New York City may be known for its towering skyscrapers and bustling city streets, but it’s also home to a plethora of outdoor activities for nature lovers. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy the great outdoors in the city that never sleeps. In this article, we’ll explore 27 of the best locations for outdoor activities in New York City for nature lovers.
1. Central Park
Central Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers in New York City. The park covers over 840 acres and features an array of hiking trails, lakes, and gardens. Be sure to check out the Central Park Conservatory Garden for its stunning display of flowers and the Central Park Zoo to see exotic animals.
2. Brooklyn Botanic Garden
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a 52-acre garden that features over 18,000 kinds of plants from around the world. Take a stroll through the Japanese Garden, Cherry Esplanade, and the Shakespeare Garden for a peaceful retreat from the city.
3. Prospect Park
Prospect Park is a sprawling 585-acre park in Brooklyn that features hiking trails, bike paths, a lake, and a zoo. The park also has designated areas for barbecuing, picnicking, and fishing.
4. The High Line
The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long elevated park built on an old railroad track. The park features beautiful gardens, art installations, and stunning views of the city skyline.
5. Roosevelt Island
Roosevelt Island is a small island in the East River that’s accessible by tram. The island features beautiful gardens, hiking trails, and stunning views of the city.
6. Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is a 9,155-acre wildlife refuge that’s home to over 330 species of birds. Visitors can hike, bike, or kayak through the refuge and see a variety of wildlife.
7. Governor’s Island
Governor’s Island is a small island located in New York Harbor that’s accessible by ferry. The island features biking trails, a mini-golf course, and stunning views of the Statue of Liberty.
8. Hudson River Park
Hudson River Park is a 550-acre park that runs along the Hudson River. The park features several piers with activities like kayaking, sailing, and fishing. Visitors can also enjoy the park’s green spaces, bike paths, and running trails.
9. Inwood Hill Park
Inwood Hill Park is a 196-acre park in northern Manhattan that’s home to hiking trails, baseball fields, and a nature center. The park is also home to the last remaining natural forest in Manhattan.
10. Pelham Bay Park
Pelham Bay Park is the largest park in New York City, covering over 2,700 acres. The park features hiking trails, a golf course, a beach, and a historic mansion.
11. Van Cortlandt Park
Van Cortlandt Park is a 1,146-acre park in the Bronx that’s home to hiking trails, horseback riding trails, and a golf course. The park is also home to the Van Cortlandt House Museum, which is open for tours.
12. Rockaway Beach
Rockaway Beach is a popular beach destination in Queens that’s accessible by subway. The beach features several miles of sand and surf, and visitors can enjoy surfing, swimming, and beach volleyball.
13. Coney Island
Coney Island is a famous beach destination in Brooklyn that’s known for its amusement park, boardwalk, and hot dogs. Visitors can ride roller coasters, play carnival games, and take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean.
14. Wave Hill
Wave Hill is a public garden and cultural center in the Bronx that features beautiful gardens, a greenhouse, and stunning views of the Hudson River and Palisades. The garden also hosts art exhibitions, concerts, and workshops throughout the year.
15. Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the world, covering over 265 acres and featuring over 8,000 animals. Visitors can see animals from all over the world, including tigers, lions, gorillas, and bears.
16. New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Garden is a 250-acre garden that features over one million living plants. Visitors can explore the garden’s various collections, including the native plant garden, the rock garden, and the rose garden.
17. Green-Wood Cemetery
Green-Wood Cemetery is a historic cemetery in Brooklyn that’s home to over 560,000 graves. Visitors can take a walking tour of the cemetery and see the graves of famous New Yorkers like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Leonard Bernstein, and Boss Tweed.
18. Alley Pond Park
Alley Pond Park is a 655-acre park in Queens that’s home to hiking trails, a nature center, and a pond. Visitors can also see the park’s famous tulip tree, which is over 350 years old.
19. Fort Tryon Park
Fort Tryon Park is a 67-acre park in northern Manhattan that’s home to hiking trails, gardens, and the Cloisters Museum. The park also features stunning views of the Hudson River and the George Washington Bridge.
20. Randall’s Island Park
Randall’s Island Park is a 480-acre park located in the East River that’s accessible by bridge. The park features hiking trails, sports fields, and stunning views of the city skyline.
21. The Battery Conservancy
The Battery Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that works to maintain and improve the Battery, a 25-acre park located at the southern tip of Manhattan. Volunteers can participate in a range of outdoor gardening activities, including planting and maintaining the park’s many gardens and public spaces
22. The Brooklyn Greenway
The Brooklyn Greenway is a 26-mile trail that runs along the Brooklyn waterfront, offering a scenic route for walking, jogging, and biking. Visitors can explore the many community gardens and public green spaces along the trail, or volunteer to help maintain them.
23. The High Line Gardens
The High Line Gardens is a series of landscaped gardens located along the High Line, a 1.45-mile elevated park that runs along the west side of Manhattan. Visitors can stroll through the gardens, which are home to a variety of plant species and public art installations.
24. Battery Urban Farm
The Battery Urban Farm is a one-acre organic farm located in Lower Manhattan that’s home to a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Visitors can participate in seasonal events and workshops, or volunteer to help with the farm’s day-to-day operations.
25. New York Restoration Project
The New York Restoration Project is a nonprofit organization that works to improve and maintain green spaces throughout New York City. Volunteers can participate in a range of outdoor gardening activities, including planting trees, cleaning up parks, and maintaining community gardens
26. Queens Botanical Garden
The Queens Botanical Garden is a 39-acre botanical garden located in Flushing, Queens that’s home to over 5,000 plant species. Visitors can participate in guided tours, attend workshops and classes, or volunteer in the garden’s many programs.
27. Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm
The Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm is a 2.5-acre rooftop farm located in Brooklyn that’s home to over 50 varieties of organic vegetables and herbs. Visitors can participate in hands-on workshops and classes, or volunteer to help with the farm’s day-to-day operations.
New York City may be a concrete jungle, but there are plenty of opportunities for nature lovers to engage in outdoor gardening activities. From Central Park to Brooklyn botanic garden and community gardens to public green spaces and volunteer programs, there’s no shortage of ways to get your hands dirty and connect with the natural world in the city that never sleeps.