If you haven’t been to New York’s Seaport District, now is the time to go. With a storied past dating back to the 17th century, the Seaport is an area steeped in maritime history located along the East River in Lower Manhattan. Over the past 10 years, that has changed a lot.
Today, it’s transformed into a vibrant neighborhood that offers iconic waterfront views of the Brooklyn Bridge and city skyline; a lively neighborhood that appeals to 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’s a roundup 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. Located on the northeast corner of Pier 17, this restaurant is unrivaled when it comes to views of the Brooklyn Bridge and beyond. This waterfront restaurant has two spacious indoor dining rooms and a stunning terrace ideal for upscale al fresco dining.
Executive Chef Noah Poses offers a seasonal menu for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch showcasing the best of local vendors and fresh seafood. Popular dishes include Faroese salmon with corn, basil and popped sorghum; Milanese-style swordfish with braised leeks; Black Sea Bass with summer minestrone; Longevity noodles with a 1½ lb glazed Maine lobster and more.
Also on the menu is a range of caviar dishes such as Yellowtail Tartare with Kristal Kaviar; and an over-the-top Royale seafood platter with 10g of Kristal Kaviari, oysters, prawn cocktail, sashimi and cups of Peekytoe Crab Lettuce.
From the team behind cult neighborhood restaurant, Sundays in Brooklyn, comes Seaport District’s new concept Makitiki. Located in the heart of Seaport on Fulton Street at the Garden Bar, this open-air bar and dining venue is also a former Sunday Hospitality Yakitiki pop-up. Yakitiki specializes in “maki” and “tiki”, serving a selection of Japanese rolls and savory snacks as well as tropical-style fruity cocktails.
Makitiki offers guests a lush oasis to soak in, as well as fun games to play such as Corn Hole and Connect Four. Innovative drinks include the Breezy Tiger with Suntory Whisky, Strawberry and Chamomile; Saturn Rising with Suntory Roku Rum, macadamia, carrot and passion fruit; and mocktails like Lemon Shiso Watermelonade.
Funny face bakery
Hailed as “pop culture’s first bakery,” Funny Face Bakery is best known for its celebrity cookies featuring Kim Kardashian’s famous crying face; the famous Bernie Sanders meme; and countless other iconic pop culture figures and sayings. They also have a selection of giant, gooey cookies in flavors like s’more, crumbfetti, cookies n’ cream and more.
Sunday in Brooklyn
This charming pop-up brings a taste of Brooklyn to the Seaport District. This Williamsburg favorite offers brunch, happy hour, and dinner in a chic, plant-filled, sunny setting on historic Fulton Street. Brunch must-haves include Sunday Pancakes with hazelnut-maple praline and brown butter; the classic steak and eggs with gremolata and Long Island home fries; and smoked salmon toast with green onion cream and garden pickles on sourdough.
Dinner dishes include starters like beer butter mussels and Ofira pita and hummus. Main courses range from grilled aged steak with buttered potatoes and bagna cauda; grilled rainbow trout with crunchy guajillo peppers; and wood-fired lasgna with red sauce.
Sunday in Brooklyn also offers 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 pepper.
Other notable 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 movie combo; dine waterside at Dante Seaport for Italian-inspired Italian bites and Italian-themed cocktails with limoncello, rosé prosecco and summer peach flavors.
Things to do
Manhattan by sail
For visitors looking to spend time on the water, there’s no better experience than sailing with Manhattan by Sail. This company operates historic private and public cruises in New York Harbor and has returned to Pier 17 after nine years. This summer, the company launched its newly renovated sailboat, the Clipper City Tall Ship, the tallest sailboat in New York City.
Clipper City is a replica of the lumber-hauling schooners that powered American industry over 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 to 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 on board, ideal for summer cruising.
Climb aboard for iconic views of the Statue of Liberty, the New York skyline, and more. Manhattan By Sail also offers unbeatable sunset cruises, wine tastings with live jazz, and more, filling this maritime destination with unforgettable experiences.
Harbor Arts Walk
Visitors 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 art project featuring murals by local artists, which offers a message of hope and aims to spark dialogue about mental health.
Another must-see art installation is From Sea To Shining Sea by Tom Fruin. Brooklyn-based artist Tom Fruin has created two multi-colored structures at Pier 17. The structures are part of his Icon Series and are constructed from reclaimed, reclaimed and recycled materials. Seaport’s two structures will light up the Manhattan waterfront with a variety of colors throughout the summer.
Shopping is abundant in the Seaport District. Some notable shops include The Canvas, Club Vintage, McNally Jackson Books, Scotch & Soda; and The Shoe Surgeon and more.
Where to stay
The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel
For a luxurious stay, book a room at the magnificent Beekman Hotel, a property known for its magnificent nine-story Victorian atrium; spectacular skylight; and the overall architecture. To add to its list of well-deserved accolades, this year it was listed as one of the “20 Best Hotels in New York” by Conde Nast Traveler in 2022. Located in the heart of New York City’s downtown district, The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel is near some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including One World Trade Center.
This elegant property offers 287 rooms, including 35 suites and two signature penthouses in the Beekman’s signature “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 historic 1881 property offers three restaurants and bars, including Temple Court, a modern American restaurant from James Beard Award-winning chef Tom Colicchio; The Bar Room, serving craft cocktails and an all-day menu located under the atrium; and chef Daniel Boulud’s Le Gratin, a Bouchon Lyonnais inspired by his hometown of Lyon, France.