For those who think that Manhattan (and maybe Brooklyn) has all of the best things to do in New York City, think again. The Bronx is full of places that'll appeal to culture vultures, whether you're a fan of art and design, the great outdoors, or nerdy historical stuff. (Or, in some cases, the intersection of all three.) Consider this list a good starting point for those unfamiliar with the borough: These are the 15 essential Bronx places you must visit, and that you'll want to revisit time and time again.Read More
Curbed New York Pocket Guide, Bronx Edition: Spring 2016
Curbed New York's editors have chosen 15 places that you must visit in the Bronx—cultural institutions, parks, landmarks, and other essential sites.
There's a good chance that even the most delinquent-in-visiting-the-Bronx New Yorker has been to a Yankee game at some point, whether it was in the old stadium, christened in 1923, or the new luxe facility that opened in 2009. It's a fine place to see a ball game, with comfy seats (well, relative to the old ballpark), food from Italian heavyweights Parm, and even some relatively inexpensive seats, if you know where to look. (The bleachers, duh.)
Bronx Museum of the Arts
One of the newer museums of the city, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, is known for its modern, accordion-style headquarters on Grand Concourse. The museum is known for championing artists of color, as well as artists who live and work in the Bronx. It's permanent collection includes more than 1,000 pieces in a variety of formats, and the Museum has played host to the works of celebrated artists like Alvin Baltrop and Elizabeth Catlett.
The Bronx's own Champs-Élysées is perhaps not as grand as it was when it opened back in 1909, but there's still plenty to see along the thoroughfare. Not only is it home to landmarks like the Bronx Museum and the Bronx County Courthouse, but it also holds a number of beautiful Art Deco buildings, including the colorful fish building near 167th Street.
The city's oldest bridge can be found in the Bronx: the High Bridge, which connects the borough to Manhattan, served as an aqueduct in the 19th century. The bridge was closed for more than 40 years before it was reopened as a pedestrian walkway in 2015. Thanks to this $20 million renovation you can now enjoy some great views of the Harlem River, and if you do stop by, be sure to check out the glorious staircase inside of the High Bridge Water Tower.
Bronx Community College, CUNY
Arthur Avenue Retail Market
If you're looking for the less tourist-clogged version of Manhattan's Little Italy, look no further than Arthur Avenue in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx. The retail market, which has been run by Italian-American families for generations, was an effort spearheaded by former NYC mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. Be sure to wear your stretchiest pants when you visit: The venue includes nine restaurants, five pastry shops, six bread stores, and a beer garden, all ready for you to sample and enjoy their wares.
Of the four zoos located throughout the city, the Bronx's is the largest, with the widest variety of animals on the premises—everything from butterflies to bears to exotic birds, and pretty much anything else you could think of. The zoo, located within Bronx Park, also plays host to events like daily feedings of sea lions and penguins, or poetry readings.
New York Botanical Garden
This enormous public garden is situated over 250 acres in the Bronx, and has numerous sections that'll appeal to both expert and amateur horticulturists. It's undoubtedly most popular in the winter, when its Holiday Train Show takes over the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory; but come year-round to see its spectacular floral collections (the roses and azaleas are quite lovely), as well as the Thain Family Forest, one of the oldest remaining forests in the city.
Van Cortlandt Park
If you plan to make a trip to Woodlawn Cemetery, you certainly want to stop over next door at Van Cortland Park, just one of the many gorgeous and expansive parks the Bronx has to offer. Interesting historic fact: the park is named after the first NYC mayor to have been born in the city, Stephanus Van Cortlandt. The historic trivia doesn't end there. The park is also home to the first public golf course in the United States, and borough's oldest house.
The sprawling Woodlawn Cemetery is now more than 150 years old, and much like Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, it is home to several iconic American figures. Miles Davis, former mayor Fiorello La Guardia, Herman Melville, and Robert Moses are just some of the larger-than-life New York personalities interred here. It's also an architecture buff's paradise, with mausoleums and grave markers designed by celebrated architects like Cass Gilbert and Sir Edwin Lutyens.
Pelham Bay Park
Tucked away in the eastern corner of the Bronx and located right next to City Island, this gigantic park is three times the size of Central Park. There's so much to do here that you could make a whole day out of it—actually, make that a whole weekend. There are attractions like the historic Bartow-Pell Mansion and Orchard Beach, both of which are featured on this list. But more than that, this is a nature lover's paradise with some of the best hiking trails the city has to offer.
Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum
This historic home sits on land acquired by Thomas Pell, one of the Bronx's earliest settlers; the house itself was built by Robert Bartow in the 19th century, and it become a museum in 1946. The complex includes the main house, built in the Greek Revival style, along with a stone carriage house. If you visit, be sure to check out the lovely walled garden, which helped the home receive its NYC landmark designation.
Orchard Beach is the Bronx's only public beach, with more than 115 acres of space. If you're not up for taking a dip in NYC waters, there's still pretty great stuff to check out on the beach. For one, there's the central pavilion and the promenade to walk around. But the beach is also a sports haven of sorts what with its 26 courts for basketball, volleyball, and handball, and there are a couple of playgrounds as well.
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