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10 Things to Do in Little Italy NYC

Little Italy or as Italians would call it, "Piccola Italia," is a must-visit neighborhood in Lower Manhattan in New York City. When Italian immigrants arrived from Naples and Sicily in the late 1800s, they brought their rich culture and incredible food to the city. Over the years, Little Italy has become one of the most iconic neighborhoods in NYC.

Little Italy NYC

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To this day, Little Italy is a culturally rich and historically charming neighborhood and home to some of the best authentic Italian restaurants. Plus, there's no shortage of things to do! It's packed with iconic landmarks, hidden gems and shops. In this guide, I'll share the must-visit attractions and best things to do in Little Italy NYC. So put on your comfy shoes (and pants) and get ready to explore!

Nearest Subway Stations

Canal Street | Lines J, N, Q, R, Z, 6

Grand Street | Lines B, D

Broadway-Lafayette Street | Lines B, D, F, M

10 Things To Do in Little Italy NYC

1. Lombardi's Pizzeria

Lombardi's is a pizzeria located at 32 Spring Street on the corner of Mott Street in the Nolita neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. Established in 1905, it's America's oldest pizzeria and credited with creating New York Style pizza. It's offers up coal fired oven baked pizza made with fresh ingredients sourced from local suppliers that's a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

2. Feast of San Gennaro

If you're visiting New York in September, the Feast of San Gennaro is back and you should absolutely add it to you list! The annual Feast also known as San Gennaro Festival, celebrates the life of San Gennaro of Naples who was Bishop of Benevento, Italy and was martyred in 305AD. Originally a one-day religious commemoration, over time, the festival expanded into an 11-day street fair featuring a parade with marching bands, floats, and a statue of San Gennaro; games; music; vendors; great food; and a cannoli eating contest.

Save the Date: September 12-22, 2024 | Event Calendar

Activities kick off on Thursday, September 12 with the Blessing of the Stands. The Grand Procession Procession begins at 2pm on Saturday, September 14. There's a Solemn High Mass celebrating the patron Saint of Naples on Tuesday, September 19 starting at 6pm.

Where is the Feast of San Gennaro?

The Feast of San Gennaro is located along Mulberry Street between Canal and Houston Streets. Festivities are also found aong Hester Street between Baxter and Centre Streets, as well as on Grand between Baxter Street and Centre Market Place. The festival stage is located on the corner of Grand and Mott Streets and features live entertainment starting at 6:30pm each night.

Cannoli Eating Contest

This year marks the 26 annual Cannoli Eating Contest! For six minutes, ten contestants make their way through a pile of cream-filled pastries from Ferraro's Bakery! The winner receives a $100 cash prize.

Save the Date: September 16, 2024, 1pm-2:30pm

Vector Art

Vector Art

3. Italian American Museum (IAM)

Currently, under construction, the new Italian American Museum (IAM) located at 151 Mulberry Street, will serve as a cultural hub and community nexus for Italian Americans and the Little Italy neighborhood. Through permanent and temporary exhibits, robust educational and cultural programming, and collaborations with the community, the IAM will become the preeminent center for learning about and engaging with Italian as a platform for sharing Italian American voices and celebrating Italian American achievements.

Another Museum to Visit: The Tenement Museum located at 103 Orchard Street, is a literal walk through history. The Lower East Side (LES) as short walk from Little Italy, has been a haven for immigrants since the 19th century and has seen every wave of arrivals from the Irish, Germans and Eastern European Jews of the late 1800s and early 1900s, to the Latinx and Asian American families of the 60s and 70s. The museum bought two tenement buildings that had housed generations of immigrants on the Lower East Side and turned them into a museum. Each floor or apartment showcases a different era in the life of the neighborhood.

4. Ferrara Bakery

Located in the heart of Little Italy since 1892, Ferrara Bakery is America's first bakery and espresso bar. Ferrara has remained a family owned business since its inception and is operated at its original location on 195 Grand Street at Mulberry Street. This famous bakery is know for their cannoli and produced what many believe is the best Italian and French desserts.

5. Little Italy Sign

The iconic "Welcome to Little Italy" sign floats above the historic neighborhood of Little Italy welcoming visitors. The "Welcome to Little Italy" sign is located on Hester Street between Mott Street and Mulberry Street. When I captured my photo, Hester Street was closed to traffic on summer weekends making it easy to pose until I got the perfect one.

I've read on Google there is a second Little Italy sign located at Mulberry Street and Broome Street. While I don't remember there being a second sign, Google shows that there are two signs that are different in color and typeface.

6. Mulberry Street

Since Little Italy a small neighborhood, you're guaranteed to come across Mulberry Street, which marks the heart of Little Italy. Mulberry Street offers a vibrant atmosphere with historic architecture, shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Vector Art

Vector Art

7. Little Italy Italian Food Tasting Tour

Savor the flavors of Italy on a food tour of Manhattan’s most colorful neighborhood, Little Italy. Sample pizzas, prosciutto, and cheeses while learning about the area's history and culture.

Additional Eating Experiences (Tours & Cooking Classes):

Homemade Gnocchi Cooking Class | Book Class / Check Availability here >>

Cooking Class ~ Team Building Activity Elegant Italian Dishes | Book Tour / Check Availability here >>\

8. St. Patrick's Old Cathedral

The Basilica of Saint Patrick's Old Cathedral sometimes shortened to St. Patrick's Old Cathedral is a Catholic parish church and a basilica. Designed by Joseph-François Mangin and completed in 1815, this beautiful cathedral served as the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York until 1879. Today, visitors can take a guided tour of the church and its underground catacombs.

The Basilica of St. Patrick's Old Cathedral is on 263 Mulberry Street, however, the entrance is on Mott Street between Houston and Prince.

Tour Option:

9. Di Palo's Fine Foods

Di Palo's Fine Foods located at 200 Grand Street, is a family-owned deli that has been serving the neighborhood for over 100 years. Known for their artisanal cheeses, cured meats, fresh pasta, and homemade pasta sauces, it is the quintessential Italian market stock with authentic Italian food and imported Italian groceries. They even offer a place to sit down in the adjacent wine bar

10. Audrey Hepburn Mural

Little Italy and NYC specifically, is known for their great hidden graffiti and murals. One of the most well-known of the city is located at 176 Mulberry Street which features a mural of the the icon, Audrey Hepburn.

Audrey Hepburn Mural
Source: Google Images

Exploring Nearby Neighborhoods: SoHo and Chinatown

Little Italy is surrounded by two vibrant neighborhoods that are worth a visit: SoHo and Chinatown.  SoHo stands for "South of Houston" and is a shopping enclave know for its historic cast-iron buildings, high-end boutique, and buzz-worthy pop-up shops. Chinatown, on the other hand, is a bustling community filled with Asian markets, delicious food, and street vendors touting designer knockoffs in the form of sunglasses, jewelry, handbags and scarves.

Map of SoHo, Little Italy, and Chinatown
Source: Google Images

Little Italy is a timeless gem that offers an unforgettable experience! The neighborhood's rich history, vibrant culture, festivals and events steeped in tradition, and mouthwatering Italian dishes make it a must-visit in NYC. Be sure to visit the the nearby neighborhoods of SoHo and Chinatown for an even more robust and diverse experience.

I hope this guide has been helpful in planning your Little Italy adventure!


Tourist Information Centers:

If you need assistance or have any questions about Little Italy NYC, you can visit one of the tourist information centers located in the neighborhood. These centers provide maps, brochures, and other helpful resources to help you plan your visit.

  • Little Italy NYC Visitors Center: Located at 201 Mulberry Street, this center offers information on local attractions, events, and dining options.

  • New York City Information Center - Chinatown: Located at 65 Bayard Street, this center provides general information and resources for visitors to the area.


Travel Guides

Little Italy NYC Guide


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Hey Y'all!

I'm Santeka - a colorful, outspoken Southern woman that landed in New Jersey. Welcome to my corner of the internet where I share travel, food, twirlable moments, DIY pjojects, and fixer upper inspiration all while living my life out loud! My favorite gig is helping entrepreneurs leverage their table to grow their business.


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