Check out the best things to do in NYC’s boroughs, from Brooklyn to the Bronx
Always fascinating and always changing, New York City is home to nearly 9 million residents and host to seven times that many visitors every year. With more world-class attractions, restaurants, shops, and parks than you could possibly visit, it’s best to take the Big Apple bite-by-bite. We’ve broken the city down by the best things to do in each of NYC’s five boroughs, from multicultural eats in Queens’ distinctive neighborhoods to cool arts venues and pizza shops in Brooklyn. We’ve also included some hidden gems to entice seasoned travelers and novice New Yorkers alike.
In the city’s most famous borough, you can have your pick of museums, parks, and shops. Browse art spanning 5,000 years at The Met and explore modern works at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum. Go boating or ice-skating in Central Park, and then stroll between skyscrapers on the High Line, a railway turned elevated park. Hit flagship retail stores along Fifth Avenue and shop designer brands in the trendy Hudson Yards luxury mall. Snag a selfie with the beautiful—and climbable—Vessel sculpture while you’re there.
For hip brunch spots and comedy clubs, head to the leafy streets of Greenwich Village, or make your way to the East Village for some of the city’s best new bars and long-time rock venues. Find second-to-none opera and ballet at Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side and keep traveling north for Harlem’s famously atmospheric jazz bars and delicious soul food.
To make the most of your time, fill up a MetroCard and look into attraction bundles like the New York Pass, which gives you access to more than 100 things to see and do, including the Empire State Building, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and Hop-on Hop-off bus tours.
Off the beaten path: For the cost of a subway ride, the Roosevelt Island Tramway offers panoramic views of the city as you glide from the Upper East Side to Roosevelt Island in the East River.
Start by crossing the 19th-century Brooklyn Bridge, lined with pedestrian and cycling paths. You can refuel with coal-fired pizza at Juliana’s in DUMBO, located just under the bridge, or order a wood-fired pie at Roberta’s in Bushwick. Brooklyn also boasts major cultural institutions like the huge Brooklyn Museum, with its range of classic and contemporary artworks.
Off the beaten path: Once the site of a Revolutionary War battle, Green-Wood Cemetery has tree-lined paths, ponds, and gardens, and is the resting place of famous New Yorkers like artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and composer Leonard Bernstein.
This diverse borough ranges from towering apartment complexes and dense urban living to sprawling suburban residences. It’s also a foodie’s delight. Northern Thai restaurants mix with empanada spots in Elmhurst, and Astoria hosts everything from Greek tavernas to Brazilian buffets. After strolling through Flushing’s bustling Chinatown, pop by Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the site of two World’s Fairs, and home to the New York Hall Of Science museum and the Queens Zoo.
Off the beaten path: Head to the Queens Museum to see the “Panorama of the City of New York” exhibit, a scale model of the entire city built for the 1964 World’s Fair.
Traveling with your kids? Ride the subway north of Manhattan to the sprawling Bronx Zoo, home to more than 700 species and fun rides like the “Bug Carousel.” Next door, the New York Botanical Garden features diverse plant life, including a Victorian conservatory with tropical plants, cacti, and palms. Sports fans should, of course, head to Yankee Stadium, where visitors can take a tour of the ballpark year-round.
Off the beaten path: Close out a Bronx visit with dinner at a classic Italian restaurant along Arthur Avenue, the heart of the area’s Little Italy neighborhood.
One of the best free attractions in any of NYC’s boroughs, the Staten Island Ferry offers picture-perfect views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island on a 25-minute ride to Staten Island. From the St. George Ferry Terminal, sign into your rideshare app or hail a taxi for the 10-minute drive to the Snug Harbor Cultural Center. Formerly a home for retired sailors, the center now contains attractions like a traditional Chinese garden, a local history museum, and a children’s museum.
Off the beaten path: Cheer on the Staten Island Yankees, the borough’s minor league baseball team, at a park with panoramas of the Lower Manhattan skyline.
Planning your trip to New York City? Check out our area hotels and get ready to start exploring.
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