Why Is Staten Island Worth Visiting?
Staten Island is one of the five boroughs that make up New York City. It’s the second smallest, but it has a population of almost 500,000 people who call it home. If you’re just visiting for a day or more, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Staten Island!
The island has been inhabited since the Wisconsin glaciation, and some notable residents were the Lenape people and Dutch colonists. In 1667, it became part of the new English colony of New York after the Second Anglo-Dutch War.
Today, the island’s landscape is a mix of urban development and natural beauty. There are beaches, parks, and even a few forested areas. Staten Island is also home to one of the several zoos in New York City. Whatever you’re looking for, you’re sure to find things to do in Staten Island that suit your interests!
Things to Do in Staten Island for Museum-Goers
Are you looking for things to do in Staten Island that have to do with history, art or science? Staten Island is home to a few museums that are worth checking out. Several are found on the grounds of Snug Harbor, including:
- Staten Island Museum – the oldest continuously operating cultural institution in Staten Island, located in a Greek Revival building and containing art and historical exhibits;
- Staten Island Children’s Museum – offering interactive and educational exhibits geared towards children aged 0-12;
- The Noble Maritime Collection – a maritime museum with a focus on the life and work of artist John A. Noble;
- Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden – Staten Island’s premier cultural destination, with art galleries, a music hall, festivals, and gardens.
East of those sites, on the coast of St. George, you’ll find the National Lighthouse Museum. This museum is dedicated to the preservation of America’s maritime heritage and the history of lighthouses. It’s located in two historic buildings, both of which are worth a visit.
No visit to Staten Island would be complete without touring the Historic Richmond Town. This living history village is made up of restored buildings from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. You can learn about the daily life of early Staten Island settlers and see how things have changed over time!
Other Historic Sites in Staten Island
Another historic site worth checking out is Alice Austen House, the former home of one of Staten Island’s most famous residents. The Alice Austen House is now a museum dedicated to the life and work of the photographer. If you can’t get enough of history, here are some more old buildings on the island you can check out:
- The Conference House;
- Kreischer Mansion;
- The Historic Old Bermuda Inn;
- New York City Farm Colony.
Fort Wadsworth – Gateway is worth a mention as well. This former coastal defense fort has been turned into a recreation area with hiking trails, a playground, and picnicking areas. It’s the perfect place to spend a day outdoors!
Things to Do in Staten Island for Nature-Lovers
As we mentioned before, Staten Island is sometimes called the “greenest borough” because of all the parks and nature areas. If you’re looking for things to do in Staten Island that involve being outdoors, here are a few of our favorites.
Clove Lakes Park
This park is a great place to go for a walk, have a picnic, or go boating. There are three lakes that you can explore, as well as hiking trails and playgrounds. In the winter, the WWII Veterans Memorial Ice Skating Rink is open for business!
Staten Island Zoo
North of Clove Lakes Park, there’s Staten Island Zoo. This zoo is small but mighty, with over 1,400 animals from all around the world. They have a petting zoo, educational programs, and a safari.
This park is a great place to spend a day with the family. There’s a carousel, a softball field, an archery range, and picnic areas. You can also go fishing in Willowbrook Lake or take a scenic walk through the woods.
Greenbelt Nature Center
The Greenbelt is a network of parks that covers almost one-third of Staten Island. There are hiking trails, a playground, a lake, and even an outdoor amphitheater. The Nature Center is the perfect place to learn about the plants and animals that call the Greenbelt home.
High Rock Park
This is the perfect place to go for a hike or a nature walk. There are also some great views of the city from the top of the hill. There’s also a Moravian Cemetery with several beautiful tombs and monuments.
Great Kills Park
This park is located on the south shore of Staten Island, and it’s a great place to go for a walk, run, or bike ride. There’s also a beach where you can relax in the sun or go swimming.
Shopping at Staten Island Mall
If you’re looking for things to do in Staten Island that involve shopping, the Staten Island Mall is the place to go. This mall has almost 200 stores, as well as a food court and a movie theater. You can find just about anything you’re looking for at the Staten Island Mall!
Where to Eat and Drink on Staten Island?
If you’re looking for a great place to eat, we recommend Denino’s Pizzeria & Tavern. This restaurant has been serving up delicious pizza since 1937, and it’s definitely worth a visit. Other great places to eat on Staten Island include:
- Blue at Richmond Terrace;
- Joe & Pat’s Pizzeria;
- Lee’s Tavern;
- Nurnberger Bierhaus.
As for drinks, Staten Island has no shortage of bars and pubs. If you’re looking to grab a beer, we recommend the Kettle Black (a sports pub), the Coupe (a cocktail bar), Steiny’s Pub (a pub with a BBQ), and Miller’s Ale House (a restaurant with a great selection of ales).
Ready to Take the Staten Island Ferry? Have Fun!
And there you have it! These are just a few of the things to do in Staten Island. Whether you’re looking for history, nature, shopping, or food and drink, you’ll find it in this borough of New York City. Take the Staten Island Ferry and start exploring!
What are your favorite things to do on Staten Island? Let us know in the comment section below!
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