Savings & Discounts

7 Summer Activities on the Lower East Side

A historical immigrant community and current center of all things nightlife, the Lower East Side has something to offer in every season. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly walking tour of the area or a drink on a roof, we’ve highlighted some of the best summer fun to be had in the area. Read on for 7 activities in the Lower East Side this season.

Essex Market

Essex Market

The former Essex Street Market is now Essex Market, now in a brand-new location. This food emporium is bigger and better than ever, at 37,000 square feet. The historic market combines restaurant and grocery store, with a wide range of local food vendors selling everything from pad Thai to tomatoes. There’s a new location of the former Greenwich Village diner Shopsin’s inside, as well as prepared food at Dominican Cravings, Heros & Villains, Eat Gai, and L.E.S. Ice Cream Factory, among others. The upstairs seating area gives diners an expansive view of the market’s namesake street, and plenty of ingredients for your next home-cooked meal. 88 Essex St.,

Arlene’s Grocery

In a neighborhood known for nightlife, one of your best bets is Arlene’s Grocery for Monday night karaoke. The plus? You’ll have a live band to back up your rendition of “Don’t Stop Believin’.” This beloved Stanton Street dive bar also hosts a range of live musical acts and slings cheap drinks, particularly during their daily happy hour through 8pm. 95 Stanton St., 212-358-1633,

Hester Street Fair

Hester Street Fair

Hester Street Fair is an ideal Saturday afternoon activity in the neighborhood. Each weekly iteration is based on a new theme, such as the upcoming WorldPride Market (June 29) and the fair’s take on an ice cream social (July 20). The fair showcases a “hyper-local” array of vendors who deal in diverse food, fashion, and more. You’ll likely hear some live music while you’re around too. The Hester Street Fair occurs every Saturday. Corner of Hester & Essex Streets, 917-267-9496,

Tenement Museum Walking Tour

Explore the historic immigrant community of the Lower East Side with walking tours from The Tenement Museum. The museum’s many outdoor tours educate visitors about the neighborhood shaped by people from around the world who came to New York City for a better life. Tours on offer include the architecture-themed Building on the Lower East Side, Then and Now, and a tasting tour called Foods of the Lower East Side. 103 Orchard St., 877-975-3786,

3 Rooftop Bars

Mr Purple

There’s nothing like a rooftop drink to start (or end) your summer evening. Check out a few of the Lower East Side’s bars with a view, including Mr. Purple, The Crown, and The Delancey. Mr. Purple, a very popular option featuring purple couches, boasts two sky-high terraces, frosé, and a Mega Mule pitcher of Moscow Mules if you’re hanging with a group. The Crown is more of a Chinatown choice, with some great seasonal offerings on its "Royal Summer" themed cocktails and food menu. Keep an eye out for temptations like lobster rolls, tequila-lime chicken tacos, and the "Resting Peach Face" cocktail with peach, strawberry, lime, and Bombay Sapphire gin. The Delancey rooftop has something of a beachside lounge vibe with lots of covered seating, plus personal pizzas on offer. Mr. Purple: 180 Orchard St., 212-237-1790,; The Crown: 50 Bowery, 646-630-8057,; The Delancey: 168 Delancey St., 212-254-9920,

Comedy at Caveat 

The Clinton Street club Caveat hosts comedy and smarty pants shows every night of the week, but we’ll highlight the celebrated improv offering Your Love, Our Musical. This monthly show features comedians Rebecca Vigil and Evan Kaufman, who interview a couple in the audience and devise a musical on the spot based on what they heard. The comedians can really sing, and the show is totally new every time—but always brilliant. The show is coming up next on Saturday, August 17. 21 A Clinton St., 212-228-2100,

SummerStage Shows at East River Park

Eddie Palmieri

Eddie Palmieri

This August, SummerStage will come to East River Park on the eastern border of the neighborhood. Come out August 8 through 11 for four outdoor shows fanned by the river breeze. August 8 is a benefit show with alt-rock outfit Crumb with openers Phony Ppl and Purr. August 9 is a free performance by local modern dance company Elisa Monte Dance. The Mountain Goats will play their new rock opera drawing on the Dungeons & Dragons mythos at a no-cost show on August 10. Dance along with Bronx salsero Eddie Palmieri on August 11, along with openers Baby Power and DJ Sonni. FDR Dr. between Jackson St. & Cherry St.,

About the Author

Merrill Lee Girardeau lives and writes in Brooklyn.

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