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How Safe Is The Lower East Side

Updated: December 27, 2022

This post answers a question that many visitors to New York City want to know, “Is the Lower East Side safe for tourists?”

Below we explain what parts of the Lower East Side are safest and how this can differ from day to night.

How Safe Is The Lower East Side

The Lower East Side is a fairly large neighborhood. It is generally safe, especially near the popular sites and restaurants you may plan to visit.

During the day

The western part of the neighborhood from the Bowery to Clinton Street, between Houston and Canal Sts. is quite safe during the daytime.

This is the result of gentrification in the 1990s and the Lower East Side is now a trendy and expensive place to live.

Lower East Side

But the farther east you go, past Clinton Street, there are fewer points of interest for visitors.

Because the neighborhood is not gentrified, it can seem a bit sketchy, but during the day it is relatively safe.

However, if you have no specific destination in this area, spend your time elsewhere.

How Safe Is The Lower East Side At Night?

At night the western part of the Lower East Side changes in character a bit.

Restaurants are packed but so are the many bars, which means it can get a little rowdy. There will be plenty of people on the main streets like Ludlow, Orchard and Clinton.

But crowded streets mean you should pay extra attention to your immediate surroundings and keep valuables out of sight.

empty street at night in NYC

Do not walk on any streets where you see absolutely no one and no restaurants or bars. It's not very dangerous, but it is always best to be around other people at night.

As for the eastern part of the Lower Side, west of Clinton Street, it is best to not go there as a safety precaution.

Lower East Side Tours

If you want to explore the Lower East Side with a guide, join one of our pay-what-you-like walking tours. We offer the following tours:

We have loads of helpful tips on safety in NYC in our Facebook group.


About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo,, and more.
Updated: December 27th, 2022
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