The 20 Best Outdoor Activities in New York City

By: ROS Team

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New York has an abundance of art, culture, food, and activities to enjoy. These activities can be enjoyed both in the comfort of your home or outside in the open air. People have increasingly turned to more outdoor activities. As such, they have begun to research more parks, festivals, and outdoor museums.

If you love the great outdoors and are looking for new outdoor activities NYC, you’ve come to the right place.

Best Outdoor Activities In NYC

1. Central Park NYC

Central Park might not be the largest in NYC, but it is certainly the most adorable park in the city. More than 38 million people visit the park annually, which covers nearly 51 blocks, or a total area of 843 acres,  in the middle of Manhattan.

There are several sites of attraction in the park, such as the Central Park Zoo, Sheep Meadow, the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, and the Ramble and Lake.

Central Park is not like any other park you’d find on the next block–it’s an iconic park that represents NYC as much as the Statue of Liberty. Visiting it is a must if given the opportunity to be in NYC.

Relax in Central Park

2. The Vessel

NYC is the poster city of modern civilization. What the rest of the world imagines, New Yorkers already have implemented. They are always ahead of the curve.

The project was initiated as part of the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project in Manhattan, the big honeycomb-like structure in the master plan. The structure is known as the Vessel, and it rises 16 stories. There are 2,500 individual steps to climb that take visitors to its 80 stages. The top of the vessel provides a rare view of the city and is definitely worth the muscles you use to get there.

3. Memorial Museum

You would be remiss if you came all the way to NYC and didn’t pay a visit to the National September 11th Memorial & Museum. The museum and memorial were built to honor the victims who lost their lives in the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001.

Both the museum and memorial are located at the site of the World Trade Center. A non-profit organization runs the museum and raises funds to operate the attraction. Visiting the site is a great way to pay tribute to the innocent souls who lost their lives in the most tragic way.

Read Also: Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Visit the Museum of Natural History
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4. Catch a Ferry to the Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is the universal symbol of the USA and is the pride of NYC. Tourists across the globe come to NYC just to pay a visit to this historic and glorifying image of the U.S.

There are several options for reaching the statue. If you want to visit it for free, you can take the Staten Island Ferry; the ferry’s terminal is located next to Battery Park. The ferry is free and open to the public; it runs every half hour.

5. Get the Best Pizza

NYC is not all about places; it’s also about the food. You may travel the world, but to get the best pizza, you have to come to NYC. In NYC, you can get a fresh pizza by the slice from any number of pizza shops.

Some of the most delicious pizza shops in town are Rose & Joe’s Italian Bakery, Di Fara Pizza, and Roberta’s Pizza to name a few.  Download the app to find the pizza shop nearest to you.

6. Time Square

Times Square is not a location–it’s a vibe. Go, and you’ll see that you’ve never gotten the same feeling anywhere else on earth. It is not merely located at the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue, but it’s also where the NYC economy and entertainment intersect.

Time Square has been coined as the “Center of the Universe” by some and the “Heart of the World” by others.  As one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world, with around 50 million visitors annually, it’s definitely a spot in NYC you don’t want to miss.

7. A Bike Ride

It’s one thing to visit tourist spots, but riding through the city is quite another. It’s not only convenient, but it’s also a lot of fun. There are separate bike lanes in the city. The city’s fully paved roads and lack of traffic allow bike riders to travel freely throughout the city without feeling intimidated by surrounding vehicles. Don’t have a bike? No worries–you can always find one at one of the many rental bike racks in the city.

Bike Ride

8. Long Island City Views

NYC is big, bold, and beautiful. While breathing NYC’s air, take the time to enjoy the city’s skyline with the East River in the background from Hunter’s Point, South Park, or Gantry Plaza State Park.  The views from these spots add their own level of charm to the city.

9. Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge was the first permanent bridge on the East River connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn. It was designed by a German-born civil engineer named John A. Roebling and constructed in 1870.

Walking over the Manhattan Bridge is the most soothing experience. The bridge is always full of people, especially tourists. One interesting activity on the bridge is to take a selfie while catching iconic views in the background, which will have you feeling alive, sensational, confident, and on top of the world at the same time.

Brooklyn Bridge

10. Flushing Meadow Park

Flushing Meadow Park is located at the intersection of Union Turnpike on the south, Flushing Bay on the north, Grand Central Parkway on the west, and I-678 on the east.

Here’s a fun fact: some fictional locations in the 2013 film adaptation of  F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby” was inspired by the picturesque beauty of Flushing Meadow Park. If you haven’t seen the film, go watch it this weekend. And that’s not all–many artists, both past and present, have been inspired by the beauty of Flushing Meadow Park.

You will definitely be in the midst of natural beauty–a day spent in the park would be a day well spent.

11. Go Kayaking

Consider going river kayaking at one of the city’s community boathouses, including the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse and the Downtown Boathouse. Many of these locations (Pier 26) provide free rentals and lessons, making it an excellent free outdoor activity in NYC if you have some spare time.


12. Visit Lincoln Center

Lincoln Center is a 16-acre building complex on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in the Lincoln Square neighborhood. It has thirty indoor and outdoor facilities and receives 5 million visitors annually. The building has an amazing outdoor area with plenty of seating, walking promenades, and a stunning central fountain, making it a fantastic outdoor activity in NYC.

13. Head Towards NYC Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Garden is another great place to give your mind and body a soothing place to relax. The Garden was founded in 1891, and it is distinguished by the beauty of its landscape, collections, and gardens.

Other botanical gardens in NYC include Brooklyn Botanical Garden, 6BC Botanical Garden, Queens Botanical Garden, and Narrows Botanical Garden.

14. Pay A Visit to Roosevelt Island

If you’re looking for outdoor activities in Manhattan, Roosevelt Island is one of the top sites to check out. It is an island in New York City’s East River that is part of the Manhattan borough. Roosevelt Island is located between Manhattan Island to the west and the Long Island borough of Queens to the east.

If you are on that island, don’t forget to visit Four Freedoms Park, The Roosevelt Island Tram, and Blackwell Island Lighthouse.

Roosevelt Island

15. Walk Through The High Line

Since its re-opening, the High Line has become one of the best outdoor activities NYC. The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park, greenway, and rail trail built on a former New York Central Railroad spur on Manhattan’s west side.

So, what are you waiting for? Take a leisurely stroll down this long strip, and enjoy the street art and local performers.

16. Play Golf

New York City is a haven for golfers. Many beautiful courses are located throughout the city, including the world-renowned Pebble Beach Golf Club in Montauk. In addition to the city’s many public and private courses, there are several virtual golfing experiences available in New York, such as the virtual golfing experience created by Skycaddie GPS. Whether you prefer to play on a traditional course or take your game online, there is a golf outing for you in New York.

Play Golf

17. Coney Island

If you are a nature-lover and also fond of cycle riding, then cycling to Coney Island via the Ocean Parkway bike path should be your top summer outdoor activity. The path is completely separated from traffic and lined with trees, making for a relaxing urban bike ride.

18. Surf At Rockaway Beach

Want to swim, sunbathe, or skateboard? Look no further than Rockaway Beach. This 5.5-mile boardwalk is one of the best free outdoor activities in NYC, which will keep you refreshed throughout the summer.

Surf At Rockaway Beach

19. Enjoy Views From Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is a 102-story skyscraper in New York City’s Midtown Manhattan. Add this building to your list and learn about the rich history and unique design of NYC. Plus, you can also enjoy the scenic views of Manhattan bridges from the rooftop of the Empire State Building.

20. Spend a Day At The Battery

The Battery, formerly known as Battery Park, is a 25-acre public park on Manhattan’s southern tip and ranks last in the list of our best outdoor activities in New York. Visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from the park.

Spend a Day At The Battery

An Exciting Adventure In NYC

There are hundreds of different activities that you can enjoy while visiting NYC. NYC is one of the largest cities in the USA, therefore boasting even more outdoor activities. Use this list as the beginning of your outdoor bucket list while living or visiting NYC, you surely will not be disappointed.

Read Also:

Indoor Things to Do in NYC
Fun Things to Do in NYC