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6 Best Outdoor Things To Do in New York

June 14, 2024 By CityPASS

New York City is known for its impressive skyline and cultural institutions, but it also offers a plethora of outdoor activities that cater to nature enthusiasts and urban adventurers alike. Whether you're soaking up panoramic views from towering skyscrapers, exploring historic islands, or enjoying a leisurely cruise around Manhattan, the city provides the perfect backdrop for experiencing the great outdoors.

Are There A Lot of Outdoor Attractions To Visit in New York?

New York City is rich with outdoor attractions, each offering a unique way to engage with the city's diverse environments. Beyond the expected urban settings, the city surprises with its array of open-air venues, from riverfront activities to expansive public parks. Each area of New York — from Manhattan to the more distant boroughs — presents opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, whether you're looking for leisurely walks, engaging tours, or just a place to observe the city.

These attractions let you experience the vibrancy of New York while engaging with nature and history, showcasing the city's ability to blend its metropolitan charm with accessible, enjoyable outdoor spaces.

6 Must-Do Outdoor Activities When Visiting New York

Exploring New York's outdoors is a thrilling adventure, unfolding across iconic landmarks and hidden gems. From towering observation decks to verdant, sprawling parks, you don't want to miss these six activities.

1. Enjoy Spectacular Views at The Edge at Hudson Yards

Perched on the 100th floor of 30 Hudson Yards, The Edge offers an unparalleled viewing experience. As the highest outdoor sky deck in the western hemisphere, it extends into the sky, providing visitors with jaw-dropping panoramic views of New York City's skyline, rivers, and beyond. The outdoor staircase, glass floor, and glass walls add to the thrill, making every angle another discovery. The Edge is not just about views. It's an architectural marvel offering a unique perspective on the city — literally hanging over the edge.

2. Take a Ferry to Liberty and Ellis Island

A journey to Liberty and Ellis Islands is a profound tribute to New York's rich history of immigration and its enduring symbols of freedom. The ferry ride starts with stunning vistas of the New York Harbor, presenting an exceptional opportunity to photograph the city's evolving skyline. Upon reaching Liberty Island, you'll find the Statue of Liberty as a monumental welcome. You can explore the grounds, visit the museum, and ascend to the crown for a closer look at this iconic figure.

Nearby, Ellis Island opens its doors to the fascinating tales of millions who passed through as they sought new beginnings in America. The island's museum showcases many artifacts and interactive exhibits, offering a deep dive into the personal stories that shaped the nation.

3. Go on a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise

Taking a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise is an ideal way to see New York from a different viewpoint. Suitable for all ages, these cruises offer a relaxed yet informative way to view the city's major landmarks along the Hudson and East Rivers. During the cruise, guides share stories and facts about New York's history and architecture, making stops or slow passes by iconic sights like the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Whether you choose a full island cruise or a shorter trip, each offers a unique perspective of the city's impressive skyline and the bustling activity along the riverbanks.

4. Head Over to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck

The Top of the Rock Observation Deck provides stunning, unobstructed views of New York City from the heart of Rockefeller Center. This attraction offers three viewing decks, each presenting a 360-degree panorama of the skyline, including views of the Empire State Building and expansive vistas stretching to Central Park. The decks are spacious, allowing for leisurely viewing without feeling rushed. It's a popular spot for day and night visits, offering distinct city scenes, from the bustling day to the illuminated night.

5. Immerse Yourself in Times Square

Times Square is more than just a busy intersection in New York. It's known for its bright, flashing billboards and constant foot traffic, offering a lively atmosphere that's quintessentially New York. You can see famous theaters, shop in flagship stores, and enjoy street performances.

Times Square is also home to annual events like the New Year's Eve ball drop, drawing crowds worldwide. Exploring Times Square provides a pulse on the city's dynamic rhythm and a chance to engage with its commercial and artistic facets, day or night.

6. Stroll Through New York's Most Beautiful Public Parks

New York's public parks are essential escapes within the city, offering spacious green areas for relaxation and recreation. The most iconic is Central Park, featuring winding paths, serene lakes, and open meadows, perfect for picnics or casual walks. Brooklyn's Prospect Park offers a similar refuge with fewer crowds, boasting extensive sports facilities and natural areas. Smaller parks like Bryant Park and Washington Square Park provide charming settings for observing city life and enjoying impromptu performances. Each park offers its own unique landscape and activities, making them must-visit destinations when you're looking to unwind and take a break from the urban environment.

When Is the Best Time To Explore New York's Outdoors?

The best time to explore the outdoors in New York is spring (April to June) and fall (September to early November). These seasons offer mild temperatures and minimal rainfall, making them ideal for enjoying the city's parks, cruises, and walking tours. Spring brings blooming flowers and vibrant greenery, while fall features crisp air and colorful foliage, perfect for outdoor activities.

Start Your Outdoor Adventure in New York With CityPASS® Tickets

Embark on your New York outdoor adventure with New York CityPASS® tickets. They offer a convenient way to experience some of New York's top attractions and outdoor activities at significant savings. With CityPASS® tickets, you can access premier destinations like the Statue of Liberty, Top of the Rock, and more. Simplify your travel plans and maximize your experience today.

New York City Lodging

To get the most out of your stay in New York City, we recommend finding lodging near New York City's top attractions. Use this map to find the right lodging for you:

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