We’re guessing you haven’t visited the Big Apple in a while because of the pandemic. But now that cases of COVID-19 are under control, it’s a good time to plan a day trip to a spot where you can be outside and socially distance from others. Here are some places to go and things to do in all five boroughs that you might not have thought of before. Each spot has put new rules in place to enhance safety for all visitors.
2900 Southern Blvd.
Stop and smell the flowers at the New York Botanical Garden. There are one million plant varieties and 250 acres of gardens to explore from roses to perennials to water lilies. There’s even a garden dedicated to plants native to the Northeastern US. Join in on one of the activities geared towards families throughout the gardens or take an audio tour right from your cell phone. There’s no need to pack a lunch since there are outdoor dining options across the gardens. Visitors are asked to wear a face covering. To limit the amount of visitors, the Botanical Garden is using a timed ticket entry system. Tickets can be purchased online and are $22/adults, $19/seniors and students, $8/kids ages 2-12 and free/kids under 2. The Botanical Garden is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. Call 718-817-8700 for more information.
4900 Independence Ave.
Take in beautiful views of the Hudson River and the Palisades from the gardens at Wave Hill. The public art and cultural center offers both magnificent gardens and art exhibitions. The 28 acres of gardens showcase all types of plants like herbs, wildflowers and a collection of conifer trees. There’s even a wooded area and aquatic gardens to relax in plus a conservatory filled with warm-weather plants. The current art exhibition is titled “Ana Flores: Forest Dialogues” and is designed to remind the viewer of their connection with nature. Visitors are required to reserve tickets online. The next round of tickets will be on sale on August 3. Admission is free until August 9. Wave Hill is open Thursday to Sunday from 12 to 5:30 pm. All guests are asked to wear a face covering. Please note that onsite parking is currently unavailable. Call 718-549-3200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Brooklyn Army Terminal, 80 58th St.
Planning to stay overnight in the city? Why not catch a movie before bed at the Brooklyn Drive-In? This summer’s screenings focus on a diverse set of films; some are perfect for a family while others are great for a parents’ night out. Tickets are $35/car and cars can hold up to five passengers. Check-in starts 90 minutes before the movie and the gates open 60 minutes before. While this weekend’s films are sold out, keep an eye on the website for future dates.
Sunset Park, multiple entrances
Hop on the NYC Ferry to get to this National Historic Landmark. Green-Wood, which was founded in 1838, is home to 478 acres of stunning architecture, sprawling hills and paths, 19th- and 20th-century mausoleums and statuary and the site of the 1776 Battle of Long Island. There’s tons of history and beauty to explore here. Currently, the main entrance (Fifth Ave. and 25th St.) is home to a long-term, interactive art installation where visitors can write down and bury secrets that will later be burned by the artist. Special tours and events with different themes and focuses are offered periodically. The park is free to all visitors and open daily from 7 am to 7 pm. Guests are asked to use caution when visiting and maintain social distancing.
Located between 40th and 42nd Sts. and Fifth and Sixth Aves.
Dubbed “Manhattan’s Town Square” Bryant Park is another one of NYC’s famous green spaces. There are plenty of things to do in the park every day for all ages. Visit the Activity Station to borrow a board game to play while basking in the sun or drop in on a game of péntaque, a French game similar to bocce. You might also be able to catch a puppet show or musical performance. Check out the calendar to see what events are coming up. Bryant Park also offers plenty of dining options that are open throughout the day. The park is open in August and September on Monday through Friday from 7 am to midnight and on Saturday and Sunday from 7 am to 11 pm.
Launch points throughout Manhattan and New Jersey
Set sail on a scenic cruise around NYC on a Hornblower Cruise. With so many cruise options, there’s sure to be something perfect for every family. Enjoy a brunch or dinner cruise where you can dine on a delicious meal while enjoying a relaxing journey. For adults only, there are also cocktail cruises and other special events that happen throughout the year. Hornblower has a number of tours, sightseeing and hop-on, hop-off cruises, too, so you can get in the best views of NYC both day and night. Hornblower has started a SafeCruise initiative to keep guests healthy. Make a booking online or call 800-700-0735 for more information.
New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th St., Corona, NY
You can ride up to a drive-in movie at Flushing Meadows in Queens. The drive-in is showing a rotation of films, some of which are sure to be loved by the kids and others that are geared towards adults. There are still tickets left for upcoming movies like Mad Max: Fury Road (August 15), The Muppet Movie (August 16) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (August 30). Tickets cost $35/car and each car can have up to five passengers. Check-in begins 90 minutes before the film and the doors will open 60 minutes before.
1000 Richmond Terrace
Unwind as you explore the grounds of Snug Harbor on Staten Island. Explore the beautiful botanical garden on your own or take a guided tour of the grounds. The Tuscan Garden will bring a taste of Italy into your trip and the Healing Garden is sure to provide a meditative experience. Join in on Wellness Wednesdays to practice mindfulness every Wednesday between 4:30 and 7 pm. Wellness activities include shopping for fresh produce and enjoying musical performances from local artists. Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden is free to the public, although two gardens require an entrance fee. Throughout the summer months, Snug Harbor is open Tuesday to Friday from noon to 7 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 7 pm. Call 718-425-3504 for more information.