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Chinatown and Little Italy Walking Tour

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Key Highlights

  • This tour is offered by Context Walks. Context are committed to giving their guests a deeper understanding of the cities that they visit. All their tour groups have limited numbers and are led by a local academic expert.
  • In addition Context Walks are committed to the principals of sustainable tourism and part of their profits go to maintaining New York’s cultural heritage.
  • Your guide will lead you through the history of New York’s immigrant community
  • Sample some of the wonderful Italian and Chinese Cuisine along the way
  • Choose between a private tour or a small group tour which operates with a maximum of 6 people
  • Activity Schedule
    When does it run?

    Group tour: Tuesday & Friday
    Private tour: Daily Except Sunday
    Group tour: Monday
    Private tour: Daily Except Sunday


    2.5 hours

    Start time

    Start time: 2013:
    Group tour: 9:00am (Friday) and 3:00pm (Tuesday)
    Private tour: 9:00am (Friday & Saturday) and 3:00pm (Daily Except Sunday)
    Group tour: 10:00am
    Private tour: 10:00am (Friday & Saturday) and 3:00pm (Daily Except Sunday)
    Duration: 2.5 hours

    Meeting Point

    The tour starts outside of Cafe Gitane at 242 Mott Street, which is between Prince and Houston (and right across the street from Old St. Patrick's Cathedral). The cafe is often crowded, so we meet just outside to the left of the entrance (when facing the cafe). If it's raining, we meet inside. If it's hot and too sunny, we can meet across the street in the shade by the outside wall of the Cathedral. The closest subway lines are the 6 Train (Green) Spring St station, the R, W (yellow) Prince St station and the B, D, F, V (orange) Broadway-Lafayette St. station
    Please report at the meeting point 15 minutes before the start time. This is mandatory to allow time for pre-departure briefing.

    Ending Point

    The tour ends in Chinatown

  • Overview & Itinerary


    Explore the colorful mosaic of Manhattan’s immigrant centres on this delightful New York walking tour that takes you right into the vibrant heart of Little Italy and Chinatown.

    Manhattan's Little Italy and Chinatown have been home to Italian and Chinese immigrants since the 1870s and retain much of their nineteenth and early twentieth century feel both in the scale of the buildings (many are four or five story tenement-style structures) and in the sights, smells and sounds that immediately envelop one when walking the bustling streets.

    Bilingual street signs, the cacophony of shouted languages, and scores of open markets and pushcarts spilling onto the sidewalks vividly evoke the 'old country' while acting as living testament to the American melting pot. As a major gateway for immigrants, these areas were and continue to be home to some of New York's most fascinating stores, restaurants, and cafés.

    This two-and-a-half hour New York walking tour explores the immigrant experience of Little Italy and Chinatown through the food that these neighborhoods produce. Along the way you will sample a variety of dishes, discuss their origins and meaning, and paint a portrait of how these immigrant communities have shaped New York City and American cuisine as we know it today.

    Available in private and small group (max 6 people) tour options, choose what suits you best and discover Manhattan’s cultural gems.


    Make your way to the outside of Cafe Gitane at 242 Mott Street to meet your English-speaking professional tour guide and uncover the interesting history behind Manhattan’s famous immigrant centres.

    Your walk starts on the northern fringe of Little Italy, at Prince and Mulberry Streets, in front of Old St. Patrick's Cathedral, the first Roman Catholic church in New York City. Old St. Pat's is a reminder of the successive waves of immigrants that came through lower New York: although only few visible vestiges remain, Little Ireland originally covered much of the territory now occupied by Chinatown and Little Italy and at times had more Irish residents than Dublin.

    You will then move south, passing New York's first pizzeria, founded in 1905, and head into Little Italy, stopping for authentic espresso and pastry before venturing into two of Little Italy's finest food shops, one featuring homemade pastas and another specializing in extraordinary imported Italian meats and cheeses. The heady fragrance of wheels of parmigiano reggiano pervades this small, crowded store, founded by great-grandfather DiPalo in 1910. His descendants love to talk about their products (one has moved back to Italy to manage the export business) and are generous with tastings.

    As you proceed to Chinatown, you will pass dusty kitchenware shops stacked to the ceiling with crank pasta machines, rolling pins, and other culinary exotica, dry goods stores, and restaurants, where you are sure to be accosted by waiters promising the best pranzo, (lunch) a custom imported from the streets of Naples and Palermo.

    Chinatown's markets are the city's most intriguing, with ingredients ranging from dried herbs and roots used medicinally, every variety of rice and noodle imaginable, to exotic fruits and vegetables. Chinatown's butchers offer Silky Black chickens and pig's blood, and the fish vendors have live fish swimming in tanks, awaiting the customer's selection.

    As you meander down Mott and Mulberry Streets, see tantalizing window displays of noshing steamed dumplings, giant almond cookies, or barbecued duck, expertly chopped to order.

    Make your way past Columbus Park, the scene of the riots portrayed in the motion picture Gangs of New York, and conclude your walk in front of the oldest extant dim sum parlor, dating to the 1920s.

    The tour ends in Chinatown.

  • Inclusions & Exclusions


    • English-speaking professional tour guide
    • Local tastings and samplings along the way


    • Hotel pick-up and drop-off
  • Please note & Additional info

    Please note

    Walks are held rain or shine with some variations to accommodate the weather. If you are running late for your meeting with your tour guide, please call the local activity operator so that the message can be relayed to the tour guide
    Please call the activity operator at least 24 hours prior to start of the tour for reconfirming departure details

    Additional info

    The confirmation voucher includes the local activity operator’s contact details and local telephone numbers at the destination. They will happily answer any logistical questions you may have
  • Reviews
    • Excellent tour

      We both enjoyed it very much and found it very informative - we would not have been able to pick out a lot of the detail from a guidebook....

      Richard Hodby
    • Outstanding walking tour of an iconic part of a remarkable city

      We were met by our guide at the appointed hour, though we'd arrived early to find that the meeting place (Café Gitane) knew nothing about walking tours that started there! We...

      Andrew Sheahan