Enjoy the Waterfront
As New York City is centered around the harbor and rivers, and was built on islands, naturally one would expect to find some great places to enjoy some water views and have a good time on the waterfront. We've compiled this list of the best places to go for those water views so that you can have some relaxing time on the waterfront when you just need to escape the hustle of the city.
Staten Island Ferry
The Staten Island Ferry travels between downtown Manhattan and Staten Island. Along the route it offers breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty. The ride is free, and it's particularly nice at sunset when the colors are bright and the setting is stunning.
Statue Of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is an iconic symbol of American freedom, and it's a must-see for all visitors to New York City. The statue was given as a gift to America by France, and it is one of the world's largest statues, standing 152 feet tall from the base to the torch. You can get views of the statue from Battery Park, but the best way to experience it is to take a boat trip to Liberty Island and see it up close. Many tours also stop at Ellis Island where you can explore the Immigration Museum.
NYC, Liberty Island, 07302-4522
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is an American military and maritime history museum. It has an impressive collection of museum ships and they also offer planetarium shows as well as Astronomy Family Nights. The museum is located at Pier 86 at 46th Street, along the Hudson River, in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood on the West Side of Manhattan.
Pier 86, W 46th St, Upper West Side, New York, NY, 10036
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most famous landmarks in New York City. The bridge crosses the East River, connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn. It was completed in 1883 and, with its arches and suspension cables, it was the world's first steel suspension bridge. The bridge offers impressive views of the city and many visitors enjoy biking or walking across the bridge.
NYC, New York, 10038
Fort Tryon Park
Fort Tryon Park, in Hudson Heights, has 67 acres of forest area that overlooks the Hudson River and George Washington Bridge. A certain 3-acre section resembles an English estate garden. Other areas have a unique collection of trees which bloom during various seasons.
63 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort George, NYC, New York, 10040
The High Line
This popular urban walking trail is located high above the city streets on an old rail line. It's a linear public park that has been lined with plants and trees that are particularly beautiful during the spring months. There are also benches and art work that give the trail a fascinating atmosphere. From the park there are impressive views of the city and access is available at various points along the route.
The High Line, NYC, New York, 100014
Hudson River Park
Stretching from Battery Park to 59th Street along the river, this is a nice grassy spot with bike and running trails. You can bike or jog along the waterfront looking at the river and across to the NJ side. You'll also find a playground here as well as some nice picnic spots in the grass.
Battery Park City to 59th St, Manhattan, New York City, NY
Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway
From Greenpoint Park to Sunset Park, this 26-mile route follows greenway paths around and on the East River so you don't have to worry about traffic. The views are also quite nice as you'll see greenery as well as the New York City skyline. It passes by Red Hook and the Bay Ridge neighborhood, too.
Brooklyn, New York City
Riverside Park 91st Street Garden
The curated garden at 91st Street in Riverside Park was made famous from a final scene in You've Got Mail
starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Located right by the water, this small but scenic garden hosts a variety of flowers blooming throughout the warmer months.
Riverside Drive at 91st St, New York, New York, 10024
Manhattan Waterfront Greenway
Around the waterfront of nearly the entire island of Manhattan is a greenway trail for walkers, joggers, and bikers. If you start at Battery Park at the southern end of Manhattan, you can go either way up the east or western side almost entirely up the river. While the bike paths continue to make a full circuit around Manhattan, on the north side around Harlem the greenway paths on the river turn inland and become bike lanes on the streets of the city. However, it's quite a long ride if you wish to stick to the waterfront greenway paths!
Manhattan, New York City, NY
Chelsea Waterslide Playground
Located in Hudson River Park, this colorful playground is fun for all ages! There are water features, fun fish shaped climbing equipment, a sand area, and shaded seating that's perfect for a parent to who needs to rest their legs. After a busy day exploring, everyone will feel refreshed after a stop at this fun playground.
Hudson River Park
Whitney Museum of American Art
This impressive museum relocated in 2015 to the Meatpacking District in Lower Manhattan. It sits at the edge of High Line and has more than 63,000 square feet of space that includes both indoor and outdoor settings. The collection has about 15,000 pieces that represent works from more than 2,000 artists including Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, Edward Hopper, and Georgia O'Keeffe.
99 Gansevoort St., Meatpacking District, New York, NY, 10014
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Sitting on the edge of the water between DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights, this park offers a number of great facilities and recreational activities. There's a bouldering wall, a roller skating rink, a pop-up pool during the summer months, and bocce courts. This is the perfect park to enjoy a run or a bike ride. The park also offers stunning views of the Manhattan skyline as it meanders along the waterfront, with the most spectacular spot being by Jane's Carousel, between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge.
Battery Park is most notable for its beautiful views that look out over the water towards the Statue of Liberty. This is a larger park that can offer a quiet retreat from the chaos of the nearby Financial District. But it also serves as the departure point for the ferries to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, so there can be crowds of tourists in certain areas. Street performers are common in the park as well, but be prepared because watching for too long will likely come with a high price tag.
Head to this island between the months of May and October (it's closed other times of the year). In addition to fountains where kids can play, there's a zip line, rock wall, and even a mini golf course. The national park service also offers educational programming, so it's fun and informative. The island spans 172 acres and it's the perfect place for walking, running, or cycling. There's also a lot of history here. As you arrive on the island, the first thing you'll likely notice is the breathtaking views of the city. Bring your camera and enjoy your day!
New York Harbor
Greenpoint was historically a Polish neighborhood, but today it offers a diverse mix of independent bookshops, eclectic art galleries, and dive bars. This neighborhood also has the McCarren Park, where you can swim, ice skate, or play a game of ball. This area is a bit trickier to get to from a transportation perspective, but it does have a lot of character.
How much does it cost?
Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $27 to $1,000. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $211. A few of the best options are below.
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