62 Bayard Street / Williamsburg
MOFAD appeals to chefs and novice cooks, food obsessives and people who simply love to eat. Exhibitions touch on culinary history and the future of food and, unlike most museums, MOFAD encourages visitors to touch, taste and sniff. At Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant, a fortune cookie machine churns out the iconic treat and, of course, tastings are included.
While you’re in the neighborhood: Located just steps away, McCarren Park is always bustling, especially in the summertime, when free movies and music take over the green space, and eager sun-seekers lie out at the pool.
103 Orchard Street / Lower East Side
Walk in the shoes of the immigrants who helped make the city so vibrant. Founded in 1988, the Tenement Museum preserves two period buildings that housed 15,000 people over the 19th and 20th centuries. Visitors take guided tours through seven apartments once home to Italian, Irish and Jewish immigrant families. You can even meet the residents themselves — and a landlord — played by costumed interpreters. Consider it a little bit experiential, a little bit theatrical and a lot inspiring.
While you’re in the neighborhood: For a taste of immigrant fare that made New York famous, grab a booth at Russ & Daughters Cafe (127 Orchard Street), a proper sit down deli from the family behind the eponymous century-old Jewish appetizing shop on Houston Street.