Green Spaces In The City: Best Parks and Hiking Trails in NYC

By Abraham Sanieoff

Trees aren’t really the first things that come to mind when you hear about New York City. Central Park may be the metropolis’ most popular park, but the majority of tourists (and maybe some locals) think of the Big Apple as a sprawling urban jungle with skyscrapers for trees and streetlights for vines.

However, there are more pockets of greenery and open space in the city than you might have imagined. When you look past the concrete and the bright lights, you’ll discover hidden parks and trails that will allow you to reconnect with nature when you feel like the hustle and bustle of the city has gotten to be too much.

Find out which parks and trails can be found among the skyscrapers and buildings that make up the city’s iconic skyline. After reading this, you’ll be eager to get into your hiking boots or take out your picnic blanket from storage.

Central Park

There’s no better way to start this list than with the iconic Central Park. Easily one of the most recognizable parks in the world, this 38-acre space is located right in the heart of Manhattan. Its winding trails, lush vegetation, and vibrant community who love spending time in the park make it a wonderful place to unwind. Apart from checking out the blooms and foliage, you can also take out your binoculars and bird-watch: the park is a popular stopover for migratory birds.

Bryant Park

If you love going to the New York Public Library, Bryant Park’s seasonal gardens are the perfect spots for you to read. If you want a little more excitement, you’d be happy to know there’s always something fun happening here. There are free outdoor movie screenings in the summer, an ice skating rink and winter village in the winter, and nearly a thousand other activities throughout the year.

The High Line

Looking for a unique hike that perfectly combines nature and modernity? The High Line is perfect for you. This trail is built on an old elevated railway track on Manhattan’s Lower West Side. Plants and flowers have taken over the two-mile track that is also peppered with sculptures, shallow pools, and a food court for the hungry traveler.

Hudson River Park

The Hudson River is a great place visit since you can do plenty of things by the riverside. The Hudson River Park stretches throughout Manhattan’s eastern beachfront, giving plenty of open space for people to lounge, skate, kayak, and participate in other fun activities.

Bronx River Greenway

Tourists and locals looking for a hike that really takes them deep into the first can go to the Bronx River Greenway. The eight-mile trail starts at the last stop of the 5 Train and provides access to the city’s only freshwater river. It’s become a popular destination for kayakers and people looking to cool down from the summer heat.

Staten Island Greenbelt

Staten Island is the greenest borough in the city, and this eight-mile trail goes through a constellation of parks and natural areas found in the middle of the island. Hikers looking for a challenge can take on the Yellow Trail that rises more than 400 feet to Todt Hill.

Enjoy Nature Within the Urban Jungle

These are only some of the natural locations that you can explore in New York. If you want to take a break from the concrete jungle, a visit to these natural spaces will recharge your batteries.

For anything and everything New York, read Abraham Sanieoff. He is a journalist and traveler who is fascinated with the city and documents NYC life online. Contact him for any questions you may have.

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Abraham Sanieoff

Abraham Sanieoff

Abraham Sanieoff, originally from California, I’m a traveler, writer and blogger for over 15 years now. I love to write about my experiences and share them.