lower manhattan tourist scavenger hunt

Lower Manhattan 3-hour self-guided walking tour and scavenger hunt

Are you planning a visit to New York City? Our Tourist Scavenger Hunt in the financial district, or Lower Manhattan, will take you from Battery Park to City Hall via Ground Zero and the New York Stock Exchange of course!

You will have to solve challenges at every step to discover your next destination. At each step, you will learn a little history as well as interesting facts about what surrounds you.

The financial district is also known as Lower Manhattan and Downtown New York. It encompasses the southern tip of Manhattan Island. This is where City Hall and many civic organizations are based. Lower Manhattan’s population is relatively small, at 61,000 in 2018.




Scavenger Hunt information :

  • New York City Hall
  • World Trade Center
  • Trinity Church
  • 9/11 Tribute Museum
  • Battery Park
  • Governors Island
  • Statue of Liberty
  • Ellis Island
  • Castle Clinton
  • Wall Street
  • New York Stock Exchange
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • And much more!

We have visited New York a few times since our first visit in 2005 including this course specifically.

  • Starting point: outside the Bowling Green Subway Station, 24 Broadway, New York, NY 10004, USA
  • Distance: 5.1 km / 3.2 mi
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Method: walking
  • Required: Fully charged smartphone with internet access (data plan) – Wifi will not be enough.
  • Suggested:
    • Water bottle
    • Local map

Ancient History

The first nations that inhabited the area we know as New York were the Lenape who spoke Algonquin.

The Dutch were the first Europeans to settle in Manhattan. In 1626 they set up a trading post here on the southern tip of the island and called it New Amsterdam. The first fort was built where Battery Park is today, to defend the fledgling colony. It was named Fort Amsterdam. The Dutch imported African slaves as labor to build the fort and other defenses.

New Amsterdam was incorporated as a city on February 2, 1653.

In 1664, the United Kingdom conquered the area and renamed the city New York, in honor of the Duke of York. The African population already accounted for 20% of New York in those early years. The growth of the city was gradual until 1775 when the American patriots started a revolution against Great Britain.

The Americans gained their independence from the United Kingdom in 1783. The first Congress met in New York, in Federal Hall on Wall Street, to write articles of confederation.

New York became the first capital of the United States between 1789 and 1790. The first Supreme Court sat here, and the United States Bill of Rights was written here too.

Recent History

During its first 300 years, Lower Manhattan (the financial district) dominated the economic life of New York. However, this changed in the 1920s with the reconstruction of Grand Central Station into a terminal. This triggered a capitalist revolution in Midtown.

In the early 1900s, a construction boom saw the first skyscrapers built here: 40 Wall Street, Woolworth Building, 20 Exchange Place. The first underground train (subway) began in 1904, connecting neighborhoods and municipalities.

Lower Manhattan had a small boom in the 1950s, but it declined over the next decade. The development of the World Trade Center, which opened in 1974, was an important driver for revitalizing this neighborhood. The 917,000 m3 (1.2 million cubic yards) of excavated material served to extend Battery Park south by 210 meters (700 feet).

Since 1995, over 15 million square feet of office space has been converted into housing and hotels. This has greatly helped in increasing the neighborhood’s population from 14,000 to 60,000 in 20 years.

Tragedy. On September 11, 2001, the twin towers of the World Trade Center come crashing down after being struck by hijacked planes. Their destruction caused enormous damage to the surrounding buildings and several were subsequently demolished.

It took 10 years before the neighborhood regained its economic strength and joie de vivre. But in 2012, Hurricane Sandy ravaged the waterfront and Lower Manhattan with flooding.

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