If you haven’t been to Lower Manhattan lately, you’re missing out. From the revitalization going on at the South Street Seaport to one of the city’s hottest food scenes, there hasn’t been a better time to go downtown in decades.
But there is one night a year that’s the best for seeing it all. On Tuesday, June 20, Night at the Museums opens 15 of the cultural and historical sites in the neighborhood where modern New York began, all for free.
It’s not just free admission, either — head downtown from 4-8 p.m. for live performances at participating museums, free walking tours and other special events. Just pick up a map from any of the participating institutions or download it to get started (nightatthemuseums.com).
For Revolutionary War buffs (old and new), Fraunces Tavern is about as close as you can get to the “room where it happened;” raise a glass in one of the many parlors and casual bars downstairs, then head upstairs to its museum of Colonial-era artifacts for some after-hours fun with free music from the era and a photobooth with period costumes. You can even meet George Washington himself at the Federal Hall National Memorial, where he was sworn in as the first U.S. president, and check out a special map of 18th-century New York City.
Hear live music by Martha Redbone at the National Museum of the American Indian from on the hour from 4-7 p.m., hear from guides’ personal experiences of 9/11 every half-hour at the 9/11 Tribute Museum, or learn a few secrets about the neighborhood when you pre-register for a half-hour jaunt with Lower Manhattan Tours, leaving from 55-57 Wall St. every half-hour from 4-6:30 p.m.
All that running around downtown will eventually make you hungry — luckily, every Tuesday night during summer, many area bars and restaurants offer #GetLow deals like BOGO drinks, free appetizers and discounts up to 20 percent on your meal.