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 Lower East Side Tours – Tenements

The Lower East Side, sometimes abbreviated as LES, is a neighborhood in the southeastern part of the New York City borough of Manhattan, roughly located between the Bowery and the East River, and Canal Street and Houston Street. Traditionally an immigrant, working-class neighborhood, it began rapid gentrification in the mid-2000s, prompting The National Trust for Historic Preservation to place the neighborhood on their list of America’s Most Endangered Places.

The Lower East Side is roughly bounded by the Bowery to the west, East Houston Street to the north, the F.D.R. Drive to the east and Canal Street to the south. The western boundary below Grand Street veers east off of the Bowery to approximately Essex Street.

The neighborhood is bordered in the south and west by Chinatown – which extends north to roughly Grand Street, in the west by NoLIta and in the north by East Village.

Historically, the “Lower East Side” referred to the area alongside the East River from about the Manhattan Bridge and Canal Street up to 14th Street, and roughly bounded on the west by Broadway. It included areas known today as East Village, Alphabet City, Chinatown, Bowery, Little Italy, and NoLIta. Parts of the East Village are still known as Loisaida, a Latino pronunciation of “Lower East Side.” Avenue C is known directly as “Loisaida” and is home to the Loisaida Festival every summer

Politically, the neighborhood is located in New York’s 8th, 12th, and 14th congressional districts, the New York State Assembly‘s 64th district, the New York State Senate‘s 26th district, and New York City Council‘s 1st and 2nd district.

Where can you find a historic Synagogue next to a Bulgarian punk discotheque, trendy boutiques that sit comfortably beside decades-old “Mom and Pop” shops, or tenement apartments interspersed between luxury high rise condos? Look no further than our Lower East Side Food Tour to discover America’s great Melting Pot. The Lower East Side is known for its blend of cultural diversity and rich history. It’s also known for its great food. Our food tasting tour is the perfect way to discover this fascinating neighborhood.

Be sure to take a look at our full lineup of New York food tours.

The streets of the Lower East Side tell the tales of struggling immigrants – Eastern Europeans, Russians, Germans, Puerto Ricans – who came to America in search of opportunity. They brought with them recipes from the ‘old world’ and you can still taste these foods today. Ever eat a potato knish? How about a bialy or pletzel? Care to try a green tea doughnut? Not in the mood for something exotic – no worries – we’ll grab some of the best Chinese dumplings in New York City and we will pick up some pickles along the way.

Join Free Tours by Foot as we visit historic synagogues, check out the area’s latest in arts and architecture, learn about life in the tenements and master useful Yiddish phrases, all while refining our palates with delectable treats from around the globe.

Be sure to read our quick Guide on the Lower East Side.

Food shops we stop at:

  • Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery
  • Prosperity Dumpling
  • Kossar’s Bialy and Bagels
  • Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery
  • The Pickle Guys

On major Jewish holidays, these shops are closed and we visit other delicious food shops instead.  We do make changes to shops for various reasons and we cannot guarantee that all shops listed above will be visited on each tour.