New York City as we know it today began as a bustling port—which is why this landmarked downtown district contains some of the city’s oldest architecture. Many mercantile buildings, brick row houses and cobblestone lanes here date to the early 1800s—and have been restored to house upscale boutiques and cafés. The South Street Seaport Museum also maintains a fleet of six historic docked tall ships, which can be toured. One of them, the 1885 schooner Pioneer, takes visitors on daily sails between May and October.
NYC may be one of the busiest, buzziest places in the world, but it's also one of my favorite places for reflection. Wandering the path along the the East River near the South Street Seaport is one of the best ways to spend an afternoon lost in thought.