One of the greatest things about being in New York City is that you get to feel like you have entered a different country and sometimes even a different continent when only walking a few blocks. While downtown head south of Broome Street and east of Lafayette to stroll through the best of Chinese culture in New York City. On Mott and Grand Streets you’ll find stands selling exotic foods like hairy rambutans. As you make your way to Canal Street you won’t be able to help yourself from stepping inside to the many gift shops.
During your visit to Manhattan’s Chinatown you’ll definitely want to stop and enjoy something to eat. This neighborhood is home to some of the best restaurants in NYC — and certainly some of the best dumplings in the metro area. But, that’s not all. Immerse yourself in a new culture and take advantage of our guide to the best shopping and dining in Chinatown to ensure that you’re always in-the-know.
Looking for the best things to do in Chinatown beyond just dumplings? Here are our picks:
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1. Museum Of Chinese In America (MOCA)
This museum showcases the Chinese-American experience and is one of the neighborhood’s most visited tourist attractions since opening in 1980. The exhibitions are incredibly compelling, including floating projections of photographs and interactive sets that give you an inside look at the life of early Chinese immigrants. Our tip: head downtown on the first Thursday of the month when the museum is open late and admission is free!
People watching takes on a new meaning at Columbus Park where you can enjoy getting a glimpse at the true diversity of the neighborhood. Here you’ll find amateur troupes of opera performers, residents playing cards and some people teaching kung-fu. If you’re really lucky you may even see a fortune teller. When you spend time in Chinatown, the lucky stars are yours. After you’ve enjoyed sitting take a stroll down the block to sneak a peek in a few of the area’s shops.
3. Jing Fong
Dim sum is not just a meal, it’s an experience. Jing Fung is one of the city’s largest and most traditional Cantonese restaurants which is great if you don’t want to wait for a table. Whatever you’re in the mood for, from tried-and-true shrimp dumplings to more exotic pig knuckles, you’ll find it at Jing Fong with over 100 dishes to choose from.
4. Kung Fu Tea
Bubble milk tea may be getting easier to find. You know, the sweet, creamy drink that has gumdrop sized balls of dark tapioca? But you’re unlikely to find one fresher than that at Kung Fu Tea in Manhattan’s Chinatown. The menu here cannot be rivaled by other institutions in the city, showcasing everything from teas that feature longan honey to those with passion fruit and red bean.
No trip to New York’s Chinatown is complete without a visit to a karaoke bar. Experience the magnetic pull of the Far East and your favorite tunes from home. Here you’ll find not just a healthy dose of Mandarin pop songs but also a “Hawaiian Punch” that will make picking up the mic that much easier.
What are your favorite things to do in Chinatown? Please share in the comments below!
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