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Bronx Zoo
Photograph: Shutterstock

The best things to do in the Bronx

Our awesome list of things to do in the Bronx includes must-see attractions and other gems the borough has to offer

By Tolly Wright

The former home of J.Lo has much to offer. The very best things to do in the Bronx includes crowd-favorites and beloved New York attractions such as the New York Botanical as well as the homebase of one of America's greatest baseball teams. (That would be Yankee Stadium, folks.) Aside from the heavy hitters, the borough offers excellent Italian restaurants, famous NYC parks and the legendary Bronx Zoo. If you’ve only ever traveled north of Manhattan on the 4 train see the Yankees play before getting the hell out, you should reassess the Bronx and see why so many residents are proud of this unsung hero of a borough.

RECOMMENDED: The full guide to Bronx, NY

Best things to do in the Bronx

Photograph: Courtest Yelp/Paul M.

1. Eat authentic Italian food

Restaurants Italian The Bronx

Every true New Yorker knows that the real Little Italy is actually in the Bronx. Leave the massive tourist crowds and sugary pizza sauce on Mulberry Street and head to Arthur Avenue for exceptional bakeries, markets and restaurants. Have a need for cheese? Taste the hand-pulled mozzarella and burrata cheeses at Casa Della Mozzarella. For an exceptional veal parmigiana and pasta dishes that will keep your mouth watering, grab dinner at Dominick's. If you need something sweet, get one of the cannolis from Madoni Brothers Bakery.

Yankee Stadium
Photograph: Shutterstock

2. Root for the home team at Yankee Stadium

Sports and fitness Stadiums The Bronx

With a hefty $2 billion price tag when construction was completed in 2009, this giant state-of-the-art stadium marries the old with the new. Though there’s design elements (like the the Indiana limestone outside) that remain the same from the old Yankee stadium, which stood just a few blocks away from 1923 to 2008, the modern touches like cup holders, more bathrooms and extra concession stands are welcome improvements. And lest you forget, it’s home to the most successful team in all of baseball history—in terms of World Series wins and general awesomeness. If they win while you’re there, expect Ol’ Blue Eyes to come over the speakers with “New York, New York”—even if you’re not a fan of the team, it’s hard to argue with Frank Sinatra. 

Wave Hill
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Amy N.

3. Visit beautiful sprawling gardens with waterfront views

Attractions Parks and gardens The Bronx

Wave Hill, a glorious, scenic public garden, is tucked away in Riverdale, the northernmost region in the city. In the 19th and early 20th century, the giant estate and grounds were owned and rented by various notable people including bankers, conductors, imminent zoologists and Theodore Roosevelt’s family. Today, head there to frolic along the hills and appreciate the manicured gardens, lovely architecture and staggering views of the Hudson River and the Palisades.

New York Botanical Garden
Photograph: Shutterstock

4. Smell the flowers at New York Botanical Garden

Attractions Parks and gardens The Bronx

The New York Botanical Garden is a wonderland for plant lovers. Whether you’re looking to traverse a wooded forest with trees that date back to the Revolutionary War, pretend you’re part of European gentry in the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden or feel like you’re in a tropical environment in the glass conservatory, the 250 acres of this treasured institution has it all. Annual events like the Holiday Train Show, featuring miniature versions of New York landmarks made out of organic material as well as the breathtaking Orchid Show, bring the masses to the Bronx, but it’s worth visiting this spot all year round.

Bronx Zoo
Photograph: Shutterstock

5. See thousands of animals at the Bronx Zoo

Attractions Zoo and aquariums The Bronx

The biggest urban zoo in the country happens to be accessible with just a swipe of your MetroCard. Lions, tigers and bears are all there, along with 600 other species. Popular exhibits include the Congo Gorilla Forest, where primates run and play, and the Wild Asia Monorail, which takes you past the aforementioned tigers and other endangered creatures in their expansive habitats. 

City Island Historical Society and Nautical Museum
Photograph: Courtest Yelp/Melissa L.

6. Feel like you’re in New England on City Island

Museums Special interest The Bronx

Yes, it’s technically in the Bronx, but the small community living on this quaint one-and-a-half-mile island might just remind you of quiet towns found much further north up the shore. Take the 6 train to the BX29 bus for a full day of exploring the former boat-building mecca, where you’ll find the free City Island Historical Society and Nautical Museum, along with more seafood restaurants than you would believe could fit on such a small piece of land. If you like your fish fried, make sure to stop by Johnny’s Famous Reef Restaurant

Pelham Bay Park
Photograph: Alex Strada

7. Frolic the day away at Pelham Bay Park

Attractions Parks and gardens The Bronx

With 13 miles of saltwater shoreline, marshes and oak forests, it’s easy to imagine how this historic land was used over the past several centuries when the Siwanoy tribes lived there and Ann Hutchinson and her family met their tragic deaths while looking for religious freedom in the 17th century. The park is not only three times bigger than Central Park, it also offers one-of-a-kind experiences like the popular Orchard Beach and the grounds of the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum. Looking to get active? This park has everything: tennis, football fields, horseback riding, roller hockey, bocce and even golf. Hours and hours of entertainment await you.

Orchard Beach
Photograph: Filip Wolak

8. Soak up the sun on Orchard Beach

Attractions Beaches The Bronx

As we mentioned above, the Bronx’s only public beach spans 1.1 miles, and is notable for its unique crescent shape and stunning views of City Island. The shore was created by Robert Moses in the 1930s and still remains one of the most popular beaches in New York to date. For what the sandy waterfront lacks in restaurants and bars, it makes up for with concession stands, two picnic areas and 26 courts for basketball, volleyball and handball.

The Bronx Brewery
Photograph: Courtesy The Bronx Brewery

9. Grab a cold one at The Bronx Brewery

Bars Breweries The Bronx

Beer lovers are drawn to this craft brewery for its delicious, rotating crop of ales, but they stay—and keep coming back—because of the atmosphere and good company. During the warm months, grab a spot at a picnic table in the backyard, order the tasting selection and challenge your buddies to a game of Jenga while enjoying the sun. In colder months, the indoor tasting room, which has windows looking into the industrial brewery portion of the venue, is the perfect place to bundle up with specialty cask ale—expect plenty of flavors with ingredients like orange peel, peppers, nutmeg or cinnamon, depending on the season. Cheers!

Bronx Museum of the Arts
Photograph: Courtesy Bronx Museum of the Arts

10. See phenonmenal art at the Bronx Museum of the Arts

Museums Art and design The Bronx

Head to the Grand Concourse Cultural District for this exceptional modern institution. Though younger than many of the other museums in the city—it was founded in 1971—the Bronx Museum’s commitment to reflecting the rich, diverse cultures found in the borough through its permanent collection makes the museum a staple of New York. The art displayed there is mostly from modern and contemporary American artists, and special exhibits often try to tackle political and social problems relevant to today. If you don’t have time for a full museum day, make sure you at least stop by the Bronx Museum Community Mural at Bronx Terminal Market, where an artist brought a scene from Bronx’s natural landscape to a far more commercial spot in the borough.

Van Cortlandt Park
Photograph: Courtesy Van Cortlandt Park

11. Explore the forest at Van Cortlandt Park

Attractions Parks and gardens The Bronx

The thousand-plus acres of Van Cortlandt Park are a treasure trove for residents looking to forget the bustle of the city. Take a run through the highly-wooded cross-country trails or grab a picnic spot by New York’s oldest freshwater lake, and you’ll quickly forget about the stresses of traffic and crowded streets. History buffs should stop by Van Cortlandt House Museum, the oldest still-standing structure in the borough, to learn about how the Van Cortlandt family lived in the house in the 18th and 19th centuries and their part in the changing world around them.

Photograph: Courtesy Gillian Todd

12. Oblige your late-night munchies

Bronx Night Market features local vendors serving up tamales, soul food, latkes, ice cream, pastries, elotes and vegan creations, plus libations from the Bronx Brewery, Port Morris Distillery, Brox Beer Hall and others. In addition to all of the delicious provisions, the market offers nifty wares from local artisans and live music performances from Bonx musicians. Come appreciate all that NYC's northernmost borough has to offer. For when it runs, visit Bronx Night Market website for more news. 

101 of the best things to do in NYC

New York skyline
Photograph: Arnold Shamis

101 things to do in New York: The full list

Things to do

Whether you want to try every single idea on this list or just get some inspiration for your weekend, seeing the full list of 101 things to do in New York is enough to convince anyone that this is the greatest city in the world. 


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