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Chinatown Neighborhood Review - Manhattan Moving Guide

Ruth Shin

Ruth Shin

A complete guide on all things Chinatown in New York City. Find out the latest, the best restaurants, attractions, average rental prices, transportation, schools, and neighborhood safety. Get the low-down on the neighborhood vibe as well as some history.
Editors Rating (3 stars out of 5)
6.4 Overall
Average Rent Prices 7
Public transportation 9
Schools 7
Lifestyle 5
Crime 4

If you're looking for a quiet neighborhood with little street congestion, Chinatown is not your place

Home to the highest concentration of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere, this area of Lower Manhattan is an immersive cultural experience.

The neighborhood borders the Lower East Side to the east, Little Italy to the north, Tribeca to the West and Civic Center to the south.

Residents range from newcomers looking for affordable downtown living to longtime residents who have been there for generations.

Although tourists and vendors pack the busy sidewalks, it has an overall community-driven feel thanks to the longtime residents.

Although the area is dominated by older walk-up buildings, new condo developments have popped up in recent years.

Renting in Chinatown

The majority of Chinatown's real estate consists of walk-ups, though some condos have popped up in recent years near the neighborhood's borders.

The walk-ups are typically located above restaurants and shops and have limited space available.

They are owned by mom and pop landlords, not major developers, so those looking to move to the area will not get the frills and amenities of a luxury building.

Pro Tip:Walk-up apartments located on higher floors tend to rent for a little less than those on lower floors.

The most affordable area to look is between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge, closer to the water.

The costs go up on streets closer to the touristy areas (Delancey St and Mott and Mulberry St)

Median Asking Rent Prices in Chinatown
Studio1 Bedroom2 Bedroom3 Bedroom

Average Rent Price History by Neighborhood

Apartments Available in Chinatown

Public Transportation

Although the narrow streets of Chinatown are great for wandering, there is also a number of public transit options for residents.

Its unique location allows residents to commute to other areas of the city with ease.

Multiple subways lines converge around Canal Street.
The neighborhood is also convenient for Brooklyn-working residents since the Manhattan Bridge connects Chinatown to Downtown Brooklyn.

Subway lines in neighborhood

  • N Q

    BMT Broadway Line

Bus Lines
M15Madison St/Market St
M9E Broadway/Forsyth St
M22Madison St/Market St
M103Bowery/Canal St

Bikes and Bike Safety

There are multiple bike lanes in the Chinatown neighborhood. Many bikers prefer to cruise along the East River, which runs parallel to FDR Drive.

There is a pedestrian walkway and bike path leading to that area. The city has recently installed some bicycle and pedestrian improvements.

There are also two Citibike stations in the neighborhood. They can be found at these two locations:

  1. Division St and Bowery
  2. Forsyth St and Canal St.


There is no shortage of amazing noodle shops in this neighborhood.

Famous spots in Chinatown include Joe's Shanghai for dumplings, and Dim Sum Go Go for a large selection of dim sum.

Chinatown is not only good for noodles and dim sum. It houses some of the best dessert cafe's and tea houses in the city!

For dessert, try Chinatown Ice Cream Factory for homemade scoops topped with Asian candies!

Sweet Moment serves up some of the funkiest and creatively delicious treats in all of NYC.

Silk Road Cafe serves up some of the best coffees, teas and pastry treats in the area.

If you're a cat lover, head over to Meow Parlour and enjoy a cup of joe with some (adoptable) furry friends.

Attractions and Nightlife

Chinatown is huge on maintaining its core identity and preserving tradition.

For this reason, one of the most popular destinations for residents and tourists is the Museum of Chinese in America.

Most cultural institutions like museums and art galleries are located more toward the Lower East Side.

Mahayana Temple Buddhist Association is NYC's largest Buddhist temple.

If you're looking to have the most exciting (and possibly overwhelming) shopping experience of your life, Canal Street is the street.

They have it all. But get ready to haggle vendors for your favorite knock-off designer purse or accessory.

Nightlife is slow and steady in Chinatown and locals usually head to Little Italy, Soho or Tribeca if they are looking for a dancing venue or trendy hangout.

Locals do however frequent 169 Bar if they are looking for a cheap $3 beer or relaxed vibes with DJ who spin new wave.

Public and Charter Schools

The schools in Chinatown are part of District #2.

The few public schools in this neighborhood are above average and many of them cater to non-English speaking students.

Local Schools
Ps 124 Yung WingPublic - PK-5 - 809 studentsFamily-oriented, gifted program, hard-working PTA, high achieving, strong literacy instruction
Ms 131Public - 6-8 - 417 studentsFocus on wiriting, class discussion and debates. Program in English for new immigrants; dual language Mandarin classes
Pace High SchoolPublic - 9-12 - 478 studentsKnown for class discussions and projects, students may take classes at Pace University
Emma Lazarus High SchoolPublic - 9-12 - 248 studentsoffers small classes and a challenging college-prep classes for new immigrants

How Safe is the Chinatown Neighborhood?

Crime statistics

Crime rate: 7 out of 10
Approximately 26.8223 crimes (felony) per 1000 residents
Low Medium High