UYC’s Walks: Lower East Side, Loop 1

If you want to eat your way around New York City in a few short blocks, this Lower East Side walk is for you.  While the three street stroll will hardly burn enough calories to justify what you’re about to consume, I argue that one of the best ways to get to know a culture city is by visiting those local tried-and-true foodie establishments that have become neighborhood staples, for very good reason.  So grab your walking shoes, a bottle of Tums, and meet me on Houston Street.

Starting Point

Take the F train to the 2nd Avenue stop, and walk East on Houston Street until you arrive at your starting point, 137 E. Houston Street, the home of Yonah Schimmel Knishery.  Not gonna lie, this walk brought me into this historic NYC institution for the first time, and also delighted my mouth with my very first taste of a knish.  If you’re on a non-carb diet this might not be the best place for you, as a knish is a (in this case) giant dumpling of dough (we’re talking the size of a man’s fist!) that is stuffed with your filling of choice and then baked or fried…amazing stuff, indeed.  I boldly went for the Jalapeno and Cheddar flavor, a wise decision if you appreciate a kick to your knish.  Grab it to go and continue walking east along Houston.



Next door you’ll spot the Sunshine Cinema, one of the best places to watch an independent film in the city.  One unique thing I love about this theater is that they do Friday and Saturday midnight movie screenings, bringing old classics back to life on the big screen for $10 a show.  (And yes, there is popcorn!)



At 179 E. Houston you’ll spy another Lower East Side staple, Russ & Daughters.  These folks are purveyors of smoked fish and caviar, and have been around since 1914.  Stop in for a look around, but save your appetite…

…because at 205 E. Houston, you’ll be at the famous restaurant Katz’s Delicatessen.  Many of you will recognize this joint from a myriad of Food Network shows featuring ginormous pastrami sandwiches, but my favorite memory of it is from the scene in the movie “When Harry Met Sally”, when Meg Ryan enjoyed her orgasmic sammy, leaving the old lady saying, “I’ll have what she’s having.”  (Relive the magic here!)



If you’re not completely stuffed, a stop next door to the il laboratorio del gelato is definitely mandatory.  I had the Honey Lavender and my friend went with the Earl Gray, both of which were simply heavenly.



Turning right onto Clinton Street, stroll south until you hit Rivington, taking a right.  Get one of the happiest cupcakes in NYC at Sugar Sweet Sunshine (the Sunshine are my favorite, but they have tons of fun flavors to choose from!)



You’ll be able to pop into a few of the small LES galleries, including OneTwentyEight and Envoy Enterprises, and get up close and personal with the art work and gallery workers.  Don’t worry, the buttercream cupcake will totally mask the pastrami on your breath!



A stop into Economy Candy at 108 Rivington is an absolute must…we’re talking floor to ceiling candy!  All your Willy Wonka fantasies will come gushing out, as you’re surrounded by old school favorites such as candy cigarettes and candy necklaces…European chocolates…and every color gummy bear you can possibly imagine.  My favorite were the turquoise ones!



Our ending point on this foodie-centirc walking tour is Teany, an adorable vegan cafe and tea house created by the musician Moby.  I was feeling a bit pumpkin-centric on the day of the walk, and went with a slice of vegan pumpkin cheesecake (surprisingly good and creamy, considering it lacked such a key ingredient!), and the pumpkin cream tea.  Crack open a book, lean back, and stay awhile.



What are your favorite stops along the East Houston-Clinton-Rivington Street loop?  Share below!


By: Jessica Tiare Bowen






  • Economy Candy seems like my kind of place – I miss all of the old school candies. Great recommendations!

    • Used York City says:

      It’s seriously SO MUCH FUN in there! Anything you can imagine is pretty much on the shelves!;-)

  • Jess says:

    I love il laboratorio del gelato! It’s like they combine gelato-making with mad scientists. Mmmmm.

    • Used York City says:

      It’s such a cool facility! You definitely feel like you’re in the middle of a mad scientist’s laboratory…brewing up all those delish concoctions!;-)

  • Antoinette says:

    Il Laboratorio is the best addition on Houston for gelato! I still love Ciao Bella on Mott St. but when I’m further down on Houston, I do prefer Il Laboratorio! After all these years, I’m actually a bit surprised Sugar Sweet Sunshine hasn’t raised up their prices yet! Actually I’m glad they haven’t haha!

    • Used York City says:

      Mmm, will definitely have to give Ciao Bella a go!:-) Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Hi Jess, love the LES! What a great list you got there. I love Teany and, of course, the classic Katz! One of my favorite stops on the loop is the Clinton Street Baking and Restaurant (on Clinton St. between E. Houston and Stanton). They have great breakfast/brunch.
    I have passed by Sugar Sweet Sunshine but have not tried. Will sure to make a stop next time.

    • Used York City says:

      Awesome! I’ve attempted to go to Clinton for brunch a few times, but never had the patience to wait, lol! Will definitely find a nice sunny day though to give it a try this summer!:-)

  • Pamela Morse says:

    This trip looks yummy. I want the knishes!!!

  • Agness says:

    Unfortunately, I’ve never been to the East Houston-Clinton-Rivington Street loop, but a proper cheese burger would do for me anywhere around :). You look like you really enjoyed it :)

  • been a few years since I have been there. and other than a couple of restaurants as well as stuff in the financial district (bargain place for shoes).. that’s all I focused on.. I was hanging with friends.. and we weren’t picky as much as just having a good time.

  • jill says:

    I remember visiting NYC and was overwhelmed by the options on where to go for food. Everywhere we looked, there was always something that looked interesting to stop by and get a bite.

    • Used York City says:

      Exactly! And even after living here for 8 years, I find I still gravitate back to my favorites;-)

  • Andrea says:

    Mmmm – knishes!

  • you can and should do much the same in London – my favourite is to walk along the southbank

  • memographer says:

    Unfortunately, I don’t live in UYC… So I don’t have favorite stops along the East Houston-Clinton-Rivington Street loop :(
    But, I bookmark your posts, Jess, and hopefully will follow your steps one day :)
    Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • Used York City says:

      Hehe, awesome! Hopefully we’re still able to give you a visual of some of our fave places;-)

  • Sugar Sweet Sunshine would be my favorite destination if I lived near Loop 1–$1.75 for a cupcake…in NYC? Wow. And I always assumed good food came with a hefty price tag :)

    Love your images–simply delectable with this the right amount of gritty, when necessary.

    • Used York City says:

      Yes, such a steal, and SO good! Love how bright and sunny they are too, with tons of sprinkles:-)

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