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Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway
Photograph: Courtesy Will Ragozzino

Best bike routes in NYC

Take your wheels on some of the most scenic and exciting trips you can find in New York City.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
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Last year, bicycles were one of the only ways we got around the city, and now that we know our commutes, there's time to scope out some scenic paths, from Brooklyn Bridge Park's iconic bikeway to Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island and more.

So if you're looking to expand your horizons on two wheels, check out some of NYC's best routes and paths below based on cyclists' recommendations.

Best bike routes in NYC

  • Things to do

The Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway ride will take you along 26 miles roughly following the greenway route, which is ideal for relaxed biking without worrying about traffic. You'll discover Brooklyn’s Red Hook, Sunset Park, and Bay Ridge neighborhoods and pedal through city, state, and national Parks like the Naval Cemetery Landscape, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Bush Terminal Park, and Pier, Erie Basin Park, Owl’s Head Park, Plumb Beach, and Shore Parkway. Of course, you'll also take in breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline, Brooklyn Bridge, Jamaica Bay, and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

When fininished in 2021, the Greenway will improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians, ensure that residents in historically underserved neighborhoods can access the water, and strengthen our resilience in the face of rising sea levels and storm surges brought on by the changing climate, according to the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative.

Crotona Park
  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • The Bronx

Check out Crotona Park (1700 Crotona Ave at Claremont Pkwy, Bronx). The green space boasts a 3.3-acre lake and 28 species of trees (the shade will come in handy). 

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  • Attractions
  • Public spaces
  • Financial District

The East River Waterfront Esplanade is a public greenway in Manhattan that runs from Battery Park to Harlem. The 10-mile path is interrupted for about 20 blocks, but you'll get to ride alongside the East River and see the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts, the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges and the United Nations Plaza.

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Rockaways

This ocean-front park features a number of nature walks, as well as remnants from its military past. Its fortifications were built in 1917 to protect New York Harbor from air and sea attacks. The beach is a part of the 26,000 acre Gateway National Recreation Area that runs through Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island all the way into Monmouth County, New Jersey. The best part? It’s a long ride, and it’s mostly flat. Let the Atlantic wash away the sweat of a solid trek, and make headway on that paperback you’ve been toting around. 

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  • Things to do

Bike NYC photographer Ed Glazar has been documenting the city’s booming bike culture for decades and recommends the cemetery belt in Queens.

"It’s massive, it’s entrenched in New York and American history, and there are more dead buried here than there are people living in Queens—three times more. It also has abundant photo opportunities."

  • Attractions
  • Historic buildings and sites
  • Staten Island

The ground on which Staten Island’s Fort Wadsworth (Bay St at Wadsworth Ave, Staten Island; nps.gov/gate; free) now stands was originally fortified by the British in the middle of the Revolutionary War, and continued to operate as the oldest active military installation in the United States until 1994. Explore the site on your bike and stop to check out the derelict Battery Weed, the catacomb-like tunnels and gunpowder rooms.

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  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Brooklyn Heights

Glide along the Brooklyn waterfront with gorgeous views of the Manhattan skyline across an 85-acre expanse with unique attractions such as Jane’s Carousel, a restored 1920s merry-go-round. A designated bikeway travels from Pier 1 to Pier 6 offers cyclists twists, turns and dips to enjoy the city’s premier urban playground.

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Morningside Heights

Measuring almost 160 acres, this green space in Washington Heights is home to the Little Red Lighthouse, the star of a popular children's book (not to mention Manhattan's only lighthouse) with dramatic cliffs, meadows, and wooded areas that overlook the Hudson River and the Palisades.

 

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  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Randall's Island

Located on the East River between East Harlem, the South Bronx and Astoria, Queens, this park offers waterfront views of the East River along its western shoreline, which also features bicycle and pedestrian trails.

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Chelsea

This strip of waterfront park stretches from Battery Park to 59th Street, allowing you to walk, bike or skate while looking at the Hudson River and New Jersey. There are flowers, benches, piers and usually lots of programs—including youth sports and kayak rides in the river.

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