When most tourists think of Chinatown in New York City, they think of either restaurants or classic movie scenes. But it might surprise you to know that this historic area of the city is home to several fascinating cultural attractions — and here are three of the most popular.
1. Museum of Chinese in America
Founded in 1980, the Museum of Chinese in America is dedicated to the thousands of people who uprooted their life in China for a new start in the United States. Located on Centre Street, the museum is home to a range of exhibits and artifacts. But this hugely popular attraction is also about celebrating the very best of Chinese culture.
Keep checking the website for live demonstrations, plays and interactive events — all of which immerse you in Chinese culture. Try to visit at the weekend or late in the early afternoon if you don’t like crowds, as large school parties visit the museum on a regular basis. And don’t miss “With a Single Step: Stories in the Making of America.” This stunning exhibit features art and photography that charts the history of Chinese immigrants looking for the American Dream.
2. TRAMPS and Michael Werner Gallery
If you’re a fan of modern art, Chinatown in New York is home to one of the most groundbreaking art installations in the world. TRAMPS and Michael Werner Gallery on East Broadway was originally designed as an indoor market — complete with glass-walled market booths. But each booth has been dedicated to the work of a particular artist.
The works on display are constantly changing, so check the website before you visit. You can touch many of the exhibits, but the place can get a little busy early in the day. If you want time alone to enjoy this tactile art experience, plan a visit between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm.
3. Mahayana Buddhist Temple
Stepping inside the Mahayana Buddhist Temple is like being instantly transported to a temple in Tibet. The stunning vestibule is awash with art and Buddhist symbolism. There’s also a very strong smell of incense, which seems to make the entire experience more spiritual.
Red and gold statues can be found in every corner, but the main attraction is the breathtaking gold statue of Buddha. Be sure to sit by the incredible structure for a few moments of contemplation. And don’t forget to grab your fortune from the bin.
While Chinatown is a great place for food, it also has its fair share of cultural attractions, making it perfect for a full day of exploration and discovery.