Chinatown New York: Explore NYC's Chinatown

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Elia Tabuenca García
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A few words of history about Chinatown

The history of Chinatown began during the Gold Rush, in the years 1840 and 1850. In 1870, about 200 Chinese were settled in this district and despite the establishment of a law of exclusion towards the Chinese community, the number of inhabitants did not cease increasing. In 1882 they were 2000. But in the face of racial segregation, the Chinese decided to fold in on themselves and Chinatown began to operate completely autonomously.



In 1943, the exclusion law was lifted and the population of Chinatown increased considerably and if at the beginning, the Chinese came mainly from Hong-Kong and Guangzhou, over time another community settled in this district: the mandarins .

This demographic explosion led in 1976 to construction of 760 apartments and a 44-storey tower ; the Confucius Plaza. Initially reserved for a population with modest incomes, these apartments attracted wealthy inhabitants and this trend led to the development of a Chinese community in the district of Queens near the Flushing Meadows.

Today, Chinatown is a tourist district where you can discover many typical restaurants and shops. Here the atmosphere, the smells and the decorations will make you feel like you are in China!

Chinatown New York: what to do in this neighborhood?

In Chinatown, you can visit museums, relax in Colombus Park, taste typical Asian dishes or stroll through traditional shops. here are the points of interest to visit in Chinatown.



Take a walk in Colombus Park

Columbus Park is the only park in Chinatown. Strolling there is very pleasant and throughout the day Chinese people play traditional games such as mahjong or practice kung fu and tai chi. Columbus Park is therefore a must-see when it comes to Chinatown! It is located at 7 Mulberry Street.

Visit the Buddhist temple

The Buddhist temple or the Mahayana Buddhist Temple is a place that calls for serenity. It is located on the corner of Bowery Street and Canal Street. Most important temple in the neighborhood, once inside, you can discover the most imposing Buddha statue in New York! And if you want, pay $ 1 and grab some good luck paper with a message that will predict your future.

Discover the Museum of Chinese in America (or MoCa)

This museum was built in 1980 and it will allow you to discover the history of the people of China. The Mocha is a small place in size, but which offers you great discoveries! Its address is: 215 Center Street.

Explore the traditional shops

In Chinatown, you can buy Asian products in typical stores. At Hong Kong Supermarket, you will be able to find classic and amazing 100% Asian products and Aji Ichiban you can also buy some very unusual items and souvenirs!

If you like tea, the Ten Ren's Tea Time (73 Mott Street) is a tea bar where you can taste several flavors and types of this traditional drink: white tea, jasmine… And if you want to buy some, the shop is at 75 Mott Street.



On the other hand, if you like window shopping, head to Canal Street, the must-see street in Chinatown! Here, sellers will accost you in the street to offer you items of all kinds: perfumes, watches, jewelry… However, these products are counterfeit items. Importing them into French territory is strictly prohibited and the penalties are significant. So do not be tempted by the purchase of these items, because customs are strict regarding counterfeiting!

Otherwise, on this street, the signs are written in Chinese. The colors are also reminiscent of China as are the smells of spices and the language spoken by the locals. Everything is therefore united to make you feel in Asia!

In the meantime, if you're wondering what to do in Chinatown for an afternoon, here are some ideas for activities!

Top Restaurants in Chinatown

In Chinatown, you will have the opportunity to eat in a typical restaurant offering traditional and quality dishes. To help you choose between the 200 establishments, here are a few restaurants where you can feast. You will discover typical Asian flavors and you will make a nice culinary journey on the Asian continent!

Peking Duck House at 28 Mott Street is a famous Chinese restaurant in New York. Here you will have a very wide choice of dishes and whether it is the starters and the main courses, everything is delicious. To end your meal, you will have a Chinese cookie (a fortune cookie) which contains a proverb or a prediction. So taste your sweetness and quickly discover the paper hidden inside your cake!


Nha Trang One is a restaurant specializing in Vietnamese dishes. It is located at number 87 Baxter Street and this establishment offers you a varied menu and very good dishes. Among their specialties, there are rice noodles or bùn, a famous salad made with soy, meat and vermicelli. A pure treat!


Finally, for a snack break, I will meet you at Beautiful Memory Dessert (69A Bayard Street) which offers Asian desserts. So if you like Asian flavors and fruits, this shop should please you!

Where to go out and have a drink in Chinatown?

If you're in Chinatown in the evening, take a trip toPharmacy, a famous address in New York where you can spend a great evening! This place is not Asian, but it deserves a look. Indeed, it is not a classic bar: on the door, there is no sign, but once inside, you will discover a magnificent bar. The waiters are in white coats and the cocktails are exquisite!

Chinatown New York: where is it?

New York's Chinatown is located south of Manhattan Island. It is bounded on the west by Broadway, on the east by Essex Street, on the north by Grand Street and Hester Street, and on the south by Henry Street, Worth Street and Leonard Street.

Here is a map showing you its geographical location:

To get to Chinatown, take the metro to Canal Street station. The metro lines serving this stop are: J, M, N, Q, R, W, Z and 6.

Arriving in Chinatown, you will feel like you are on another continent. Everything is gathered to make you travel and escape the time of a few hours! In Chinatown, it's a total change of scenery! So, ready to take a trip to the Asian continent?

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