8 urban hikes in New York City perfect for spring

Spring is beginning to spring here in New York City. And after a late winter cold spell, the city that never sleeps is ready to cast winter aside.

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Now ready to get outside for the long walks New Yorkers love to take, it’s a great time to do some exploring. While there are obviously a plethora of hikes well worth getting outside of the city limits for, there are also plenty of ways to explore the city via urban hikes that differ from what you’ll find out amongst nature on actual trails.

So here are 8 urban “hikes” accessible from anywhere in the city by taking the subway that are perfect for getting back into the swing of things this spring.

1. The High Line

Stretching over 20 blocks on the westside of Manhattan, the High Line sits 30-feet above the city streets. Originally an elevated train line, the High Line is one of the city’s great architectural feats that does an incredible job of incorporating green space. It also offers stargazing evenings, sunset views of the Hudson River and lots of food and drink options along the way.

2. Randall’s Island

The iconic Wards Island footbridge that connects Randall’s Island to Manhattan. Photo: Gigi_NYC/Flickr

The host of musical and art festivals for many years running, Randall’s Island offers up plenty of urban hiking options in the middle of the East and Harlem Rivers. There are a number of bridges that give you walking access to the Island, including two in the Bronx, one from Manhattan and one from Queens.

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Getting to Randall’s Island is only part of the fun, because once there the Island is home to iconic pathways, sports fields, 8 miles of dedicated bike and walking paths, an urban farm and salt marsh ecosystems.

3. Central Park

An overview of Central Park. Photo: Courtesy of Unsplash/Pexels

With 1.317 square-miles of green landscape, Central Park truly is one of the world’s great urban wonders. There are more trails, paths and even rock climbing options within its boundaries than a single New Yorker could discover in a lifetime. A comprehensive map is usually a good start, but one of the most New York things you can do is just go get lost within the Park for hours.

4. Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge pathway. Photo: Courtesy of Curtis MacNewton/Flickr

One of the most iconic New York City walks to do, it’s also become one of the most congested. While the city is hoping to doing something to alleviate that in the years to come, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is still something you should check off your to-do list.

5. Coney Island Boardwalk

The Coney Island Boardwalk. Photo: Courtesy of Librarygroover/Flickr

Sure, Coney Island might not offer the type of beach experience you’d get from Rockaway where there’s actually a surf scene. But the Coney Island Boardwalk has long been a quick-access respite for city dwellers. Opened in 1923, the two-and-a-half-mile boardwalk is just a jaunt from Manhattan and Brooklyn on the Q-train.

6. Battery Park

For over 200 years, The Battery has played a major part of New York City life. It is the southernmost tip of Manhattan and opens up to New York Harbor, with the 25-acre Battery Park offering some of the best walks within all of Manhattan.

Offering gardens, an urban farm, a labyrinth, fountains, a castle and paths along the waterway, Battery Park might be one of the best spots to witness sunsets as well.

7. Roosevelt Island

Blackwell Island Lighthouse on the north end of Roosevelt Island. Photo: Courtesy of Shannon McGee/Flickr

Located south of Randall’s Island in the East River, Roosevelt Island is a much different experience. First off, people actually live on Roosevelt Island. It is reachable on foot by the Roosevelt Island Bridge (or you can take the Tramway if you’re not afraid of heights).

Once there, the F.D.R. Four Freedoms Park is located on the south end of the Island and the Blackwell Island Ligthouse on the north end of the Island.

8. Prospect Park

The Ravine in Prospect Park’s forest. Photo: Courtesy of Allison Meier/Flickr

The largest public park in Brooklyn, Prospect Park’s 3.35-mile long loop is enough of a hike in itself. But considering it’s comprised of 585 acres, you can find plenty more places within its boundaries to explore.

The watercourse is an intriguing aspect to investigate, as all waterways and ponds within the park are manmade and if you follow the source of the water, it is a course in itself. At the center of the Park is also Brooklyn’s only forest.

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