NYC Story Idea: Top Outdoor Destinations Across New York City This Spring

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New York City offers a variety of exciting, warm-weather experiences and events in springtime, from strolling the High Line, cheering on the Mets and Yankees baseball home openers, to discovering the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden in Staten Island.

 Gardens & Parks

·         Prospect Park is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, and April 1-2, they will host an opening weekend full of activities—the majority of which are free. On Saturday, enjoy events including a parade and a historic baseball game (circa 1860), and Sunday, a group ‘fun run’ with the Prospect Park Track Club and the first Smorgasburg of the season, a popular outdoor food fair. Furthermore, all weekend long, visitors can enjoy carousel rides and free admission for kids to the Prospect Park Zoo.

The intriguing 585-acre public park is known for its vast green spaces and was designed by the same creators of Manhattan’s Central Park. Additional attractions of the park include the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which will celebrate Hanami¸ a Japanese tradition for cherry-blossom viewing beginning April 1, and The Brooklyn Museum, which just opened a new exhibit, Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern. A part of the museum’s yearlong feminist art movement celebration for the 10th anniversary of its Sackler Center for Feminist Art, visitors will enjoy a retrospective of the famed artist. Find a full guide to The Brooklyn Museum at nycgo.com.

·         Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, on the North Shore of Staten Island, is home to historical buildings and gardens including the Chinese Scholar’s Garden – one of only two authentic scholar’s garden in the United States. Featuring pavilions, a bamboo forest path, rock structures, and a koi-filled pond, this oasis was inspired first-hand by gardens in China. Visit by taking the free Staten Island Ferry from Lower Manhattan and then a short ride on the S40 bus.

·         Head up to the Bronx to take in vistas of the Hudson River at the public garden and cultural center at Wave Hill. Their ongoing concert series continues this spring with music for the whole family, including a Women Composers in the Spotlight concert, Sunday, April 23 at the Wave Hill House.

Remain in the Bronx and travel to the New York Botanical Garden which features more than one million plants across 250 acres. Beginning April 22, a new exhibition, CHIHULY, from world-renowned sculptor Dale Chihuly of 20 colorful installations, will be on display throughout the gardens.

·         In Manhattan, visit one of the most iconic parks in the world, Central Park. This spring, experience the public art exhibit Open House by Los Angeles-based artist Liz Glynn that highlights New York City’s gilded age and private ballrooms of the 20th century in the Doris C. Freedman Plaza at 59th Street and 5th Avenue now through September. Beginning April 1, Sail the Park, the over 140-year-old tradition of racing model sailboats in the park’s Conservatory Water, returns for the warm-weather months for adults and kids alike to enjoy.

·         Visitors in Queens can explore the borough’s largest park and site of two World's Fairs, Flushing-Meadows Corona Park. Home to a 12-story-high, stainless steel representation of planet Earth called the Unisphere, visitors are also a quick walk to some of the best attractions in Queens including the Queens Museum, debuting the latest iteration of  The Large Wall Series: Commissions by Contemporary Women Artists on April 9. On May 12 head to the King Manor Museum to enjoy world-class chamber music with the Five Boroughs Music Festival, now in its 10th year.

Stroll The Five Boroughs

·         Enjoy strolling Manhattan’s bridges – both on the southern and northern tips of the island. In Lower Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge, a pop culture icon, allows one to take in the sights of Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty while walking across this more than 130-year-old marvel.  Meanwhile, in the north end, stroll across the High Bridge – New York City’s oldest standing bridge – that connects the neighborhoods of Manhattan’s Washington Heights and Highbridge in the Bronx.

·         For a change of pace – and some perfect snapshots – visit The High Line, an elevated park built on a former railway trestle on Manhattan’s West Side. At the south end of the path, head to The Whitney Museum and enjoy their signature Biennial art show, taking place for the first time at the museum’s new location, now through June 11.

·         Opening this year on May 1 – a month earlier than usual due to high demand –Governors Island is a perfect getaway and is only seven-minutes away by ferry from Lower Manhattan. Having debuted last year, the Hills offer lush rolling landscapes, grassy overlooks, exhilarating slides and unforgettable views of the Statue of Liberty, the New York harbor, and the City skyline.

Spring Openings & Festivities

·         Springtime is also the start of baseball season, and New York City is home to two of the best teams in Major League Baseball – the New York Yankees and New York Mets, in the Bronx and Queens respectively. The Bronx Bombers kick off their season at home April 10, while the Amazin’ Mets are back April 3. Also see the up-and-coming stars of these two franchises play when the Minor League team seasons kick off in June – the Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees, both a short subway or free ferry away from Manhattan. For more baseball, check out our Baseball Guide at nycgo.com/baseball.

·         An indoor reprieve from spring showers, Gulliver’s Gate opens in May (with previews in April) in Times Square at 44th Street between 7th and 8th Avenue. The football-field sized venue will feature a technologically advanced, interactive and immersive world of miniatures that will ignite imagination and challenge perspective.

·         On Sunday, May 7, bike New York City with the TD Five Boro Bike Tour, now in its 40th year. Join over 32,000 riders on a traffic-free, 40-mile course, for a unique experience to view the Big Apple. Standard tickets have sold out, but interested riders can still join and ride on behalf of a charity partner.

·         Each year on Easter, falling on Sunday, April 16 this year, celebrants don festive attire and show off their very best bonnets along Fifth Avenue at the Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival. Immortalized by Irving Berlin (with some help from Judy Garland and Fred Astaire), the pageant is a New York City tradition that stretches back to the 1870s. Starting at 10am and continuing until 4pm, the parade marches north on Fifth Avenue, from 49th Street to 57th Street. The best place to watch is from the area around St. Patrick's Cathedral; better yet, bring your bonnet and join the parade.

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NYC & Company / Chris Heywood 212-484-1270
Kim Klein 212-484-1270