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5 Great Staycation Ideas in New York City

If you recently moved to New York and want to explore your adopted hometown, hop public transit, head to a different neighborhood, and start exploring. The city overflows with sights, attractions, and excellent dining choices, and promises a host of fun, adventurous, and unique things to experience. Covering all the boroughs––from Manhattan to Brooklyn, to Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island––here’s a roundup of some great New York City staycation spots recommended by your favorite NYC movers, Roadway Moving Co.

Manhattan: Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island has blossomed in recent years, with the opening of Franklin Delano Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park––a lovely green space honoring the life and legacy of the former president––Cornell Tech’s sprawling campus, and the first hotel: Graduate Roosevelt Island. The historical sites, including Blackwell Island Lighthouse in Lighthouse Park, Chapel of the Good Shepherd (now the community center), the Strecker Memorial Laboratory, and the Small Pox Hospital, are a draw as well. This slender oasis is considered part of the borough of Manhattan, and features sweeping views of the city, Queens, and the East River. But the real hidden gem is the journey on the tram. The panoramic vistas as you travel to the island from 59th Street and Second Avenue in Midtown are spectacular.

roosevelt island

Brooklyn: Brighton Beach

The hub for Russian immigrants in New York, this neighborhood is worlds away from the hipster side of Brooklyn. Also called “Little Odessa,” Brighton Beach is sandwiched between Manhattan Beach and Coney Island, another one of the city’s favorite staycation spots. But this Soviet enclave isn’t as wild or touristy as its buzzy neighbor, so you should expect a more laid-back experience. After dark, though, the nightlife heats up, and the parties begin. Beyond the bars in Brighton Beach, you’ll discover some of the best borscht and pierogies in the city at Ocean Beach Café, not to mention the delicious hand-pulled noodles at Uzbek-Uyghur restaurant Café Kashkar.

Brooklyn Brighton Beach

 

Queens: Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Ride the 7 subway to Mets-Willets Point and walk for about 30 minutes, and you’ll be in this awe-inspiring green space, the largest in Queens and the fourth largest in New York City. Whether you prefer sports, art, or nature, you’ll find plenty to do at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Play baseball, soccer, or handball; visit the Queens Museum and the Queens Zoo, or opt for a tour of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, also where the US Open takes place each year. But probably one of the most famous attractions here is Citi Field, home of the Mets baseball team. Plan your trip to coincide with the game schedule and (hopefully) witness a few home runs, too.

Queens Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Bronx: City Island

Who knew that a quaint fishing village exists in New York City, let alone the Boogie Down Bronx? But it does. City Island may be one of the best New York staycation options because it’s unexpected. Seafood restaurants, yacht clubs, boat rentals, and scuba diving provide a much-needed escape from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. But you can spend a day at City Island and not do much of anything and still feel like you’re on vacation. With charming Victorian homes lining the streets and crooning seagulls flapping overhead, City Island feels a lot like Cape Cod, and it’s only an hour’s drive from Midtown.

Bronx City Island

Staten Island: Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden

Sometimes, the fifth borough gets little love, but Staten Island is so much more than a ferry ride. That said, you will have to hop the ferry to get to the island, but you’ll also enjoy the mesmerizing views of Lady Liberty and the New York Harbor on the way. Once you reach Staten Island, ride the S40 bus, and you’ll be within a short walk of Snug Harbor. This cultural center and garden’s main outdoor grounds are open seven days a week and free to the public. Depending on your interests, the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden, Staten Island Museum, Staten Island Children’s Museum, and Noble Maritime Collection are ticketed attractions but worth a visit. No matter what you do, you’ll realize that Snug Harbor is the jewel of Staten Island.

 

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Tracy Kaler

Tracy Kaler is a freelance writer covering lifestyle and travel. Find her work in The Telegraph, Barron's Penta, Mansion Global, Travelmag, and a list of other publications. She is also the editor of tracysnewyorklife.com, one of New York's top lifestyle and travel blogs, and co-author of New York: 48 Hours published by National Geographic. When she's not glued to her laptop, she's wandering the streets of New York City or planning her next trip.