Post overview: A rundown of things to do in Tribeca
When I think of neighborhoods I wish I could afford to live in, Tribeca is the first to come to mind. Tribeca (which stands for Triangle Below Canal Street) just so happens to be New York City’s most expensive neighborhood, so unfortuantly the best I can do is dream and visit, and I do often.
The piers overlooking the Hudson River and gorgeous brick buildings are home to celebrities galore. And when you strut the cobblestone streets it’s hard not to feel like one yourself.
I’ve spent years trekking the neighborhood, taking it in for all it’s glory. In doing so I’ve come up with a solid list of the best things to in Tribeca (and not all of them break the bank!).
But hey, I know I’m not the only one excited here. Let’s dive in!
Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +2 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
Best Things to Do in Tribeca
#18. Visit the Ghostbusters Headquarters
Any Ghostbusters fans in the house?
Located at 14 North Moore Street and the intersection at Varick Street, the instantly recognizable fire station is home to the Ghostbusters HQ in the movie series.
One of the best things to do in Tribeca is to swing by Firehouse, Hook & Ladder Company 8 and take a picture in front of the iconic brick building.
The bold red door on the fire station stands out making it hard to miss when exploring the neighborhood. And it makes for the best backdrop for a photo— Just get the hell out of the way if you hear sirens!
This beloved film location was threatened with closure in 2011, but a public campaign to save the station worked. Today, it’s home to a team of first responders and it’s become one of the most popular things to do in Tribeca.
Address: 14 N Moore St, New York, NY 10013
#17. Have brunch at Bubby’s
Waking up at grandma’s house is always a treat. The meals seem to have no end and the flavor made in that kitchen has no comparison. So naming a place after the Yiddish word for grandmother, is a pretty bold move and sets the bar for exceptions high.
Well friends, I am pleased to report back that the name is fitting and the food is exceptional.
Owner Ron Silver describes dining here like the “day after Christmas” and I couldn’t agree more. It’s American homestyle cooking in the hectic city and making reservations here is one of the best things to do in Tribeca.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Bubby’s is home to the best pancakes in NYC, fighting words I know! But I stand by what I said.
They sell two different styles, an 1890 sourdough (my favorite!) which are only a little bit thicker than a flour tortilla, and James Beard pancakes which follow the legendary chef’s recipe with a few adjustments.
You won’t go wrong with either one but if you really can’t decide, bring a friend and order a little bit of everything off the menu. It’s one of the more memorable things to do in Tribeca and it’ll have you crawling back for more in no time.
Address: 120 Hudson St, New York, NY 10013
#16. Browse the worlds largest vintage poster gallery at Philip Williams Posters Store
One of the more unique things to do in Tribeca is to skim through the copious amounts of prints at Philip Williams Poster Store.
It’s the worlds largest vintage poster gallery, spanning more than 12,600 square feet and housing over 100,000 unique artifacts.
Established in 1973, founder Philip Williams had one idea in mind; buying and selling original vintage posters. Now over 40 years later, the poster shop has grown so big that they have a guarantee that most of the work has never been seen before.
For those who can’t make it out to New York City or just don’t have to patients to dig, Philip Williams Posters has a great website online where artwork is organized by categories and easy to find.
With thousands of pieces to pick from, getting unique artwork from Philip Williams Posters is one of the best things to do in Tribeca, especially if you’re furnishing an apartment or in need of a gift.
Address: 122 Chambers St., New York, NY 10007
#15. Celebrate a victory at Smyth Tavern
One of the newest additions to the Tribeca dining scene is brought to us by the Mercer Street Hospitality Group. John McDonald founded the group in 1993 and essentially owns and operates a collection of restaurants throughout NYC.
Make sure to come prepared and in your stretchy pants because you’re going to want to try everything on the menu at Smyth Tavern. Serving fresh fish, juicy steaks and homemade pasta — dining here is one of the best things to do in Tribeca if you’re looking for a spot to celebrate special occasions.
Whether is a small victory or an anniversary, the food at Smyth Tavern is delicious and the atmosphere is delightful.
If you’re a foodie who’s looking to have your mind blown, I recommend ordering the Yellowfin Tuna + crispy potato and the Mafaldine (a butter and lobster pasta dish). I still dream about these dishes, oh and don’t even think about skipping out on the garlic bread rolls!
Address: 85 W Broadway, New York, NY 10007
#14. Lose track of time at Mysterious Book Shop
If you’re searching for one of the coziest things to do in Tribeca, might I suggest checking out the Mysterious Book Shop.
The name is fitting since this is the oldest mystery-specialist bookstore in America. The book shop opened in 1979 and has every book you can imagine about mystery, thriller, espionage, crime and suspense.
Mysterious Bookshop even publishes its own series of biblomysteries and stamps every book purchased with a signature stamp!
Perusing the floor to ceiling book shelves is one of the best things to do in Tribeca because of the vast selection of new, used, rare and collectable books at your disposal.
The cozy and creaky vibes of this place create an eerie atmosphere and make you feel like you’re in a movie.
Address: 58 Warren St, New York, NY 10007
#13. Grab a drink at Belle Reve
For those searching for a fun and easy time, consider grabbing drinks at Belle Reve, a low-key bar that always hits the spot.
Serving delicious cocktails and classic American fare (with modern twists), making time to swing by Belle Reve is one of the best things to do in Tribeca.
The beautiful interior and lively atmosphere makes for a memorable night. Something to keep in mind though, if you are coming here to meet with friends, I recommend trying to grab a seat outside.
Since Belle Reve is a bar and one of the best things to do in Tribeca, it can get pretty packed and noisy inside. The bar hosts open mic nights, live music and occasionally a burlesque night, so entertainment is never an issue at this Tribeca gem!
Address: 305 Church St New York, NY 10013
#12. Escape the city at Aire Ancient Baths
One of the best hidden gems in New York City is Aire Ancient Baths. Channeling ancient Greek and Roman bath houses it’s a serene and rejuvenating experience and one of the best things to do in Tribeca
There are no cell phones allowed and Aire limits the amount of people in the bath house so the experience is a nice reprieve from the bustling city.
There are a handful of options to choose from so you can spend as much or as little as you’d like. Aire Ancient Baths also offers massages so you can make a full spa day out of it.
Address: 88 Franklin St, New York, NY 10013
#11. Grab a cappuccino at Sarabeth’s
Any coffee connoisseurs in the building?If so I got just the spot for you! Sarabeth’s has been serving New Yorkers since 1981 and currently has five locations sprinkled throughout Manhattan.
The food is flavorful and the staff is always friendly. But where Sarabeth’s really shines is in the coffee department. Strange, I know — but grabbing a cappuccino at Sarabeth’s is one of the best things to do in Tribeca.
Now that’s not to say the food isn’t worth a visit, I actually really enjoy getting brunch at Sarabeth’s and make an effort to visit when I have out-of-town visitors.
The smoked salmon benedict is downright tantalizing and has made me a believer. Expertly poached eggs served over a fluffy corn-muffin and paired with citrusy greens, this brunch dish always hits the spot.
Since eating here is one of the best things to do in Tribeca, make sure to plan ahead and make reservations.
Address: 339 Greenwich St., New York, NY 10013
#10. Paint some pottery at Color Me Mine
If you’re searching for one of the best things to do in Tribeca with kids, consider stopping by Color Me Mine. It’s a pottery spot that allows you to paint your own ceramics.
The options feel endless when picking what to paint, but Color Me Mine has a large selection of dishes, piggy banks, and knick-knacks to choose from (all priced individually).
For a studio fee of $13 (or $9 for kids under 12), painters have access to all the paint colors you can imagine and all the tools you need to create the perfect piece.
How the whole process works is you show up and pick your ceramic, you paint it and Color Me Mine will glaze and fire your piece. You come back a week later and get to take your artwork home. It’s the perfect spot to let your creativity run wild and one of the most memorable things to do in Tribeca.
Address: 123 Baxter St. New York, NY 10013
#9. Enjoy live jazz at The Django
You can’t leave New York City without checking out a jazz club, right? So believe me when I tell you one of the best things to do in Tribeca is to check out the Django for some of the best live jazz in NYC.
Located on the lower level of the Roxy Hotel, the dimly lit club is modeled to resemble a Parisian club. The exposed brick, leather booths and interesting architecture makes you feel like you’ve transported to Paris for the night.
The entertainment changes nightly so you never know what to expect, but one things for certain, there will be live music, dancing and good drinks flowing.
If I’m being honest, the food selection is pretty limited and it isn’t anything memorable. But hey, at the end of the day this is a jazz club not a restaurant, so as long as you go into knowing that — you leave little room for disappointment.
Something to note: There is a $25 cover charge + 2 drink minimum.
Address: 2 6th Avenue The Roxy Hotel, New York, NY 10013
#8. Visit Tribeca Grill
Located in the heart of downtown Manhattan, the instantly recognizable restaurant is considered a NYC landmark by locals. Co-owned by restaurateur Drew Nieporent and famous actor Robert De Niro, Tribeca Grill has been serving the neighborhood since 1990.
One of the best things to do in Tribeca is to check out the impressive wine menu, which has won many reputable awards. In fact, every year since 2002, Tribeca Grill has won the Grand Award from Wine Spectator Magazine (which is a big deal in the wine world!).
The grill has an extensive wine list and is one of only five restaurants in NYC to receive the Grand Award.
The classic restaurant checks all the boxes when it comes to food and drinks but what really sets them apart is the exceptional service. With an award as exciting as the Grand Award, it can be intimidating knowing what to order, but the staff is friendly and always eager to help.
Address: 375 Greenwich St., New York, NY 10013
#7. Soak in the views from Pier 25
One of the simplest and easy-going things to do in Tribeca is to hang out on Pier 25 and soak in the stunning views.
Stretching 985 feet, Pier 25 happens to be the longest pier in Hudson River Park. The Pier offers miniature golf, a volleyball court and a children’s playground.
The panoramic views of Lower Manhattan and the New York Harbor are hard to beat and during the summer months fill up with locals and tourists alike.
Pier 25 is a boating hub so you can expect to see a lot of small boats and historic ships. And if you’re lucky, you can catch views of the Statue of Liberty depending on where you stand.
Hanging out at Pier 25 is one of the best things to do in Tribeca, especially if you have kids and are desperate for them to burn off some energy!
Address: West St, New York, NY 10013
#6. Take a photo in front of the Skybridge
Not only is Staple Street one of the smallest streets in Tribeca, but it’s one of the smallest in the whole city. Spanning a mere two blocks, the area became popular thanks to the cast-iron bridge, Staple Street Skybridge, that connects two buildings with two different addresses.
I know what you’re thinking, why on earth is there a random sky bridge in Tribeca and what is its purpose?
Truthfully, today it serves no real purpose but at one point in time it was part of the New York Hospital.
The building on the left (60 Hudson Street) was built in 1893 and served as an emergency room and the building on the right (9 Jay Street) was built in 1907 and housed the hospitals laundry room. The skybridge was then built to connect the third floor of both buildings.
Eventually the hospital relocated but the skybridge remained and withstood the test of time for over 100 years. Folks come from all over to take a picture in front of the bridge, since it’s one of the best things to do in Tribeca don’t be shocked when you see small crowds gathering.
Fun fact: Anyone interested in owning this unique space, would have to buy both lofts on either side of the skybridge!
Address: 9 Jay St, New York, NY 10013
#5. Unwind with a drink at Brandy Library
Specializing in rare spirits, swinging by the Brandy Library is non-negotiable for any brown spirit-lovers out there.
Opened in 2004, the bar and lounge has become an institution of fine drinking and a go-to spot for New Yorkers looking for a good (strong) drink.
What started out as single floor of about 1200 spirits rapidly grew and now spans over two floors with 1800 spirits. Brandy Library has taken the title of being New York City’s experts when it come to aged spirits and after visiting, I believe it.
You can expect a classy and cozy bar that serves great drinks and a menu of small plates. Brandy Library is also large enough for anyone looking for an event space or has a large party they want to impress.
One of the best things to do in Tribeca is to sign up for one of the classes or tastings Brandy Library offers so you can enjoy the extensive menu with the help of an expert.
Address: 25 N Moore St New York, NY 10013
#4. Try a Nutella beignet from Maman
Stepping into this charming New York City bakery makes the Francophile in me rejoice uncontrollably. Every detail, from the darling plates to the delectable baked goods make for a memorable experience. I’ve had a plethora of baked goods from Maman and have yet to be disappointed by a single item on the menu.
Everything is baked to perfection with a keen understanding of the technical skill required to create perfectly flaky, chewy and satisfying baked goods.
Originally started as a French bakery and cafe in Soho, Maman has spread like wildfire and currently boasts 13 beautiful locations. What really put them on the map was Oprah listing their nutty chocolate chip cookie as one of her favorite things.
I’m partial to the quiche, Nutella beignets and their famous macadamia nut cookie. Plus, the coffee is always great (not to be underestimated at a bakery). Consider this spot high on my list of things to do in Tribeca!
Address: 211 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013
#3. Sip on some coffee at Laughing Man Cafe
Laughing Man Cafe is one of the few places in New York City where you don’t feel bad spending your money on a cup of coffee because you know the proceeds are going to a charitable cause.
The coffee company started back in 2011 and is owned by actor Hugh Jackman. Jackman made it a personal mission to support coffee farming communities. So much so, he dedicates a portion of the company’s proceeds to programs to help build a sustainable life for farmers and their families.
The coffee is really good and the vibes at this popular cafe are always on par. It’s one of those spots where the staff genuinely seems to enjoy their job and it translates in the exceptional service. Grabbing a cup of coffee and trying anything off the vegan menu is one of the best things to do in Tribeca (and you can leave feeling good about it!).
“Our Mission: The Laughing Man Foundation supports coffee farming communities by investing in programs that clear the way to health, growth, and success for coffee farmers and their families.”The Laughing man foundation
Address: 184 Duane Street, New York, NY 10013
#2. Have dinner at The Odeon
If you’re looking for one of the best dinner experiences in Tribeca, make a bee-line for The Odeon. It’s the perfect mix of diner and classy restaurant and serves French-American fare.
Established in 1980, The Odeon has been around for almost 50 years and it feels like it’s packed everyday of the week. The menu is well curated and the French onion soup is worth writing home about.
Ordering a martini and people watching is one of my favorite things to do in Tribeca at this iconic restaurant. The atmosphere is always lively and the diner offers fantastic late-night bites.
Address: 145 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013
#1. Visit the One World Trade Center
The One World Observatory sits high atop the 102nd floor of the One World Trade Center, making it the highest observation deck in New York City (1,268 feet above street level).
The panoramic views of NYC from this vantage have a tendency to shrink the city’s monolithic skyscrapers in a unique way. Although technically found in the Financial District, it’s so close I’d be remiss not mentioning the One World Observatory on a list of the best things to do in Tribeca.
The elevator ride to the observation deck is an experience in itself. You’ll get to see a time-lapse of the development of lower Manhattan from pre-Colonial times to present day.
When you reach the observatory you’ll find yourself breathless. The One World Trade Center (previously called the Freedom Tower) offers the most epic views New York City.
You’ll see Rockefeller Plaza Center, the glorious Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Hudson River and all 5 boroughs from this epic viewpoint.
If you’re not terrified of heights, I highly suggest visiting the Sky Portal. It’s a glass floor overlooking the city streets 100 floors below you — it’s such a crazy experience!
Fun fact: The One World Trade Center stands at 1,776 feet (including the spire). This is in honor of the year America declared independence.
Admission: Buy tickets here.
Tribeca Things to Do (Post Summary)
- Visit the One World Trade Center
- Grab dinner at the Odeon
- Sip on some coffee at the Laughing Man Cafe
- Try a Nutella beignet from Maman
- Check out the Brandy Library
- Take a photo of the Skybridge
- Hang out at Pier 25
- Visit Tribeca Grill
- Hang at The Django
- Paint some pottery at Color Me Mine
- Grab a cappuccino at Sarabeth’s
- Relax at Aire Ancient Baths
- Grab a drink at Belle Reve
- Peruse Mysterious Book Shop
- Try everything at Smyth Tavern
- Shop for artwork at Philip Williams Poster Shop
- Eat your weight in pancakes at Bubby’s
- Snap a picture in front of the Ghostbusters HQ’s
Map of the best things to do in Tribeca
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below.