Governors Island

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
Critics' pick
4 Love It
Photograph: Donald Yip

Governors Island


Governors Island


Governors Island


Governors Island


Governors Island

Governors Island Free
A seven-minute ride on a free ferry takes you to this seasonal island sanctuary, a scant 800 yards from lower Manhattan. Thanks to its strategic position in the middle of New York Harbor, Governors Island was a military outpost and off-limits to the public for 200 years. It finally opened to summer visitors in 2006. The verdant, 172-acre isle still retains a significant chunk of its military-era architecture, including Fort Jay, started in 1776, and Castle Williams, which was completed in 1812 and used as a prison. The 22-acre area containing the forts and historical officers’ residences is now a national landmark. Today, the island is jointly run by the city, the state and the National Park Service, and it provides a peaceful setting for cycling (bring a bike on the ferry, or rent from Bike and Roll once there). The island hosts a program of events, such as concert series and art exhibitions (see website for schedule), and where else can you have a picnic directly across from the Statue of Liberty?
Venue name: Governors Island
New York

Opening hours: 7 days/week, 10am–7pm. May 23–Sept 27
Price: Ferry is $2 roundtrip

Pick a date

  • Sculpture Until Tuesday September 22 2015 Free
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  • Classes and workshops Saturday August 15 2015 - Sunday August 16 2015
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  • Festivals Thursday September 3 2015 - Sunday September 6 2015 Free
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Average User Rating

4.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening
Grace I Chen

Governors Island is hands down my favorite place to take visitors. It’s no longer a “best-kept-secret” as more and more events are being held on the island each summer, but nevertheless, it is big enough where you can easily find quiet places to explore. What makes this place extra special is knowing that it was once an army base where my husband visited as a young child (his father is an army veteran). It’s pretty neat learning about all the history behind this place and seeing how the history has been retained as the island has evolved into a fantastic park. Bonus - there are bikes and kayaks to rent, and depending on what day/time you visit, rental may be free.

d m

Pros: Bring a bike and go on a sunny warm day:)

Cons: transportation to and fro.