Best Outdoor Activities in NYC

Spring is here, and spending time outdoors is a pleasant possibility. The outdoors are calling, and if you recoil these calls, you might find yourself passing out on some of the benefits of the outdoors, including: raising your vitamin D levels, which is crucial for the health of your bones and heart, and has an effect on depression, getting more exercise, increasing your level of happiness and relaxation, by exposing yourself to natural light while practicing in light activities, actions that are known to uplift the spirit and cheer you up.

And if that’s not enough, your concentration abilities will improve, leading to greater success in other activities such as day-to-day work, and your body may even heal faster, due to the positive affect of natural light.

With such grand advantages, we might ask ourselves what are you doing now, still reading this article, instead of leaping out and starting to walk, paddle, swim or run… unless, of course,  you are browsing this article from you laptop, enjoying the sunny air and breeze.

Here are the top 5 outdoor activities in NYC, compiled to uplift your spirit and improve your leisure time in the city.

1.     Nature hike at Inwood Hill Park

Not as famous, vast, or famed as its brother Central Park, this park is an old authentic relic of old New York.  One of the last nature reserved virgin forests in the borough, including some of the most outstanding natural views in NYC.

Inwood Hill Park

Inwood Hill park / Picture credit

2.     Rock climbing at Central Park   

 Bouldering may be an old trend, but I’m betting it’s here to stay. The combination of strength and flexibility workout, that demands complete control over every muscle in the body, alongside a pinch of adrenalin height-rush, is a sure bet for sport lovers; and what better place to do so than the beloved Central Park? You can have your pick at one of these picturesque named stones: Cat Rock, Wave Rock, or Rat Rock.

Rat Rock Central Park NYC

Rat Rock –  By benssss , via Wikimedia Commons

3.     A place to sleep under the stars in NYC

To watch the stars from the comfort of your sleeping bag is an experience to remember. Nothing beats the sensation of cool breeze on your face, while gazing at the shining stars above. And while the city seems far from ideal for camping at first sight, there are many good spots where camping is possible. The New York City Park department offers a new program for sleeping outdoors. You can enlist to the program and find yourself a slot to sleep in, Marine Park  in Brooklyn or Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, alongside the trained rangers of the parks department.

4.     Watching the birds at Prospect Park

585-acre urban oasis, as depicted in its official website, designed by Frederick Law, Prospect Park is a serious contender for glory even comparing to Central Park. Situated at a segment of the North Atlantic Atlantic Flyway bird migration route, Prospect Park is a bird watcher’s heaven.

5.     Sailing the canoe at Gowanus canal

From April to October, the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club offer free tours in the canal. In this urban waterway you can find signs of reawakening wildlife, alongside the human urban bustling day to day hipster life of Brooklyn.

Gowanus canal

 Ecological floating gardens in Gowanus canal – Picture by Gowanus Canal Conservancy

These are just 5 top suggestions, we’re sure you’ll have more to add, but in the meanwhile, start working these muscle out! most preferably outdoor in the sun.

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