10 Amazing Outdoor Spaces in NYC

Overheard phone conversations, whooshing subway doors, elevator buttons pinging, honking cars and wailing sirens…as much as these sounds contribute to the character of the world’s beloved New York City, sometimes a bit of peace and quiet becomes a much needed respite. In the concrete jungle, it might feel like a scavenger hunt to find some greenspace, but our insider list will help you uncover the best outdoor spaces for when nature calls.

AdobeStock_74614886.jpeg

1.     Central Park What would be a list for New York City without Central Park? New Yorkers have favorite spots (check out the Ramble, Strawberry Fields, and Turtle Pond), and after spending a few afternoons ambling around the 843 acre oasis, you’ll find your own secret garden in no time. If you’re not sure how to start exploring, check out the event calendar to find an introduction to the park that suits your interests.

2.     The Highline 30 feet above the street winds an abandoned transit line. Since falling into disuse in 1980, it has been transformed into a lush garden walkway that offers exclusive (and Instagrammable) views of the city. Starting at Hudson Yards and running south through Chelsea and the Meatpacking District, the line offers nearly a mile and a half of walkway adjacent to the Hudson River. There are 11 entrances; find one nearest you here.

3.     Riverside Park Along the Hudson lies a narrow park that transforms throughout the day. In the morning, avid runners take in the skyline views and blossoming trees just after the sun rises. As the day draws on, bikers pedal away the heat of the day, families with strollers gather for evening walks, and children and adults alike take advantage of soccer fields and baseball diamonds. There are also three dog runs if you are bringing a furry friend along.

coney-island-beach-990456_1920.jpg

4.     Coney Island Dig your toes into a sandy beach within an hour of leaving your apartment. Not into the beach? Go with a thrill-seeking friend to ride the roller coasters in the amusement park or take a stroll up and down the boardwalk. And whatever you do, don’t head home without an authentic hot dog!

5.     Rooftop Bars If you’re someone who spends most of their day in an office, plan to meet for happy hour while enjoying the weather on one of NYC’s rooftop bars. Be sure to snag some photos of views that’ll make all your friends envious. Here’s a great list of a few spots to start: https://www.timeout.com/newyork/bars/rooftop-bars-in-nyc 

6.     Randall’s Island Pack a picnic and plan to spend the day at this centrally located oasis. The island houses a number of fields, tracks and playgrounds that’ll satisfy anyone’s urges to get outside. Free yoga in the park is offered some evenings, which can be the serene end to the day you’re seeking.

7.     Outdoor Eateries When you’re balancing a busy work schedule and fulfilling personal life, it can be hard to carve out time for enjoying the wilderness. With this list of outdoor dining options, you don’t have to choose! Suggest one of these places for your team’s next work lunch and you’ll all share an experience to talk about for weeks to come.

flower-3060309_1920.jpg

8.     New York Botanical Garden For greenspace in any weather, head to the Bronx to this “iconic living museum, education institution, and renowned plant research and conservation organization.” Visit www.nybg.org for more information, hours, admission and special exhibits.

9.     Green-Wood Cemetery It may sound morbid but hear us out. Once a Revolutionary War Battlefield, this expansive cemetery in Brooklyn is full of history and is the final resting place to some notable figures, including Leonard Bernstein. Guests are welcome to explore on their own with the assistance of their own mobile app or can sign up one of many guided tours. Keep in mind that pets and recreational activities such as biking or jogging are not permitted.

10.  Bowling Green When NYC was called New Amsterdam, this was the first park. Find this petite park with a big history in Downtown Manhattan, just steps away from Wall Street.

For a quick week-day cure to the need for greenery, stop by an indoor plant store to pick a purifying sprout for your desk at work. Or, climb the steps in your apartment building to see if rooftop access is an option. Take a moment to stop and smell the roses and you might just find a new favorite spot in NYC during your outdoor adventures!