If you haven’t been to New York City’s Seaport District, now is the time to go. This area has a storied past that dates back to the 17th century. The Seaport District is an area that’s rich in maritime history and located along the East River in Lower Manhattan. Over the past 10 years this neighborhood has changed quite a bit. After living for nearly 10 years in New York City, which includes four years in the Upper West Side while attending Columbia University, this is one area that has truly transformed since I first moved to the city in 2009.
Today, this vibrant district offers iconic waterfront views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the city skyline; a lively neighborhood that can be enjoyed by both tourists and residents alike; a diverse food scene with countless places to imbibe; and over 450,000 square feet of entertainment, community, and cultural experiences.
If you have a weekend to explore The Seaport District, here is a round up of the best places to eat, drink and play.
Where to eat and drink
For diners looking for top notch seafood, look no further than Chef Jean Georges Vongerichten’s first seafood restaurant, The Fulton. This restaurant is at the northeast corner of Pier 17 and offers diners unmatched views of the Brooklyn Bridge and beyond. This waterfront restaurant features two, spacious indoor dining rooms and a stunning terrace that is ideal for upscale, al fresco dining. All in all, I was blown away by how scenic this dining experience was. It’s ideal for an upscale al fresco lunch on a hot summer day.
Executive Chef Noah Poses offers a seasonal lunch, dinner and weekend brunch menu highlighting the best of local purveyors and fresh seafood. Popular dishes include the Faroe Island Salmon with corn, basil and puffed sorghum; Swordfish Milanese with charred baby leek; Black Sea Bass with summer minestrone; Longevity Noodles with a 1½ lb glazed Maine lobster and more.
On the menu is also a range of caviar dishes such as the Yellowtail Tartare with Kristal Kaviar; and an over-the-top Royale Seafood Plateau with 10g of Kristal Kaviari, oysters, shrimp cocktail, sashimi and Peekytoe crab lettuce cups.
From the team behind cult-favorite neighborhood restaurant, Sunday in Brooklyn, comes Makitiki, the newest concept in The Seaport District. Situated in the heart of Seaport on Fulton Street at the Garden Bar, this al fresco bar and bites venue is also an off shoot Sunday Hospitality’s former Greenpoint pop-up Yakitiki. Makitiki specializes in “maki” and “tiki,” serving a selection of Japanese hand rolls and savory bar snacks along with fruity, tropical-style cocktails.
This bar offers guests a lush oasis to imbibe, as well as, fun games to play such as corn hole and Connect Four. Overall, it’s a perfect spot to start your night out or to cool off midday while taking a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Innovative drinks include the Breezy Tiger with Suntory Whiskey, strawberry and chamomile; Saturn Rising with Suntory Roku Rum, macadamia, carrot and passionfruit; and mocktails like the Watermelonade with shiso and lemon.
Funny Face Bakery
Recognized as the first “pop-culture bakery” Funny Face Bakery is best known for their celebrity cookies featuring Kim Kardashian’s famous crying face; Bernie Sanders famous meme; and countless more iconic pop culture figures and sayings. Moreover, they have a selection of giant, gooey cookies in flavors like s’more, crumbfetti, cookies n’ cream and more.
Sunday in Brooklyn
The charming pop-up Sunday in Brooklyn brings a taste of Brooklyn to The Seaport. This Williamsburg favorite features brunch, happy hour and dinner in a plant-filled, sun-drenched, chic setting on historic Fulton Street. And so, it’s a very Instagrammable spot in the heart of The Seaport District. Must-try brunch dishes include the Sunday Pancakes with hazelnut maple praline and brown butter; the classic steak and eggs with gremolata and Long Island home fries; and the Smoked Salmon Toast with scallion creme and garden pickles on sourdough.
Sunday in Brooklyn also showcases a selection of creative cocktails like the Honeybear On Holiday with apricot and pineapple, served in a honeybear on ice and the Electric Kazoo with red bell pepper.
Other standout restaurants in the area include Momofuku Ssam Bar which recently opened its dining room to include chef-led tabletop grilling and two private karaoke rooms for up to 10 people; The Tuck Room, located in Seaport’s iPic Theater, ideal for a dinner and a movie combo; waterfront dining at Dante Seaport for Italian-inspired Italian bites and Italian-themed cocktails featuring limoncello, rosé prosecco and summery peach flavors.
Things to do
Manhattan by Sail
For visitors wanting to experience some time on the water, there’s no better experience than sailing with Manhattan by Sail. Being out on the water during this particularly hot day was a super fun, unique way to spend the afternoon with a nice sea breeze. Good to note? There’s also a full bar on board so you can unwind and imbibe while setting sail.
This company operates historic private and public sailing tours throughout New York Harbor and has returned to Pier 17 in the Seaport District after nine years. This summer the company launched its newly renovated sail boat, the Clipper City Tall Ship, New York City’s largest sail ship.
Clipper City is a replica of the lumber-hauling schooners that drove America’s industry more than a century ago and was built in the mid-1980s using plans purchased from the Smithsonian. It’s a total of 158 feet in length and a mast that rises 120 feet allowing the sailboat to comfortably accommodate 134 passengers, the most of any passenger sailboat in the United States. The Clipper City Tall Ship also offers a full-service bar onboard, ideal for summer cruises.
In sum, jump aboard for iconic views of the Statue of Liberty, the New York City Skyline and more. Manhattan By Sail also offers unbeatable sunset sails, wine tastings with live jazz, and more, filling this maritime destination with unforgettable experiences.
Seaport Arts Walk
Visitors who are interested in art can stop by the You Are Not Alone Murals located on the East River Esplanade and South & Beekman Streets. The You Are Not Alone Murals is a community-based art project featuring murals from local artists, that offers a message of hope, and aims to spark dialogue around mental health.
Another can’t miss art installation is Tom Fruin’s From Sea To Shining Sea. Brooklyn-based artist Tom Fruin, created two multicolored structures at Pier 17. The structures are part of his Icon series and are built using scavenged, reclaimed, and recycled materials. The two Seaport structures will illuminate the Manhattan waterfront with a variety of colors all summer long. Both structures are great for photo opps!
The shopping is plentiful in The Seaport. Some noteworthy shops include The Canvas, Club Vintage, McNally Jackson Books, Scotch & Soda; and The Shoe Surgeon and more.
Gitano Island officially opened on Governor’s Island this summer. This lush oasis serves all the lush tropical vibes the concrete jungle of the city is missing. The 27,000 sq. ft waterfront restaurant, bar and beach club is complete with two dining pergolas, an open fired kitchen and a plush collection of lounges and cabanas — with ridiculous views of the Manhattan skyline!
DJs, live music & more wait guests at this new spot — prices are a little steep, but it’s a great way to escape the city grind! Good to note? It’s just a 5 minute ferry ride from downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn!
Where to stay
The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel
For a luxurious stay, book a room at the stunning Beekman Hotel, a property known for its stunning nine-story Victorian atrium; show-stopping skylight; and overall architecture. The moment you enter its doors you feel like a million bucks. I’ve stayed here twice now and each experience has been as special as the last.
To add to its list of well-deserved accolades, this year it was listed as one of Conde Nast Traveler’s 2022 “20 Best Hotels in NewYork City.” Located in the heart of New York City’s downtown neighborhood, The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel, is nearby some of the city’s most iconic sites, including One World Trade Center.
This elegant property offers 287 rooms, including 35 suites and two signature penthouses within The Beekman’s iconic “turrets,”each with private rooftop terraces overlooking One World Trade Center, the Woolworth Building and City Hall Park.
And when it comes to food and drink, this 1881 landmark property features three dining and drinking options including Temple Court, a modern American restaurant by James Beard Award Winner, Chef Tom Colicchio; The Bar Room, serving crafted cocktails and an all day menu located beneath the atrium; and Chef Daniel Boulud’s Le Gratin, a Bouchon Lyonnais inspired by his hometown of Lyon, France.