What to See, Eat, and Do at The Seaport in NYC

After a major glow-up, the cobblestone streets of this historic maritime neighborhood have become one of the coolest destinations in town.

The Seaport
The Seaport | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
The Seaport | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Located at the East River south of the Brooklyn Bridge, this small pocket in Lower Manhattan has recently undergone a dramatic glow-up. Just a decade ago, The Seaport was home to little more than schlocky tourist shops and nary a solid bar or dinner spot in sight. After Hurricane Sandy demolished huge swaths of it, many businesses that had been hanging on by a thread were forced to shutter, casting doubt on whether there would even be a seaport area of New York City at all.

But now, with the help of The Howard Hughes Corporation—who spent years rehabilitating Pier 17 and the surrounding streets into a lively stretch of restaurants, bars, shops, and performing venues (this is also approximately when the region started to be known as The Seaport, rather than South Street Seaport)—what was once a fishing port in the 1800s has become one of the coolest neighborhoods in town.

And while the restaurant game has been strong since the area’s transformation, the recent opening of the Tin Building food hall has heralded a new era for The Seaport: A proper destination dining enclave. So if you haven’t been, or haven’t been in years, now is the perfect time to explore this riverside community. From a maritime history museum to new luxury hotels, here’s everything to eat, see, and do at The Seaport.

Fish & Chips, Fried Clams & Shrimp, and Warm Lobster Roll at Fulton Fish Co
Fish & Chips, Fried Clams & Shrimp, and Warm Lobster Roll at Fulton Fish Co | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Dine at a dazzling new food hall along with outposts from world-renowned chefs

Whether you’re looking to max out the office’s credit card or are in search of a quick nosh, The Seaport is home to some of the city’s most exciting new eateries.

Carne Mare is a swanky Italian-style chop house perhaps most famous for their decadent (and delicious) mozzarella sticks piled high with caviar. For a special occasion meal that veers more towards pescaterian tastes, head to The Fulton, chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s paean to seafood.

For something more casual, the dinner menu at Momofuku’s Ssam Bar with their signature Large Format Meals is ideal for sharing. For brunch, there’s farm-to-table dining at Malibu Farm. And the newish outpost of beloved Di Fara Pizza is perfect for something on the go.

For dessert, cookie lovers should make a beeline to Funny Face Bakery, home to the Harry Styles face cookie. One of the Big Apple’s best new spots for mithai, or Indian sweets, is also in the neighborhood: Tagmo makes small batches of jewel-like treats, including Pistachio Burfi and Besan Ladoo. For something frozen, Mister Dips has some of the city’s finest soft serve. And an outpost of the cherished ice cream brand, Van Leeuwen, serves classic flavors with a twist like Marionberry Cheesecake, along with plenty of vegan varieties.

But perhaps the biggest new driver of appetites to the neighborhood is the gleaming Tin Building, the product of eight years of exacting reconstruction from chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and his team. The two-story food hall offers six dine-in concepts, including the Fulton Fish Co. for seafood and T. Brasserie for French fare, as well as six grab-and-go spots like the breakfast sandwich haven Double Yolk, and T Cafe for coffee and pastries. Sprinkled among the eateries are also multiple markets, selling everything from hard-to-find fresh flower varieties to the Tin Building’s own line of oils and vinegars. You’ll need at least a few visits here to conquer it all.

McNally Jackson
McNally Jackson | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Snap epic selfies with the BK Bridge and historic sailboats

With its cobblestone streets and epic close-up views of the Brooklyn Bridge, since its revitalization, The Seaport stands out as one of New York City’s most charming neighborhoods for a romantic wander.

History buffs will appreciate The South Street Seaport Museum, which chronicles the city’s past as a bustling seaport and features an impressive fleet of historic ships, including an adorable 1930 tugboat. And to learn of the African Diaspora’s impact on the history of New York City, Black Gotham Experience hosts walking tours, talks, and events that aim to illuminate these often forgotten stories.

Since its renovation, the area has become home to many local boutiques as opposed to touristy big brands. McNally Jackson is one of the city’s best independent bookstores, while The Canvas stocks ethical, emerging independent brands from around the globe. Vintage hounds will love Club Vintage, which sells not only vintage threads, but furniture and home decor as well. The newest boutique, CHEVAL, opens this month with a steady supply of sparkly shoes. And for the perfect leather jacket, let Christian Benner Custom make one for you to your exact specs.

The Seaport is also home to one of our favorite movie theaters, the IPIC Fulton Market. The theater is a “dine-in,” which means you can eat a full meal of Chicken & Red Velvet Waffles reclined in a cushy seat.

And come summer and fall time, there are more seasonal offerings in the neighborhood. The Rooftop at Pier 17 is an incredible concert venue with an outdoor stage that has a gorgeous view of the city skyline. And Manhattan By Sail is one of the best ways to explore the island from the water; in season, they offer daily sailboat tours around NY Harbor aboard a historic clipper ship or a classic schooner.

Bar seating at House of the Red Pearl at the Tin Building
Bar seating at House of the Red Pearl at the Tin Building | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Sip on famed negronis and enjoy drinks on outdoor lawns

One of the biggest advantages to a night out here are the beautiful river views. Dante's Negroni Bar, with its soaring floor-to-ceiling windows that can roll up in temperate weather, maximizes its location with an indoor-outdoor setup to sip on their famed negronis. You can also snag a bar stool at any of the Tin Building’s dining concepts, like the Chinese-inspired House of the Red Pearl. And if the agenda calls for drinks and a movie, grab a cocktail at The Tuck Room before heading into the aforementioned IPIC for a flick.

For something super low-key, Jeremy’s Ale House bills itself as “the last of the great NYC dive bars,” while Fresh Salt is a very solid, no-frills neighborhood watering hole.

And while it’s only open seasonally, The Greens is one of the most unique places to grab a drink with pals. Located on the roof of Pier 17, the space has mini-lawns that fit up to 8 people, complete with chairs and an umbrella.

Otto Suite
Otto Suite | Photo courtesy of The Wall Street Hotel

Lodge at chic hotels with stunning views and arcade game-filled lobbies

While the neighborhood, which roughly stretches from Water Street to the East River, doesn’t technically encompass any hotels, there are plenty of nearby options.

For luxury, Mr. C Seaport from the Cipriani family of restaurant fame offers 66 rooms boasting stunning views of the Brooklyn Bridge or NYC skyline. Expect high-end Italian linens and rain showers in each room, and the on-site restaurant Bellini serves (naturally) Italian food. The Wall Street Hotel from Preferred Hotels & Resorts is the newest fancy property to debut close by. Here, 180 rooms are inspired by classic NYC apartments, and its amenities include a private rooftop terrace with postcard-perfect views of the New York Harbor and Lower Manhattan. Chef John Fraser’s newest restaurant, La Marchande, is also on-site, serving contemporary French brasserie meals. But, for an even more exclusive address, become a member of Casa Cipriani in the historic Battery Maritime Building. This private club offers 47 hotel rooms and suites with private balconies overlooking The Statue of Liberty.

For more apartment-style living, we’re big fans of Mint House at 70 Pine, which offers about three times the space of a normal hotel room, plus a full kitchen. But if you don’t feel like cooking, 70 Pine is also home to the Michelin-starred restaurants Crown Shy and Saga (and its cocktail bar Overstory), plus the tasty Black Fox Coffee Co.

And finally, for something more wallet-friendly, the Moxy NYC Downtown boasts the on-site coworking and “play space” Recreation, which has old-school arcade games, strong cocktails, and programming like live music and DJs. Its 298 rooms are outfitted with sleek touches like leather headboards, cute denim robes, and 10-foot floor-to-ceiling windows.

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Juliet Izon is a Thrillist contributor.