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Usher in spring with one of these 11 outdoor activities

Usher in spring with one of these 11 outdoor activities
Photograph: Whitney Lawson

It’s finally time. Time to trade in the hot toddies, belly-warming comfort food and cozy as f*ck hideaways of winter for spring’s warmer weather and sunnier days.   

Kick off a season full of sunshine and long walks in the park with one of these 11 outdoor activities perfect for spring. And hey, even if the cold winter weather hangs on for a little bit, at least you can dream, right?

Bike along the Hudson River
The Hudson River Greenway runs all the way from the tip of Manhattan (Fort Tryon Park) to the toe (Battery Park). That’s nearly 13 miles—or an hour and a half on a bike. Rent a cycle and challenge yourself to see how much of the borough you can conquer in one day. Or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, attempt a tandem bike with a buddy. Just be sure to rent a helmet—it’s harder than it looks.

Walk the High Line
New York City’s only elevated park is a city dweller’s playground, with plenty of public art installations to view and benches to sit on for a moment of quiet contemplation. Come springtime, it becomes even more gorgeous, as the flower beds burst into bloom and the greenery comes back to life. Book a walking tour to spend a glorious afternoon strolling the promenade.   

Have dinner in a floating restaurant 
Head down to Pier 81 to find Fish Bar, a three-story restaurant and yacht. Once you’re seated and drinks have been served, you’ll set sail down the Hudson River. Dine on fresh seafood and Mediterranean-inspired dishes while taking in stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. If the weather’s nice, don’t forget to check out the rooftop deck—preferably with a cocktail in hand.  

Stroll through historic South Street Seaport
Once a hub for trade and home to a bustling fish market, South Street Seaport now features the largest concentration of restored buildings from the 1800s in Manhattan. Tour the tiny historic district to find gems like a 150-year-old print shop and Bridge Cafe, known as New York's oldest drinking establishment. Cap off the afternoon with a cocktail at one of the area’s riverfront bars.

Go on a photo safari
No, you won’t find any giraffes, elephants or tigers in Central Park, but you’ll need the same sense of adventure in order to scout out the incredible photo opportunities. Perfect for both experienced shutterbugs and amateurs, this landscape photography workshop doubles as a fun way to explore one of the city’s most popular landmarks.

Take a class at the New York Botanical Garden
As well known as the New York Botanical Garden is for the annual Orchid Show, its classes and workshops still fly under the radar. Docents teach everything from an in-depth class on the Fundamentals of Gardening to a three-hour Essential Oil Perfume Workshop. So head up to the Bronx and get schooled!

Have breakfast with the sea lions
Why should kids get all the fun? Tap into your childlike sense of wonder at this adults-only breakfast at the Central Park Zoo. A zookeeper will give you the lowdown on the sea lions (the zoo’s loudest residents) while you chow down. And since this lecture occurs before the zoo opens to the public, you’ll have the place to yourself.

Picnic in Sheep’s Meadow
Call up five of your closest friends and head to Central Park for the ultimate VIP picnic experience. A basket full of cheese and crackers, fresh fruit and veggies, lemonades, card games and more will be delivered right to you—no planning or tedious packing required. All that’s left to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the sunshine.

Browse a local flea market or street fair
The return of warm weather also means the return of the city’s best food festivals, street fairs and flea markets. Whether you want to shop for retro threads at Bushwick Flea or chow down on local eats at LIC Flea & Food, there’s something to tickle your fancy.

Rollerblade around Central Park
Throw it back to those childhood afternoons blading down the sidewalk by renting a fresh pair of skates and taking off down one of the three Central Park Drives. Just make sure to choose a time when the drives are closed to traffic so you won’t have to share the road with any cars.

Tour a hydroponic farm in the Financial District
A farm, in Manhattan? Yep, you read that right. The Institute of Culinary Education cultivates microgreens, rare herbs, heirloom vegetables and more inside Farm.One. Take an hourlong tour to learn how a hydroponic farm works and taste some rare plants you’ve probably never tried before. Bonus: Everyone leaves with a gift box filled to the brim with fresh produce.

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