'Escape New York' - 12 Fun Outdoor Activities In NYC
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To celebrate all things outdoors Marriott International have put together this helpful infographic which examines New York's finest open-air experiences. Not entirely sure how to take full advantage of the second half of summer? Check out the flowchart below and see where you wind up. You could find yourself discovering Asian treasures on Staten Island, horseback riding in the Bronx, or soaking up Hawaiian vibes in heart of Brooklyn.
If our Big Bus Tour of New York happens to have a stop close to any of these gems then we'll point them out. This popular sightseeing service operates a fleet of open-top buses, perfect for basking in the sun while discovering incredible landmarks. For more details on each attraction scroll to the bottom of the infographic.
Escape New York - Without Leaving The City
New York is often called "the city that never sleeps", and it's an appropriate nickname given the seemingly endless list of things you can see and do here. However, if you're feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the bustle of the city, and feel like taking some time out – or maybe just want to get outdoors and enjoy some of the nice weather during your stay in New York – there are plenty of locations where you can find some peace and serenity. From well-known attractions to beloved hidden gems, here are the top places to feel like you've escaped New York – without leaving the city:
This small, lush park in Midtown Manhattan is a welcome pocket of green in one of New York's densest urban areas. Shaded by leafy trees and filled with sweet-smelling blooms, Greenacre Park also boasts a 25-foot-tall waterfall whose rushing waters create a soothing noise to drown out nearby traffic. It's a restful place to escape the city for a few minutes (or hours) and unwind in nature.
Friend of a Farmer
Cosy and unpretentious, Friend of a Farmer brings the rustic comfort of upstate New York into the heart of Manhattan. Specialising in homestyle comfort food with an elegant urban twist, this friendly restaurant, café and bakery is ideal for savouring great food with friends. Sit by the working fireplaces in cooler weather, or enjoy the outdoor seating when the sun comes out. Close to Big Bus Stop 6 (Downtown Loop).
The High Line
First opened in 2009, this elevated public park allows visitors to (literally) rise above the hubbub of the city below. Formerly a disused railway line, the High Line now provides over a mile of walkway with fantastic views, plus flowers, trees, artwork and more. Enjoy a peaceful stroll, or join one of the many events organised by the Friends of the High Line – everything from stargazing and tai chi, to kids' activities and guided tours. Next to Big Bus Stop 14 (Downtown Loop).
Eagle Street Rooftop Farm
New York may not seem like an obvious place for farming, but the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm proves you don't have to leave the city to indulge your green thumb. Spread over 6,000 square feet of rooftop above a warehouse in Brooklyn, this organic garden grows a variety of vegetables both for local restaurants and its own produce market. With a range of volunteer and educational programmes, plus open days for the public, this is a great place to get your hands dirty.
Inwood Hill Park
Set on the northern tip of the island of Manhattan, Inwood Hill Park is a delightfully untouched green space where you can catch a glimpse of the landscape as it must have appeared in ancient times. Filled with steep, forested valleys, craggy ridges and caves alongside the Hudson River, the park feels surprisingly secluded and remote – perfect for hikers and cyclists who want to get away from it all.
Little Red Lighthouse
Tucked beneath the George Washington Bridge, the Little Red Lighthouse is a rarity in New York. Designed in 1880 to guide shipping traffic on the Hudson River, the lighthouse was eventually overshadowed by the bridge and decommissioned – but after being featured in a much-loved children's book, it gained a flood of public support that led to its restoration as a key feature in Fort Washington Park. Today it's a quiet, uncrowded place to meander and recall the area's seafaring heritage.
Pelham Bay Park
As the largest public green space in New York City, Pelham Bay Park offers plenty of space to roam. Escape the crowds by heading out along the miles of hiking trails and bridle paths, many of which skirt the shoreline along Long Island Sound or carry you onto nearby Twin and Hunter Islands.
If you like the idea of saddling up and imagining yourself on the open range, the Bronx Equestrian Centre is situated on the edge of the park and offers trail rides through peaceful woods and marshland, with quiet horses available for all levels of ability. Or head to Orchard Beach, a spacious expanse of sand with designated "quiet areas" where swimming and other activities are not allowed.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Enjoy the soothing effects of nature at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, home to 52 acres of exquisite flowers, trees and shrubs, with everything from roses, orchids, magnolias and lilacs, to spectacular flowering cherry trees, fields of bluebells and exotic conservatory plants. Plus, the garden is right next door to Prospect Park, so you can grab a snack from the Farmer's Market if you're visiting on a Saturday morning. Next to Big Bus Main Stop (Brooklyn Loop).
Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art
Nestled on a Staten Island hillside, the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art is a world apart; enter its gates and find yourself transported to a peaceful Himalayan monastery. Admire the Tibetan sculpture, furniture and ritual objects in the museum, or take some time out to meditate or catch a tai chi class in the gardens. It's a bit of a trek to get here, but rest assured that the journey is well worth the serenity you'll find.
Set in 28 acres of landscaped grounds along the Hudson River, the historic mansion at Wave Hill dates from 1843 and hosts various cultural and environmental programmes. Because parties, ball games and other noisy activities are not allowed, the fragrant gardens are an ideal getaway for those in search of blissful quiet. Wander the meandering pathways and pause to rest on a shady bench or beside the goldfish pond, all while imagining yourself in an elegant bygone age.
Brooklyn Surf Bar
With sand-covered floors, painted board walls and plenty of cheerful, surf-inspired artwork, the Brooklyn Surf Bar will transport you to the sunny beaches of California and beyond. Bury your toes in the sand as you chow down on a range of fresh seafood dishes, each with an international twist inspired by a different global surf destination, or sip a colourful cocktail or festive Hawaiian Tiki drink for a true taste of the tropics in New York.
Adirondack Sunset Sail
Step aboard the Schooner Adirondack and embark on a romantic sunset sail around the harbour, savouring the peace of the open water. This handsome 80-foot sailing ship is built in the elegant vintage style of the 1890s, complete with gleaming teak decks and mahogany fittings. Enjoy complimentary drinks and the crew's entertaining stories as you admire the city skyline from the water – the perfect way to unwind at the end of a busy day. Next to Big Bus Stop 14 (Downtown Loop).