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15 Fun Things to Do in Chinatown, NYC

Ishaan Govardhan Dec 2, 2019
The multi-cultural spirit of New York City is reflected in the fact that even this slice of China doesn't feel like it's out of place in Lower Manhattan. The vibrant neighborhood of Chinatown packs exotic surprises around every corner, and it's home to the largest concentration of Chinese people in the West. Time to step past the cultural barriers!

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An influx of Asian immigrants revitalized this neighborhood after its crime-ridden past (which inspired Leonardo DiCaprio's Gangs of New York movie). Now, about 100,000 Asian-Americans call this colorful place home. Many cross-cultural experiences are waiting for you here.
Before you begin your deep dive into Chinese culture, go on a tour of the Eldridge Street Synagogue - a museum of American Jewish history located right there in Chinatown. It has been standing tall since 1887.

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Next, check out this 15 ft bronze statue of Confucius on the bustling Confucius Plaza. The wise sage has been here since 1976.
Swing by the Eastern States Buddhist Temple to explore the spiritual side of Chinatown. Devout locals have been frequenting it since it was founded in 1962. This is one of the oldest Chinese Buddhist temples in USA. Before you leave, you can donate $1 to read a fortune scroll.

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Bow your head to the shiny golden Buddha statue at the Mahayana Temple Buddhist Association. If you can tear your eyes away from the intricate ivory carvings, take some time to meditate and feel your stress drop away.

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For a change of pace, check out Columbus Park if you're travelling with kids. It has a fun little play area for children, and a basketball court too.
Before you leave Columbus Park, join the locals for a refreshing Tai Chi session. This is where the Chinese-American community gathers for chit-chat over a friendly game of mahjong.

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From the chic upscale boutiques of Canal Street Market to cheap brand knockoffs sold at streetside stalls, Canal Street is basically a fashion central.
Chinatown's Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) is teeming with beautiful artefacts and historical exhibits pertaining to the fascinating history of Chinese immigrants. It's a living, breathing record of the area's rich contributions to American society.
While you're at MOCA—under the watchful eyes of the masters—you can try your hand at the ancient art of Chinese calligraphy and traditional Chinese kite-making.

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Take the kids to one of New York's last remaining video arcades: the Chinatown Fair Family Fun Center on Mott Street, for some good old-fashioned fun! Rekindle your own childhood memories by playing classic retro videogames here.
Walk under the iconic Manhattan Bridge Arch and Colonnade. This imposing gateway leads to the Manhattan Bridge and it was built back in 1915.

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Needless to say, you won't find tastier Chinese cuisine anywhere else in The Big Apple. Break out the chopsticks and eat dim sum at fiercely competing restaurants like Jing Fong, Dim Sum Go Go, or Nom Wah Tea Parlor. Other mouth-watering specialties include shrimp dumplings and shumai.

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For dessert, stroll over to the Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory: a family-owned ice cream parlor loved by New Yorkers for its delectable ice cream. Try crazy new flavors like Thai Iced Tea and Zen Butter!
Of course, no trip to Chinatown is complete without a steaming bowlful of Cantonese noodles. Local favorites like Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles and Xi'an Famous Foods serve authentic ramen that's delicious enough to rival the ramen served in China!
The Chinese Lunar New Year brings with it an atmosphere of festive joy that sweeps the streets of Lower Manahattan. In Chinatown, you'll get the chance to check out dragon dances and colorful parades that are steeped in fascinating Chinese traditions.