Wanderlust America

Plan your trip to Chinatown and the Little Italy district

The Chinatown and Little Italy district is situated in downtown New York City. They were formed in the mid-19th to early 20th century which was a dynamic period in America’s history as waves of immigrants came to New York from all around the world seeking new opportunities. Immigration to New York City outweighed that of any other city in the United States. Let us go deeper into what makes Chinatown and Little Italy special and what to expect when you get there. 

Chinatown and Little Italy


Chinatown is located in Lower Manhattan and can be traced back to mid 19th century when Chinese immigrants started to settle in this area. It has now grown into one of the biggest and most lively Chinatowns in the world. The Chinese people have set up a strong sense of community here along with their cultural presence. It is therefore filled with markets, shops, and places to eat.   

Little Italy is located close to Chinatown and also has its origins dating back to the 19th century. It was then those Italian immigrants had flocked to this area. The heart of the Italian American neighborhood was Mulberry Street and it started to get filled with family businesses, festivals, and offeree traditional Italian cuisine. The area has gone through many changes over the years. It serves as a reminder of the rich cultural history of New York and its people. 

Chinatown and little italy scaled

How to get there

New York has two international airports, namely the John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia Airport.   

To get in and around New York and to get Chinatown and Little Italy you need to take the subway. The 4, 5,6, N, Q, W, R, J, Z, D, B, and F trains all go here. If you are visiting here for more than a few days or a week, it is recommended that you get an unlimited MetroCard. This will allow you to go back and forth whenever you want to go to New York City. You can also catch a taxi or use a ridesharing app such as Uber, although you may find them to be very expensive, especially during peak hours.  

Chinatown and Little Italy 2 scaled

Places to see


  • Doyers Street – One of the things to do in Chinatown is to visit Doyers Street or “The Bloody Angle”. The street has a lot of rich and dark history in its past. It was the location of the first Chinese language theatre in New York City. It is well known that this was one of the deadliest streets in New York due to the shootings between organized gang members. There are many restaurants on this street now and it is very picturesque.
  • Columbus Park – It is the biggest park in Chinatown and is a great place to watch and observe locals roam around, play chess, and just read a book or exercise. It becomes an especially worthy place to visit during the summer months.
  • Chinatown Ice Cream Factory – You can grab an ice cream here and stroll along the busy streets of New York. It offers some of the most unique flavors of ice cream in New York City.
  • Canal Street Market – There are many street food vendors here and also a small dining area. You will also be able to find stalls that sell souvenirs and art along with food stalls that are distinct and worth visiting.
  • Museum of Chinese in America – It should be the first place you should visit if you are keen on learning about the history and culture of the Chinese in New York City.
  • Mahayana Buddhist Temple – It is a discernable landmark that displays Chinese architecture is also a place of worship and serves cultural events.
Chinatown and little italy 3 scaled

Little Italy

  • Feast of San Gennaro – This is an annual feast that takes place in September and attracts New Yorkers and visitors to Little Italy. It is an 11-day festival where you will get Italian specialties, eating contests, and free concerts.
  • Italian American Museum – It was opened in 2007 in Little Italy to showcase the story of Italian Americans in New York City. It is situated in an old bank building that used to be the link between immigrants and their families. If you are interested in their history, this is a must-visit.
  • Mulberry Street – It is lined with cafes, shops, and restaurants. It usually comes alive during the festival season.
  • Patrick’s Old Cathedral – It is known specifically for its Gothic architecture and there is a courtyard nearby where you can relax away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
  • Lombardi’s Pizza – It is a pizza restaurant in Nolita, and they pride themselves on being the first pizzeria in all United States. Make sure you try their meatballs and have a fun and relaxing time over there.
Chinatown and little italy 4 scaled


  • Ice Cream Factory – The original Chinatown ice cream factory has some of the best ice cream flavors in New York to offer.
  • Great NY Noodletown – it is a noodle shop and is located right next to Manhattan Bridge.
  • Happy Veggie – This is a relaxed and casual vegetarian restaurant that mostly serves Asian-fusion cuisine in Chinatown. Their menu offers spring rolls, wontons, noodles and buns. In addition to dining, there is also curbside pickup available for these amazing dishes.
  • Joe’s Shanghai – The restaurant has won an award from the New York Times. Duck and Joe’s Shanghai soup with dumplings is recommended.
  • Kopitiam – If you wish to have a unique brunch, make sure to check out Kopitiam. They serve delicious Malaysian cuisine and all-day brunch. When you are there, you will feel yourself transported to the hustle and bustle inside of Kuala Lumpur.
Chinatown and little italy 5 scaled

Little Italy

  • Gelso & Grand – This is a mix of a restaurant, a bar, and a small outdoor area. It is super stylishly furnished and has very good Italian espresso. You will find people ranging from families with children to couples at the bar.
  • La Mela – This is a good place to go if you’re looking for a dinner in a relaxed atmosphere. There is a real Italian family that cooks the food too. Make sure you try their mussels.
  • Da Nico – This is a very popular restaurant in Little Italy especially because of the many outdoor seating possibilities. The backyard is very romantic and invites you to linger around. The service is also exceptional, and you will find the food to be amazing.
  • Audrey Hepburn Graffiti – Every neighborhood has its vibes and culture. It is also well known that New York City has some of the best street art and Little Italy specifically is known for its graffiti art. 176 Mulberry Street features a mural of the icon Audrey Hepburn. Other than this graffiti there are several other spots to be photographed and admired over there.
Chinatown and little italy 6 scaled


The three hotels we recommend for you if you’re staying in and around the area are Wyndham Garden Chinatown (93 Bowery), NobleDen (196 Grand Street), and Hotel 50 Bowery (50 Bowery). The Wyndham Garden Chinatown and Hotel 50 Bowery are located right in the heart of Chinatown and offer plenty of amenities and also have great views of the city. NobleDen is located in the heart of Little Italy. 

You can also read: 

Scroll to Top