20 Options to Celebrate Spring in New York City’s Parks and Gardens

Posted on Apr 19, 2017

This spring enjoy a variety of outdoor green spaces in all five boroughs of New York City! Discover New York’s Expert Guides can include any of the City’s parks and gardens as a fresh way to discover the neighborhoods that surround them.  With more than 1,700 parks, playgrounds, and recreation facilities across the five boroughs, there is something for everyone to enjoy outdoors. The following 20 parks and gardens are among our favorites.

The Bronx:

  • The New York Botanical Garden features Chihuly’s breathtaking works of art from April 22 – October 29, 2017!
  • The Bronx Zoo combines gardens and animals for a full day’s outing. The Bronx Zoo is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States and among the largest in the world.
  • Woodlawn Cemetery is one of the largest cemeteries in New York City and is a designated National Historic Landmark. Located in Woodlawn, Bronx, New York City, it has the character of a rural cemetery with gorgeous landscaping and over 1,300 mausoleums designed by legendary American Architects, landscape designers and sculptors.
  • Wave Hill is a both an historic home dating from 1866 and beautiful gardens overlooking the Hudson River. Famous tenants include William Lewis Morris, William Henry Appleton, Theodore Roosevelt’s family and Mark Twain.
  • Combine your visit to any of these destinations with lunch and learn about the “Real Little Italy”, Arthur Avenue’s Italian District.


  • The Queens Botanical Garden is an urban oasis where people, plants and cultures are celebrated through inspiring gardens, innovative educational programs and demonstrations of environmental stewardship.
  • Queensbridge Park is named for the Queensboro Bridge, also known as the 59th Street Bridge. The 1960’s band Simon and Garfunkel made the bridge famous in their song “Feelin’ Groovy,” also called “the 59th Street Bridge Song.”  Enjoy views of Manhattan along the East River and take advantage of barbecuing areas, eateries, playground, baseball fields and handball courts.
  • Socrates Sculpture Park sits atop nearly five acres of landfill, creating a truly urban feel to the waterfront landscape. Over 90 varieties of trees and plant life blanket the park, from birch trees to weeping willows, from daffodils to roses.
  • Hunters Point South Park has been transformed from an abandoned post-industrial area in Long Island City into a space that offers fun and relaxation for everyone in the area. The new park includes a central green, a playground, a dog run, a bikeway, a waterside promenade, a basketball court, and a 13,000-square foot pavilion that contains comfort stations, concessions, and an elevated cafe plaza.
  • Combine any of these options with an opportunity to taste your way through the staggering variety of ethnic cuisines.


  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden was founded more than a century ago, as the New York City area was quickly being developed into a cityscape of buildings and paved roads. Creating a public garden was one way to ensure that some green space remained. Today, the Garden has come to represent the very best in urban gardening and horticultural display and is located adjacent to the Brooklyn Museum, so you can combine a visit to both.
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park spans over 1.3 miles of Brooklyn’s waterfront, from the Columbia Heights waterfront district to the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Brooklyn Overpass). This treasure of a park offers breathtaking views of Lower Manhattan’s panoramic skyline and the New York Harbor. Tourists and New Yorkers alike can be seen admiring the iconic cityscape across the East River while strolling along a continuous promenade of six diverse piers. Walk from Brooklyn to Manhattan and enjoy the beautiful sunset and hear the fascinating story of how the Brooklyn Bridge was created from one of Discover New York’s Guides.
  • Coney Island Beach & Boardwalk offers an ideal summer respite from the hectic and steamy city. With nearly 3 miles of sandy beaches, Coney Island’s sunny skies and rolling waves make for the perfect getaway. If being active at the beach is more your idea of fun than just catching some rays, Coney Island also offers exciting recreation opportunities. With courts for beach volleyball, handball, and basketball as well as playgrounds and amusement rides, the beach and boardwalk can provide hours of entertainment. Combine your day with an exploration of Little Odessa with one of our Discover New York guides.
  • Prospect Park was designed and constructed over a thirty-year period (1865-1895) by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the masterminds behind Central Park. Prospect Park has blossomed into a premiere destination for Brooklyn visitors and residents alike. Explore the gorgeous brownstone townhouses and historic neighborhoods adjacent to the park with one of Discover New York’s Guides.

Staten Island:

  • New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden, is based upon Ming Dynasty Gardens (1368-1644). The New York Scholar’s garden is the one of two authentic scholar’s gardens in the United States. A team of 40 Chinese artists and craftsmen spent a year in China creating the Garden’s components and another six months in Staten Island as craftsmen-in-residence at Snug Harbor to complete the construction. Explore the Ferry Terminal Area and see the new New York “Eye” which is under construction.
  • Greenbelt Nature Center is more than three times the size of Central Park. Staten Island’s Greenbelt is a haven for New York City’s nature lovers with a contiguous series of forests, meadows, wetlands, ponds, and parks that stretches across the heart of Staten Island. Bike or stroll through this wonderful area.


  • Central Park is an urban park in Manhattan, New York City with 843 acres of landscaped outdoor space. Central Park is the most visited urban park in the United States, with 40 million visitors and one of the most filmed locations in the world. Discover New York’s Guides offer the opportunity to explore the park on bikes, pedicabs or walks.
  • Bowling Green is New York City’s oldest park. According to tradition, this spot served as the council ground for Native American tribes and was the site of the legendary sale of Manhattan to Peter Minuit in 1626.  The Dutch called the area “the Plain” and used it for several purposes including a parade ground, meeting place, and cattle market.  In 1686, the site was designated as public property, when the City Charter put all “waste, vacant, unpatented and unappropriated lands” under municipal domain.  Discover the fascinating history of Lower Manhattan and walk in the footsteps of our founding fathers with one of Discover New York’s guides.
  • Washington Square Park has been a marsh, a cemetery, a parade ground, a gathering spot for avant-garde artists, and a battleground for chess enthusiasts. With playgrounds for both canines and children, it’s a family neighborhood destination. Washington Square Park has served various roles for its community throughout the years, adapting to meet its needs. Well-known for its arch, honoring George Washington, the man for whom the park is named, and its fountain, the arch’s elder by 43 years and a popular meeting spot, Washington Square Park also houses several other monuments and facilities. Learn about the history of the neighborhood from one of Discover New York’s guides and focus on architecture, history, jazz, educational institutions, writers and artists.
  • Bryant Park is filled with skaters in the winter and sunbathers in the summer. Free summer movies on the lawn, and endless meals and meetings at its tables, Bryant Park serves its role well as a centrally located Manhattan park. Just blocks from Times Square and the Theater District and mere feet from the New York Public Library, the park is an ideal resting spot for the thousands of tourists and residents who pass by its boundaries each day. Tie in the neighborhood’s Art Deco and/or Beaux Art’s architecture with one of Discover New York’s architectural historians or learn about the history of Broadway’s Theater District.
  • The Battery has been an invaluable part of New York City’s history. In 1855, Castle Garden, situated inside the Park, became the world’s first immigrant depot. Decades before Ellis Island was built or the Statue of Liberty gazed down at incoming boats, millions of newcomers arrived at The Battery from Europe and elsewhere. Today, the landscaped gardens are a wonderful place to sit and relax and see the Statue of Liberty in the harbor and learn about the history of the neighborhood.
  • The High Line is an elevated freight rail line that has been transformed into a public park on Manhattan’s West Side. It is owned by the City of New York, and maintained and operated by Friends of the High Line. Founded in 1999 by community residents, Friends of the High Line fought for the High Line’s preservation and transformation at a time when the historic structure was under the threat of demolition. Tie in a stroll through the art galleries in Chelsea with one of Discover New York’s art experts.

Contact a Discover New York Destination Specialist to create the perfect way for you to explore the wonderful outdoor options or ask for details about our Spring Getaway NYC for you!

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