What is FiDi?
The Financial District (FiDi) is located at the southern tip of Manhattan. It is the oldest part of the city, overlapping with what was originally the township of New Amsterdam. It houses Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. It was also the home of the former World Trade Center and ground zero. It is now known for the 9/11 memorial, One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower), and Oculus.
If you’ve toured New York, chances are pretty high that you spent a lot of your time in FiDi.
What to do in FiDi?
FiDi is very walkable and as safe as any part of Manhattan. It can be congested around rush hour and on holidays. It is very popular with tourists because of its walkability and the sights that you can find within short distances of each other.
We’ve made two different itineraries for you in FiDi. One for if you’ve never been to New York before, and another if you’d like a local’s approach to downtown.
First Time in New York?
- Statue Hunting! Find the site where George Washington was inaugurated as our first president, where the fearless girl stands facing the New York Stock Exchange boldly, where Alexander Hamilton is buried, where the Charging Bull shows power and force, where the Sphere broadcasts resiliency above scars, and where the FDNY Memorial Wall commemorates the brave and heroic Fire Departments of lower Manhattan.
- Brunch! Head over to Fraunces Tavern for a historic brunch in “The Room Where It Happened.” You can also check out Stone Street for all of the trendy eateries and bars frequented by Wall Street execs and influencers.
- Shopping! From Eataly to Hermes and everything in between, you can shop until you drop downtown. Even though my beloved Century 21 is closing forever this year, you can still find up-and-coming designers and tailor-made suits near the Stock Exchange and all of your fashionista stores around the Oculus.
- Never Forget… I did it once. I’ll never do it again. However, I think that every “first” trip to New York needs to include the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. This piece of history reshaped this city and the United States. Pay your tribute…feel the pain…understand the rebuilding.
- One World Observatory! After you’ve been through the emotional struggle that is the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, witness the rebirthing of downtown Manhattan at One World Observatory. It’s breathtaking, magical, and restores your hope in the city, in humanity, and in our shared resiliency. For more information on the multiple observation landmarks, take a look at this post – you can find just the right one for you!
- Battery Park! Looking for the BEST sunset photos in New York? Look no further than Battery Park, where the East River meets the Hudson, Lady Liberty is in view, and the sailboats outline the sky.
Living Like a Local?
- Seaport! From bottomless brunch to Oktoberfest to a Maritime museum and event spaces at Pier 17, Seaport is one of New York’s trendiest neighborhoods. What’s old has definitely become new again! If you haven’t scoped it out yet, you definitely should!
- Stone Street! Cobblestones, pubs, and historic haunts more your scene? Don’t miss Stone Street for your next pub crawl, dinner out, or Halloween pre-game!
- Unique Shopping! If you’re looking for a mom-and-pop suit shop, a discount European fashion store, or high-end luxury labels, you can find them around Wall Street, Nassau Street, Seaport, Oculus, and Brookfield Place.
- Titanic Memorial Scavenger Hunt! Are you a Titanic. enthusiast? Spend some time finding all of the NYC memorials for the Titanic in FiDi!
- The NYC Ferry! Wall Street is a primary hub for the NYC Ferry system. From this ferry stop, you can head up the East River to Queens, Midtown, Upper Manhattan, and The Bronx, as well as to Brooklyn and Rockaway (and soon to be Coney Island as well!). For $2.75 you’ll get 90 minutes of ferry usage to go anywhere in the city! Check out the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Parks, and Gantry State Park all within 1.5 hours for one low cost!
- Battery Park! Take a bottle of wine, grab a downtown pizza, and head for the park! The sunsets are always stunning, the water is beautiful, and the vibe is chill in this corner of Manhattan.
Who Should Visit FiDi?
If you want to see the New York of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, the Dutch traders, and so many more – you’ll find THAT New York in FiDi.
The food scene is out of this world at Seaport and Stone Street, with more up-and-coming celebrity chefs opening FiDi outposts monthly.
Some of my favorite photos of New York are from FiDi. Between the Brooklyn Bridge and Battery Park, the waterfront photos are beautiful, if you throw in One World (Freedom Tower) and Oculus, and you have ALL the best New York has to offer the camera lens!
Walk the tiny streets in search of small mom-and-pop discount stores or head to Seaport, Brookfield Place, or Oculus for the best in brand-name shopping.
From the statues to the museums, every NYC first-timer should spend at least a day in our most historic part of town. All of the excitement and discussions around the Revolutionary War started on these very streets, the heartbreak of 9/11 and Sandy shook this part of town to its core, and the whole world mourned with the city, and today, it’s standing strong and vibrant looking forward to a better future.
And…it’s 2020…So, here’s my weekly reminder.
Should I Come to New York in 2020?
***Update*** These states are now safe to visit us!! Come say “Hi”!
No Quarantine Mandate if Traveling Between New York and: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington
If you are living outside the Northeast or West Coast, the answer is still, sadly, no. For more on this, check out our other posts on “Wandering and Wondering in NYC,” and “New York: Awakening from COVID-19 Slumber.” The quarantine mandates for most US states are getting stricter and stricter. New York seems to be under control (at this point). The government is doing their best to make sure it stays that way. With so many people living in such a close proximity, pandemics are especially lethal here.
Wait this one out…New York will still be here when the dust settles.
As always, don’t forget to Toast The Moon to all of your international travels by visiting our store, and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and the ‘gram to catch all of our latest posts and adventures!
Stay in your region this year, stay safe, stay distant, and be like the NYC statues – wear your masks! We’ll see you on the other side.
Noah and Majhon