If you still think the Financial District is just the stock exchange and jockeying for bar space with bankers, then it's time to give Lower Manhattan another look.
Your best chance to see what else the area has to offer is coming on Tuesday, June 21, when the annual Night at the Museums means free admission to 16 area museums and historic landmarks from 4-8 p.m.
Given the current political climate around the world, it's a good time to reflect on the dangerous consequences of radicalism at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, which honors the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust. For those looking to learn more about the neighborhood, the South Street Seaport Museum just reopened with an exhibit on mid-18th century New York and how the port helped shape the city.
While you can simply walk into most of the museums, some like the National September 11 Memorial Museum require advance reservations.
Many of the institutions will also have special tours and events during the evening — we've found five you can't miss.
Get to know old and new Chinese traditions
The China Institute just moved downtown in September 2015 after almost 90 years on the Upper East Side, ready to impress visitors with its new space. Chinese culture comes alive with the Stephanie Chou Trio playing their mix of jazz-tinged classical and Chinese music, calligraphy demonstrations, treats from Chinatown Ice Cream Factory and the opening of its inaugural exhibit, “Art in a Time of Chaos.” 100 Washington St.
Alexander Hamilton comes downtown
Because tickets to “Hamilton” were impossible to get even before it won 11 Tony Awards, find the next best thing at the National Archives of New York, where you can watch Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson debates the founding principles of our nation at 5:30 and 7 p.m. Meanwhile, down at Hamilton’s favored pub Fraunces Tavern Museum, browse its eight galleries of Revolutionary War-era history while listening to colonial music by balladeer Linda Russell and period dancing by the Tricorne Dance Ensemble. 1 Bowling Green; 54 Pearl St.
Music in the streets
While strolling between museums, you'll likely hear a lot more music than usual. Make Music New York, now in its 10th year, brings bands and soloists playing every kind of instrument — and some things you didn't even know could make music — to 1,200 spots all over the city. This year, their usual June 21 date coincides with Night at the Museums, so plan some diversions into your night by checking out their map of artists.
The future of tall buildings
Learn about everything to do with the towers that make up New York City’s distinctive skyline at the Skyscraper Museum. But the future of building tall is happening in Asia, and founding director Carol Willis will personally lead a 5 p.m. tour of the museum’s new exhibit, “Garden City | Mega City,” about the tropical towers that help cities grow while mitigating the effects of climate change. 39 Battery Place