For either tourists or locals, the Bronx is not exactly a popular New York City destination. Being the birthplace of hip-hop, a hub for immigrant groups around the world, and home to some of the city’s most historic landmarks, we believe the borough more than deserves your attention. Here, we’ve compiled a list of 10 reasons you should get lost—or get down—in the Boogie Down Bronx.
Celebrate spring all year long at the New York Botanical Garden
A National Historic Landmark, the New York Botanical Garden has the distinction of being the largest botanical garden in any North American city. The garden lives up to its reputation, hosting both indoor and outdoor displays, live musical performances, visual art exhibitions, and more. Offering programs year-round, the New York Botanical Garden keeps the spirit of spring alive even in the midst of winter.
At menu-less eatery Ebe Ye Yie, diners order by peeking through a Plexiglass window and selecting cooked rice balls, peanut butter stew, chunky sweat-inducing pepper relish, and whatever else the Ghanian kitchen is serving up that day. Meanwhile, at 188 Bakery Cuchifritos, traditional Puerto Rican and Dominican salt-cod pancakes, garlicky mashed plantains, and fried pork chunks are gobbled up by locals and in-the-know foodies. Just two examples of many, the borough is bursting with flavorful ethnic cuisine from independently run restaurants.
The first brewery to open its doors in the Bronx since the 1960s, The Bronx Brewery is a hopping watering hole beloved by beer-loving locals. Boasting a tasting room and a family- and dog-friendly backyard where the venue has been known to host live musical performances, the brewery offers an impressive selection of perennial and seasonal ales, barrel reserves, and—because it’s the Bronx—hip-hop-inspired brews.
Broaden your horizons at the Bronx Documentary Center
Art Gallery, Museum
Photo by Abbas Hajimohammadi | Bronx Documentary Center
Upon noticing a disconnect between the typical documentary’s poor subjects and its audiences, the Bronx Documentary Center (BDC) formed in an attempt to “bring the world to the Bronx and the Bronx to the world.” Located in one of the city’s most underserved communities, the BDC achieves its goal by hosting free screenings, operating a photography collective open to residents, and empowering the borough’s youth through art-based educational programs.
You don’t have to be a sports fan to appreciate Yankee Stadium, an iconic piece of New York City history. As the Major League Baseball’s record holder for most World Series wins, the New York Yankees have a firm hold on the hearts of locals and baseball enthusiasts around the world, and Yankee Stadium is where the team calls home. The new stadium pays homage to the venue’s original design while incorporating modern elements, a nod to the team’s rich history as well as its bright future.
City Island—a picturesque seaside town that is home to a vibrant boating culture and New York City’s freshest seafood, and entirely unknown to many New Yorkers. Plan your next day trip for this offshoot of the Bronx packed full of Victorian architecture, small-town watering holes, and picture-perfect views.
In an effort to make art accessible to the Bronx community, The Bronx Museum of the Arts boasts a free admission policy, a Teen Council, and an active Education Department. The museum’s exhibitions, which feature murals, photography, comics, and more, particularly highlight Bronx-based artists and creatives of African, Latino, and Asian descent, a focus befitting an immigrant hub like the Bronx.
At three times the size of Manhattan’s Central Park, Pelham Bay Park is New York City’s largest park property. Hiking trails, two golf courses, a sprawling 13-mile (21-kilometer) shoreline, and a public beach to top it all off make this historic park a favorite for families, athletes, and tourists and locals alike.
A global hub for creatives of all disciplines, New York has always attracted and inspired artists. While the Bronx is most associated with the hip-hop pioneers who’ve come out of it, the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage focuses instead on its namesake 19th-century author who called the borough home toward the end of his life. The cottage, erected in 1812, was the creation site of some of the poet’s most popular works, including “Annabel Lee” and “The Bells,” and continues to be a favorite attraction for the city’s lit-loving set.
Specializing in hard-to-find vinyl, Moodies Records is one of the city’s top destinations for true music fanatics. Reggae, old- and new-school hip-hop, new releases, and more all share space on the shelves at this retro indie record store. The best part about this community gem? In the unlikely event that the shop doesn’t have what you’re looking for, Moodies’ passionate and knowledgeable owner might just track it down for you.