Sometimes you just need to get some fresh air and clear your mind, and taking a walk is the best way to do that. If you’re looking to take a stroll in New York City, your options are pretty much limitless. You can wander alongside the water, through the parks or between the skyscrapers - you can even find solitude, if needed. Each spot has its own unique characteristics and must-sees. Here are some of the best areas for taking a walk in NYC.
The High Line
On the High Line, you won’t really be walking through the city, but rather over it. Once a railway, the High Line is now a 1.45-mile long park running from the Meatpacking District all the way up to West 34th Street, and is one of NYC’s hottest tourist attractions.
Not only will your views of the city make this stroll epic, being that the High Line is elevated 30 feet off the ground, but the park itself is also a wonder. The Chelsea Thicket, which features actual train tracks to walk on, showcases lovely plants like roses and hollies, while the Philip A. and Lisa Maria Falcone Flyover hosts sassafras and serviceberry trees. Be sure to also check out the High Line’s calendar for events like Tai Chi and Stargazing to try after your walk.
With the Hudson River on one side and gorgeous old buildings on the other, Riverside Drive is the perfect avenue for your city stroll. Fantasize about living in the luxury apartments or observe the street’s many monuments, such as the Firemen’s memorial - built in 1913 but reinvigorated with new purpose after 9/11 - the Eleanor Roosevelt statue, and Grant’s tomb. Don’t feel guilty about taking your phone out during your walk - the photo ops are just too good.
It’s the most famous park in the world - obviously it was going to make this list! While the whole park is worthy of walking around, we suggest taking some laps around the Conservatory Water, a calmer spot known for hosting model sailboats. To get in some Central Park classics, walk along the 79th Street Transverse, and you’ll be amongst favorites like Belvedere Castle, Shakespeare Garden and Turtle Pond.
Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is probably on your list already if you’re a tourist, but don’t skip out on the borough’s other bridge.
The Williamsburg Bridge, rusty red in color, isn’t quite as popular with visitors. It has a bit more grit and authenticity, but that’s why we like it. The ever-changing street art amongst the skyline views makes a trek across this bridge a true New York experience. Plus, you’ll end up in Williamsburg, another great neighborhood to roam...but that’s a whole other blog!
Not familiar with Wave Hill? Take just one short excursion to this public garden and you won’t believe it wasn’t on your radar before.
Located in the Bronx, Wave Hill is a 28-acre public garden and nature center along the Hudson River. Highlights include the Aquatic Garden, featuring a pond with a tropical atmosphere, the Kerlin Overlook and its insane river views, and the Wild Garden, which is home to wild species from around the world. But for a walk, you must visit the Abrons Woodland - this half-mile trail is amongst high trees that make you feel like you are truly in the woods, worlds away from any city. After your walk, attend the Wave Hill Cafe’s traditional afternoon tea service or enjoy one of the park’s many art exhibits.
For those who aren’t already in walking distance, there are free shuttles to Wave Hill at the Metro-North Riverdale Station and #1 Subway @ West 242nd St.
South Street Seaport
Looking for a little more to do than just walk? Head towards the South Street Seaport. This historic waterfront area is now bustling with business, making it perfect for wandering, people watching, and more. It’s got restaurants that the hipsters love, like El Luchador, a taco stand inside a real Airstream trailer, and popular brunch spot Fresh Salt. The best is yet to come, however - the luxury mall at Pier 17 is expected next summer, so maybe you should wait...nah!
Astoria is an up-and-coming Queens neighborhood off the RFK bridge, filled to the brim with charm. Take a walk through Astoria Park, home to New York City’s oldest and largest swimming pool (free admission), or saunter down whichever random blocks you may come upon. Each little area of Astoria is unique and worth discovering.
Come hungry: this neighborhood is known for its authentic Greek, Italian, Brazilian...actually, almost every type of food can be found here. We also suggest stopping at the extremely popular Bohemian Beer Garden to grab a drink or two - the huge outdoor area has a lively ambiance, and unlike most NYC bars, the beer is actually affordable!
Inwood Hill Park
Here’s your chance to stroll through a piece of NYC history - Inwood Hill Park is one of the city’s oldest parks. Opened in 1926, Inwood Hill Park covers over 190 acres, so there’s quite literally a lot of ground to cover.
The park is home to lots of exciting little sights to stop at on your walk, such as the city’s largest glacial pothole and Shorakkopoch rock, which marks the spot where Manhattan was supposedly purchased by Native Americans hundreds of years ago. Oh, and Inwood Hill Park faces the Hudson, so there are those amazing views again! We recommend visiting in the fall, where those views are highlighted by the colorful foliage throughout the park.
If a tourist asked a New Yorker what the first neighborhood they should check out in Manhattan was…. well, you’d get a whole bunch of different answers, but a lot of them would be the West Village.
The West Village is full of enamor, thanks to the beautiful 19th century townhouses and the remnants of the area’s bohemian past. Be sure to roam near the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street, home of the riots that launched the gay rights movement, and stop in for a drink if you have time. This neighborhood is also home to countless trendy restaurants and boutiques, so clear your day and bring your wallet!
Prospect Park West
This walk will give you the best of both worlds, with Brooklyn's famous Prospect Park on one side, and the ridiculously gorgeous (and expensive) Park Slope residences across the way. If you start to feel bad about how you'll never afford to live in one of these historic apartments, you can just turn into the park and walk there instead!
Head towards SoHo and take a walk down Prince Street, a cute little street scattered with tall trees and trendy cafes, plus both independent shops and big name designers. Prince Street is great for people watching, with a good mix of New Yorkers and shopping tourists. You’ll also pass The Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral - not the same as the well-known St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Midtown, but equally as gorgeous - and you’ll be nearby New York classics such as Dominique Ansel’s Bakery on Spring Street, home of the cronut, and the Angelika film center on West Houston.
Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Every New Yorker craves a quick escape from the bustle of the city every now and then. When you get that feeling in your bones, take a walk along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Though it’s only 1800 feet long, this structure will give you the respite you need, with stunning views of the Hudson, Lower Manhattan and even the Statue of Liberty. There are lots of benches to relax on, too. Overall, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade is perfect for plain old relaxation.