New York is a concrete jungle, but locals are constantly seeking out nature in the city. Its East River has a waterfront where just about everything, from fine dining to exercising, provides opportunities to relax and escape the business of Manhattan without having to leave it.
Dine at an acclaimed waterfront restaurant
Timeless views and a classic New American menu have kept the River Café in demand for 40 years and counting. Come for the rack of lamb with arugula pesto, Hudson Valley Farm foie gras, and milk chocolate Marquise Brooklyn Bridge, and stay for the breathtaking waterfront vistas of downtown Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge.
South Street Seaport
South Street Seaport visitors may find it hard to believe the attraction traces its roots back to the early 1800s. Though many of its restored buildings date to the 19th century, today’s Seaport District boasts a cutting-edge reputation thanks to businesses such as by Chloe, Scotch & Soda, and the forthcoming Jean-Georges food market setting up shop.
Cruise the East River aboard the NYC Ferry by Hornblower
See the East River up close aboard the NYC Ferry by Hornblower. A swipe of your MetroCard grants you access to scenic views of Manhattan (at the East 34th Street and Wall Street stops), Queens (Hunters Point South in Long Island City), and Brooklyn (North Williamsburg, DUMBO, and more), not to mention conveniences including Wi-Fi and concessions.
Each Saturday from April through October, the view from East River State Park in North Williamsburg is eclipsed only by the Insta-famous (and drool-inducing) foods at Smorgasburg. Sought-after stands such as Ramen Burger and John’s Juice are included among the fest’s 100 local vendors, attracting 20,000 to 30,000 people every weekend.
Visit a dog park
Four-legged New Yorkers enjoy a good view of the skyline, too. Treat them to one, plus some quality time with pups their own size, at one of Carl Schurz Park’s multiple dog runs. The 15.2-acre park on Manhattan’s Upper East Side extends to the East River, another hit with local pooches.
Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
Enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the East River and cross a New York City staple off your bucket list when you walk the Brooklyn Bridge. Since its completion in 1883, the bridge has been a preferred subject for New York artists. However, visitors will find the Brooklyn Bridge also makes for an excellent vantage point, from which the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines and the East River are visible.
Take a spin on Jane’s Carousel
Or, do what many do, and just come for the ‘gram. Whatever your style, this beautiful restored 1922 carousel is an underrated New York City attraction worth experiencing. If you manage to tear your eyes away from Jane’s Carousel itself, don’t miss the picturesque view of the Manhattan skyline and Brooklyn Bridge.
Brooklyn Heights Promenade
The Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, and Empire State Building are all included in the panoramic view from Brooklyn Heights Promenade. The 1,826-foot-long walkway is one of New York City’s most romantic attractions, a reputation that was solidified by the promenade’s appearances in films such as Annie Hall and Moonstruck.
Come May 31, city-slickers can do their best impression of an upstate New Yorker when they board a kayak from the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse. No experience or money is necessary to glide (or if you dare, paddle) along the East River, which this activity puts you as close to as possible.
Roosevelt Island Tram
Another underrated New York City attraction, the Roosevelt Island Tram is the “most modern aerial tramway in the world” and the oldest in the country at 42 years old. Swipe your MetroCard to whiz through the air over the river and Manhattan’s East Side – keep those eyes open so as not to miss the view! – before coming to a stop on the tramway’s namesake Roosevelt Island.
Once you’ve landed on this narrow island in the city’s East River, you’ll find plenty to keep you entertained. Visit the acclaimed Four Freedoms Park, the spooky ruins of a 19th-century Smallpox Hospital, and historic landmarks like the Blackwell Island Lighthouse and Blackwell House.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.