The South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan is one of NYC's most historic neighborhoods.
For those who enjoy history, great food and shopping, charming 19th Century architecture and cultural activities, a visit to the South Street Seaport is worth it!
- Top Things To Do
- Pier 17
- Ferries and Cruises
- How To Get Here
- Brief History
- Things To Do in Lower Manhattan
TOP THINGS TO DO
The South Street Seaport is a historic Lower Manhattan enclave between the East River and the Financial District.
The Seaport's two-story buildings and cobblestone streets are filled with great shopping, restaurants, and a museum.
One of the best things about the Seaport is the amazing views of the New York Harbor.
TIP: The entrance to the walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge is about a 15-minute walk from the Seaport so you may want to combine a visit to the area with a walk over Brooklyn Bridge.
The Museum includes its main building at 12 Fulton Street and other historic sights in the nearby streets and on the river.
The museum itself has cool artifacts and ongoing exhibitions that include such themes as South Street and The Rise of New York, and Street of Ships: The Port and Its People.
Perhaps the best part of the museum is its fleet of ships docked on the East River at nearby Pier 16.
This includes the majestic Wavertree, a tall ship dating back to 1885.
Other ships in the museum's fleet are the 1908 Lightship Ambrose, the 1932 tugboat W.O. Decker, and the 1885 schooner Pioneer.
- Museum Hours: Wednesday - Sunday from 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
- Admission: Free when you check in at the museum. Advance tickets online are full price.
- Separate reservations are needed for a free guided tour of Lightship Ambrose, weather permitting. Book here.
2. Take In Sweeping Views at Pier 15
Pier 15, a two-level esplanade with green space and benches, offers a free place to relax and enjoy amazing views of the East River, Brooklyn Heights, and the Brooklyn Bridge.
You can also see Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO, the Manhattan Bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge, and even an internal look at the wonderful Lower Manhattan skyline.
Find out more free locations to catch beautiful skyline views of NYC.
3. The Tin Building
This historic building at the base of Pier 17 was once part of the historic Fulton Fish Market, which opened in 1822.
Now the Tin Building is occupied by a 53,000-square-foot food hall created by award-winning chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
The Tin Building is part marketplace, part retail, and a big part food heaven.
There are restaurants and food vendors of a variety of cuisine. From breakfast to dinner, there's something here for all palates!
4. Fulton Stall Market
The Fulton Stall Market enables upstate farmers to bring farm-fresh produce to the neighborhood.
It's open year-round with indoor vendors in the cold months and additional outdoor stalls in the summer.
You can shop for artisanal groceries and freshly prepared foods. Grab some to go and have a picnic on the Pier 15 Esplanade!
- Indoor Market Hours: Monday - Saturday 11:30 am to 5:00 am, year-round
- Outdoor Market: Saturday 11:30 am to 5:00 pm Fulton St. at South St., May through Thanksgiving.
- 91 South Street between Fulton & John Sts.
5. Enjoy a movie with a meal
At the IPIC Fulton Market full restaurant-and-movie theater, you can watch a movie while dining on a meal delivered right to your seat!
IPIC shows a range of movies from blockbusters to classics.
The menu includes burgers, pizzas, shareable snacks, main courses, and desserts.
A separate cocktail bar serves beer, wine, and craft cocktails.
6. Shop Small Boutiques
There are some lovely unique boutiques in the Seaport area, including clothing stores like Scotch & Soda, Club Vintage, and The Canvas.
There's even a clothing shop owned by Sarah Jessica Parker (Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City).
7. Enjoy The Arts
From light installations to murals, there is always an art display from different mediums.
It should be easy to spot the unique art exhibits in the district. Look at the roster to see what's on.
8. Dine Out
There are many good restaurants in the Seaport area, some of which are located on Pier 17, and others on nearby streets.
Some even have incredible views as well!
- Carne Mare (Italian chophouse)
- Fresh Salt (American)
- The Paris Cafe (Pub and cafe fare. The cafe dates back to 1873!)
- Mister Dips (Griddle burgers)
- Di Fara Pizza (one of NYC’s best pizzas)
- The Fulton, an upscale seafood restaurant,
One of the piers at the South Street Seaport, Pier 17 was built on the location of an older dock that needed revitalization.
The new structure on Pier 17 has done wonders for the area. It's a hub for dining and entertainment.
Pier 17 has 5 floors, 4 of which are home to restaurants and shops. From a distance, Pier 17 is a magical sight in Lower Manhattan.
The building’s lightband, “a glass envelope encasing the top two floors” is lit up colorfully. It can be seen from key vantage points like locations along Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO waterfront as well as cruises on the water.
On the northern side of Pier 17 is the Riverdeck, where you can sit and admire the views of the East River and the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges.
On the 5th floor is an outdoor concert venue, The Rooftop at Pier 17. The performing bands are just about outdone by the views!
In the summer, free movies are shown at Pier 17. Space is limited and you must reserve in advance.
FERRIES AND NYC CRUISES
The piers along South Street Seaport are the departure point for ferries and NYC cruises. Pier 11 is the hub for multiple ferries.
Pier 16 is the departure point The Circle Line cruises and from Pier 17, you can take a voyage on an old-fashioned tall ship, the City Clipper.
Check out our post, Which New York Boat Tour or Cruise is Best, for information on what cruises are available, as well as prices, discounts, and schedules.
TIP: Save some money and walk down to the Staten Island Ferry for a free ride that takes you past the Statue of Liberty and offers great skyline views of Manhattan and beyond!
DIRECTIONS TO THE SOUTH STREET SEAPORT
There are several easy ways to make it to the district, including public transportation and tours.
By Subway and Bus
- Subway: Take the A, C, 2, 3, J, Z, 4, or 5 train to Fulton Street.
- Bus: Take the M-15 SBS or M-15 to Fulton Street.
Parking in the area is limited. A parking lot is located at Front and John Streets, just one block from the museum. Another lot is available at 294 Pearl Street.
Free Shuttle Bus
If you are already in the Downtown area there is a free Downtown shuttle bus provided by the Downtown Alliance.
TIP: Many hop-on-hop-off bus tours have routes that include Lower Manhattan.
The lands around the Seaport were once a Native American trading area, before the arrival of Dutch settlers in the 1600s.
The colony of New Amsterdam was established in 1624, and in 1625, the first pier in this area was built by the Dutch West India Company to transport goods from the colonies back to the Netherlands.
In 1664, the British ousted the Dutch and rechristened the land as The City of New York.
The seaport area continued to grow to meet the needs of vessels shipping goods from the colony to England.
After the Revolutionary War, the new Americans opened the now historic Fulton Fish Market in 1822, which quickly became the largest seafood provider for the East Coast.
The Fulton Fish Market moved to the Bronx in 2005 and the development of the Seaport district as an entertainment and cultural hub has been an ongoing labor of love.
New Yorkers and tourists alike are delighted with the offerings the Seaport brings to the city.