Company Logo - Home Link

How Safe Is The Lower East Side

Updated: February 11, 2024

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

Our local tour guides are very familiar with the Lower East Side both from giving tours and spending free time there enjoying the neighborhood.

Here are their thoughts about what parts of the Lower East Side are safest and how this can differ from day to night.

We wanted to include a perspective other than our own, so we asked the more than 230,000 members of our NYC Travel Tips Facebook group what they thought.

Our Facebook group is made up of locals, regular visitors to NYC, and those just getting to know the city.

At the bottom of this post, you'll find what some of our Facebook group members had to say.

There's no need to join to read the recommendations. So go take a look at our group for more ideas!

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.

The western part of the neighborhood from the Bowery to Clinton Street, between Houston and Canal Streets 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 that part of the neighborhood is not gentrified it may appear 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 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 part of the LES east Clinton Street, it is best to not go there as a safety precaution.

Safety Tips for the Lower East Side

Staying safe in any part of New York City has a lot to do with where you go (or don’t go) and how you conduct yourself.

Use the same precautions you would when visiting any other New York City neighborhood.

1. Be aware of your surroundings, especially on crowded streets. On the Lower East Side, you won't find the kinds of crowds here that you might find in Times Square or tourist areas.

2. Keep your bags closed and with you at all times. Don’t carry your wallet or cell phone in your back pocket and don’t flash your valuables.

3. Don't wander down dark, empty streets. Stay in populated areas.  At night, do not venture into any parks that are not very busy.

4. Feel free to ask locals for directions if you are lost. New Yorkers generally love helping people with directions.

5. Don't leave valuables in your car if you are driving. Someone might take a peak in the window and try to get at it! Put everything in the trunk or take it with you.

For more safety tips for all of NYC, read our post, “Is New York Safe to Visit for Tourists?

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:

Tips From Locals And Travelers

Here are some thoughts from members of our New York Travel Tips Facebook group about the Lower East Side and how safe it is.

We heard from several group members who stayed at hotels on the Lower East Side. Here’s what they had to say.

This group member and her kids stayed in the area, at a hotel around the corner from the Tenement Museum and they loved the neighborhood!

But not all people will agree as to what feels safe or even seems nice.

This group member visited the Tenement Museum but didn’t like the area at all. While she didn’t feel unsafe, she stayed only as long as she needed to.

Of course, everyone has their own comfort level when it comes to safety.

This member feels safe, provided it is in a certain part of the neighborhood and not too late.

And this member thinks the Lower East Side is safe, though he does suggest avoiding alleys, but not for the reason we suggest. He isn't wrong though!

Have any other questions about the Lower East Side? Check out our Facebook group and get some answers!

New York Travel Tips


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: February 11th, 2024
Back to Top