El Barrio carries a unique history that is still evident today. From the moment you arrive, you’re surrounded by its colors, rhythms and intense cultural richness. The neighborhood spans from East 96th street to East 125th street, from Fifth Avenue to the East River.

As early as the 1800s, it was home to Native Americans and later African American farmers and German and Irish immigrants. The area was predominantly Italian until after World War II, when a Puerto Rican immigrant wave arrived, transforming it into El Barrio – Spanish for “neighborhood” – also known as Spanish Harlem.

Today, the neighborhood remains primarily Latino, with a host of immigrants from Mexico, Korea, Dominican Republic, Haiti, China, Central America, and South America. This cultural diversity is reflected everywhere you turn through a multitude of endless local-community cultural centers and gardens reflect the neighborhood’s cultural diversity. Street art and murals depicting the past and present make for an eye-catching, never-ending walking tour.


Use these activity cards to tour El Barrio, a vibrant neighborhood full of gardens, public artworks, and cultural institutions.For the Graffiti Hall of Fame, click here.

For Spirit of East Harlem, click here.

For Julia de Burgos, click here.

For the Pedro Pietri Mural, click here.

For the Modesto Flores Garden, click here.

For El Museo del Barrio, click here.


This program consists of a sensory-rich walking tour of El Barrio, which allows visitors to take in the sights and sounds of the neighborhood. Stops include local businesses, murals, community gardens, and cultural institutions.  Around the Block Tours are available from late April through late September.
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Listen to El Barrio locals and New York City legends reflect on their experiences on various must see historical destinations in El Barrio.

Graffiti Hall Of Fame > narrated by Lee Quiñones.

Spirit of East Harlem > narrated by Manny Vega.

Julia De Burgos > narrated by Melissa Mark Viverito.

Pedro Pietri > narrated by Papoleto Melendez.

Modesto Flores Garden > narrated by Carmen Vasquez.

La Marqueta > narrated by Olga Quiñones.

El Museo del Barrio > narrated by Victor Cruz.


El Barrio has plenty of options for the adventurous foodies! Be sure to check out these local spots next time you visit El Museo.

Camaradas (Puerto Rican) at 2241 1st Ave (at 115th Street) – If you’re in the mood for live music and a chill vibe, head over to Camaradas. Our favorite is El Jibaro, a pork or chicken sandwich nestled between two large pieces of green plantain!

El Paso (Mexican) at 1643 Lexington Avenue (at 103th Street) – With its origins in El Barrio, El Paso has become a local staple for lovers of Mexican food. For those who enjoy a cocktail, we recommend the Tamarind margarita with fresh tamarind and chile!

La Fonda (Puerto Rican) at 169 E 106th Street (at Third Avenue) – A local favorite, ‘La Fonda,’ has been offering home-style Puerto Rican cooking for over 25 years in El Barrio. Be sure to ask for the Pernil (Roast Pork)!