Last Updated on November 30, 2022 by Editor
WHY GO: A trip to Downtown NYC is an emotional journey, especially if you haven’t been here since before 9-11-01.
While some iconic buildings remain (the Winter Garden, Trinity Church), everything you thought you knew about lower Manhattan is history. The whole landscape has been so transformed as to be unrecognizable.
Once the new World Trade (Freedom) Tower was built – it set off a building boom in lower Manhattan. New life, both commercially and residentially, is still being breathed into this area of New York day by day.
This Getaway includes the affecting 9/11 Memorial, the serenity of the Hudson River Esplanade, and one extraordinarily cool hotel that ties it all together.
For information on another romantic NYC getaway, stay at the ModernHaus in SoHo, another must-see Manhattan neighborhood.
Things to Do in Downtown NYC
VISIT: National 9-11 Memorial
Nothing will ever come close to the shock, terror, and anguish of that cloudless September morning. And nothing will ever assuage the agony of those who lost loved ones that day.
These waterfall pools, framed with the names of the victims, merely offer a place to contemplate, remember, and pay respects to the families and friends whose lives were changed in an instant.
The National September 11 Memorial Museum opened in the summer of 2014. Twisted steel beams, rubbled stairways, and other artifacts from the buildings, as well as rescuer paraphernalia, and oral histories of witnesses and survivors will no doubt jolt you back in time.
SEE: World Trade Center Oculus
The multi-billion dollar World Trade Center Oculus designed by starchitect Santiago Calatrava to look like a dove taking wing is a must-see in downtown Manhattan.
Be sure to go inside to see New Yorkers and visitors bustling around the large concourse. During the holiday season, you can also shop for cool gifts at pop-up kiosks – a great last-minute option if you’re heading out of town on a train to visit friends and family.
Five miles from 59th St. to the Battery downtown this beautiful riverfront walkway brings you past marinas, piers, sports complexes (Chelsea Piers), south.
This section of the city by the outer edges of the World Trade Center is replete with commuter ferry docks and within a Sandy Koufax throw of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
If you so desire, stroll to the Battery Park Ferry Terminal and jump on a boat to the Lady of the Harbor.
Restaurants in Downtown NYC
This being New York City, there’s a good restaurant on every block. Pressed for time and $$? Grab a burger and incredible fries at Shake Shack. Craving some of the best BBQ (albeit upscale) this side of Ole Muddy? Try Danny Meyer’s Blue Smoke in the Battery.
The prices are not as sky-high as the view at ONE Dine, the restaurant bar at the top of the Freedom Tower (One World Trade).
Hotels in Downtown NYC
The Conrad Hotel, New York City
There are several qualities that make a hotel great, and the Conrad Hotel NYC– a Hilton brand – has all of them. First, aesthetics: the Conrad is a Modern-Art knockout.
Second, service: hotel staff seem to be hired with the kind of proud, friendly and I’d go so far as to say sweet personalities that can’t be taught.
Finally, location. In the shadow of the new World Trade Center and a scant block from the Hudson River within view of the Statue of Liberty, the Conrad is surrounded by poignancy and beauty. It’s no surprise that connoisseurs of high-end hotels rave about this place.
Enter on street level. As you ascend the elevator to reception, what strikes you first is the enormous blue and purple work of art by conceptual op-art genius, Sol LeWitt.
Titled Loopy Doopy, this 100×80 foot installation looms a full ten stories high over the atrium lobby. It’s just one of over 2,000 works of art by contemporary favorites like Stella, Flavin, Koons, Schnabel and others sprinkled throughout The Conrad’s 463 guest rooms and common areas.
At night, the soaring atrium is awash in rotating shades that begin barely there and deepen as minutes pass. Red then blue then purple then green, renders the Jetson’s-era lobby of curvy couches and orb lamps a fantasia of color.
“I was told this is a cool place,” said one awed visitor from the Midwest. “But they didn’t tell me how cool.”
Conrad Hotel NYC Guest Rooms
All-suite modern-furnished rooms hush in harmonious earth tones: wooden louvered shades and built-ins, granite grey drapes, sand-hued travertine floors and shower, and backlit mirrors.
Ask for a river view. Center yourself while watching barges and boat traffic slip by Jersey City skyscrapers.
Things To Do At Conrad Hotel NYC
Pre or post dinner, browse through Accents. This lobby store is a little SoHo indie, a little Madison Ave boutique and unlike any other hotel gift shop you’ve seen before.
You won’t find any foam fingers here. But you will discover plenty of offbeat, upscale NY souvenirs, clothing, and craft jewelry.
In season, hit the hot rooftop bar, Loopy Doopy (named after the LeWitt installation in the lobby). It serves up its own specialty, Prosecco & Ice Pops with a – take your pick – Lime Margarita, Pina Colada, Appletini or Morello Cherry popsicle plunked right into the bubbly.
It’s the perfect summertime accompaniment to Statue of Liberty and Hudson River views.
If it’s raining or cold or you’re just not into hanging outside with a drink in hand, here’s one of New York City’s hidden secrets – one which I really hesitate to reveal here only because locals don’t want anyone else to know.
An 11-screen multiplex cinema is a mere escalator ride up from the Conrad Hotel lobby. Yes, the “never crowded” Regal Battery Park Stadium 11, (the go-to theater for New Yorkers who hate standing in line uptown), can be accessed from this very hotel.
More Romantic Getaways In New York City
- Central Park South: The New York City of the Movies
- Get The Best Broadway Show Tickets For Less
- Madison Avenue: A More Intimate Designer Shopping Experience Off 5th
- ModernHaus SoHo NY: Knockout Views
- See the Real Stephan and Other Opportunities in Midtown Manhattan
- NH Collection Hotel, Grand Central Station, and Morgan Library