Blake Walsh

16 Best Things to Do in The Financial District, NYC

  • Published 2022/08/09

When you are in a place as big and bustling as New York City, you can’t help but wonder what to do there.

Check out Manhattan’s Financial District, also known as FiDi, if you want to experience something different from the city’s typical tourist traps.

If you need a break, this location offers a wealth of options for you to choose from.

It features world-famous works of art, contemporary museums and buildings, upscale shopping and dining, and plenty more.

Here are the best things to do in Financial District, NYC.

Start Your FiDi Trip at the Oculus Center

Exterior of the Oculus Center

astudio /

When you’re traveling in New York City, there’s no way you can miss the Oculus Center in the Financial district.

Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava designed the impressive structure as part of the World Trade Center master plan.

Forming a colossal gesture reminiscent of a hand releasing a dove, the steel ribs of the structure are white metal, extending upwards.

Interior of the Oculus Center

Allen.G /

Its orientation serves as a lasting reminder of the attacks of September 11, 2001.

The Oculus Center is home to 12 subway lines that will take you anywhere in NYC in no time!

Fix your eyes on a wide variety of shops, from those selling clothing to those selling food.

People walking in the Oculus Center

Felix Lipov /

Visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum

Night view of 9/11 Memorial Museum

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The 9/11 Memorial Museum is a place for visitors to commemorate the victims of the 2001 and 1993 attacks.

This remarkable museum in Financial District’s World Trade Center depicts the tale of 9/11 through video and narratives.

In addition, you will get the chance to view a collection of historically noteworthy and expensive objects.

You will learn about the events preceding the attacks and their cultural influence on America.

You’ll also explore personal stories of loss, recovery, and hope ffrom survivors of these tragedies.

Exercise at the Battery Park

Aerial view of Battery Park

Jon Bilous /

In Financial District, Battery Park is one of the top tourist destinations.

It is a beautiful area to picnic, stroll along the water’s edge, and take in some of the most breathtaking vistas in Manhattan.

Battery Park got its name from the gun batteries stationed there.

These batteries defended the colony of New Amsterdam from attackers coming from the water.

Tall trees at Battery Park

Sean Pavone /

Several monuments in the park pay tribute to soldiers, explorers, and inventors.

The 9/11 Memorial, including the One World Trade Center, is adjacent to Battery Park.

This neighborhood is home to a diverse selection of eateries and parks, providing excellent vantage points to grab a bite and enjoy your meal.

Flyboy statue at Battery Park

Ryan Rahman /

Find a Place to Dine at Brookfield Place

Exterior of Brookfield Place


Brookfield Place is one of the most popular spots for tourists in NYC.

People call it the World Financial Center, a shopping center and office building complex located in the Financial District.

The area is home to some of the world’s biggest companies, like Merrill Lynch, Bank of New York Mellon, American Express, and Jane Street Capital.

Interior of Brookfield Place

Ritu Manoj Jethani /

Brookfield Place also houses the Winter Garden, a beautiful glass atrium open year-round and hosts events like concerts and art exhibits.

You can even see live performances from time to time!

Cicci de Carne and Le District are just two of the many beautiful restaurants that serve lunch and dinner.

Building sign of Brookfield Place

Ritu Manoj Jethani /

Appreciate NYC at One World Observatory

Entrance doors of One World Observatory

Felix Lipov /

You have found the ideal site if you are looking for activities to do in Financial District.

Explore the One World Observatory!

The tower has a three-story observation deck on floors 100–102 and existing broadcast and antenna facilities.

While there is a food court and an event space on the observation deck’s 101st and 102nd floors, the viewing area is on the 100th level.

The building’s design is open, with expansive windows and glass panels giving visitors a 360° view of the city.

This view also puts them at eye level with some of New York City’s most iconic landmarks.

One World Observatory also features interactive exhibits and multimedia installations that allow visitors to explore different aspects of New York City, from its history to architecture.

Walk Down Wall Street

People touring around Wall Street

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Wall Street is great, even if you are not a trader!

It’s home to some of the iconic landmarks in Lower Manhattan, including the New York Stock Exchange, Federal Hall National Memorial, and Trinity Church.

It’s also home to some of New York City’s oldest skyscrapers, including 40 Wall Street and the Bank of New York Building.

Street sign of Wall Street

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Wall Street is within walking distance from several other attractions like Battery Park and South Street Seaport Museum.

Visiting Wall Street is a great way to get a sense of NYC without spending much money or time.

High rise buildings of Wall Street

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Admire the Beauty of One World Trade Center

Exterior of One World Observatory

Daniel Kloe /

When looking for something to do in the Financial District, look no further than One World Trade Center.

One World Trade Center is an incredible structure for many reasons, not the least because it is the tallest skyscraper in North America.

It is also an outstanding illustration of postmodern design.

Night light of One World Trade Center

Edi Chen /

Its name references the North Tower of the original World Trade Center.

David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill designed the skyscraper, which bears the name of the collapsed Twin Towers.

It stands where the Twin Towers used to stand.

The One World Trade Center rises 104 stories above ground and features observation decks with breathtaking vistas at each level.

Dine at Crown Shy

You can fill up on all the Financial District’s top churros at Crown Shy.

They come with a side of salsa verde packed with melted gruyere.

Churros stuffed with melted gruyere are among the specialties of this American restaurant on the bottom level of a high-rise landmark.

They also serve perennial classics like the best grilled chicken in the city and roasted octopus with chorizo.

No item on Crown Shy’s menu is a miss.

No matter what you choose, you’ll get the complimentary olive bread, a popover topped with crumbled brown butter, and stuffed with olive tapenade.

Take a Picture of The Sphere

Night view of "The Sphere"

Sean Pavone /

Take a walk back through time to the days when the Twin Towers stood tall and proud.

German sculptor Fritz Koenig built the gigantic cast bronze sculpture, The Sphere, in Financial District.

This monument is the largest bronze structure in the world.

This structure was a significant tourist attraction for decades but disappeared for years.

Then, it reappeared in Liberty Park.

With its beautiful design and intricate details, the Sphere provides an immersive experience for all visitors.

Many say looking at the structure feels like being transported back to New York City before 9/11.

Watch Concerts at Pier 17

View of the docked Pier 17

June Marie Sobrito /

The Financial District isn’t exactly the first place you’d think of when you want to spend the afternoon enjoying a concert.

But Pier 17 is changing that.

Pier 17 has fantastic shops and restaurants, so you can get some souvenirs or grab a snack to eat while you’re there.

There are cool things to see and do, like watching performances on the outdoor stage or taking pictures with the giant inflatable Statue of Liberty.

Pier 17 and the Seaport District move out of the shadows of the tourist traps as new tenants embrace its destiny as a port of exploration.

Stroll along the South Street Seaport

Night scene at South Street Seaport

Sean Pavone /

The historically significant South Street Seaport is in the Financial District district of Manhattan.

The Seaport features some of the oldest structures in Manhattan’s financial district, including restored early 19th-century shops and refurbished sailing ships.

The Seaport is home to a food hall that provides a variety of dishes inspired by local and international cuisines.

People walking along South Street Seaport

Kamira /

In addition to its retail establishments and dining options, it features an outdoor garden with plants and trees worldwide.

The South Street Seaport also houses the oldest bar in NYC, “The Paris Cafe.”

Coin-operated binoculars at South Street Seaport

Sean Pavone /

Take a Perfect Picture with the Charging Bull

Famous charging bull and fearless girl statue at Wall Street

quietbits /

Look no further than the Charging Bull in the Financial District for some culture on your upcoming vacation to New York.

The sculpture, also known as the Bull of Wall Street or the Bowling Green Bull, is a bronze work located on Broadway in Manhattan’s Financial District.

Side view of the Charging Bull statue

Sean Pavone /

This 11-foot-tall monument weighs 7,100 pounds, more than three times the weight of an adult elephant!

Following the 1987 Black Monday stock market disaster, Italian artist Arturo Di Modica sculpted the Charging Bull.

This famous sculpture, which represents Wall Street and the Financial District, is a well-liked tourist attraction that draws thousands of visitors daily.

People taking a picture of the Charging Bull statue

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Shop at the Fulton Center

Exterior of The Fulton Center

Ajay Suresh from New York, NY, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Fulton Center in Financial District is a bustling subway and retail complex with a slick design and a circular layout with a spiral staircase.

Other notable features of the Fulton Center include an atrium and a spiral staircase.

It is a well-known transportation hub in lower Manhattan.

Interior of The Fulton Center

Allen.G /

The PATH train and the subway lines serving New York City are in the Fulton Center.

In addition, it features retail establishments selling jewelry, fashion, and technology goods.

A trip to the Fulton Center is essential for anyone who enjoys shopping or using the public transit system!

Find a Place to Eat at the Stone Street

Outdoor dining at Stone Street

littlenySTOCK /

In Manhattan’s Financial District’s New York City neighborhood, you’ll find the tiny street known as Stone Street.

Stone Street is one of the streets in New York City that dates back to its beginning.

During the 17th century, settlers of the Dutch colony New Amsterdam combined two popular routes and created Stone Street.

Street sign of Stone Street

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Stone Street is home to several notable buildings, one of which is 1 Hanover Square, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The stretch of the roadway to the east and the structures found in its immediate vicinity are also historic places.

Night scene at the tiny Stone Street

Sean Pavone /

Look for the Red Cube

Daytime view of the Red Cube

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Isamu Noguchi’s Red Cube is a work of art that stands out in the Financial District.

The vibrant red paint on the steel that makes up this cube contrasts sharply with the buildings and pathways surrounding its dark browns, blacks, and whites.

This cube sticks out from the surrounding buildings due to its beautiful hue and diagonal lines.

Looking through the Red Cube's hole

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This sculpture stands delicately on one corner, unlike other structures.

The Red Cube has a cylindrical hole in the middle and exposes a gray inside surface with lines that are equally spaced and go from one entrance of the gap to the other.

Night view of the Red Cube


Eat Lunch at Delmonico’s

Exterior of Delmonico's

DW labs Incorporated /

When you think about it, everything that makes Delmonico’s an extraordinary place comes from its history.

Amid a sea of eateries that open and close daily, this establishment has operated since the 1800s.

This restaurant in the Financial District features aged steaks.

However, the eggs benedict with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce is the real star of the menu.

Entrance door of Delmonico's

Sean Pavone /

See what people in the early days of New York City ate, starting with the eggs benedict and moving on to one of their famous steaks.

Likewise, you might think Delmonico’s opened in another century due to its chandeliers, white tablecloths, and enormous wall paintings.

Final Thoughts

Financial District is where you can simultaneously see the past, present, and future.

You’ll find some of the most famous financial institutions in America here.

However, you’ll also find some of the most beautiful historic places that made America what it is today.

It is a beautiful destination for a day or longer.

Book your trip today and try the many things to do in the Financial District, NYC!

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