New York City has it all – but as a city dweller there’s one thing you surely miss: nature. Sometimes it may feel like there isn’t a tree in sight. But if you know where to look, New York actually has a lot of green spaces. Here are our picks for the best parks throughout the city – some you know, and some you might not!
No list of the best parks in NYC would be complete without Central Park, New York’s pride and joy. You’ve definitely heard of this one! And despite the crowds – this remains a damn great park for locals and tourists alike. A true classic that never goes out of style.
Move over, Central Park! Your Brooklyn sister park is less crowded, maintains more of it’s naturally landscaped beauty. Also, it was considered by Olmsted (the creator of both parks – and many more) to be his masterpiece. Lose yourself in Brooklyn’s biggest park. When you’ve got the best – you can (almost) forget the rest!
Pelham Bay Park
If you asked most New Yorkers, they would probably say that Central Park is the largest park in our fair city. However, at 2,772 acres and more than 3 times the size of Central Park – this distinction goes to Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx. And what a park it is! You can bike, you can hike – but best of all – you can swim! Here you will find Orchard beach aka the Bronx Riviera! A gorgeous city beach that gets predictably hectic on hot summer days. Despite the crowds, this is a great city beach.
The High Line
Does this belong on a list of the best parks in NYC? This elevated promenade is a great date spot and a lovely place to walk around, but honestly…it gets so crowded with tourists that most of the time it’s best not to bother. Next!
Fort Tryon Park (featuring The Cloisters)
Honestly, this may be the best one on our list. Perched atop one of Manhattan’s highest points, this stunning park offers wonderful views of the Hudson. In fact John D Rockefeller not only bought the park itself, but also the land across the river in New Jersey, just to preserve the view. The park itself is incredible, but the best part lies in the Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum The museum is a combination of a medieval monastery which was reconstructed stone-by-stone on site, and a new construction designed in the medieval style.
6BC Botanical Garden
Like the name suggests, this little oasis sits on 6th Street, between Avenues B and C. A gorgeous little community garden thriving with plants all year round, a pond, and plenty of quiet seating to relax.
The Church of St. Luke in the Fields
In the West Village, you can find this hidden paradise. From the church’s website, their gardens are “more than two-thirds of an acre of walks, lawns, and a fine collection of garden standards, rare hybrids and native American flora. The gardens’ southwest orientation and heat-retaining brick walls create a warm microclimate, allowing a wide variety of flora and fauna to thrive. This green space, with its abundance of berries and flowers, provides a small but important way-station for migrating birds and butterflies during the spring and fall seasons. Over 100 species of birds and 24 types of moths and butterflies have been recorded.”
Tudor City Greens
Just steps above busy 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan there are two well tended gardens that could be considered one of the best kept secrets in NYC. If you happen to be visiting the UN or near this area, take a little detour to relax in these peaceful, gorgeous gardens.
This community volunteer-led garden is named after Bruce Reynolds, an NYPD officer who gave his life on September 11, 2001. Bruce cared for and worked on this garden his entire life, and now it stands as a neighborhood haven for all to enjoy.
Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum
This National Historic Landmark house museum can be found in the northern portion of Pelham Bay Park (see above) in the Bronx. t has one of the nation’s finest Greek Revival interiors, and is the last surviving major mid-19th century country estate house in the Pelham Bay area. What most people don’t know is that its fantastic manicured gardens are open to the public for free!
Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art
If you’re in Staten Island, you can hike to the top of Lighthouse Hill to see one of the country’s largest collections of Himalayan art. The Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art was founded by Jacques Marchais—a woman who wanted to bring a piece of Tibet stateside. One step outside the small art gallery is a terraced garden, decorated with Buddhist prayer flags, that offers one of the best views of New York Bay. The Dalai Lama even paid the spot a visit and said that it reminded him of home.
New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden
Also on Staten Island, within the Snug Harbor Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, this is a beautiful oasis from the city – with moon gates, rocky landscaped features, beautiful pavilions, zigzag paths through a bamboo forest, waterfalls, and a koi pond. It’s based on gardens from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD), and it’s one of only of two authentic outdoor Chinese gardens in the United States. All of the built elements—bridges, columns, beams, tiles, windows, and doors—were fabricated in Suzhou, China.
FDR Four Freedoms Park
Have you ever been to Roosevelt Island? So many New Yorkers overlook this tiny little strip of land between Queens and the east side of Manhattan. Four Freedoms Park sits on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island, and has amazing views of Manhattan. Check out this peaceful oasis of manicured trees and white stone monuments. To get there, take the F train or, even better, take the amazing tram.
If you happen to be in midtown Manhattan on the east side, you might easily miss this little hidden inlet. Located on 51st Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, this pocket-sized park is enough to transport you to another world, complete with a waterfall! During the week you will see workers enjoying their lunch here, but often you can have it all to yourself.
And that’s our list of the best parks in NYC! Did we miss any? If you’re looking to move to any neighborhood in New York City and beyond, look no further than NYC’s top-rated moving company – Stride Movers. We are committed to excellence and customer satisfaction. It would be our pleasure to be the movers on your next relocation. Get a free quote now.