Essex Market Tour

Join us for an exploration of the Essex Market, a centerpiece of the Lower East Side community since 1940. On this 90-minute walking and tasting tour, we will visit with 6-8 vendors, enjoy generous tastings of their delicious food, and learn about the role the market has played in the evolution of their businesses. We will rotate the featured vendors from week to week, but tastings may include rare farmstead cheeses, fresh-baked bagels and breads, locally-roasted coffee, tacos and tamales, hearty soups, and an expert-led tasting of fine olive oils and vinegars. Along the way, we will also explore the past and present of New York City’s public market system, from open-air pushcart markets, to the retail and wholesale network built by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, to markets’ role today providing quality food to communities and creating opportunities for food entrepreneurs to launch and grow new businesses. We will also look at the historical and contemporary intersections with street vending and the city’s food distribution systems, as we explore the market’s new home on the south side of Delancey Street. 

Tour Info & Highlights


      Explore this historic market’s updated facility in the heart of the Lower East Side
      Taste 5-6 delicious offerings while meeting vendors and hearing their stories
      Learn about New York City’s public market system and food distribution networks
        SUN 12pm // 1.5 hours
      Walking & Tasting tour
      Lower East Side, Manhattan

Health & Safety Guidelines

These guidelines were updated on April 4, 2022, so please read them carefully and contact us if you have any questions.

Our top priority is ensuring the health and safety of our guests, our staff, and the general public. Please review these guidelines before booking your tour, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Masks must be worn indoors at all times by all visitors, regardless of age or vaccination status.

PROOF OF VACCINATION REQUIRED FOR SOME TOURS: Proof of a full course of a COVID-19 vaccination is required for all participants age 5 or older on select tours (two doses for all vaccines except the one-dose Johnson & Johnson; booster is not required).

These rules apply to all Brooklyn Army Terminal Tours, Brooklyn Navy Yard Tours, and Public Market Tours, as all or part of these tours take place indoors, and frequently visit business premises. Proof of vaccination is NOT currently required for any participants on Food Cart Tours or Prospect Park Tours.

In order to participate in these tours, you must bring a photo ID (if 18 or older) and one of the following, which will be checked at the beginning of the tour:

  • A photo or hard copy of your CDC vaccination card
  • NYC COVID Safe App Apple / Android
  • New York State Excelsior App (available only to people who have been vaccinated in New York State) Apple / Android
  • Official vaccine record
  • A photo or hard copy of an official vaccination record of an accepted vaccine administered outside the United States for one of the following vaccines: AstraZeneca-Oxford, COVAXIN, Novavax, Sinopharm-BIBP, or Sinovac.

While on food tours, participants can remove their masks while eating and drinking, but are asked to please maintain a six-foot distance from people who are not in their immediate pod or group.

Please make note of these other guidelines for all of our tours.

  • Everyone must bring a mask: Please bring a mask that fully covers your nose and mouth, as circumstances may arise in which a mask is required. Please note that many of our staff live in households with small children that cannot currently be vaccinated, so they may request that you wear your mask, even when outside.
  • Maintain social distancing: In order to ensure everyone’s safety and comfort, we ask that everyone stay at least 6 feet apart from people who are not in their immediate pod or group.
  • If you are feeling unwell either before or during your tour experience, please remove yourself from the tour and let us know so that we can refund your ticket or reschedule you to a future date.
  • We’re committed to working together to create a healthy and safe experience for our team and visitors, and our professionally-trained guides will be there to support you. Turnstile Tours’ staff have received training on compliance with new health and safety protocols, will have hand sanitizer on their person, and will be wearing their masks at all times during the tour and when interacting with the public.  
  • We have a zero-tolerance policy for individuals who endanger staff, visitors, and partners by refusing to abide by these rules, or who engage in verbal or physical harassment, displays discriminatory or threatening behavior, or otherwise interferes with the experience of others. Tour participants who violate these policies may be asked to leave the tour without a refund.
  • Turnstile Tours may collect and retain the names and contact information of all tour attendees in the event that contact tracing efforts are necessary, and this information may be shared with public health authorities.
  • Even if you have received a vaccine, you must abide by all of these rules.
  • As in any public setting, we cannot guarantee that you will not be exposed to COVID-19. By taking a tour with Turnstile Tours and going outside, you voluntarily assume such risks.

Admission

Public Tours

  • General Admission: $75 per person
  • Seniors (ages 65+): $67.50
  • Students (full-time with ID): $67.50
  • Children (ages 5-12): $37.50
  • Children under 5 are welcome to attend free
  • Advance ticket purchase is required

Private tours are available seven days a week, depending on availability. Pricing for private tours is based on a minimum occupancy of six guests, and a gratuity of 8.5% is added to all private tour bookings.

Directions

Tours take place at the Essex Market, located at 88 Essex Street at the corner of Delancey Street in the Lower East Side. The market is located on the first floor of a large tower called Essex Crossing. Click here for Google Maps directions or view our neighborhood map.

  • SUBWAY: The nearest subway station is Delancey St-Essex St (F,J,M,Z), which is NOT a wheelchair-accessible station. The nearest accessible station is Bleeker St (6) / Broadway-Lafayette (B,D,F,M), approximately 1 mile away. View our map for walking directions from this station, and visit mta.info for maps and service alerts.
  • BUS: The M9, M14A, and B39 stop at the Essex Market. All NYC buses are wheelchair accessible, and all accept OMNY with a contactless bank card or smartphone. If traveling by bus, be sure to allow plenty of extra time for your trip, as weekend schedules can be unreliable (visit mta.info for maps and service alerts).
  • DRIVING & PARKING: The Essex Market is accessible via the Williamsburg Bridge and the FDR Drive (Houston St exit). There is a municipal parking garage on Essex Street just north of Delancey Street; in fact, it is the last remaining city-owned parking garage in Manhattan, and parking rates are exceedingly reasonable ($8 for the first hour, $3 for each additional hour). Street parking is extremely difficult in the Lower East Side.
  • BICYCLE: There are bicycle racks on Essex Street and many Citi Bike stations in the neighborhood. 

Menu

This tour includes 5–6 generous tastings from different market vendors. Tastings will change from week to week, but dishes frequently featured on this tour include olive oils, farmstead cheeses and charcuterie, tacos, empanadas, rice balls, fresh-baked breads and pastries, and meatballs.

We strive to accommodate most dietary restrictions and requests, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets, as well as allergies and food sensitivities. When making your booking, please be sure to indicate these so that we can make appropriate arrangements. Our team will strive to accommodate you as best we can, but we cannot guarantee all dietary accommodations. If you have any questions regarding the menu, please contact us directly.

Private Tours

Private tours are available seven days a week, depending on availability. Pricing for private tours is based on a minimum occupancy of six guests, and a gratuity of 8.5% is added to all private tour bookings.

Please contact us for more details on booking a private Essex Market Tour, or visit our Group Tours page.

About Essex Market

Founded in 1940, the Essex Market has been a landmark of the Lower East Side since 1940. In 2019, the market opened a new chapter in its history by moving into a new facility on the south side of Delancey Street. Now home to over 40 vendors selling groceries, fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, cheese, and other specialty food items, as well as prepared foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the market is a beloved destination for visitors to New York as well as neighborhood shoppers. Essex Market is also part of a network of public markets operated by the City of New York to provide quality food to communities across the city and support food entrepreneurship.