Nature and New York City aren’t two terms we’d typically use together – as fun and happening as NYC is, it can be challenging to interact with nature in what’s better known as the ‘concrete jungle.’ A recent study, covered in an article in The New York Times, revealed that people need about two hours of interaction with nature a day to promote optimal health and well-being. So, how can we fill this prescription in a city where rodents and bedbugs may be the closest thing to ‘wildlife interactions’ as it gets? Check out these beautiful outdoor spots you can visit to immerse yourself in and connect with nature!
- Prospect Park
Located in the heart of Brooklyn, this 585-acre park serves as a beautiful get-away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan lifestyle. Designed by the same architectural team as Central Park, Prospect Park was first opened 152 years ago, and continues to be a thriving environment for people to go on a run, walk their dogs, have a picnic and play frisbee on the Long Meadow, and explore the beautiful architecture of the Grand Army Plaza. This is a great spot to spend a Sunday and explore the Brooklyn borough!
- Brooklyn Grange Farm (pictured at the top of the article)
While you’re in Brooklyn at Prospect Park, this could be a great time to also visit the largest rooftop farm in the world, the Brooklyn Grange. That’s right, trade in the rooftop bars for a rooftop farm and check out “the world’s leading soil rooftop farming company and sustainability center,” which provides 50,000 pounds of fresh, organic produce to local markets and restaurants. You can go on a farm tour from May – October, participate in workshops, unwind with Monday evening yoga, go to their monthly farm dinners, and schedule school visits for ages K-12!
- Riverside Park
Located in the upper west side of Manhattan, this waterfront park makes it easy to forget you’re in the city at all. Trailing alongside the Hudson River, a venture to Riverside park will ensure a good dose of nature’s finest delights and therapeutic powers. The park’s running and bike paths are lined with beautiful elm trees, there’s a fun playground to bring your kids, and make sure to check out the delicious Boat Basin Café. This is a great spot to come and unwind by the water!
- The High Line
This 1.45 mile long walk through an old Manhattan elevated freight line will not only connect you with nature, but will bring you to beautiful landscaping, art, gardens, and fun places to stop and eat at along the way. Located on the west side of Manhattan, this is a great way to walk off that office stress after a long day sitting a desk, and the views won’t disappoint!
- Hallett Nature Sanctuary
Located in the southeast corner of Central Park, the Hallett Nature Sanctuary recently opened back up to the public after closing its doors in 1934. A walk through these enclosed trails will treat you to some of the best views in all of NYC, and the sounds of taxis and ambulances will be refreshingly replaced with chirping birds and (probably) some quacking ducks in the nearby pond. It’s one of the city’s most prized escapes!
- New York Botanical Garden
A trip to this infamous Bronx-bound 250-acre garden is a must. As the largest garden in any city in the US, exploring the beautiful plant kingdom and cutting-edge exhibits offers an “endless array of plants and flowers that will activate all of your senses” and revive you from the (mostly) tree-less atmosphere of city sidewalks. Take a stroll through the Conifer Arboretum, the Perennial Garden, Native Plant Garden, and the Water Lilies and Lotuses collection, it will leave you feeling fresh and de-stressed!