The general rule is after 10 years in the city, you are officially considered a New Yorker. Personally, I’ve considered myself one (and still do) way before that time frame. I know it may sound silly, but when I moved to the Financial District NYC, the city and I had an instant bond. There is so much to love about New York, except the rats, the smells, and the cost, but honestly, everything ELSE was fantastic.
In my 11 years in the city that never sleeps, I spent 9 of those living in the Financial District or Fidi, as it’s called these days. I was a resident of this neighborhood when not many wanted to be, and fast forward nine years, it’s now one of NYC’s most desirable areas. So, if you are planning a trip to the Big Apple, you have to spend at least a day in my old stomping grounds. Here are my recommendations for the things you don’t want to miss in the Financial District NYC.
My Landmark Guide to FIDI
There is so much to see in this historic section of the city. The Financial District NYC is located at the bottom tip of Manhattan, where the East River and Hudson meet. It features amazing views of the Statue of Liberty, New Jersey, as well as the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges. You can easily walk around to explore all there is to see in Fidi, and don’t get discouraged if you have to ask for directions, most New Yorkers hate to admit it but they get lost Downtown too!
Of course, the neighborhood is known for the Stock Exchange and other financial monuments, but there is more to see down here than just Bulls and Bears. And make sure you have your camera ready because there are plenty of photo opportunities that await you. My walking recommendation is to start on either side, East or Westside, and travel in a horseshoe-esque shaped path to see everything.
My map above highlights most of the major sights to see in the Financial District. I recommend trying to see them all, but if you can’t, here are a few of my must visits:
Wall St. & NYSE
If you visit the Financial District, you have to take a walk down Wall St. and grab a photo in front of the NYSE. This location is filled with so much history since it used to be the northern border of the city (New Amsterdam) and it’s the most iconic landmark in the neighborhood.
This extraordinary $4 Billion structure is the newest piece of architecture to make its debut in the Financial District. The Oculus is the World Trade Center transportation hub. Make sure you have your camera, this site is a photographer’s dream from the inside out.
A visit to the 9/11 Memorial, may be an emotional one, but it’s well worth it. The waterfalls that flow into the foundation of where the Twin Towers once stood are truly breathtaking. Entrance is free to the memorial and $24 for an Adult ticket to the Museum.
South St. Seaport
What once used to be the massive Fulton Fish Market (and smelled like fish for years after I moved down there), is now a tourist and local favorite with shops, bars, and restaurants. After Hurricane Sandy destroyed this historic area, the community came together to help rebuild, and now it continues to grow and thrive.
If you are visiting NYC, I’m sure a trip to Central Park is on your list of things to do. But if you are Downtown, a walk through Battery Park is a must. At the tip of the island, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Statue of Liberty, a walk along the waterfront, or see the many statues and monuments scattered throughout the park. Battery Park has always been one of my favorite places to unwind in the city.
New York has some of the best food in the country – hands down. It doesn’t matter your preference, as long as you stay out of Times Square it’s relatively easy to find your next delicious meal. The same holds true in Fidi; there are plenty of tasty options to enjoy at any price point. I’ve curated my “Best of” Fidi dining for you to check out:
Since it is a business district, a fancy steak dinner is not hard to come by. If you are looking for a prime cut of meat, there are quite a few restaurants to choose from. Here are my recommendations:
- Delmonico’s – 56 Beaver St. Famous for history, ideal for business dinners or date night
- Harry’s – 1 Hanover Sq. Lively bar scene
- CUT by Wolfgang Puck– 99 Church @ The Four Seasons Hotel **New
If you are looking for some awesome Italian food, then look no further! Da Claudio has been one of my favorites spots from the moment they opened. Their fantastic food and management keep me coming back again and again! Read all about why I love this place on my site here.
Best Upscale Dining
One of my favorite special occasion restaurants for brunch, lunch or dinner. There is so much to love about this restaurant from the chic decor, fantastic staff, and delicious seasonal menu. Highly recommended!
As I mentioned, there are a lot of options for dining in Fidi, here are a few other of my fav’s to check out:
- Pizza – Harry’s Italian or Adrienne’s (same owner)
- Cool Dining & Market Experience – Le District & Eataly
- Lunch or Casual – Hudson Eats Food Court in Brookfield, Nelson Blue at The Seaport
- Sushi – SUteiShi, Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar
- Brunch – Stone St. has a collection of restaurants to choose from
- Best Views – Gigino @Wagner Park, Battery Gardens, Watermark
The Financial District is not Soho and hasn’t historically been known for its shopping. But as the neighborhood continues to evolve, the retail landscape is definitely changing. Cute shops and specialty boutiques are popping up around the Seaport. Additionally, you will find some high-end stores like Hermès, Tiffany & Co. and Canali, near Wall St. A few contemporary retailers like Gap and Zara are along Broadway. And of course, Brookfield Place, an impressive mall near The Hudson River will provide a cool New York shopping experience.
Here are a few of my favorite spots to shop:
A beautifully designed shopping center and plaza, nestled between the Hudson River and the West Side Highway. Brookfield Place features a host of high-end retailers like Saks, Gucci, DVF & Zenga. You could spend hours here, shopping, dining and taking in the gorgeous views of the marina and waterfront. There is always something interesting going on there not to be missed.
The ultimate designer discount store is right in the heart of the financial district. If you have the patience and some time, you could go home with bags and bags of goodies. There is no store in the country where you can find 6 floors of high-end designers like Armani, Valentino, and Jimmy Choo (just to name a few) at such prices. Century 21 has everything from clothes, beauty, housewares, and shoes galore, all at amazingly discounted prices!
Bars and Night Life
We have a saying in New York, “Work Hard, Play Hard’, which generally involves enjoying quite a few cocktails after a long day of work. For many years, most New Yorkers would have considered the Financial District to be dead at night. With the influx of businesses relocating downtown and the increase of residential buildings, you will now find most bars packed on any given evening.
I will be honest, New Yorkers like to drink – a lot. Whether you are a wine connoisseur, cocktail aficionado, or just want to throw back some beers, there are many options to satisfy your thirst, all you have to do is pick your poison.
A New York institution, this pedestrian street is lined with bars and restaurants that have been over-serving the downtown community for decades! You will find a little bit of everything on this street, from traditional Irish bars, a Bavarian bier house, a lively Mexican restaurant, and my favorite wine & whiskey bar, Vintry.
Vintry Wine & Whiskey
57 Stone St
me when I say that you cannot make a trip downtown without stopping by my favorite spot. This intimate bar featuring tasty small plates, hand crafted cocktails and wine for every palate is my go-to bar on Stone St. You can sit at the bar and chat up the bartender or reserve a table for you and your friends.
Notable Bars To Visit
- Roof Top & Cocktails – Loopy Doopy @The Conrad Hilton, Living Room Terrace @The W Hotel Downtown
- Cocktails Lounges- The Dead Rabbit (world renowned), Underdog on Stone St., Pier A on the Water
- Beer Halls – Ulysses, Clinton Hall, Stout, Growler
- Irish Bars – Jim Brady’s, Ryan Maguire, Fraunces Tavern
If bars aren’t really your thing, don’t fret, there are a few other options you can enjoy. An upgraded movie experience has arrived in the Financial District’s Seaport. At iPic, you can preselect your seats and enjoy quality dining and drinks while watching your new favorite movie. If you are on the Westside there is also an AMC theater in Battery Park right near the Shake Shack.
Cruising the Hudson
After walking the streets, you may want to spend your evening watching the sunset over all you’ve explored. Catch some spectacular views of the Brooklyn Bridge, Fidi skyline and the Statue of Liberty while on a relaxing cruise. You can set sail right from the Financial District and experience some of the best views of NYC.
We all know that NYC is the city that never sleeps and things are always changing. Even though I still wear the honorary badge of a New Yorker, after 11 years, I now in live LA. So for the latest info on what’s new and hot in Fidi, check out the Downtown Alliance website #DownIsWhatsUP! If find yourself outside of the Fidi, and are looking for free things to do, check out this list of free things to do in NYC for 2017!
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