Provided by: Julienne Schaer/NYC & Company, Inc.
Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens

Find an array of beautiful botanical gardens across New York City. Take in the small, lovely Queens Botanical Garden in Flushing, where visitors can follow a walkway that winds through unique floral gardens. On Staten Island, at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, visit the popular Chinese Scholar’s Garden, where the landscaping is inspired by Taoist, Confucian and Buddhist poetry. In the Bronx, the New York Botanical Garden is a can’t-miss stop for its stunning and expansive flora – the narrated tram tour is a great way to see it all. Try to schedule a spring visit to the historic Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which is absolutely glorious during Sakura Matsuri, the annual cherry blossom festival.
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City Parks

City Parks

A picnic in one of New York City’s parks is practically a rite of passage for all New Yorkers. When the weather is nice, head to the Great Lawn in Central Park. Dotted with sunbathers, picnickers and families, this iconic green space is Manhattan’s own version of the great outdoors, complete with a backdrop of gleaming skyscrapers. Farther downtown on a scenic stretch of elevated railway, the High Line in Manhattan is a popular pedestrian park with casual cafes and fantastic views of the city. Over in Brooklyn, plan for an afternoon barbecue at Prospect Park, visiting the zoo and the Audubon Center while you’re there.
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Bridge Crossing

Bridge Crossing

Walk the city’s unique collection of bridges for a different perspective. Make sure you have plenty of storage on your camera for a stroll across the famous Brooklyn Bridge – this is a great spot for picture-taking. Cars and trucks rumble underneath while pedestrians can take gorgeous photos of the cityscape and the East River below. Crossing from Manhattan into Brooklyn, you can easily spend several hours exploring Brooklyn Bridge Park’s playgrounds, outdoor sports, kayaking, bicycling and a small beach. On a smaller scale, walk across Gapstow Bridge and Bow Bridge in Central Park. Snap some photos, and get inspired by lush views of the park with the city skyline in the background.
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Biking

Biking

Bike-friendly New York City offers many resources for those who want to journey the boroughs on wheels. The Citi Bike program is a convenient and flexible way to get around. Buy a short-term or multi-day pass to explore Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Prospect Park, the Hudson River Greenway or car-free Governors Island. While traveling on your bike, you can take in the views of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk on Staten Island. Pedal the paved trail at the Bronx River Path, or bike to the Rockaways in Queens for a beachside ride and views of the city across the water.
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Running

Running

New York City is also a playground for runners. To start, scenic Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, New York City’s third-largest park, is awesome for jogging on the wooded trails or track. The trails are especially pretty when the leaves change color in the fall season. Running aficionados can join other runners on the soft-surface Reservoir Loop in Central Park, a 2.5-kilometer trail with great skyline views. Discover a hidden treasure in Roosevelt Island situated between Manhattan and Queens. Take the aerial tram over the East River to access this off-the-beaten-path locale. As you jog the paved trails, keep an eye out for several fascinating landmarks, including the Gothic-revival North Point Lighthouse at the northern tip of the island.
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Ice Skating

Ice Skating

When the weather gets chilly, the outdoor rink at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan is likely New York City’s best-known skating spot. The rink is open October through April and is a must-do activity if you’re visiting during the colder months. Also in Manhattan, both Lasker Rink and Wollman Rink in Central Park offer rentals and lessons in the winter season. The LeFrak Center at Lakeside Prospect Park in Brooklyn has two skating rinks that also host ice hockey, broom ball and other winter ice activities.
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Kayaking

Kayaking

New York City is surrounded by water, offering plenty of places for paddlers to explore. From Staten Island’s South Beach, Kayak Staten Island offers free, 15-minute kayaking sessions for beginners. Once you get the hang of it, you can rent your own and set out from multiple launch points on the island’s eastern shore. Another great paddling location is the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse, where you can reserve a free kayak for 20 minutes on the weekends from June through August. Be sure to have a camera ready to capture outstanding views of the city and the Brooklyn Bridge. Long Island City Community Boathouse in Queens also provides free, 20-minute slots for walk-up kayaking and canoeing on Hallets Cove.
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