Photo: Liz Ligon / Courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Everyone needs to escape from the concrete jungle from time to time. And our centrally located city allows even the car-less to take easy, affordable, and convenient day trips. All you need is a free Saturday, some friends, and a sense of adventure, and you can flee for sand and surf, charming river towns, or nostalgic boardwalks without too much trouble.
The name of the game is accessibility, and it couldn’t be more simple to plan a trip to the outer boroughs, upstate New York, or (gasp!) New Jersey. We’ve rounded up some stellar day trips for outdoor types, foodies, architecture and art lovers, adventure seekers, and music aficionados. And there are plenty of activities for both the budget-savvy and the high-roller (and everyone in between).
Ahead, amazing , a magnificent landscape installation consisting of 1,300 floating steel spheres. Tickets required; reservations strongly recommended.
Getting There: Take the Metro-North New Haven line from Grand Central Station to New Canaan (about 75 minutes from Grand Central).
Photo: Courtesy of the Glass House.
Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY
Located on an old Rockefeller estate, Blue Hill Farm is a working farm, education center, and home to a top-notch restaurant helmed by chef Dan Barber. Stroll the peaceful grounds, tour the barnyard, and enjoy the delight of eating the day’s harvest as part of chef Barber’s multi-course tasting menus. A restaurant this popular requires advanced reservations. Grab iced lattes, light snacks, and baked goodies from the café to enjoy on the train ride home.
Getting There: Take the Metro-North Hudson line from Grand Central Station to Tarrytown (about 35 minutes) and a 10-minute cab ride to the farm.
Photo: Courtesy of Blue Hill Farm.
From Manhattan, a free ferry ushers you to 30 acres of blissful (car-free) green park at Governors Island. Enjoy a picnic lunch, lounge in a hammock, eat ice cream, rent bikes, and kayak (free of charge). Check out one of the guest food vendors and grab a cold brew at Little Eva’s. In August, the fashionable Heminway-esque Jazz Age Lawn Party showcases an array of 1920s costumes and musical performances.
Getting There: Take a ferry from Lower Manhattan or Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 (only on Saturdays and Sundays).
Photo: Courtesy of Governors Island.
Cold Spring, NY
Experience the arty, charming, and well-preserved 19th-century town of Cold Spring, 50 miles north of Manhattan, along the Hudson River. Enjoy the leisurely pace, take in the rolling hills, and go hiking, kayaking, or biking. Pack a basket with some provisions (think cheese and charcuterie), a bottle of your favorite Champagne, and set up an epic picnic.
Getting There: Take the Metro-North Hudson line from Grand Central Station to Cold Spring (about 75 minutes from Grand Central).
Photographed by Laura Miller.
Asbury Park, NJ
Embrace your inner Jersey girl (or guy) at this boisterous summertime haven, made famous by Bruce Springsteen. You’ll find Victorian architecture, a lively 130-year-old boardwalk scene (with old-school spots like a …