Lower Manhattan, the geographic and historic starting point of New York City, is home to national monuments and memorials that reflect the nation’s history, as well as scores of contemporary museums, cultural groups, public art works and performing arts centers.

Finding one’s way around this tip of the island is made a bit more challenging by the layout of its streets, which were drawn before the City’s 1811 grid plan. City Hall, just south of Chambers Street, was receiving its finishing touches in 1811, when the land north of it was still largely undeveloped.

This collection highlights cultural attractions, from the African Burial Ground National Monument on Duane Street to the harbor’s islands.

    9/11 Memorial Preview Site

    Through models, renderings, films and time-lapse images, the public can learn about the future National 9-2011 Memorial and Museum and view construction progress at the World Trade Center site.

    African Burial Ground National Monument

    In May 1991, the General Services Administration unearthed the skeletal remains of nearly 400 individuals of predominantly African ancestry while preparing to erect a building in Lower Manhattan. The building was stopped, but these remains are on view in an interpretative center exploring the history of African-Americans in colonial New York.

    Highlights of Lower Manhattan

    Lower Manhattan, the geographic and historic starting point of New York City, is home to national monuments and memorials that reflect the nation's history, as well as scores of contemporary museums, cultural groups, public art works and performing arts centers.

    Castle Clinton National Monument

    Built just prior to the War of 1812, this fort has served as a concert venue, open-air restaurant and opera house. Today it is a monument and a museum where costumed interpreters describe harbor defenses during 1812. It is next to the ferry terminal to the Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.

    Eleven Tears Memorial

    Eleven Tears is memorial to the 11 American Express employees who died on September 11, 2001. It resides on the ground floor of the American Express Tower and is open to the public.

    Federal Hall National Memorial

    Federal Hall has been the site of government activity for more than 300 years. There are regular guided tours and the galleries mount exhibitions for all ages.

    Fraunces Tavern Museum

    The site of George Washington's emotional farewell to his officers at the end of the Revolutionary War, this reconstructed 18th-century building hosts varied exhibits on the early history of the United States.

    Irish Hunger Memorial

    The Irish Hunger Memorial by artist Brian Tolle raises public awareness of the events that led to the Irish famine of 1845-52. It includes stones from Irish counties and plant life native to Ireland.

    Museum of American Finance

    An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the museum is the nation's only public museum dedicated to finance, entrepreneurship and the open market system.

    Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust

    Created as a living memorial to those who perished in the Holocaust, the museum honors those who died by cherishing the traditions they embraced, examining their achievements and faith and affirming the vibrant worldwide Jewish community that is their legacy today.

    National Museum of the American Indian‚ Smithsonian Institution

    The museum features year-round exhibitions, dance and music performances, children‚ workshops, family and school programs, film festivals and video screenings that present the diversity of the Native peoples of the Americas and the strength of their cultures from the earliest times to the present.

    New York City Police Museum

    The museum, currently closed due to Hurricane Sandy damage, conveys the police department's history through exhibits, lectures by working cops and detectives, online exhibitions, publications and events in the public schools.

    Poets House

    Founded in 1985 by the late U.S. poet laureate Stanley Kunitz and arts administrator Elizabeth Kray, Poets House is a 50,000-volume poetry library and meeting place that is free and open to the public.

    St. Paul’s Chapel

    An Episcopal church, St. Paul's Chapel was built in 1766 and is the oldest continuously used building in New York City. It holds the exhibit "Unwavering Spirit: Hope and Healing at Ground Zero," which chronicles the unique history of St. Paul's and its volunteer ministry in the weeks and months after 9/11. The chapel is also home to free music performances.

    Skyscraper Museum

    Located in the world's foremost vertical metropolis, the museum is dedicated to the study of tall buildings as objects of design, products of technology, sites of construction, investments in real estate, places of work and residence and instances of aesthetic expression.

    Highlights of Lower Manhattan

    Lower Manhattan, the geographic and historic starting point of New York City, is home to national monuments and memorials that reflect the nation's history, as well as scores of contemporary museums, cultural groups, public art works and performing arts centers.

    Statue of Liberty National Monument

    The 300-foot-tall sculpture was designed by the French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi‚ with engineering assistance provided by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, designer of another famous monument. This gift of the French people in 1886 commemorates the spirit of liberty that so defines both America and France.

    Tribute WTC Visitor Center Galleries

    Tribute WTC Visitor Center

    Manhattan

    Ongoing

    Five galleries reveal personal stories and experiences of members of the World Trade Center community who recount the events of February 26, 1993 (when a truck bomb exploded in the WTC parking garage) and September 11, 2001, when two hijacked planes were flown into the two towers.

    Trinity Wall Street

    Trinity Church was designed by Richard Upjohn and completed in 1846. It is a classic example of Gothic Revival architecture. Permanent exhibits in its museum trace church history from the 1600s to the present. Free, weekly chamber and contemporary classical music recitals are performed every Thursday at 1 pm from September to May.

    City Hall

    The 19th-century edifice that is City Hall houses the Mayor's office, the City Council's meeting chambers, the Speaker's office and the rooms seen in the background of mayoral press conferences on TV.