
When I first came to NYC and went to Chinatown, I only went to Canal Street… I was the worst tourist! I think it’s awesome to go and explore on your own but it’s good to have at least some guidance 😉 Now that I live here, I prefer to avoid the area because of the smell and because it gets very crowded but it’s worth visiting at least once! Some locals go to eat here or buy fresh fish. If you’re on a very tight schedule on your NYC Trip, you can avoid this area.
What’s Chinatown NYC Known For?
Busy & narrow sidewalks with plenty of souvenir stores, clothing, suitcases & bags, bubble tea shops and markets that sell dried fish, herbs & spices! You can find many locals at Columbus Park (more below).
Many tourists & foodies visit Chinatown for the restaurants if you’re up for some good dumplings, pork buns, seafood, or hand-pulled noddles, and dessert too!
It’s also known for being a smelly neighborhood with all the seafood around… Chinatown is getting bigger and bigger every day!
How to Get to Chinatown NYC
You can take the following subways to Canal Street Station:
What to See in Chinatown NYC: Top Attractions
- Canal Street
- Mott Street Market
- Doyers St
- Chatham Square
- Manhattan Bridge Entrance
- Columbus Park
The most popular street in Chinatown NYC and main shopping area. The street where you’ll see plenty of shops all next to each other. You should know Canal St. is not a “legitimate” shopping area in Manhattan. More below.
Shopping on Canal St. – Crossing Streets: Canal St. between Baxter St. & Bowery.
This is a hidden little street in the heart of Chinatown NYC worth visiting! Hard to find if you just go to Canal Street without knowing about this! This was my favorite part of Chinatown! It’s safe to walk through there. It can look a bit isolated close to sunset but it’s safe!
It was known as the “Murder Alley” or “Bloody Angle” because it was a very dangerous street with violence and crimes in the 1880s/1900s.
Many Chinatown locals go to this park. You can spot people doing Tai Chi in the mornings and playing chess & Mahjong.
You don’t really have to visit this park if you just want to visit the main spots of Chinatown New York 😉
Shopping in Chinatown NYC
You can find cheap souvenirs, bags, suitcases, purses, wallets, etc. on Canal Street. The shops are very close to each other.
It will feel like all of them are being VERY PUSHY trying to make you buy their stuff. For some people, this can be annoying. Many will tell you a higher price than what it really costs so you have to negotiate the price here. I’d say to never accept the first price they tell you 😉 In fact, it’s expected to negotiate the price.
Chinatown NYC is also famous for selling fake bags (imitation bags) of luxury brands such as Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, etc. People that ask for this, are taken to the back of the store which can be a bit scaring. You should know it’s illegal for them to sell you these, so I don’t promote it or encourage it here.
Some Chinatown Shopping Tips:
- Bring cash with you.
- Try not to show your cash.
- Don’t keep your purse wide open.
- Keep an eye on what you spend so you don’t end up spending tons of money on junk items.
- Get ready to bargain. It’s expected here!
Suggested Walking Route
- If you want to visit Chinatown NYC after Soho or Little Italy, simply keep walking on Canal St. till you reach Chinatown 😉
Ice Cream in Chinatown
A really cool & popular (and cheap!) Japanese Ice Cream store with unique soft-serve ice cream flavors in a fish-shaped waffle cone. If you go to this place, I’d only go for the ice cream cone (they sell other stuff too). It’s what made them popular.
119 Baxter St. between Canal & Hester Sts.
Matcha n’ More
Good spot for Matcha drinks & soft-serve ice cream. Great for Matcha lovers!
4704, 177 Hester St. between Mott & Mulberry Sts.
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
This is a popular & touristic spot. Homemade ice cream with Oriental & exotic flavors. Maybe not the best ice cream but it’s worth trying the flavors.
65 Bayard St. between Mott & Elizabeth Sts.
Mei Li Wah
If you wanna eat Buns this is THE place to go! Don’t expect the staff to be friendly though… because they aren’t! Ask if you can grab a table before you buy. Sometimes they don’t let you and you need to eat your buns somewhere else. CASH ONLY!
64 Bayard St. between Mott & Elizabeth Sts.
Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles
Best hand-pulled noodles in Chinatown.
1 Doyers St. between Pell & Chatam / Bowery.
Best Restaurants in Chinatown NYC
Some restaurants to consider:
- Wah Fung No 1 Fast Food: more of a grab & go spot. Known for their Roasted BBQ Pork. Cheap & good food. Maybe too greasy for some.
- Vanessa’s Dumpling House or East Dumpling.
- The Original Buddha Bodai: Vegetarian, Vegan & Kosher.
- Xi’an Famous Foods. Good for Noddles.
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