OUTDOOR NYC

Stay safe in the urban outdoors.

Also see our guides to museums, pop-ups and adventures beyond NYC in Westchester, Long Island & New Jersey.

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MANHATTAN

Hive

Downtown

Watch rainbow lights dance across hexagonal honeycomb shapes on the ceiling of the Bleecker Street Station in a light installation by Leo Villareal.

Kobra Street Art Gandhi & Mother Teresa Mural

Meatpacking

Humanitarians Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi Brazilian are depicted facing each other in street artist Eduardo Kobra’s colorful harlequin-pattern mural.

Kobra Street Art Albert Einstein

Chelsea

Albert Einstein is a NY-loving graffitist in street artist Eduardo Kobra’s colorful harlequin-pattern mural.

imagiNATIONS Activity Center

Downtown

Solve puzzles, perform experiments, play state-of-the-art computer simulations and find out how corn is like a dog in this interactive, family-friendly space. Explore scientific principles behind Native innovations and technologies that are so ingenious, many remain a part of our daily lives.

See our complete guide to National Museum of the American Indian –…

Conservatory Gardens

Central Park

Enter the magnificent 1894 Vanderbilt Gate to Central Park’s only formal garden, a six-acre oasis within an oasis with European charm.

Climb onto the wisteria pergola in the Italianate Center Garden overlooking a yew hedges-bordered large lawn and 12-foot jet fountain. To the north, the French-style garden offers spectacular seasonal displays of tulips and Korean…

East Village/LES/Noho Street Art

Lower East Side

Look for lots of cool murals around this hip neighborhood, on walls, sliding metal gates and on the sidewalk. Current favorite include:

* I ❤️ NY mural at The Jones NYC (Great Jones Street & Bowery),

* a swing you can sit on among tulips at Bloomeffects (Bowery & Bleecker)

* double-vision Mickey Mouse…

Peace, Love & Happiness

Seaport

Cheerful sculptures by Scott Gerber, artist and founder of Tube Dude have been moved to the edge of the East River, framing dramatic views. Climb inside a giant Heart, Peace Sign and Smiley Face.

First Street Green Art Park

Lower East Side

Nestled between two buildings and lined by interchangeable murals and fence art, this art and cultural park emerged from a derelict building lot and hosts frequent community events. Bring chalk art to add to the colorful vibe.

Freeman Alley

Lower East Side

Look for all sorts of tags & paste-ups at one of the most famous graffiti spots in NYC, a storied alley on the north side of Rivington Street between Bowery and Chrystie Street. The walls of former horse stables turned marble factory turned residences are crammed with images and messages. Find ‘rugged clandestine colonial American…

Ziggy

Seaport

Lounge and climb on rainbow colored inventive seating options on vibrantly colored painted rebar and 27,000 feet of iridescent cord by Hou De Sousa.

Swedish Cottage & Shakespeare Garden

Central Park

The only building in Central Park that was not originally created for the Park, the Swedish Cottage was built in Sweden and came to the United States in 1876 as part of the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition, the first World’s Fair in the U.S. An example of traditional Swedish architecture and wood craftsmanship, it now houses…

Dubuffet Sculpture

Fidi

An office tower plaza features a dynamic Jean Dubuffet sculpture and a peaceful Noguchi rock garden fountain.

WTC Street Murals & Memorial

Fidi

Street artists from around the world vibrantly transformed the streets surrounding 3 World Trade Center with fun, colorful murals, bringing love and joy to a place of mourning.

At the 9/11 Memorial, two 1-acre pools with the largest man-made waterfalls in the United States comprise the footprints of the Twin Towers, symbolizing the loss of…

Moynihan Train Hall

Midtown-30s
 In the new entrance to historic Pennsylvania Station, large-scale, site-specific artworks that reflect broadly on notions of past, present, andfuture. In this renovation of the 1912 James A. Farley Post Office, the distinguished sister building to the sadly destroyed original PenStan Douglas has mined the history of the original Penn Station, giving…

Little Island

Chelsea

Explore nature and art on a unique floating green space on the Hudson River.

* Enjoy diverse horticulture, welcoming seating lawns, winding paths leading to spectacular views, and a variety of spaces for performing arts, relaxation and play. Make music on a variety of percussion installations and play with a spinning optical illusion.

* Restrooms…

High Line

Chelsea

Take a stroll on the unique public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side.

* Lots of nature, art installations & cool design incorporating elements of the original rail line.

* Look for interesting architecture and watch taxis and pedestrians below the 10th Avenue overlook at 17th…

Art Walk at Brookfield Place

Fidi

Look for works ranging from oil on canvas to handmade ceramics throughout the 40-foot palms and glass atrium in this shopping and office complex.

In addition to a permanent collection on view, new artists exhibit their work throughout the year. Right now see vibrant oversized geometric landscapes by artists Jessie and Katey and nine photographs…

The Drama Book Shop

Midtown-40s

A mainstay of the New York theatre scene and a cultural institution for theatrical works is at a new location with new owners (and Hamilton creators) Thomas Kail and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Designed by “Hamilton” scenic designer David Korins and his team, the new store pays homage to twentieth century European cafes and reading rooms with…

Cathedral of St. John the Divine & Peace Fountain

Harlem

The largest Cathedral in the world, built in 1892, is open for visitors  Monday-Friday 9:30 am–3 pm and Saturday–Sunday 9:30 am-5 pm. Timed tickets strongly encouraged.

Explore rotating art exhibitions that span centuries, celebrating the creativity of 17th century weavers to modern painters and everything in between. 48 relief panels on the giant bronze…

DVF x Ashley Longshore Gallery

Meatpacking

See Ashley Longshore’s paintings of inspirational women including Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Jackie Kennedy, Marlene Dietrich, Cleopatra, Oprah, Gloria Steinem, Nina Simone, Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks and Jane Goodall in a photogenic gallery at the Diane von Furstenberg store. Good stop for International Women’s Month.

The New York Public Library’s Treasures

Midtown-40s

See some of the most extraordinary items from the 56 million in the New York Public Library’s collections of the last 125+ years. Encounter manuscripts, artworks, letters, still and moving images, recordings, and more that bring vividly to life voices of the past. Highlight’s include the stuffed inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh and Thomas Jefferson’s handwritten copy…

Zoo on Park Avenue

Midtown-30s

Look for colorful, polygonal shaped animal sculptures by world-renowned artist Idriss B. including Rexor the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Mojo the Gorilla, Baloo the Bear, Manny the Mammoth, and more, on Park Avenue between 34th and 38th Streets.

Horse-Drawn Carriages

Central Park

See Central Park via carriage in a 170+ years tradition. Sit in colorful velvet seats as friendly drives lead informative guided tours. Be sure to meed and pet your horse in colorful feathered tack.

Feel free to bring snacks and beverages. Warm blankets and covers available for iffy weather.

Scheduled online in advance or approach…

Koneko

Lower East Side

Play with roaming (adoptable) cats in three cat-centric spaces: the sunlit Upper Cattery, the warm and cozy Lower Cattery, and a first-of-its-kind outdoor Catio. Food from a Japanese- influenced menu, house-made desserts, plus beer, wine, and sake available for purchase.

Wednesday-Sunday 11 am –  3 pm & 4 pm – 8 pm

Central Park Zoo

Central Park

Visit sea lions, snow monkeys, red pandas, turtles, bears and other animals at the cozy Central Park Zoo.

* Watch crowds of penguins and puffins swim and waddle in the  indoor Polar circle.

* Warm up with colorful birds and playful monkeys in an indoor rain forest.

* Look for snow leopards, cute red pandas,…

SHOWFIELDS

Noho/Nolita

The self-proclaimed “most interesting store in the world” features cool direct to consumer brands pop-ups and rotating interactive art exhibits throughout the 14,000 square foot, three floor space.

Look for a hidden two-story slide behind a book shelf that goes to a rotating art installation and lots of unique products to peruse and sample.

A…

Governors Island

Fidi

Oasis-with-a-view Governors Island is just a short ferry ride away. Lots of room to roam, bike and play on this 172 acre former military post with historic architecture. Look for public artworks plus rotating arts, culture and science programs in and around the historic houses of Nolan Park and Colonels Row.

Relax in Hammock Grove’s…

BROOKLYN/QUEENS

Welling Court Mural Project

Walk though multiple blocks of 100+ murals by artists from around the corner and around the world, providing new arrays of visual experiences that change how people interact with their environment. Mural map available online.

Find more public art at nearby waterfront Socrates Sculpture Park.

Green-Wood

This historic cemetery (founded in 1838) is a lovely place to wander, with 478 spectacular acres of hills, valleys, glacial ponds and paths, plus gorgeous views of the Manhattan skyline and extraordinary 19th- and 20th-century statuary and mausoleums.

* Honor famous permanent residents such as Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed, Charles Ebbets, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louis Comfort…

J.J. Byrne Playground & Old Stone House

Enjoy lots of modern climbing equipment juxtaposed with colonial themes inspired by the adjacent Old Stone House, site of the 1776 Battle of Brooklyn. Explore a submarine periscope and interactive panels depicting the historic battle among natural stone and rustic pavement, then attack your enemies with water cannons.

A gated toddler area features bucket swings,…

Domino Park

Find cool design and amazing bridge/Manhattan views at a large waterfront park on the site of a former Domino Sugar factory.

* The playground, designed by the artist Mark Reigelman, has fun features like spinning valve wheels cast from Domino Sugar originals and a 26-foot-high silo with ladders, webbing and slides pay homage to the…

Brooklyn Bridge Park Playgrounds

This expansive park has great attractions and a gorgeous only-in-NYC view. Explore refurbished piers, most of which host playgrounds (our favorites are at Pier 6 including giant Slide Mountain, Sandbox Village, Swing Valley and the splashy Water Lab). Play in the sand and admire tide pools at Pier 4 Beach (no swimming/wading).

Find a variety of yummy concessions throughout the park and restrooms at Piers 2,5 & 6. 

Gantry Plaza State Park/Hunter’s Point Park South

Visit two Long Island City playgrounds within walking distance of each other set in a large riverside oasis with spectacular Manhattan views.

Lots of places to climb and spin (and splash in the summer) at the playground at Gantry Plaza State Park with a cushioned rainbow floor and groovy design. Stroll along the park’s four…

Jurassic & Triassic Playground

Dino lovers can climb and play on an dino-inspired equipment at two playgrounds on opposite sides of Meadow Lake created to commemorate the Sinclair Oil “Dinoland” exhibit at the 1964-65 World’s Fair. In addition to swings and jungle gymes, find dinosaur footprints and art throughout the playground. Learn about flora and fauna from the Triassic…

Zucker Natural Exploration Area

Strategically placed branches and stumps of trees damaged by storms and other materials from within Prospect Park invite engagement nature and unstructured play in this magical playground. several areas to explore including sand for digging and water features for pumping and splashing.

Industry City Food Hall

From Korean comfort food to an avocado-focused cafe, Industry City hosts a huge range of Brooklyn-based purveyors. BBQ, pizza, bao buns, French pastries, artisanal ice cream, tacos, Mediterranean mezzes – whatever you’re craving you’ll probably find it here. Most of the vendors or in a central Food Hall but other shops can be found…

 Black Atlantic 

Explore art inspired by the diaspora across the ocean that connects Africa with the Americas and Europe, displayed on the shores of a former shipping port. Over the centuries, these transatlantic networks have led to complex hybrid cultures and identities like those of the five artists featured in Black Atlantic.

Each commission suggests a unique…

Socrates Sculpture Park

Explore timely art exhibits in a waterfront park with stunning Manhattan views.

In Maren Hassinger Steel Bodies, steel silhouettes take forms of various iconic vessels drawing types from the ancient Western world, non-Western cultures, and various Craft traditions. Amplified to larger than human height, the public is invited to walk around and among them, experiencing…

Queens Botanical Garden

Explore lovely gardens in a 39-acre oasis in one of New York City’s most bustling and diverse neighborhoods.

Look for site-specific art throughout the garden including a reflective, life-sized kaleidoscope and a beautiful mural ‘Wonder Garden’ outside the Education Building.

Closed Mondays (except holidays).

Queens Zoo

This intimate zoo in Flushing Meadows houses wildlife native to the Americas including more than 4,000 Puerto Rican crested toads, Andean Bear Cubs, American bison and rare breeds of domestic animals including Flemish giant rabbits, Texas longhorn cattle, and Jacob’s four-horned sheep.

See our guide to Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

New York Aquarium

See sharks, rays, sea otters, octopus, jellyfish and more at the oldest continually operating aquarium in the US.

* Take in a sea lion show at the Aquatheater (limited seating), chill out while zebra sharks swim overhead and admire rainbow colored coral exhibits. See sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions, and penguins at outdoor Sea…

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Explore a 52-acre urban botanic garden with a variety of plants and habitats.

*  Don’t miss the lovely Japanese Garden’s pond, home to turtles, carp, ducks and its small Shinto shrine guarded by two stone fox statues (and gorgeous cherry blossoms in the spring).

* Download a kids field journal and see tips…

Lightscape at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Celebrate the beauty of nature in winter on an enchanting trail animated by over one million dazzling lights. Encounter monumental lighted sculptures, colorful effects on Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s trees, architecture, and water features, and site-specific music and sound. Discover dazzling international showstoppers like the Winter Cathedral tunnel, Fire Garden, and Sea of Light, as well…

Art in Dumbo’s First Thursday Art Walk

On the first Thursday of every month, DUMBO’s galleries stay open late for a night of art, openings, artist talks, and live performance. Enjoy incredible views of the East River and the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges while walking from one gallery to the next.

Find more art (and playgrounds) in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Illuminate The Farm

Explore an illuminated world of color on a historic farm. Walk through 6 acres of dazzling holiday lights and handmade lanterns in the shape of flowers, tractors, favorite farm animals. Admire luminescent displays inspired by theme parks and Chinese myths and legends, along with illuminated tunnels, illuminated rideable swings, and more.

For $5, pick a…

Mark Morris Dance Group Holiday Party on the Plaza

Join the Mark Morris Dance Center for a little caroling and holiday cheer. MMDG Music Director, Colin Fowler, will lead the singing and there will be a short performance by the MMDG Student Company inspired by The Hard Nut.

BRONX

Playground for All Children Pelham Bay Park

Pelham Bay Park

This playground is one of several throughout the city aimed at providing a recreation area that all children, able bodied and disabled. Colorful play equipment and handrails that can be reached by children using crutches or wheelchairs, textured pavement and Braille signs to help guide the blind, and swings are accessible to all.

All can explore a fun spray shower, a natural area with accessible boardwalk and activity stations, a shallow pond with wetland plantings, a sensory corner, adjustable basketball hoops, bleachers with shade covers, benches, game tables, picnic tables and more.

Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum

Lower Westchester

The Greek Revival period rooms of this splendid 19th century home close to the bay are currently only open 12 – 3 pm Saturdays & Sundays ($15/adults, $10/seniors & students), but the gorgeous grounds including specular formal, terraced gardens can be explored any day. Situated within a 60-acre New York City Landmark Historic District and is surrounded by a “forever wild” zoned forest. Look for a circa 1840 Carriage House, a Children’s Organic Garden, climbable sculptures, a colonial graveyard, an authentically fabricated Lenape wigwam and lots of nature.

Enjoy outdoor music the first Friday evening of each month and other interesting programming for all ages.

New York Botanical Garden

Bronx

Discover spectacular gardens and collections across 250 acres. Walk the shaded trails of a stunning old-growth forest. Relax near a sparkling natural waterfall in the Bronx River. Stroll along the Native Plant Garden’s breezy promenade and meadow. Check out the lovely Rose Garden, in peak bloom June & October.  Wander through jungles, deserts and other…

Bronx Zoo

Bronx

See tigers, bears, gorillas and over 650 other species of awesome animals at this 265 acres+ zoo. Tons of indoor and outdoor attractions – expect lots of walking, but strollers welcome (and available for rental). The roads are scenic with pretty trees, waterfalls – and some bold peacocks.

Different sections of the zoo correspond to…

Wave Hill

Bronx

Explore 28-acre of gardens and woodlands with more than 4,000 varieties of trees, shrubs, vines, and herbaceous plants and dramatic views of the Hudson River.

* Join nature-inspired outdoor family art projects on Saturday & Sunday mornings.

* Visit indoor rotating nature-inspired multimedia art exhibits in the Glyndor Gallery.

🚙 Wave Hill’s newly renovated…

New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

Bronx

Marvel at model trains zipping through an enchanting display of more than 175 famous New York landmarks—imagine the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Rockefeller Center, and other favorites—each delightfully re-created from natural materials such as pine cones, acorns, and seeds.

* The show itself is in the Haupt Conservatory and climate-controlled, but there is a…

NYBG Glow

Bronx

Explore a glowing world of color and light featuring the Haupt Conservatory as the centerpiece—its iconic exterior a glittering canvas.

* Washes of brilliant colors, thousands of dazzling lights installations fill the Reflecting Pool and enliven surrounding gardens and collections.

* Also enjoy artistic ice sculptures, music, roving dancers, plus more…