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staten island ferry
Photograph: Alys Tomlinson

The best things to do on 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

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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

  • 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

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

  • Attractions
  • Historic buildings and sites
  • Staten Island
  • price 1 of 4

Located in the Richmondtown neighborhood, this historic site and museum offers a living history experience fun for the whole family. Learn historical social dances, walk through the open village (May - October) to meet historical interpreters that show what it was like to live on Staten Island in the 18th and 19th centuries.

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Audre Lorde Residence
Photograph: Christopher D. Brazee

Audre Lorde Residence

Visit the historic neo-colonial home of New York writer and activist Audre Lorde. Located in the Stapleton Heights Historic District, this landmarked home is a special spot in the city’s rich LGBTQ and Black feminist history. Lorde lived here with her partner and two children from 1972 to 1987 and much of her seminal work was created in this space. Nearby, Silver Lake Park has a dedicated Audre Lorde Walk for peaceful contemplation. 

  • Attractions

Catch a tan under some of the best views of the Verrazzano! It’s not quite Miami, but it is a sunny respite full of revelers. Home to the largest fishing pier in the city, plus free concerts and fireworks throughout the summer, South Beach is a worthwhile outdoor destination. A special area for seniors also offers checkerboard tables, bocce courts and plenty of benches to catch an oceanic breeze.

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  • Attractions
  • Zoo and aquariums
  • Staten Island
  • price 1 of 4

Hit up a zoo in every borough, including this one! Tickets to the eight-acre zoo are only $10 and include access to all exhibits including foxes, a reptile wing, a leopard habitat, horse barn and more. The conservation carousel is also a fun ride for kids and special interactive programming is offered each week.

RollerJam USA
  • Attractions
  • Arcades and amusements
  • Staten Island

This old-school-style indoor roller rink is worth a visit! It’s family-friendly and home to plenty of birthday parties, except on Saturday nights when it’s 21+. Pizza is served by the slice and admission is $15, plus a $5 skate rental, if you need it.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Staten Island
  • price 2 of 4

A restaurant run entirely by grandmas, Enoteca is a culinary experience every New Yorker must try. Visit for their Nonnas of The World series, in which grandmothers from across the globe cook up their regional specialties for diners to enjoy. Think cuisine from Italy, Palestine, Armenia, Puerto Rico and beyond.

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Staten Island Greenbelt
Photograph: Wikimedia Commons

Staten Island Greenbelt

The island’s premiere park offers almost 3,000 acres of nature to explore. If you’re into urban hiking, this is your spot. Take advantage of well-maintained trails that are open to runners and some to bikers. Classes and events are often open to the public if you don’t want to forge through the Staten Island wilderness solo.  

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