To take a self-guided tour of the Lower East Side, download our free Podcast Tour and enjoy a fascinating tour that covers the history, people and interesting information all about the Lower East Side of New York City.
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Eldridge Street Synagogue
Neighborhood Outside ESS
Canal and Allen
Heart of the Lower East Side
Immigrants to the LES
Pickles and Coffee
Orchard and Broome Streets
The Delancey Family
Arts and Culture
The Historic and the Hip
The Melting Pot of Food
Russ and Daughters
Lower East Side of Diversity
The Lower East Side Business Improvement District offers several free tours:
Free Historic Tours
Take a historical three-hour journey through the Lower East Side and explore some of the rich history tracing the arrival of immigrants to modern times.
ELS LES Tours
Every last Sunday, April through October, 1 p.m. (no tour in August). The ELS LES tours provide a guided walking tour of artists’ spaces and galleries. Meet at the Lower East Side Visitor Center, 54 Orchard (between Grand and Hester.)
Free and open to the public.
Robotic sculptures, honeycomb hives, and outdoor installments are just some of the artistic treasures that regularly pepper the Lower East Side’s eclectic galleries. This Summer into Fall, urban art lovers and collectors are invited to explore these inventive works and creative forms during the ELS-LES Art Gallery Crawls, a series of guided tours through the Lower East Side’s artist community. Sponsored by the Lower East Side Business Improvement District (LES BID), ELS-LES -Every Last Sunday on the Lower East Side- takes place on the last Sunday of every month. Each free guided tour of the Lower East Side’s independent studios, artist-run galleries, and performance spaces include a LES discount guide and neighborhood map featuring historic points of interest and direct access to many of the area’s fabled artists.
ELS LES offers a free outlet for one’s artistic curiosity in hipper, edgier alternative to Chelsea. Aaron Thompson, founding artist of art.les.nyc studios noted that, “The many local artists and emerging galleries have helped build the Lower East Side over time and continue to help give the neighborhood its unique flavor.”
Additional Neighborhood Tours
A number of organizations offer tours in the area. There is a fee to take these tours. Some of the organizations offering tours include:
The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy
400 Grand Street (at Clinton Street)
The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy features fully and professionally guided, story-filled tours (2.5–3 hours) which take visitors both inside the sacred sites, and on to the history-filled streets of the Lower East Side and East Village. Tours are punctuated by regular “nosh stops” and tailored to fit your interests.
The Lower East Side Tenement Museum
97 Orchard Street
Recreating life in the tenements in its restored building with apartments typical of the turn of the century, the museum also offers exciting tours, dramas, “urban explorations,” children’s programs and exhibitions. Note: Admission tickets, gallery and gift shop at 104 Orchard Street. Tours start from 1pm: Tues-Fri, 11am: Sat-Sun. No public tours on Mondays, except in July and August.
The Museum at Eldridge Street
(based in 1887 The Eldridge Street Synagogue, a National Historic Landmark)
12 Eldridge Street
The Museum’s mission and purpose is to present the culture, history and traditions of the great wave of Jewish immigrants to the Lower East Side drawing parallels with the diverse cultural communities that have settled in America. Tours, exhibits and public and educational programs tell the story of the generations that carried religious and communal customs to a new country and celebrate America’s broad cultural traditions. One-hour guided tours begin every half hour until 4pm. Adults $10; Students & Seniors (62+) $8; Children 5-18 $6; [under 5 free]. Monday mornings free tours from 10am to noon for individuals and groups less than six. Open Sunday-Thursday, 10am to 5pm. Closed Jewish and major national holidays.
The Lower East Side History Project
The Lower East Side History Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to researching and documenting the Lower East Side’s great history, in order to raise awareness of the neighborhood’s historic significance and influence in world history. We provide public and private walking tours, K-12 and university level educational programming, lectures, presentations and more. Walking tours are offered most days of the week. Please check our website for more information.