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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

Photograph: Alys Tomlinson
By Jennifer Picht and Time Out New York contributors |
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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

The Chinese Scholars Garden at Snug Harbor
Photograph: Courtesy Snug Harbor
Attractions, Parks and gardens

Snug Harbor Cultural Center

Staten Island

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.

Photograph: Yelp/Marie's 2
Restaurants

Marie’s 2

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

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Photograph: Yelp/Chasey R.
Museums, Military and maritime

The National Lighthouse Museum

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.

Photograph: Yelp/Ronald G
Theater

St. George Theatre

Staten Island

This outer-borough theater is a convenient walk from the Staten Island Ferry and occasionally hosts family-friendly performances ranging from children's acts to touring, cartoon character–based musicals.

Photograph: Yelp/Ronald G

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New York attractions
Photograph: Alys Tomlinson
Attractions, Sightseeing

Staten Island Ferry

Financial District
4 out of 5 stars

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.

Photograph: Yelp/Barbara P.
Attractions, Historic buildings and sites

Fort Wadsworth

Staten Island

This 226-acre public park has a legacy as one of the longest operating military forts in the country. Now, it's a historical and picturesque attraction for visitors.

Photograph: Yelp/Barbara P. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Dominique D.
Museums, Special interest

Staten Island Museum

Midtown West

The museum's exhibits cover arts, sciences and local history. It also sponsors programs for both kids and adults.

 

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Dominique D.

Photograph: Courtesy Court Yard Fridays
Things to do, Performances

Court Yard Fridays

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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