You’ve probably heard of Staten Island, as it’s a popular destination for both tourists and New Yorkers. It has a wide and varietal history, stretching all the way back to the 17th century, and it hasn’t failed to make its mark in the centuries since. The museums, historical buildings, gardens, beaches, and forests of Staten Island await…
1. Explore historic Richmond Town
This authentic, immersive experience will pull you into a huge piece of American history. The town and farm has more than 30 original buildings still standing and about 130,000 artifacts—some of which date back to America’s beginnings, in the 17th century. There’s a museum, and they host all kinds of historical programs and events, like concerts, the Great American Harvest Festival, pumpkin picking, and more. And of course, the simplest way to enjoy the experience is just to take a tour of the town.
Historic Richmond Town
Address: 441 Clarke Ave, Staten Island, New York
Website: Historic Richmond Town
2. Visit Fort Wadsworth
Fort Wadsworth is a major historical site from the Revolutionary War that was occupied by the British from 1779. Since then, it has been used for many of America’s military endeavors, including once being an infantry post, and at another time, a school. Today the site is a recreational area run by the National Park Service and is also still used by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Address: 210 New York Avenue, Staten Island, New York (Beneath Verrazano-Narrows Bridge)
Website: Fort Wadsworth
3. Check out a historical house
A cool piece of history that you have to check out is the Alice Austen House Museum and Garden. A non-traditionalist, Alice Austen was one of the first female photographers in America, who was also the first female in Staten Island to own a car. Today her home is a national landmark of LGBTQIA+ history, where she spent 30 years of the 53-year-old relationship with her partner, Gertrude Tate. Throughout her career, Austen took around 8,000 photos, most notable among which are her portrayals of Victorian women. Much of her work is on display in the house as part of a permanent collection. The house also displays collections by other photographers, both historic and modern
Alice Austen House
Address: 2 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, New York
Website: Alice Austen House
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4. Ride on the Staten Island Ferry
The historic Staten Island Ferry is one of the few New York ferries still remaining and it still takes passengers from Staten Island to lower Manhattan. Though its real purpose is to transport travelers, you can take a ride on the ferry, just to take in the panoramic views of New York Harbor—including the Statue of Liberty—and learn some of the history of the ferry and island. It’s about a 25-minute ride and you can ride for free!
Staten Island Ferry
Address: St. George Terminal, 1 Bay Street, Staten Island, New York (goes to Whitehall Terminal in Manhattan)
Website: Staten Island Ferry
5. Hang out on the Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk and Beach
With 2.5 miles (4 km) of boardwalk along South and Midland Beach, there’s an endless supply of entertainment. Kayak in the ocean, hang out on the beach or walk on the boardwalk, a designated trail. You can even fish on South Beach’s Ocean Breeze Fishing Pier, or take a photo at the Fountain of Dolphins.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk and Beach
Address: Father Capodanno Boulevard, Ft. Wadsworth To Miller Field, Staten Island, New York
Website: FDR Boardwalk and Beach
6. Take a walk through High Rock Park
Located on historic land and marked a National Environmental Education Landmark, High Rock Park is home to many natural attractions, from hiking trails, ponds, and wildlife, to the Greenbelt Conservancy. There’s even a man-made mountain, that offers one of New York’s most popular views.
High Rock Park
Address: 200 Nevada Ave, Staten Island, New York
Website: High Rock Park
7. Pick a museum or unusual attraction
Among the island’s notable museums is the Staten Island Museum and the Snug Harbor Cultural Center. The Staten Island Museum is located in building A, of Snug Harbor. It displays changing exhibitions and a few permanent collections in art and natural science, as well as a historical archive.
The Cultural Center in Snug Harbor includes many other buildings, including a Noble Maritime Collection, the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, a botanical garden, the Children’s Museum, a Music Hall for concerts, a Green Gallery, and more. For those interested in other unique attractions, the island also boasts a tugboat graveyard, the NYC Farm Colony, the Museum of Tibetan Art, the National Lighthouse Museum, and the September 11 Memorial.
Address: 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, New York
Website: Staten Island Museum
8. Spend the day at the zoo
Go see animals of all kinds, from all over the world! There are over 20 exhibits to explore at the Staten Island Zoo and you can check their calendar for any upcoming special events and programs.
Staten Island Zoo
Address: 614 Broadway, Staten Island, New York
Website: Staten Island Zoo
9. See a show at the St. George Theatre
The St. George Theatre was built in 1929 as a movie house. Over the years, live stage shows and musical performances were also held here. It was once scheduled to be torn down but was rescued and reopened in 2004. Since then, it has held hundreds of performances, and there’s constantly a show going on. So, go see some awesome music, comedy, or whatever suits your fancy.
St. George Theatre
Address: 35 Hyatt St, Staten Island, New York
Website: St. George Theatre
10. Walk through the New York Chinese Scholar's Garden
This gorgeous garden, modeled on the ancient Chinese gardens of the Ming Dynasty, is filled with beautiful mountain rocks, a Koi pond and waterfalls, a walkway in a bamboo forest, several pavilions, and more. In addition, multicultural events are sometimes held here.
Chinese Scholar's Garden
Address: 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, New York (Snug Harbor)
Website: Chinese Scholar’s Garden
An island for everyone
As an island with many nooks and crannies to explore, you won’t run out of adventures. Though there are many interesting things to do on Staten Island, hopefully, this list will help you narrow it down. From amazing kosher restaurants to historic spots, Staten Island is a destination for everyone.
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