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Photograph: Alys Tomlinson

Best things to do in Staten Island, New York

Bask in views of Upper New York Bay, check out a gorgeous park, eat Italian food and more things to do in Staten Island

Written by
Jennifer Picht
Time Out New York contributors

Ride the ferry to enjoy all the wonderful things to do in Staten Island—one of New York's five boroughs. There is much to explore from great Italian restaurants to one of the most gorgeous NYC parks. Bask in the views of Upper New York Bay from St. George, a waterfront neighborhood bustling with museums including outdoor and maritime fun. There are plenty of other nabes to discover as well, including the East Shore's beaches. Start with our recommendations below! 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Staten Island, New York

Things to do in Staten Island

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Staten Island
  • price 1 of 4

Sitting just a ferry ride away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, this Staten Island gem, a former home for retired sailers, is still somewhat of a secret. Spread across 83 acres, the area boasts an enormous botanical garden and cultural center surrounded by cobblestone streets and tiny paths of Victorian and Tudor homes. One of the most popular attractions here is the Chinese Scholar’s Garden, fitted with magnificent rocks meant to resemble mountains inspired by the poetry and paintings of Confucian, Buddhist and Taoist monks, as well as a bamboo forest path and Koi-filled pond.

  • Restaurants
  • Staten Island

Gorge on some of New York City’s best pizza at this Italian staple, which boasts a full menu: pizza by the slice, pasta, calzones, sandwiches and even rib eye. The portions are generous, so come hungry. You’ll leave with your stomach and your wallet feeling  full—most of the entrées as well as the 16-inch pizzas are priced well under $20. Photograph: Yelp/Marie's 2

  • Museums
  • Military and maritime
  • Staten Island

Aside from gazing at more than 180 lighthouse models from 29 states, peeping life-size historical images and reading the personal stories of various beacon keepers, this museum sells tickets ($60) for boat tours that explore nearby lighthouses, ship graveyards and other attractions on New York Harbor and the East and Hudson rivers.

Photograph: Yelp/Chasey R.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Attractions
  • Sightseeing
  • Financial District

The price of a harbor crossing between Staten Island and lower Manhattan may be the only activity in New York City that’s cheaper today than it was in 1817. Back then, it was 25 cents; today, it’s free. This 24-hour ferry is a lifeline for commuters making their way from NYC’s southernmost borough, but it’s also a boat trip affording some of the finest views in the world. Keep your eyes peeled for Governors Island to the east and Ellis Island and Lady Liberty to the west as the Manhattan skyline recedes in the vessel’s wake.

  • Things to do
  • Performances

This weekly concert series goes down just across the street from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, so residents of other boroughs have to do little more than take a quick boat ride to catch a free show. The lineup includes live techno outfit Worldtown Soundsystem, Latin-jazz vet Papo Vázquez, funky bhangra fusion band Red Baraat and acoustic jazz ensemble UTA All Stars.

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