Bowling Green

Financial District & Lower Manhattan

New York’s oldest public park is purportedly the spot where Dutch settler Peter Minuit paid Native Americans the equivalent of $24 to purchase Manhattan Island. At its northern edge stands Arturo Di Modica's 7000lb bronze Charging Bull, placed here permanently after it mysteriously appeared in front of the New York Stock Exchange in 1989, two years after a market crash.

Attention and controversy returned to the park in 2017, when a financial firm installed Kristen Visbal's Fearless Girl, a statue of a young girl with arms akimbo posed as if in defiant opposition to the bull. Some cheered it as a potent symbol of feminism or anticapitalism (the latter a particularly ironic take, considering it was commissioned to advertise an index fund featuring companies with women in leadership positions). Di Modica, however, decried it as a warping and misreading of his artwork and called for Fearless Girl's immediate removal. After much public wrangling and negotiation, she was relocated a few blocks away, directly facing the New York Stock Exchange building.

The small, tree-fringed plot was leased by the people of New York from the English crown beginning in 1733, for the token amount of one peppercorn each. But an angry mob, inspired by George Washington’s nearby reading of the Declaration of Independence, descended upon the site in 1776 and tore down a large statue of King George III; a large fountain now stands in its place.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Financial District & Lower Manhattan attractions

1. National Museum of the American Indian

0.05 MILES

An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, this elegant tribute to Native American culture occupies Cass Gilbert's spectacular 1907 Custom House, one of…

2. Fraunces Tavern Museum

0.16 MILES

Combining five early-18th-century structures, this unique museum/restaurant/bar pays homage to the nation-shaping events of 1783, the momentous year in…

3. New York Stock Exchange

0.18 MILES

Home to the world’s best-known stock exchange (the NYSE), Wall Street is an iconic symbol of US capitalism. Behind the portentous neoclassical facade,…

4. Battery Park

0.19 MILES

Skirting the southern edge of Manhattan, this 12-acre oasis lures with public artworks, meandering walkways and perennial gardens. Its memorials include…

5. Castle Clinton


Built as a fort to defend New York Harbor during the war of 1812, this national monument has played numerous roles, including opera house, entertainment…

6. Trinity Church

0.21 MILES

New York City's tallest building upon consecration in 1846, Trinity Church features a 280ft-high bell tower and a richly colored stained-glass window over…

7. Skyscraper Museum

0.22 MILES

Fans of phallic architecture will appreciate this compact, high-gloss gallery, examining skyscrapers as objects of design, engineering and urban renewal…

8. SeaGlass Carousel

0.22 MILES

Paying homage to the Battery as the site of New York's first aquarium, this luminous, nautilus-shaped carousel lets you glide along sitting inside one of…