Lower East Side Food Tour

Where can you find a historic Synagogue next to a Bulgarian punk discotheque, trendy boutiques that sit comfortably beside decades-old “Mom and Pop” shops, or tenement apartments interspersed between luxury high rise condos? Look no further than our Lower East Side Food Tour to discover America’s great Melting Pot. The Lower East Side is known for its blend of cultural diversity and rich history. It’s also known for its great food. Our food tasting tour is the perfect way to discover this fascinating neighborhood.

Be sure to take a look at our full lineup of New York food tours.



The streets of the Lower East Side tell the tales of struggling immigrants – Eastern Europeans, Russians, Germans, Puerto Ricans – who came to America in search of opportunity. They brought with them recipes from the ‘old world’ and you can still taste these foods today. Ever eat a potato knish? How about a bialy or pletzel? Care to try a green tea doughnut? Not in the mood for something exotic – no worries – we’ll grab some of the best Chinese dumplings in New York City and we will pick up some pickles along the way.

Join Free Tours by Foot as we visit historic synagogues, check out the area’s latest in arts and architecture, learn about life in the tenements and master useful Yiddish phrases, all while refining our palates with delectable treats from around the globe.

Be sure to read our quick Guide on the Lower East Side.

Food shops we stop at:

  • Yonah Schimmel Knish BakeryLower East Side food tour
  • Kossar’s Bialy and Bagels
  • North China Dumpling
  • Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery
  • The Pickle Guys*

*On major Jewish holidays, these shops are closed and we visit other delicious food shops instead.  We do make changes to shops for various reasons and we cannot guarantee that all shops listed above will be visited on each tour.

Sites we cover on the tour:

  • Orensanz Foundation for the Arts (in the historic Anshe Chesed Synagogue)
  • Orchard Street pedestrian mall
  • Russ and Daughters
  • Doughnut Plant
  • Streit’s Matzoh Factory
  • Economy Candy
  • Katz’s Delicatessen
  • for more details, check out our self-guided tour.

See photos of the tour on our Facebook page.

At the food shops, YOU choose what treats you would like to nosh (that’s Yiddish for ‘snack on’). Try them all or none at all. Unlike other tours that charge around $45 with some excluding food, on this tour, YOU choose what to eat and how much to spend. Suggested amount to bring for snacks is $7-10, depending on your appetite! Vegetarian and vegan options available at several shops.

Tour information

Reservations: REQUIRED. Click here to reserve. Groups of 5 or more should visit our groups page.

Where: Outside Yonah Schimmel’s Kinsh Bakery, 137 E. Houston St. Look for your guide with the Free Tours by Foot logo.  Please use our Google map for directions to the start of the tour.

Duration: Approximately 2 hours. Tour distance is approximately 1 mile (1.6K)

When:  @1pm Thursdays & Sundays (year round), @1pm Saturdays (mid-March through December), and also @1pm Tuesdays (summer months). View our full tour calendar.

If our schedule doesn’t work for you, take a look at our self-guided Lower East Side Food Tour, which includes many of our food stops as listings.  If you are planning to get a tourist pass, other LES Food tours are included in the New York Pass.  Read our post on whether the New York Pass is worth it for you.

Cost: This tour is free to take, and you get to decide what, if anything, the tour was worth when it’s done. A name-your-own-price tour is a tour for anyone’s budget. Suggested sampling cost is $7-10, depending on your appetite.

Be sure to read our Guide to New York on a Budget for more ways to save in the Big Apple.