10 THINGS TO DO IN STATEN ISLAND – NEW YORK CITY
Did you know? Staten Island is one of the largest boroughs in NYC and the farthest one away from Manhattan. Connected to both Brooklyn and New Jersey, the island is not much explored by tourists, in spite of its many cultural and historical attractions. Because of its small resident population, this region is full of green lawns with trees, gardens, parks and beaches. There are also many museums and memorials that shed some light on American history. Oh, and for those who like shopping, Empire Outlets was inaugurated in 2019 and is brimming with a lot of tempting and wonderful stores.
If you’re looking for non-cliché trip ideas, read on and discover this splendid destination few people know well. You’ll love it!
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HOW TO GET TO THE ISLAND
The easiest way to reach the island is by taking the Staten Island Ferry, a completely free ride that operates 24h a day.
The ferry departs from the Staten Island terminal near Battery Park. Many subway lines will get you to the terminal, but the closest ones are 1 (South Ferry), R (Whitehall Street), 4 and 5 (Bowling Green), J or Z (Broad Street). Once you’re there, you’ll see a big sign with Staten Island Ferry written on it, there’s no mistaking it!
At the terminal, just walk in, go upstairs and wait for the next ferry. The interval between runs usually takes 20-30 minutes on normal occasions and 15 minutes during rush hours.
VISIT SNUG HARBOR CULTURAL CENTER & BOTANICAL GARDEN
Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden consists of 28 buildings that feature 14 botanical gardens, art exhibits, parks, an urban farm, and several other interesting attractions. The cool thing about Snug Harbor is that their schedule is frequently updated so as to offer new events and attractions for tourists and locals alike. I super recommend it, since there’s always something new to do there!
In case you plan on visiting, here’s some useful information: Snug Harbor is open all week long from morning to evening. Only three attractions (which require tickets and are run separately) operate at different hours: Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden, and Connie Gretz Secret Garden. Entry is free of charge except for a few specific attractions, such as the ones listed above.
Address: 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301.
HOW TO BUY DISCOUNT PASSES FOR THE MAIN ATTRACTIONS IN NEW CITY:
NYC passes usually get a lot of people uncertain, so I shared all of my tips on THIS post on how to pick the best option for you and save even more on your trip!
TAKE A HISTORICAL TOUR AT FORT WADSWORTH
Fort Wadsworth is one of the most ancient forts in the United States and was built in 1663 on the higher portions of The Narrows. Today this military structure is open to the public and offers its visitors the opportunity to learn more about the local history and to explore their underground base. Another perk of the trip is the privileged view of New York Harbor and Verrazano-Narrows Bridge… A nice advantage for those who love taking pictures, like me. Entry is also free of charge!
Address: 210 New York Avenue, Staten Island, NY.
FORT WADSWORTH – Photos: VISIT STATEN ISLAND
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LEARN NEW THINGS AT STATEN ISLAND MUSEUM
Staten Island Museum was founded in 1881 and is the borough’s top museum. There you’ll find many ancient and contemporary pieces organized in three main collections: Natural Sciences, Art, History Archives and Library. There are also more than 500,000 botanical specimens, prehistoric works, representations of several cultures, maps, movies, and countless other objects that can tell us a little bit more about our history.
The museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 11-5. To learn more about ticket rates, check out their official website.
Address: 1000 Richmond Terrace, Building A, Staten Island, New York 10301.
GET TO KNOW STATEN ISLAND ZOO
Staten Island Zoo is a sure-fire destination for the whole wh family! This zoo houses more than 1,100 animals, including more than 350 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates from six continents. There you’ll also learn a lot about animal life and endangered species. The museum is part of a program that fights for the survival of such beings and works on conservation breeding, habitat preservation, public education, and other variables that contribute to the survival of these species long-term.
The zoo opens daily from 10 to 4:45. Click here to check out ticket prices.
Address: 614 Broadway, Staten Island, NY 10310.
HAVE FUN AT STATEN ISLAND CHILDREN’S MUSEUM
Traveling with kids? Then a visit to Staten Island Children’s Museum is a must! It features 10 exhibits, art workshops, and plenty of space for performances. There, children can examine insects, build with blocks, participate in interactive exhibits, and much more. Besides that, there is also a venue dedicated to picnics and games, in case you prefer outdoor activities.
Another hit is Francis The Praying Mantis, a huge praying mantis sculpture located right in front of the museum. Kids love to take pictures there!
Tickets are only at US$ 8 per person. To learn more about their schedule, check out the official website.
Address: 1000 Richmond Terrace Building M Enter via the Fillmore St. Gate off, Tysen St, Staten Island, NY 10301.
Opening hours from July to August:
- Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday
10:00 am – 5:00 pm
10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Opening hours from September to June:
- Monday to Friday
11:00 am – 5:00 pm
10:00 am – 5:00 pm
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ENJOY AN AFTERNOON AT FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT BOARDWALK AND BEACH
Do you like the sea, sun, and sand? Then you can’t miss this amazing beach on Staten Island! Franklin D. Roosevelt features a 2.5-mile boardwalk and a huge beach area that extends southeast from Fort Wadsworth to Miller Field’s Gateway Recreational Area.
Two of the main attractions in the boardwalk are The Fountain of The Dolphins and The Midland Beach War Memorial. Several restaurants and some shops also encircle the beach.
It’s not uncommon to see locals riding their bicycles, having picnics or taking their daily walks, once it’s a really pleasant and peaceful place.
GET TO KNOW THE NATIONAL LIGHTHOUSE MUSEUM
This museum is located at St. George and narrates a bit of the history of lighthouses and its guardians. Opened in 2015, the museum collects archives, objects, and several other pieces related to American lighthouses.
Monthly seminars, group field trips, seasonal trips, and events are also available for visitors.
Check out the official website to learn more.
VISIT THE STATEN ISLAND SEPTEMBER 11TH MEMORIAL
Located right next to St. George’s station, the memorial honors Staten Island residents who lost their lives in the World Trade Center tragedy, on September 11th, 2001. The statue was built in 2004 and represents two huge postcards with a granite plaque that bears the names of the victims.
Once you reach the island, you’ll probably be able to spot the memorial.
Address: Bank Street, Staten Island, NY 10301.
EXPLORE CLAY PIT PONDS STATE PARK
Clay Pit Ponds State Park is the only municipal park in the borough and quite a pleasant place in which to have a picnic or just enjoy a summer afternoon. Once it’s a natural reserve, there are also several lakes, ponds, forests, and hiking trails to explore.
Two trails are open to the public: Abraham’s Pond Trails and Ellis Swamp Trail, which are located near the park’s head office. There are also two reserves for endangered species that are currently closed for visitors.
The park’s administration aims to keep its ecology sound and to offer locals and tourists a place for entertainment and learning.
Address: 83 Nielsen Ave, Staten Island, NY 10309.
GO SHOPPING AT EMPIRE OUTLETS
Empire Outlets has become a hit in NYC! Opened in 2019, this outlet offers 100 stores, a food court, and a beautiful external area with gardens and fountains. Here are some shops worth mentioning: Nike Factory, Banana Republic, Guess Factory, Jockey, GAP, and others. Empire Outlets is located near St. George Ferry Terminal, so it’s easy to reach it by ferry (free) when departing from downtown Manhattan.
If you’re in need of a wardrobe revamp, I recommend stopping by this outlet on your next trip to NYC.
Address: 55 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301.
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