The borough of Manhattan is tiny. At just 13.4 miles long and 2.3 miles wide, the island measures approximately 22.7 square miles in total area. Crammed into this small space (which is less than half the size of Boston) are the 1.6 million of us lucky enough to call this place home. Though New York might be crowded, the close quarters do make it an excellent city for getting around, especially for those who love traveling by foot. As ranked by Walk Score, here’s our guide to the 3 most walkable neighborhoods in Manhattan:
1. Little Italy
One of the greatest things about living in New York is the great diversity of cultures in one small space. A true melting pot, New York was long the point of immigration for new citizens coming to the U.S. through Ellis Island. Italians made up one of the largest groups of American immigrants, arriving in droves between the late 1800s and early 1900s. Many of them settled in Manhattan, bringing with them their incredible food. Today, Little Italy, in Lower Manhattan along Mulberry Street, still boasts a handful of Italian restaurants that serve up authentic dishes made from recipes passed down through the generations. As you’re strolling through, be sure to stop in for Gnocchi Napoletana at Pelligrino’s or a loaf of fresh bread from the Parisi Bakery, currently run by a 3rd generation Parisi baker.
2. Flatiron District
North of Little Italy, smack in the middle of Manhattan, is the Flatiron District. Named after the iconic Flatiron building, which was once the tallest skyscraper in Manhattan, this neighborhood is a hub of constant activity. Join the throngs of people hustling down busy sidewalks and past the beaux-arts architecture that speaks of Flatiron’s storied past as a center of New York fashion. Today, the revitalized neighborhood is filled with new glossy shops and high-end, Michelin rated restaurants that tempt even the most discerning palette. But, the real focal point of the neighborhood is Madison Square Park, a 7-acre urban oasis where the residents of the Flatiron District come to relax and play. Here, you can rest on a park bench and watch the world go by, join the dozens of others in line for a Shake Shack burger and fries, or let your pup loose to frolic in the dog run.
Running along Canal Street, just south of Little Italy, sits Chinatown. This tourist haven is full of fresh (and odorous) fish markets, restaurants dishing up dim sum and dumplings, and shops packed with knock-offs of your favorite designer labels. The crowded sidewalks are often filled with vendors selling everything from Bok choy and coconut to shiny trinkets and cheap scarves. To get the full Chinatown experience, spend some time in Columbus Park, where you’ll likely find many of the neighborhood’s retired residents playing Chinese games and cards. Work up an appetite exploring Chinatown’s many shops, then for refreshment stop in at the famed Nom Wah Tea Parlor. Deceptively decked out like a 1950s diner, replete with red checked table cloths and matching red booths, this traditional tea parlor actually serves up some of the best dim sum in the city. Try the house specialty roast pork buns or the delicate shrimp and snow pea leaf dumplings, followed by a steaming cup of oolong or jasmine pearl tea.
Despite all the traffic and noise, having neighborhoods like these just a short walk from our front door makes us glad to call Manhattan home. Whether you’re moving here for the first time, or you’re a long-time resident of the Big Apple, we encourage you to get out and explore the city by foot. And, the next time you’re moving, be sure to give one of the best Manhattan movers a call. We’ll help you get settled into your new neighborhood in no time, so you can get out and discover everything it offers.