Our Favorite Ways to Spend the Holidays Around Times Square, NYC

Vibrant Times Square. This energetic and dynamic part of New York City with its shops, shows, and lights showcase so much that New York City has to offer. Whether a visitor or a local resident, you don’t need to go too far from here to see and do it all. Read on for some of our favorite ways to spend the holidays around Times Square.

Times Square Ball Drop

This being one of New York City’s most electric and active hubs, it is no surprise that one of the nation’s, if not the world’s most iconic sights of the holiday season is right here in Times Square. The Times Square Ball Drop truly is a one-of-a-kind experience for all who can attend it, over the years becoming the visual manifestation of the step into a new calendar year. This kicks off one of the city’s largest parties of the year and has only grown more and more notable with each iteration. Aside from the truly captivating and intense atmosphere, visitors can also enjoy seeing the many famous faces of entertainment, music, sports, and broadcasting as they take the stage during this event. In recent years, this has included appearances from Tyga, Dua Lipa, Charlie Puth, Shawn Mendes, Halsey, and more! Be sure not to miss this event if you’ll be around Times Square for the New Year.

https://www.timessquarenyc.org/times-square-new-years-eve/nye-history-times-square-ball

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

As one of the world’s largest parades, this parade proves the events around Times Square do things big. This is the nation’s most televised and recognized sights of the Thanksgiving holidays, a massive parade of Broadway performers, marching bands, famous singers, the many faces and workers of New York City, and of course, gigantic balloons. Some of these A-list faces that have appeared for the crowds at Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade include Al Roker, Diana Ross, Rita Ora, John Legend, Bazzi, and Bad Bunny. The joyful atmosphere at this event cannot be overstated, and for all visitors in the Times Square area for the holidays, we highly recommend taking to the streets and joining the festivities during this truly special spectacle.

https://www.macys.com/social/parade/

Ice Skating at the Rockefeller Centre

Another New York City tradition of the holidays, Ice Skating on the giant rink in front of Rockefeller Centre in the heart of New York is a timeless favorite. This is a great option for groups, families, couples, and solo travelers to all experience the unique atmosphere of a filled rink in the big apple, and a great way to warm up while skating under some of the city’s most famed sights. Aside from the skating, the major attractions in the near vicinity with an envied selection of fine dining and shopping experiences make this an easy addition to any larger travel plans in the neighborhood.

https://www.rockefellercenter.com/attractions/the-rink-at-rockefeller-center/

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Our Favorite Festivals, Events, and Activities Around Times Square, NYC

Vibrant Times Square. This energetic and dynamic part of New York City with its shops, shows, and lights showcase so much that New York City has to offer. Whether a visitor or a local resident, you don’t need to go too far from here to see and do it all. Read on for some of our favorite autumn festivals, events, and activities around Times Square. 

Curtain Up! at Broadway

Like other major performing venues in New York City, Broadway’s collection of famed theaters has quite the packed schedule throughout the autumn, making this another great addition to any autumn plans. Broadway being one of the most esteemed locations for theater in the world, this is another one-of-a-kind experience to catch here in the Times Square area. Broadway kicks off autumn with the Curtain Up! series, finishing in a live, outdoor concert by the biggest faces on Broadway. This autumn alone, visitors can catch Chicago, Aladdin, Hamilton, The Book of Mormon, Wicked, and The Lion King. If you’ll be in the Times Square area during the autumn, we recommend clearing a spot in any plans to go to Broadway. 

https://www.playbill.com/curtainup

Times Square Expo

The Times Square Expo marries the feel of the crowded open-air market with the bustle of New York City and Times Square, where hundreds of booths turn Times Square into a day without cars, bikes, and construction, but instead endless food vendors and artisans selling rare wares. This is a unique moment that changes the otherwise rushing feel of Times Square, and it is completely free! So get ready to dress for the crowds and the October sun, and wander out into Times Square to browse pizza slices, gourmet desserts, one-of-a-kind metal statues, African baskets and intricate jewelry and fashion articles. 

Broadway’s Back!

Another celebration of Time Square’s proud history with Broadway, this autumn also kicks off the autumn and winter season with Broadway’s Back! bringing live theatre to homes and the world once again. After the closure of Broadway’s activities last year, New York and thespians everywhere are elated for Broadway’s Back! event. Whether from the comfort of your residence, hotel, or on the streets of Times Square, this is a memorable moment in Broadway’s history for locals, visitors and travelers to attend and add to the myriad experiences one can find here in Times Square.

https://www.playbill.com/article/broadways-back-74th-annual-tony-awards-presented-september-26

Attend a Taping

New York City is still home to many famous television shows, being the place where the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and The Daily Show With Trevor Noah are all taped. If you’ll be staying in the Times Square area, catching tickets to be on one of these television staples is a rare and special opportunity, despite operation occurring nearly year-round. Tapings usually occur in the early evening, leaving time afterward to plan out other activities for a night out. 

https://www.showclix.com/event/TheDailyShowWithTrevorNoah

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4 Fun Things to do with Kids near Times Square in NYC

If you’re looking for your next great family adventure, or someplace different to take the kids, we have you covered. Spending a day out with the kids is a great way to recapture your own childlike curiosity and love of play, so we’ve included plenty of options that will make the adults as happy as the kids. Below are some of the best, most unique, and most beloved things to do with your kids near Times Square in New York City.

Dave & Buster’s

The perfect place to go play as a family and get in a little friendly competition is Dave & Busters. Dave & Buster’s is a famous New York City playground, with nearly every arcade game you can imagine as well as billiards and bowling. They have even added virtual reality games in recent years. Entering Dave & Buster’s, you might feel like you don’t know where to begin, but I suggest visiting on Wednesday when the games are half-priced. 

Bryant Park

Bryant Park is the closest park to Times Square. It is also a beloved, historic New York City Park. Bryant Park is home to the NY Public Library’s main branch (a stunningly beautiful building worth visiting), where you and the kids can find your next favorite read. It is also known as New York’s Town Square and, as such, hosts a wide variety of events to participate in. Try your hand at juggling (or watch some masters), take a tai chi class, play ping pong, or take place in a Board Game Social. Kids will also love the Carousel located at the center of Bryant Park and the Christmas Village and Ice Rink that opens in December.

M&M’s World

M&M’s World is a giant world of candy located at the heart of Times Square. A visit to M&M’s World can be busy and overwhelming, but it is a favorite place for kids. The store covers two floors and is home to thousands of M&Ms in every style and flavor as well as a personalized printer so you can leave with customized M&Ms. They also sell toys and apparel. It is a colorful world, one that worships candy, and is sure to make the adults feel like little kids too.

Bowlmor Times Square

Looking to spend the night taking part in some friendly competition? Or maybe looking to show your kids some classic arcade games? Then head to Bowlmor Times Square. This venue, with its bowling lanes of different themes and large arcade, is built for playing and having a blast. If you’re tired of family movie nights or game nights at home, then this is the place to go. The entire venue has been beautifully designed, so much so that you’ll wonder, “What magical, playful world have we stepped into?”

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Aquariums and aquatic life around Times Square, NYC

Vibrant Times Square. This energetic and dynamic part of New York City with its shops, shows, and lights might seem like the farthest you could get from nature and the water, but this is not the case. Thankfully, with all that New York City has to offer, whether visitor or local resident, you don’t need to go too far to get away from it all and see aquatic life. Read on for some of our favorite aquariums, parks, and places to watch aquatic life around Times Square. 

Central Park Zoo

For over a century, Central Park Zoo has been one of the premier attractions for generations of New Yorkers to see and learn about the wonders of animals, land, and sea. Here, famous faces like the chinstrap penguin, king penguin, macaroni penguin, gentoo penguin, California sea lion, grizzly bear, and snow monkey reside in a series of habitats, some of New York’s most interesting and eccentric residents. The California sea lions here have regular feeding shows, and love to show off their smarts to the crowds. The four species of penguin and the tufted puffins also have regular feeding shows, with their lovable antics above water and below for all to see. 

Aside from these close-up looks, there is also a 4-D theater, where groups can experience nature programming and family films. For a family-friendly experience with some of the most iconic and important species in a fun set of activities, the Central Park Zoo is a great option. 

https://centralparkzoo.com

The Pond and Hallett Nature Sanctuary

One of New York City’s most charming green spaces isn’t far, The Pond at Central Park and the Hallett Nature Sanctuary! These two connected features are the heart of Central Park’s southeastern edge, rich in hiking paths, enchanting streams, fields of flowers, birdwatching opportunities, and the colors of fall. Visiting aquatic fowl species enjoy The Pond, while hundreds of bird species (210 to be exact!) stop by this end of Central Park during their migrations. There are also resident populations of red-eared slider turtles, snapping turtles, rabbits, ducks, and woodchucks who can also be observed. Whether you want to see the waterfalls and streams, the leaves and flowers, or wildlife in a green corner of New York City, The Pond and Hallett Nature Sanctuary is a great choice. 

https://www.centralparknyc.org/locations/hallett-nature-sanctuary

The Mall and Literary Walk

The Mall and Literary Walk is the graceful highlight on this southern end of Central Park, a stroll down a path of verdant elms and the memories of famous authors. Literature enthusiasts, bird-watchers, people-watchers, and anyone looking for a slow stroll away from the action of the Big Apple will all enjoy the atmosphere at Literary Walk. Cardinals, blue jays, finches, wrens, tanagers, and countless other species of birds flit and pass through this tranquil, verdant community, a great stop for nature enthusiasts not sure where to turn to in New York. Sit for a while and pour over a favorite book, listen to an album, watch the birds (or people) passing through and just relax for a while here in The Mall and Literary Walk.

https://www.centralparknyc.org/locations/the-mall-literary-walk

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5 Quirky Date Night Destinations near Times Square, NYC

Date night doesn’t have to be the same each time. While we all love cuddling up at the movies or trying new restaurants or embracing a bit of high culture at museums, every once in a while, date night needs to be shaken up. Each city has a hidden world of strange, quirky, and delightful things to do. Try any one of these on your next date night and embrace the weird, whimsical part of life.

OMEscape Room at Times Square

Escape Rooms have become popular date night activities because it is outside the typical wheelhouse of date night ideas. At OMEscape, you’ll love solving the puzzles and challenges required to escape and have a chance to choose from several adventures. Try “The Penitentiary” and try to escape one of the most infamous military prisons in history or become a time traveler desperate to save your travel companions in “Room X”. 

Bowlmor Times Square

Looking to spend the night taking part in some friendly competition? Or maybe looking for a throwback with classic arcade games? Then head to Bowlmor Times Square. This venue with its bowling lanes of different themes, large arcade, and sports bar is built for partying and having a blast. If you’re tired of movie nights or dinner date nights, then this is the place. The entire venue has been beautifully designed, so much so that you’ll wonder, “What magical, playful world have we stepped into?”

Koreatown

New York City is famously one of the most diverse cities in the United States. There is Little Italy, Chinatown, Harlem, and more. So why not take a spin through a lesser-known ethnic enclave for date night and throw in a lot of delicious food? There are plenty of places to buy Korean BBQ, colorful rice cakes for dessert, Korean groceries, books, tchotchkes, and more. The heart of Koreatown, on W 32nd St between Fifth and Sixth Avenue, has the ambiance of the city of Seoul itself. A visit to Koreatown is like taking a mini vacation to Korea.

Times Square Church

Concerts and music might be you and your dates thing (or not), but you’ve never experienced musical performances quite like the ones held at Times Square Church. The Church itself lives in an old 1930 movie palace, The Warner Hollywood Theatre. As such, its architecture and aesthetics are opulent but not in the traditional way you’d expect a church to be. The unique attraction here though is the Church’s Gospel Choir. Inside this theater-turned-church, the acoustics of gospel music soar like nothing you’ve heard before and make for an interesting date night experience.

Bryant Park

Bryant Park is the closest park to Times Square. It is also a beloved, historic New York City Park. Bryant Park is home to the NY Public Library’s main branch (a stunningly beautiful building worth visiting). It is known as New York’s Town Square and, as such, hosts a wide variety of events to participate in. Try your hand at juggling (or watch some masters), take a tai chi class, play ping pong, or take part in a Board Game Social. 

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Our favourite ways to spend summer in Times Square

Of the locations that conjure images of a vibrant, electric atmosphere, few rival the activity at Times Square. If your summer plans are at this iconic location, it may be difficult to compile an itinerary given the sheer amount of events happening all over. Read on for some of our favourite ways to do summer at Times Square. 

M&M’s World

Those with a sweet tooth beware! Everything M&M can be found here in these three storeys that compose New York’s biggest candy store. Visitors can witness the infamous two-storey ‘ Wall of Chocolate ‘, and shop all things M&M. Visitors can also try an array of traditional and rare M&M flavours to find their favourite M&M variety, or make their own M&Ms! Since the unveiling of the personalised printer, guests can also choose from a variety of clip art to print onto their own special M&Ms, or write a custom message of their choice onto their own souvenir (or snack) bunch of M&Ms. Whether visitors are searching for rare merchandise, want to try their hand at a custom M&M decoration or just want to indulge in chocolate, M&M’s world is a great addition to any travel plans. 

The Lion King at Minskoff Theatre

Since 2006, Broadway giant The Lion King has been an inspiring and charming feature of Times Square. Come see Broadway live and in-person with Julie Taymor’s The Lion King, raved over by newspapers and critics alike. Tickets are available for purchase for guests ages 8 and up, meaning this is just as much a family experience as it is a date activity or a solo endeavour for fans of Broadway. Whether a fan of live theatre, Disney or searching for another memorable moment to add to your time here at Times Square, come see The Lion King!

Taste of Times Square

Spoil your taste buds at the Taste of Times Square! Each summer, restaurants and chefs from all over the neighbourhood, the city and beyond converge on Times Square for a week to compete for the hearts and stomachs of New Yorkers. For several blocks in and around Time Square, try famous New York style Pizza, Birria Empanadas, Chicken Qorma, Jerk Chicken, Tonkotsu Ramen, Ropa Vieja and Burrata. Also adding to the excitement is live music and street performers, joining in on the festivities to make this action-packed location even more rousing. 

Solstice in Times Square

Find peace in the last place you would imagine to find it, right in Times Square! Every year, Yogis from all over the world maintain their tradition of meeting up in Times Square and guiding the public through meditation and yoga exercises, free to the public! All that’s needed is a yoga mat and clothes that afford you the flexibility to do Warrior II. For a unifying and truly unique experience, take up the opportunity to do Yoga with the people of New York right in the middle of Times Square.

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5 Great Place to Have a Picnic Near Times Square (NYC)

When the weather cooperates, we all love to get outside and explore the world around us. There is nothing more refreshing and soothing to the soul than a picnic in the sun, surrounded by the beauty of nature. Every city in the United States has incredible locations for picnicking. Below are 5 Great Places to Picnic near Times Square in New York City.

Central Park

The most famous New York City Park, by far, but for good reason, which is why Central Park makes this list. It is iconic. It is also extremely large and centrally located, making it ideal for picnics. There are several places in Central Park where you will run into more tourists and crowds. Bethesda Fountain is one of those places. Although it is gorgeous, it is hard to picnic near the fountain. The area surrounding the Zoo and Wollman Rink is also usually crowded. 

Sheep Meadow and The Great Lawn are famous picnic locations. They can be crowded but have amazing views of the Park and the NYC Skyline. It’s worth a shot to attempt a picnic here, and if you can find a spot for yourself the picnic will be perfect. You can also head to Arthur Ross Pinetum for a quieter spot with picnic tables or wander even further to the North Meadow or East Meadow (vast expanses perfect for picnics).

Bryant Park

Bryant Park is the closest park to Times Square. It is also a beloved, historic New York City Park. Bryant Park is home to the NY Public Library’s main branch (a stunningly beautiful building worth visiting). But behind the library is the reason this park makes the Top 5 list – 4 acres of open green space perfect for a picnic on the grass. However, if you don’t feel like taking a picnic blanket along, there are also plenty of small tables and chairs on the walkways at the edges of the park. No matter what picnicking mood you’re in, Bryant Park has you covered. And I always recommend stopping in the library first for some excellent reading material while you lounge in the sun.

Lorraine Hansberry Park

A few blocks West of Times Square is the charming, little park perfect for afternoon picnics with the kids. There is a large playground as well as basketball and handball courts. You can enjoy the shade under dozens of trees as well as the semi-privacy they provide. This park is not designed for picnic blankets and baskets, but there are benches and picnic tables everywhere. It is a fabulous spot for spending an afternoon at the park with the family and is rarely crowded.

Rockefeller Center/Plaza

Picnicking in Rockefeller Center/Plaza is an entirely unique experience. Stopping here for a bite to eat is not your typical picnic, because this is not a park with grassy lawns or picnic pavilions under large oak trees. Rockefeller Center is a bustling tourist attraction in NYC, but if you enjoy the excitement, then picnicking at one of the small tables in the Center or on a bench in the Plaza is a wonderful experience. And you never know if someone famous might walk by.

745 Plaza (Public Plaza)

A few blocks North of Times Square is this fabulous haven. This little nook was clearly designed to be enjoyed as a picnic spot. Tables and chairs fill this plaza where shade is provided by the nearby skyscrapers and the trees amid beds of flowers. Benches line the outside of the plaza for additional seating. It is typically easy to find a place to sit. Picnicking at 745 Plaza feels like enjoying a popular outdoor café but with more greenery and less crowds.

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Fun Summer Things To Do In Times Square

Summer is finally here!  The kids are out of school, and backyard barbecues are taking place all over the nation.  After the year we had in 2020, and most people having chosen not to take a vacation, you can almost rest assured that families will be out in full force this year.

With this in mind, we thought we would offer a few great vacation ideas to help you plan, as well as some places that would be great for just a few days away.  We all need time to recharge and some well-deserved play in the sunshine.

Here are some of the best places to check out this summer!

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1000 Fifth Ave, New York, NY 10028

The Metropolitan Museum of Art maintains a museum and library of art in the City of New York. Its main collections include arms and armor, ancient Near Eastern art, Asian art, costumes, drawings and prints, European sculpture and decorative arts, Greek and Roman art, Islamic art, medieval art, modern and contemporary art, musical instruments, photographs, and the Robert Lehman Collection, as well as the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. The institution was founded in 1870 and is based in New York, New York.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

1071 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10128

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, often referred to as The Guggenheim, is the permanent home of a continuously expanding collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern, and contemporary art and features special exhibitions throughout the year. The cylindrical building, wider at the top than at the bottom, was conceived as a “temple of the spirit.” Its unique ramp gallery extends up from ground level in a long, continuous spiral along the outer edges of the building to end just under the ceiling skylight.

Times Square

West 42nd Street to West 47th Street, New York, NY 10128

Times Square is a major commercial intersection, tourist destination, entertainment center, and neighborhood in New York City.  Brightly lit by numerous billboards and advertisements, it stretches from West 42nd to West 47th Streets and is sometimes referred to as “the Crossroads of the World,” “the Center of the Universe,” “the heart of the Great White Way,” and “the heart of the world.” One of the world’s busiest pedestrian areas, it is also the hub of the Broadway Theater District and a major center of the world’s entertainment industry. Times Square is one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions, drawing an estimated 50 million visitors annually. Approximately 330,000 people pass through Times Square daily, many tourists, while over 460,000 pedestrians walk through Times Square on its busiest days. Formerly known as Longacre Square, Times Square was renamed in 1904 after The New York Times moved its headquarters to the newly erected Times Building, now One Times Square.

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Things to Do for the Fourth of July around Times Square

Everyone’s favorite summer holiday is quickly approaching! Nothing says July 4th like BBQs, pool days, parades, and fireworks! But with the country beginning to emerge from the worst of it, some celebrations are returning in the area. Read on to see what’s happening around Times Square in Manhattan this Independence Day and gather up some ideas for your Fourth of July weekend.

Macy’s Fireworks

The nation’s largest Independence Day celebration is right here in New York! Macy’s always puts on a fantastic fireworks show and if you can get yourself to a good viewing spot, you’re in for a treat! The only trouble is, as of right now, we’re not sure where they’ll be launched from. Macy’s usually changes up the location they launch from, including whether they’re launching from the Hudson or the East River. Luckily, with its central location, Times Square can quickly get you to a good viewing point no matter where Macy’s decides to launch the fireworks this year. Be sure to stay tuned here to find out the location when it does get announced!

Coney Island

Cooling off at the beach is the perfect way to spend a sweltering Fourth of July! While it’s a bit of a trek, the easiest beach to get to from Times Square is Coney Island. Simply hop on the Q train, ride it to the end of the line, and you’ll be there in just an hour!

Once there, enjoy this huge, sandy beach which usually has tame, family-friendly waves. There’s also a really fun boardwalk with shops where you can get ice cream, drinks, fish and chips, and of course -Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs! Make a full day of it by spending time in Luna Park playing arcade games and riding amusement park rides like The Cyclone, a wooden roller coaster that’s been thrilling revelers since 1927. Take a spin around the Wonder Wheel, too, for lovely views of the ocean.

Coney Island normally has some fun events on July 4th, though it’s not yet confirmed if they can happen due to COVID. But hopefully, you’ll be able to watch Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest and some epic fireworks.

Go to a Baseball Game

As the ultimate American pastime, baseball pairs perfectly with Independence Day! And the New York Mets just happen to be playing the New York Yankees this year on July 4th. The evening game starts at 7:08 pm over at Yankee Stadium. It only takes about 25 minutes to get to the stadium from Times Square, and there are several train options to get you there.

Tickets will be sold in limited numbers called “pods” to try to keep social distancing and limited capacity within the stadium. At the time of writing, Yankee Stadium is allowed to be at 33% capacity, but more pods will get released as local regulations change. Check back here for more information as the 4th approaches.

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Arboretums and Botanical Gardens to Visit in Times Square

When considering a vacation, or even just a day out with the family, why not consider visiting a local arboretum or botanical garden?  You can enjoy a delightful getaway with a visit to one of these beautiful gateways to all that nature has to offer.

Arboretums and botanical gardens work to promote common respect and educate with a drive towards an appreciation of the world of gardening and the insects that work to pollinate our plants and flowers. 

These nature monuments are just waiting to be discovered and welcome all visitors for a day of tranquility, enjoying their peaceful beauty.  Make sure to check out one of the arboretums or botanical gardens listed below.

New York Botanical Garden

2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458

Home of a National Historic Landmark site on the northern half of Bronx Park, the New York Botanical Garden was established in 1891 and is one of the largest gardens in the U.S., containing more than 1 million plants. One of its greatest jewels is the Enid. A. Haupt Conservatory, a Victorian-style glasshouse, or the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, or the Native Plant Garden. The NYBG was inspired by a visit from husband, wife, and botanists Nathanial and Elizabeth Britton to the Royal Botanic Gardens near London. The trip made the Brittons feel New York should have its own botanical garden to conduct original research in botanical science.

Conservatory Garden in Central Park

Central Park, New York, NY

Seasonal plants include 40,000 tulips each spring and 2,000 Korean chrysanthemums each fall. An Italian Central Garden features crabapple trees, wisteria, and a lush lawn. The English-style South Garden, planted to be enjoyed year-round, features the Burnett Fountain, depicting a young boy and girl based on characters from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. See the ornate Vanderbilt Gate that was built in France and once stood at the mansion of Cornelius Vanderbilt II.

Manhattan In Bloom

Various parks across the five boroughs

Every month, new flowers and trees bloom in these parks and others across the city. Plants such as crocus, daffodil, butterfly bush, Asiatic lilies, roses, Hollyhock, cherry trees, and many more can be seen and smelled by all. Click here for Battery Park Gardens of Remembrance and here for Bryant Park Plant and Bloom information.

The Met Cloisters

99 Margaret Corbin Dr, Fort Tryon Park

A medieval annex of the Metropolitan Museum of Art with breathtaking views of the Hudson River, the Cloisters were designed based on horticultural information found in medieval treatises and poetry, garden documents, and works of art. A central garden is set in a courtyard with arcaded walkways, while another garden area contains nearly 300 plant species that were grown during the Middle Ages. A third, smaller garden blooms with flowers through the fall. 

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