The best local spots to visit in each NYC borough

The Big Apple is a global icon that draws over 60 million tourists each year! Famous for its towering skyscrapers and Broadway shows, the city also offers hidden locations that often go unnoticed. This guide by Best Movers NYC is dedicated to helping you discover the best local spots to visit in each NYC borough. If you’re tired of the usual tourist traps, read on to uncover some real treasures.

Manhattan offers local spots for visiting in the heart of New York City

So, you’ve seen the Wall Street Bull and taken the obligatory selfie in Times Square. What next? Why not explore some local spots that offer unique experiences?

  • Manhattan is the economic and cultural heart of the “City that Never Sleeps.”
  • This borough is home to about 1.63 million people and is packed with a range of experiences that reflect its eclectic population.
  • Known for its world-class shopping, arts, and dining, Manhattan is often the first stop for the approximately 62.8 million tourists who visited New York City in 2019.
  • Popular neighborhoods like Greenwich Village, SoHo, and the Upper East Side each offer a distinct vibe, from bohemian to upscale.

So why settle for a few iconic destinations when you can see many more?

Picture of Central Park, is one of the local spots to visit in one NYC borough
Central Park is one of the most iconic spots in NYC.

One World Observatory

Located in the Financial District, One World Observatory isn’t just another tall building. Offering panoramic views from its 100th floor, the observatory lets you see the city in a new light. This location is also known for its interactive exhibits, giving visitors a chance to gain insight into the history and culture of Manhattan.

Empire State Building

Situated in Midtown Manhattan, the Empire State Building is hard to miss. But it’s not just about snapping a photo from the ground; you need to head up to the 86th-floor observatory. There, you’ll be treated to incredible views that have captivated people since 1931. Even though mainstream, many of those who have used the services of moving companies Manhattan has to offer have flocked to this classic spot following their move.

The Statue of Liberty

No trip to Gotham is complete without visiting this symbol of freedom and democracy. You can take a ferry from Battery Park in Lower Manhattan to Liberty Island. Once there, you’ll understand why this landmark has such a special place in American history. Gifted by France to the United States in 1886, the Statue of Liberty served as a welcoming sight for immigrants arriving by boat in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The statue’s iconic status grew during World War II as a symbol of the freedoms people were fighting for. With its torch held high, it continues to represent hope and opportunity for millions around the world.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Upper East Side also has some spots that need to be uncovered in this blog. The Met isn’t only for art connoisseurs, though; it’s for everyone! With collections ranging from ancient Egyptian artifacts to modern American art, it’s easy to spend an entire day here – so plan your schedule accordingly!

Top of the Rock

Another fabulous spot in Midtown Manhattan, Top of the Rock, offers three observation decks. You can capture stunning photos of Central Park and the city’s skyline here. What’s more, it tends to have shorter wait times than the Empire State Building.

The Vessel

Last but not least, if you’re near Hudson Yards, you must visit The Vessel. This architectural marvel invites you to climb its intricate stairways, giving you the sense of being inside a giant piece of artwork. Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with a unique perspective of Manhattan’s West Side.

Picture of the Vessel
This place is an architectural marvel

Brooklyn is known as the hipster capital for a reason

From trendy cafes to vintage thrift stores, Brooklyn is often called the “Borough of Trees.” According to the latest data, this borough is home to over 2.7 million people, making it the most populous of New York City’s five boroughs. Neighborhoods like Williamsburg, DUMBO, and Park Slope are some of the most sought-after, each offering its unique flavor. Tourism is also on the rise. According to NYC & Company, Brooklyn saw approximately 15 million visitors in 2019, a number that has been steadily climbing. So, whether you’re a local or planning a visit, hop on the L train and get ready to explore what this borough offers.

Brooklyn Bridge

Certainly one of the most iconic structures in New York, the Brooklyn Bridge connects DUMBO in Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan. Aside from being an architectural marvel, it also provides breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline. For many people making the move to Brooklyn with the assistance of local movers NYC is happy to have walking across the bridge serves as a sort of “initiation” to life in the city.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

After the legendary bridge, you might crave some quiet time. Nestled in Prospect Heights, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a tranquil oasis. In fact, a 2019 report indicated that over 900,000 visitors took advantage of its lush greenery and seasonal flora. And why wouldn’t they? After all, it’s a sight for sore eyes; especially during the cherry blossom season!

Brooklyn Heights Promenade

The Brooklyn Heights Promenade is another spot that should be on your radar. With stunning views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, this place offers a scenic escape from the city’s noise. It’s a location where people jog, walk dogs, or just soak in the view following a relocation facilitated by the movers Brooklyn newcomers have used. Regrettably so, the Promenade is rarely a top “must-see” location for new arrivals, always left in the shadow of the more popular locations like the Brooklyn Bridge.

Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm

Interestingly, you can also get in touch with your inner farmer right here in Brooklyn. Located at the Navy Yard, the Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm provides a unique urban farming experience. With the growing popularity of urban farming, this place might even be on the list of local spots to visit in each NYC borough for many people. According to statistics, this innovative farm grows over 50,000 lbs of organically cultivated produce annually.

Picture of an urban farm
In Brooklyn, you can even see a farm.

Queens has plenty of local spots to visit

Crossing over to Queens, often called the “World’s Borough,” unveils a remarkable blend of cultures, parks, and museums. It’s no surprise that this borough, with a population of over 2.45 million, has such a broad array of experiences to offer. Queens is rich with cultural diversity, showcasing neighborhoods like Flushing, Astoria, and Long Island City, each having its unique charm and atmosphere. The vibe here is unlike any other borough, blending suburban coziness with urban excitement. According to NYC & Company, the city’s official tourism organization, Queens saw nearly 6 million tourists in 2019 who came to explore its museums, parks, and, of course, its culinary scene.

Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Located in Corona, Flushing Meadows Park is the city’s fourth-largest public park. We all know how vital parks are to this city. Here, you can find the iconic Unisphere, a giant globe symbolizing global unity. What’s more, a survey by NYC Parks found that more than seven million people visited it in 2019.

Citi Field

For sports fans, Citi Field in Flushing is a haven. Home to the New York Mets, this ballpark has a seating capacity of over 41,000. Even if you’re not into baseball, the stadium offers tours with a behind-the-scenes look.

Gantry Plaza State Park

In Long Island City, the Gantry Plaza State Park offers spectacular views of Manhattan across the East River. Long Island City NY movers can help you settle in in the area, allowing you to enjoy the views from the park which are often a major selling point for newcomers deciding to move to Queens.

Museum of the Moving Image

Next, we have Astoria’s Museum of the Moving Image. Perfect for film buffs, this museum has exhibitions that cover everything from vintage film equipment to interactive digital art.

Queens Botanical Garden

Lastly, the Queens Botanical Garden in Flushing serves as another green sanctuary within the urban landscape that’s a must-visit among local spots to visit in each NYC borough. Spanning 39 acres, this peaceful retreat offers a variety of plants, trees, and seasonal flower exhibitions that change throughout the year. Aside from its educational programs, the garden has areas designed to attract birds and butterflies, making it a popular spot for nature enthusiasts and photographers. Its Herb Garden and Wedding Garden are visitor favorites, providing learning opportunities and a beautiful backdrop for special occasions.

Picture of a flower
Botanical gardens are a nice escape inside the city.

The Bronx offers a blend of urban and natural beauty

The Bronx is known as the “Boogie Down,” and you’ll find a blend of urban and natural settings that offer a unique local taste. With a population of around 1.5 million as of 2023, this borough is a hotspot of cultures and experiences. In terms of visitor numbers, the Bronx Tourism Council reports that the borough attracted nearly 5 million tourists in 2019. Popular neighborhoods like Concourse, Belmont, and Riverdale each offer their distinct attractions, from Yankee Stadium to the Bronx Zoo. With such diversity, the Bronx invites visitors to experience a less conventional but equally enthralling side of the “City of Dreams.”

New York Botanical Garden

Starting with Bedford Park, the New York Botanical Garden is home to over one million living plants. It spans 250 acres and, according to visitor statistics, attracts more than 1.3 million people annually.

Yankee Stadium

Near the Concourse area, Yankee Stadium stands as a temple to baseball fans. It has a seating capacity of about 54,251 and is considered an essential experience for anyone who loves the sport.

Bronx Zoo

Also, don’t forget the Bronx Zoo in Belmont. It’s one of the largest metropolitan zoos in the world, housing over 6,000 animals. The best movers in Bronx relocate numerous families to the area, mainly thanks to the proximity to this location.

Little Italy in the Bronx

Although smaller than Little Italy in Manhattan, Bronx Little Italy is equally captivating. Located in the neighborhood of Belmond, this is one of the most ethnically diverse spots in the whole city. It offers a range of Italian eateries and markets, making it possible to get an authentic Italian experience without a passport. So, if this sounds like something you’d like to explore, start your search for trustworthy moving companies in Belmont.

Picture of LIttle Italy, one of the local spots to visit in each NYC borough
Bronx Little Italy is as worthy of mention as its more famous Manhattan counterpart.

Wave Hill Garden & Cultural Center

Wave Hill in Riverdale is a beautiful public garden and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River. It offers a peaceful respite from the city’s rapid pace, a much-needed aspect during today’s stressful everyday life.

Staten Island offers a quieter side of the city

For those craving a quieter, more suburban experience without leaving the city, Staten Island is the perfect place. Often referred to as the “Forgotten Borough,” this place offers a much-needed rest from the fast-paced lifestyle of other parts of New York City. With a population of around 475,000 people, Staten Island maintains a community-driven atmosphere that’s hard to find in the “City that Never Sleeps.” While it may not see as many tourists as Manhattan or Brooklyn, the borough still welcomed approximately 1.2 million visitors in 2019. Popular neighborhoods like St. George, Randall Manor, and West Brighton offer a mix of historical sites, scenic views, and cozy cafes. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Staten Island presents an array of local spots to visit in each NYC borough that offer a laid-back vibe without skimping on the excitement.

Staten Island Zoo

Starting off in West Brighton, the Staten Island Zoo is a great spot for families or anyone interested in animals. With over 1,500 animals, from kangaroos to reptiles, the zoo attracted about 190,000 visitors in 2019, according to their annual report.

Fort Wadsworth

Moving on to the Fort Wadsworth neighborhood, Fort Wadsworth itself is a must-visit. It’s one of the oldest military installations in the country. Plus, it offers fantastic views of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and the harbor.

Staten Island Ferry

Now, the Staten Island Ferry in St. George is not just a commuter service. In fact, it’s a great way to take in skyline views. According to the New York City Department of Transportation, the ferry serves 22 million people annually. So, if you’re new to the area, it’s a good idea to take this 25-minute boat trip to familiarize yourself with the borough.

Picture of a boat on a river
Even Staten Island, as one of the smallest boroughs, has many local spots to visit.

Which one of the local spots to visit in each NYC borough will you visit first?

As you can see, there are many local spots to visit in each NYC borough, some of which aren’t as popular as conventional spots. So, the next time you are out and about, instead of visiting the mainstream attractions, pay attention to the less famous ones that are just as interesting. You won’t regret it!

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