Manhattan is incredibly diverse, with a wide variety of neighborhoods and regions with distinct character.
Because there’s so much to see and do throughout the city, it can often be useful when planning a trip to New York City to narrow down your options by neighborhood.
If you’re looking for things to do in Lower Manhattan and nearby areas during your trip to New York, check out our list of the best local activities and attractions, including…
- Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
- 9/11 Memorial & Museum
- Circle Line Cruises
- Clipper City Tall Ship Sail
- And more!
Save on Lower Manhattan Attraction Admission
Admission to many of these top New York City attractions and activities and more are included on the New York City Explorer Pass®.
Choose as you go from many top attractions and save up to 50% on combined admission vs. paying at the gate.
See all available passes, attractions & prices – Learn more.
Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Ferry
No visit to New York City is complete without a trip out to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
Disembark from the ferry at Liberty Island for a chance to tour the country’s most famous statue, and then head over to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum for a unique look at a very special time in American history.
If you have family that came through Ellis Island in the early twentieth century, you may even find an ancestor’s name on the wall!
Getting In: Ferry tickets for the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island are available with the New York City Explorer Pass.
9/11 Memorial and Museum
Visitors to Lower Manhattan simply have to pay a visit to the moving and insightful 9/11 Memorial and the accompanying museum.
Come here to learn all about the 1993 bombing and the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, see relics that survived the wreckage, and hear about the lives that were lost.
This poignant record of one of the nation’s greatest tragedies is an important monument in NYC and is something everyone should experience.
Getting In: 9/11 Memorial and Museum tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass.
9/11 Tribute Center and Walking Tour
If you want a different take on this sad event in American history, you can take a self-guided tour through multiple galleries showcasing the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks on NYC.
Learn all about the heroism of the first responders, the lives lost, and the legacy they left behind.
Hear personal stories from the volunteers who staff the Tribute Center, and leave with a better understanding of this horrible event in American history.
The main difference between these two attraction is the focus on first-person survivor experiences in the 9/11 Tribute Center.
Getting In: 9/11 Tribute Center & Walking Tour tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass.
Shearwater Classic Schooner Sail
If you want to mix in some outdoorsy fun with your cultural explorations, you may be interested in a cruise.
For a relaxing venture out onto NYC waters, the Daytime Statue Sail from Manhattan by Sail is a delightful option.
See the sights from a glorious 82-foot schooner known as The Shearwater and enjoy a peaceful cruise with full narration.
Getting In: Shearwater Classic Schooner Sail tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass.
Harbor Lights Cruise
Take an evening cruise down the Hudson River for unique NYC views at sunset.
Sail past the impressive skyline of Manhattan, and then to the main attraction herself, with the chance for that postcard-perfect shot of the Statute of Liberty.
A few of the highlights you’ll see along your cruise include:
- USS Intrepid Pier
- Ellis Island
- Wall Street
- Brooklyn Bridge
- Empire State Building
- and more…
Getting In: Harbor Lights Cruise tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass.
Lady Liberty Cruise
This cruise is one of the fastest and best ways to see this stunning monument. Sail down the Hudson River with Circle Line Sightseeing, viewing such sights as Ellis Island, the historic immigration center, the rising Freedom Tower, and the World Financial Center along the way.
See the top skyscrapers, statues, famous buildings, bridges, and other major landmarks on this thoroughly enjoyable sightseeing cruise. Make sure your phone is charged for those amazing pictures!
Please be aware that this cruise does not stop at Liberty Island and allow you to disembark. If you’re interested in exploring the island, see above for information about the ferry.
Getting In: Lady of Liberty Cruise tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass.
Clipper City Tall Ship Sail
Set sail from Lower Manhattan on the historically inspired Clipper City Tall Ship.
Although the original ship that shares its name was built in 1854, this recreated vessel offers much of the same historical charm with many modern amenities.
Plus, you’ll get a chance to see all the can’t-miss sights of NYC, from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Statue of Liberty and beyond.
Getting In: Clipper City Tall Ship Sail tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass.
National Museum of the American Indian
For all the great museums in NYC, it can be hard to find one with totally free admission.
The National Museum of the American Indian – a Smithsonian Institution museum – is a perfect choice for those interested in the arts, culture, and heritage of American Indian peoples.
With permanent and special exhibits, performances, and events, there’s plenty to do at this top cultural destination.
Getting In: Admission to the National Museum of the American Indian is free.
Nearby Attractions in Brooklyn
Brooklyn Museum & Brooklyn Botanic Garden
While there’s no shortage of beauty to be found in New York City, there’s a special kind of natural and artistic wonder to be found in the Brooklyn Museum and the nearby Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
The Brooklyn Museum boasts collections from around the world, with holdings as diverse as Ancient Egyptian pottery and modern feminist artwork.
After you’ve roamed their galleries, stroll the 52-acre botanical garden outside for some natural inspiration.
Getting In: Brooklyn Museum & Brooklyn Botanic Garden tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass.
Brooklyn Bridge Bike Tour
This amazing sightseeing ride begins in Manhattan and takes you across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.
Explore the many landmarks and sights available on both sides of the bridge, and take some unbeatable photographs of and from the bridge itself. A great way to be active while touring!
Getting In: Brooklyn Bridge Bike Tour tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass.
This popular arena is a Brooklyn hotspot. Home to the Brooklyn Nets and host to a multitude of concerts and special events, the Barclays Center is a great place to experience some real NYC culture.
Check the schedule while you’re in town to see if you can enjoy a game or a show – it’s worth a visit to this trendy venue.
Getting In: Admission to Barclays Center events is separately ticketed and is not included on the New York City Explorer Pass®. To purchase tickets and for more information about current events, please visit the attraction website.
Remember to Save on Attraction Admission
So there are our top recommendations for things to do in Lower Manhattan and nearby areas during your trip to New York City.
And remember – many of these great attraction options and more are included on the New York City Explorer Pass®, which can save you up to 50% on combined admission vs. paying at the gate.
We hope you consider adding a few of these wonderful attraction options to your NYC vacation plans.