This is where New York started, so it's drenched in history and memories. There's great food and shopping in these neighborhoods, reflecting past waves of immigration.
Delmonico's Steak House ($$$)
56 Beaver Street (at South William Street)
Wall Street station (2 or 3 train)
Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain ate here. The cooking staff has changed, but do you need more of an endorsement to entice you here? Since 1837, Delmonico's has satisfied Americans with a solid menu of steaks and seafood. Make arrangements to have the kids served from the bar menu or share portions. This is not a public policy, but Delmonico's always tries to make families happy. Don't miss the decadent dessert menu.
Fraunces Tavern ($$$)
54 Pearl Street (at Broad Street)
Whitehall Street-South Ferry station (R or W train)
This is a must-see New York attraction and dining experience. Eat in the Revolutionary War tavern where George Washington celebrated victory over the British. This is a good place to go for classic staples you won't find at many of the fancier restaurants. There's a great selection of salads, sandwiches, and entrées during the day — don't miss the clam chowder and duck sausage. There's also a great prix fixe lunch.
Fraunces Tavern's changing exhibits tell the story of this landmark tavern that was once the war room of the revolution and the head-quarters of General George Washington.
There is no children's menu and no half portions, but you can share. You'll find a museum on the premises where you can look at Revolutionary War artifacts. Classical guitar music is featured every Wednesday night.
Pier 17, South Street Seaport (at Fulton Street and the East River)
Fulton Street-Broadway-Nassau Street station (A, C, J, M, Z, 2, 3, 4, or 5 train)
At Sequoia, you'll enjoy spectacular views of historic ships, the East River, and the skyline in a nautical setting reminiscent of a classic steamer. The tantalizingly complete menu is heavy on the seafood but also has just about everything else you might crave for lunch or dinner. There's terrace dining during warmer months. A children's menu is offered seasonally, but there are always plenty of kid-friendly items, and sharing is encouraged.
World Financial Center ($-$$$)
West Street (between Liberty and Vesey streets)
World Trade Center station (E train); Cortlandt Street station (R or W train); Rector Street station (1 train)
Near the World Trade Center site, you might stop by the World Financial Center, a beautifully designed complex of four towers containing offices, shops, restaurants, and public gardens with great views of the Hudson River. The financial center includes everything from fine dining at the Grill Room to snack food and drinks at national chains.
Here are the places to eat at the WFC:
Au Bon Pain French bakery/café
Au Mandarin French Chinese
Ciao Bella Gelato
Devon & Blakely
Elixir Juice Bar
The Grill Room
Johnney's Fish Grill
The World Financial Center is a site in itself, but it's also a convenient point to break for lunch when you explore the nearby landmarks.