13 Best Outdoor Activities In NYC - Updated 2021

outdoor activities in nyc

From the Empire State Building to the Brooklyn Bridge, the Big Apple is best known for its urban landmarks. However, New York City is also a fantastic destination to enjoy outdoor activities as well. After exploring the famous museums and renowned sights, enjoy a quiet moment in nature in this mega-metropolis. Take in the beauty of the city from the water on a sailing excursion, or see Brooklyn from a new angle as you canoe down the Gowanus Canal. Do your cardio workout with a roller skating or rancing (running plus dancing) tour, or unwind with a yoga session in Central Park. Speaking of New York City’s renowned park, the landmark green space is a great backdrop for outdoor activities like running, cycling, and fishing. Book your tablet hotel or party hotel, and read the list below for more ideas for the best outdoor activities in NYC!

1. Ride in style in Central Park (from USD 65.0)

Turn curious heads to yourself when you book this old-timey carriage ride in Central Park. It may be the closest thing to royalty we can get! This tour brings you right in the middle of the world-famous park, with your guide narrating tales about its history.

Of course, what’s a trip to this iconic NYC attraction without a few photo ops at its best spots that have been immortalized in Hollywood movies? You can rent this majestic carriage exclusively; all ages are welcome!


Duration: 50 minutes

76 reviews

2. Tour Lower Manhattan in a jeep (from USD 359.0)

If you want to see the lesser-known gems of New York City, join this Jeep Wrangler tour right away. Driven around by an expert guide, you’ll be traversing the tree-lined brownstone neighborhoods of SoHo, TriBeCa, Greenwich Village, and Chinatown. You’ll also get to visit Brooklyn Heights Promenade where you’ll find a magnificent view of the Manhattan skyline.

The districts you’ll be exploring are home to artists, celebrities, and other famous figures in the country. This tour is ideal for a group of four and is completely tailored to your convenience.

Private New York City Jeep Tour: Exploring the Urban Jungle of Lower Manhattan

Duration: 2 hours

16 reviews

3. Cruise the famous NYC skyline (from USD 78.0)

There’s nothing more romantic than cruising on a yacht in the evening, right in front of the New York City skyline. If you’re looking to treat your partner to a cozy night out, or your family to a well-deserved excursion, you can’t go wrong with this nighttime cruise in the harbor.

The 1920s-style yacht takes you around the historic Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Brooklyn Bridge. To make the evening more memorable, you can have a drink of your choice too, with light snacks available for purchase onboard.

Manhattan Skyline Night Cruise: 1.5 Hour Yacht Tour Plus Drink

Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes

23 reviews

4. Cycle around Central Park (from USD 75.0)

Explore the landmark space of Central Park on this fantastic bike tour. This tour lasts for about two and a half hours, and covers 6 miles (10 km), with stops at many of the park’s best spots. As you peddle through the park, you’ll visit sights like the Sheep Meadow, Gapstow Bridge, Bethesda Terrace, The Ramble, and Strawberry Fields, and get to know the stories of the park from your professionally trained guide. Hybrid bikes and helmets are provided. The tour is family-friendly for participants aged 12 and up.

Private Takes Two Central Park Bike Tour

Duration: 3 hours

198 reviews

5. See the NYC skyline from the water (from USD 75.0)

Set sail around the city, and enjoy an unparalleled view of the city’s skyline from the water! This luxurious small-group tour takes off from the marina, and cruises around some of New York City’s famous landmarks in a delightful sailboat called the Enchantress. Over the course of two and a half hour tour, you’ll sail around Governor’s Island and see superb views of the Statue of Liberty, One World Trade Center, and the Brooklyn Bridge. The tour also includes bottled water and basic snacks.

Sailing Tour New York with Brooklyn Sail

Duration: 2.5 hours

912 reviews

6. Try surfing at Rockaway Beach (from USD 79.0)

If you’ve always wanted to try surfing or ocean paddleboarding, this Airbnb experience is perfect for beginners. This hour-long NYC activity takes place at Rockaway Beach near Queens and includes all gear, including wetsuits. Your instructor can teach you how to balance and pop up on the ocean waves, as well as provide more safety information, while the more experienced surfers can learn the advanced techniques. You then have the chance to put your new skills to the test. You can also take a class to try out ocean paddleboarding.

Surf & Paddleboard in Rockaway Beach Nyc

Duration: 1 hour

15 reviews

7. Listen to live music as you sail around the harbor (from USD 79.0)

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, and enjoy a soothing Sunday sail around the city. This 90-minute tour onboard a clipper ship is a relaxing way to enjoy sightseeing, and includes beer on tap and cocktails like mimosas and Bloody Marys. Over the course of the tour, you’ll sail past landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Governor’s Island, and see many of the city’s famous bridges. While you cruise around the harbor, you can enjoy the gentle sounds from live musicians who play a rotating selection of bossa nova, jazz, and classical music.

Easy Sunday Cocktails & Live Jazz Sail

Duration: 1.5 hours

12 reviews

8. Go fishing in Central Park (from USD 80.0)

Get lost in nature in Central Park, and have a go at fishing. Central Park is home to Bluegills, Carp, Smallmouth Bass, and Largemouth Bass, and this experience provides a great tutorial in how to catch one. All equipment is provided for this experience, and your guide will start you off with how to use all the gear, as well as tell you about fishing safety. Ideal for beginners and experienced fishers alike, the experience lasts 90 minutes.

Fishing in New York City Central Park

Duration: 1.5 hours

103 reviews

9. Enjoy yoga in Central Park (from USD 28.0)

This yoga and power walk session in Central Park is perfect for a mental refresh. This 90-minute activity combines a brisk power walk with breaks for restorative yoga stretches, and is a fantastic way to unwind and relax as you explore Central Park. Stretch in the shade of Central Park’s massive trees, and let your mind clear as you visit some of the park’s most renowned landmarks. You’ll cover a 2 mile (3 km) area of the Park, and see many iconic spots, including the Mall, Bethesda Terrace, the Boathouse, and more. Bottles of water are provided.

Central Park Power Walk and Yoga Tour

Duration: 1.5 hours

127 reviews

10. Sightsee while you run through Central Park (from USD 32.0)

Start your morning with a sightseeing run through Central Park. This hour-long activity is a great way to get your cardio in while exploring New York City’s landmark green space. The run covers about 3 miles (5 km), and lets you visit some of the Park’s most renowned areas, including Bethesda Terrace, Alice in Wonderland, the Imagine Circle, and many famous statues. As you run, your guide will share stories about the park, and pass on fascinating facts and information. Groups are limited to 10 participants, and bottled water is included.

Central Park 5K Fun Running Tour

Duration: 1 hour

97 reviews

11. Skate through the city with a life coach (from USD 180.0)

This unique experience combines cardio and coaching, all while seeing beautiful sights in the city. The 90-minute activity provides personal, one-on-one coaching as you roller skate through the city and enjoy the beauty of areas like Central Park, the Hudson River, or the FDR path. Your guide is a certified coach who can help you articulate personal and professional goals, and ascertain areas that are providing stumbling blocks. This tour is excellent for providing a new angle on New York City and your life, as well. Equipment is provided.

Work/Life Coaching on skates

Duration: 1.5 hours

5 reviews

12. Experience the beauty of Gowanus Canal on a sunset canoe tour (from USD 29.0)

Enjoy the beauty of Brooklyn at sunset on this canoeing excursion. On this 90-minute tour, you’ll join the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club for a unique way to tour Brooklyn, and see the industrial neighborhood from a new angle. As you paddle along the Gowanus Canal, your guide will tell you more about the area, and highlight historic businesses, bridges, street art, and areas of nature reclamation along the shoreline. This tour includes all equipment, including canoes, paddles, and life jackets, and groups are limited to up to 10 participants.

Brooklyn Canoeing of the Gowanus Canal

Duration: 1.5 hours

5 reviews

13. “Rance” your way through the city (from USD 24.0)

For a fun and unique cardio exercise, you have to try “ran-cing.” This tour combines running with dancing, and is a great way to meet new people, see the city, and get some exercise. As you stretch, you’ll put together a collaborative playlist that will make you want to move, and then you can “rance” your heart out. Your fun-loving guide will lead you through New York City’s vibrant neighborhoods, and cover an area of about 2 miles (3 km). This tour is about 90 minutes, and is a great way to shake up your sightseeing.

Running + Dancing = Rancing!

Duration: 1.5 hours

45 reviews

Get out and get active in New York City

From morning runs through Central Park to evening canoe excursions in Brooklyn, New York City is filled with great ways to get active. While there are so many fantastic museums and landmarks to check out here, it’s also great to reconnect with nature and get outdoors while you’re in the city. Whether you want a new way to get in some cardio or are looking for a laid-back way to enjoy some sightseeing, these tours and activities are a great way to enjoy the outdoors in NYC. Start planning your getaway today and check out these fun outdoor things to do in NYC!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

Hannah is a freelance writer, list making aficionado, and world traveler currently based in Germany. She is an avid explorer, and believes in creating new experiences to put on her bucket list to...Read more

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore New York City
Looking for accommodation?
Good things are meant to be shared!