Staten Island is severely underrated. There a number of things to do here, with the borough home to a variety of charming neighborhoods, cultural institutions and plenty of restaurants.
Things to do at night
While not known for its nightlife, here are a few suggestions for how to have a great evening adventure on Staten Island.
Located in the North Shore, Flagship Brewing is the only brewery on Staten Island and was started up by a group of local beer enthusiasts. Flagship hosts tastings, book signings and readings, and live music, so check the bar’s calendar for interesting events before visiting.
Strap on your roller skates and head out to RollerJam USA. While often a great option for the whole family, Saturday nights are adults-only – perfect for some nostalgic fun without worrying about the kids. Saturday night is also when the full-service bar opens up, and the fun really starts.
Staten Island Ferry at St George’s Ferry Terminal
While others might be paying the big bucks to take a river cruise to see the Statue of Liberty, take the free Staten Island Ferry and enjoy the NYC skyline without taking out your wallet. The ferry also has some of the most affordable drinks in all of New York City for those looking for some beer or wine with their ride.
Dive into Little Sri Lanka (Tompkinsville and St George neighborhoods) by visiting Lakruwana. Importing its curry spices from Sri Lanka, Lakruwana serves up a variety of regional dishes, including biriyani served with your choice of meat, shrimp or vegetables and saffron-flavored basmati rice.
Things to do with the family
Looking for fun for the whole family? These destinations are sure to delight visitors of all ages.
Staten Island Museum
As one of the institutions at Snug Harbor, the Staten Island Museum has educational exhibits that include topics specific to the borough. The museum also hosts more general exhibits, such as Remember the Mastodon, which shines a spotlight on the extinct mammal and the challenge of preservation.
Staten Island Zoo
In West New Brighton, the Staten Island Zoo gives guests the chance to get up close and personal with animals from around the world. The zoo offers a range of classes and gives young visitors the chance to touch many of the animals.
Closed in 1994, Fort Wadsworth is a former military base that overlooks New York Bay. Guided tours are offered for those who want to explore the historic structures like the Battery Weed and Fort Tompkins, both built in the 19th century. Other parts of the fort are open for independent exploration.
If cars aren’t exactly your thing, maybe things made out of scrap metal from cars is? The sculptures by Lenny Prince at Lenny’s Creations are made of raw metal as he twists and bends to make them as big or small as he wants, and include a variety of original art pieces that resemble insects, animals, celebrities and even a US president. Prince has displayed his custom pieces for the past four years, and this unique museum also has nifty gifts for friends and family back home.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a huge comic book fan or more of a casual reader: Hypno-Tronic is for everyone. Here, you’ll find a variety of items, including the latest comics and vintage toy collectables. Whether you’re looking to add to your collection or start a new one, you’re sure to find something at Hypno-Tronic.
National Lighthouse Museum
This museum opened in 2015 with the aim of educating and preserving the navigational history of lighthouses. With technological advances like GPS and radar, the need for lighthouses has decreased, threatening the future of these now historic sites. Looking over one of the busiest harbors in the country, the National Lighthouse Museum is perfectly situated to educate about nautical navigation.
Romantic things to do
Mix up date night by going out on Staten Island with these perfect romantic destinations.
St George Theatre
This historic theater is just steps away from the St George Ferry Terminal.With its original decor restored, the St George Theatre contributes and provides community outreach, many educational programs and public performances. The theater has hosted a plethora of performances by both local and famous musicians and comedians.
New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden
One of two authentic classical outdoor Chinese gardens built in the United States, the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden offers a perfectly curated peaceful place that is ideal for a romantic walk. The garden was mostly constructed in China and finished on Staten Island. The mosaic in the upper pavilion, which uses broken rice bowls to represent China and broken beer bottles to represent America, is a symbol of unity and friendship between the two countries.
Staten Island Winery
Located on the West Shore, Staten Island Winery is perfect for a tasting. However, for those who truly love wine, it offers lessons on how to make your own wine – though this suggestion is for a series of dates. Over the course of four dates, for a total of eight hours, you and your significant other can make your own wines, digging deeper into the art of winemaking. For those not interested in making the time commitment, the Staten Island Winery also hosts other events, such as a mozzarella-making class or cheese tastings.
Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art
This beautiful museum was created by art collector Jacques Marchais to serve as “a bridge between Tibetan art and culture and the world.” The museum houses preserved artefacts and replicates the monasteries of Tibet, all while providing visitors with an insight into life in the Himalayas.
Things to do for history lovers
The history of Staten Island is well preserved and offers many options for visitors looking to learn more.
Sitting on one of the southernmost tips of Staten Island, the Conference House became the borough’s first house museum in 1937. Built before 1680, the home hosted the Staten Island Peace Conference, which failed to end the Revolutionary War in September 1776. Now, the Conference House is a National Historic Landmark and is open for tours during the warmer months.
Built in 1838, this Greek Revival mansion offers insight into life on Staten Island in the 19th century. Peacocks walk around the grounds, making the site a popular destination in which to fall back in time. The Seguine Mansion is open a few times a year or by appointment for tours of its restored opulent interiors.
Fans of the mysterious will enjoy Kreischer Mansion’s haunting past. In 1855, Bavarian immigrant Balthasar Kreischer built the mansion for his son Edward, who killed himself a decade later and is rumored to stalk the grounds. But that would not be the last death the property would see as Robert McKelvey was killed in 2005 by the property’s caretaker Joe Black, a hitman for the Bonanno crime family.
Alice Austen House Museum and Garden
Alice Austen was one of the first documentary photographers and the first woman on Staten Island to own a car. Her family home, where she lived with her lover Gertrude Tate for nearly 30 of the 50 years she occupied the residence, is now open as a gallery and historic home, known as the Alice Austen House Museum and Gallery. It brings in a variety of exhibits, and the property is a popular rental venue for parties and weddings.
Historic Richmond Town
If you love history just as much as Staten Island does, a trip to the middle of the borough is a must. Historic Richmond Town celebrates authentic and enriching history in which the experience of 17th-century America is presented through a variety of artefacts, books, concerts and events.
Things to do outdoors
Staten Island has the most undeveloped and preserved land of any borough and is ideal for any visitor looking to escape urban life, without venturing too far from it.
Once known as the Fresh Kills Landfill, this land is currently in the process of being transformed into Freshkills Park. The 30-year plan started in 2008 to convert the landfill into reclaimed wetlands, recreational facilities and landscaped public parkland. Schmul Park opened in 2012 as the first section of the park to welcome visitors and includes a colorful playground, basketball courts and sandbox.
High Rock Park
Defined by tranquil ponds and deep woods, High Rock Park is a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The six walking trails allow visitors to safely disappear into the forest, where you’ll find blue heron, muskrats, turtles and wood ducks.
Staten Island Tugboat Graveyard
This marine scrapyard might be officially called Donjon Iron and Metal Scrap Processing Facility, but it is much better known as the Tugboat Graveyard. The shallow water laps against rusting and decomposing tugboats, ferries and barges. Difficult to access, this site is often sparsely populated, giving it an eerie vibe and making it popular with photographers and artists.
Richmond County Bank Ballpark
This ballpark is the highlight of any baseball fan’s day. Home to the Staten Island Yankees, a Minor League Baseball team, the Richmond County Bank Ballpark offers both seats and food at inexpensive prices. If you’re looking for a day out watching America’s pastime, this is definitely it, with great seating locations and a vast amount of parking on game days. Pre-game, in-game and post-game experiences are also offered for the whole family.
Mount Loretto Unique Area
Mount Loretto is 241 acres (98 hectares) of open space reserve and nature preserve. including the nearby waters. The area is perfect for hiking, biking and paddling. Mount Loretto was once known for the rock sculptures that graced its beaches, but they have since disappeared into the ocean. But the natural wonders remain for visitors to observe from various pathways and pavilions.
Franklin D Roosevelt Boardwalk and Beach
This boardwalk extends about 2.5 miles (four kilometers) off the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, with scenic views of the waterfront and Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. South Fin Grill Restaurant is located here, along with ample picnic dining areas, bike riding lanes and a few delis. It is a pretty place to relax and watch the sunset after a long day, and a great destination to visit in the summer for the public beach.
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