Megabus offers a cheap and direct way to reach lower Manhattan, because it often (but not always; check the schedules posted on http://www.megabus.com) arrives at and departs from Chinatown, a short walk to the Lower East Side. Fares are about $20 each way.
Bowery Hotel (335 Bowery, 212-505-9100, http://www.theboweryhotel.com). Features a meticulously re-created, pseudo-faded Victorian-Edwardian lobby with a showstopping vaulted fireplace. Rooms from $325 a night.
Hotel on Rivington (107 Rivington St., 212-475-2600, http://www.hotelonrivington.com). Thoroughly modern but equally fantastical. Rooms from $250 a night.
'Inoteca (98 Rivington St., 212-614-0473, http://www.inotecanyc.com). Great panini and bruschetta -- and one of New York's best wine lists. Prices $11-$16.
Katz's Delicatessen (205 E. Houston St. 212-254-2246, http://www.katzdeli.com). Locals have been noshing on corned beef and cheesecake here since 1888. Prices $12-$18, cash only.
Lower East Side Tenement Museum (208 Orchard St., 212-982-8420, http://www.tenement.org). Examines the immigrant experience in the garment industry and offers tours of apartments where German Jewish, Italian and Irish families once lived. Admission is $20 for adults.
Eldridge Street Synagogue (12 Eldridge St., 212-219-0888, http://www.eldridgestreet.org). Beautifully restored in 2007, this was the first house of worship built by Eastern European Jews in the United States, opening in 1887. A small museum details its history. Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for ages 5-18.
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