20 Best outdoor activities in new york city
When it comes to adventuring through New York City, you can spend time crossing off the typical tourist bucket list. There’s plenty of city sites to see, but part of the beauty of New York City is that you can find little bits of nature right in the city that never sleeps. Here’s a list of the best outdoor activities that you can try next time you visit the Big Apple.
1. Bouldering in Central Park
Believe it or not, Central Park is a fantastic location to take advantage of some opportunities for bouldering! Bring along your chalk bag, crashpad, and climbing shoes, and check out some of the bouldering spots available in this infamous New York park. Rat Rock is the best for beginners, especially since you’ll probably run into more experienced climbers who are willing to give you some pointers. This is a sport that challenges both the body and the mind, so come ready for a full-on workout!
2. Canoeing at Gowanus
Interested in going on a canoeing adventure? Grab a friend and explore the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. The Gowanus Dredgers Boathouse has all of the equipment you need for the excursion, so you don’t have to bring any gear with you. You can choose between a self-guided voyage, which is about 20 minutes long, or you can try a guided sunset cruise in a canoe. Keep in mind that this activity is only available on Saturdays beginning in May and going through October.
3. Bird Watching in Prospect Park
If you want to try bird watching, Prospect Park is a great place to explore on your trip to New York. It is a designated bird conservation area and fantastic spot for bird watching, with over 250 species of birds spotted every year. You can choose to have a guided tour to help you discover the history of the park, or you can explore on your own. If you go during the spring or fall, you might even get to hear some migrating songbirds.
4. Camping in Marine Park
Did you know you can camp in New York City? Marine Park is a wonderful spot for camping, with reasonable rates, bathrooms and showers, and power and water hookups at select sites. The park is right on the river, offering unique views of the city. Grab some friends to join you on your adventure, pack up your tent, and stock your backpack with everything you’ll need for a fun camping experience!
5. Pack a Picnic for the Park
With so many different parks to choose from in New York City, it would be a shame to miss an opportunity to enjoy a meal in the open air. Whether you’re on a solo trip or you’re traveling with a group, this is something you can try whenever the weather is nice. Stop by a grocery store to put together your own feast, or take advantage of some of the local cuisine, and look for a shady spot to enjoy your meal.
6. Explore a Farmer’s Market
You won’t be disappointed with visiting a farmer’s market. New York is brimming with farmer’s markets where you can purchase from small family farms to support the farming community. You never know what unique items and fun new foods you’ll find! Get something tasty to eat and find a spot in the shade to enjoy it.
7. Biking Through New York
Biking in New York City is a great way to enjoy the sights and sounds at a quicker pace while still getting a good workout. There are dozens of places in the city that rent out bikes, making it easy to plan a bike ride into your travels. Ocean Parkway Bike Path is a popular route because you can go from Prospect Park to Coney Island, giving you a grand tour of Brooklyn. The Hudson River Greenway is one of the most popular bike paths along the Manhattan waterfront. Central Park is also a great place to tour on a bike, especially if you can get there early in the morning. If you start riding early in the morning, the weather might be chilly, so wear a jacket that you can easily stow in your pack when the day warms up.
8. Horseback Riding at Prospect Park
Prospect Park has a 3.5-mile long trail for horse travel. Horseback riding gives you a different experience of the park than you would on a bike or on foot. Even if you’re not a seasoned equestrian, the lush trail and the company of gentle giants offers a unique way to adventure through Prospect Park.
9. Kayaking on the Hudson River
The Hudson River is perfect for kayaking. The Hudson River Greenway Water Trail was developed with launches and take-outs every 10 miles along the shore, offering scenic beauty away from the city. This spot is perfect for all skill levels, whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or you’re just getting started.
10. Visit the Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Garden is a must-visit location for anyone looking for incredible views in a peaceful setting. Located in the Bronx, the 250-acre garden is full of lush foliage and elegant structures. You can spend hours experiencing the beauty of the New York Botanical Garden. The garden is open year-round in all weather conditions, with seasonal exhibitions and events in addition to the permanent gardens.
11. Running at Central Park Reservoir
Check out the Central Park Reservoir if you want to go on a quick run. This loop trail is one of the most popular running locations in the world and is just over 1.5 miles. You’ll get to enjoy the surrounding views of the city while you pound the pavement. Looking to get a more in-depth workout? Run the trail multiple times until you’ve reached your goal.
12. Sail Around New York
It seems only appropriate to consider sailing in New York since settlers from Europe first entered the city via the New York Harbor. Book a private sailing trip and revel in the beauty of the city from the sea. Escape the bustle of the city to explore the New York Harbor, enjoying views of New York in addition to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
13. Date Night at Coney Island
Perhaps one of the most iconic locations in New York, Coney Island is known for its beach and bustling amusement park. Stroll Coney Island and enjoy the street performers or circus sideshow, perhaps while enjoying an ice cream cone. You could even take a spin on the rollercoaster or ferris wheel.
14. Have a Lazy Beach Day
While a beach day may not be the first thing to come to mind when considering your itinerary for New York City, scheduling a lazy beach day could be the perfect way to slow things down a bit. While Coney Island is the most famous beach in New York, try Brighton Beach. It’s a little quieter and is more attractive to locals. Known as “Little Odessa,” you’ll find restaurants and stores with an Eastern European flare.
15. Kite Flying on the Central Park North Lawn
Pay a visit to Central Park and bring along a kite! The North Lawn is a fantastic spot for kite flying, but kite flying is allowed anywhere in Central Park where there are large, open fields. This activity helps you get outside, get a little exercise, and it’s really fun! You can find kites at most of the toy stores around the city.
16. Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is an iconic landmark in the city, with incredible views that you shouldn’t miss. There’s a dedicated pedestrian footpath on the bridge, allowing safe travel for those on foot. The bridge is about a mile long and takes about an hour to walk if you stop to take pictures and enjoy the view. Wearn a good pair of walking shoes!
17. Take a Dip in the Pool
There are outdoor pools available across all of the Boroughs of New York City during the summer months—a great way to cool off on stifling summer days. Check the guidelines and rules for the public pools to plan ahead for your day at the pool.
18. Take an Outdoor Fitness Class
During the summer, you can find free outdoor fitness classes to help you stay fit. From yoga to Pilates, Zumba, and even aerobics, you can find anything to make fitness fun and enjoy one of the many parks. If you don’t want to take a class, download an app and try some yoga on your own.
19. Go Ziplining
Looking to get your adrenaline pumping? You can go ziplining in New York City, but you have to know where to go. The Bronx Zoo has a pair of ziplines about 400 feet long and about 50 feet above the Bronx River—a great option if you’re already spending a day at the zoo. Adventures at Governors Island also a 300-foot zipline with views of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.
20. Roller Skating at the Park
Enjoy the lush parks of New York City at a faster pace—on roller skates! Zip through the park (being mindful of pedestrians) and travel around to view the scenery. Because there are so many paved walkways, skating is an awesome way to enjoy the outdoors in New York City.