How to Escape New York Without Leaving the City

This is point in the summer, for me at least, when the hot garbage smell and the humidity gets to me, and I tire of being in the city. But due to work obligations and the reluctance to subject myself to the reported chaos at the airports, I’m stuck here for now. But luckily for me, and you, if you’re in a similar situation, there are ways to escape New York without leaving the city. Whether you’re looking to get away from the city for a few minutes or a few hours, read on for my best suggestions on where to go to do this.

Governors Island

Spending a day at Governors Island is one of the most blissful getaways you can have without leaving the city. Just a ten-minute ferry ride from Manhattan and Brooklyn, Governors Island is a playground for all ages. You can spend the day exploring the car-free island by bike or on foot. Between the abandoned buildings, the various food stalls, the luxury spa, and the amazing views, you may never want to return to the city.

Inwood Hill Park

I know I’ve been gushing about this park ever since I moved to Inwood, but you can believe the hype; there’s nothing else like it, at least not in Manhattan. Inwood Hill Park really does feel like you’re in the woods and you don’t even have to go that deep into its bonafide forests to feel that way. If you’re in need of a long walk through the woods, I recommend doing a mega hike from Inwood Hill Park through Fort Tryon Park down to the Little Red Lighthouse in Fort Washington Park. Or if you’re not in the mood to hike, you’ll still feel plenty removed from the city just sitting by Spuyten Duyvil Creek watching ducks and geese wade through the water.

New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden at Snug Harbor

The whole Snug Harbor complex is worth visiting, but if you really want to feel removed from New York City, lose yourself within the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden. Once you step through the bamboo grove, you’ll never want to leave, and with all the twists and turns within the garden, it’ll be kind of hard to.

Queens County Farm Museum

Don’t let the word “museum” throw you off; despite being a historic landmark, Queens County Farm Museum is a fully functional farm on the eastern edge of Queens. This centuries-old farm is surrounded by a regular residential neighborhood, but you’ll forget that completely once you pass through the gates and see the red farmhouse, crops, and livestock. Visitors are welcome to wander around the family-friendly farm, and for a small fee, you can feed the goats and the sheep and take a thrilling hayride. I left the Queens County Farm Museum feeling as though I was a kid again, and I have a feeling that you will too.

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine

If the city is wearing you down and you’re in need of spiritual rejuvenation, a quick trip to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine will lift your spirits. You don’t have to be Episcopalian to enter this century-old Romanesque Revival/Gothic Revival church. Just pay the “sitevisiting fee” and you’ll be left to your own devices. Spend some time admiring the stained glass at the front of the cathedral before passing through the construction into chapel area. (Note: Don’t let all the construction inside the cathedral scare you. This has been going on for so many years that the church is nicknamed “St. John the Unfinished.”) Pick one of the beautiful chapels to sit in and pray, meditate, or reflect. The beauty of this place will cause your mind to go from awe to calm.

Where do you like to go to escape from New York without leaving it? If you liked the suggestions in this article, you might like my previous post on where to relax in NYC.

But before you go, if you liked this post on how to escape NYC without leaving the city and you want weekly articles on NYC history, culture, and things to do, sign up for the Shiloh in the City email list and follow me on Instagram and TikTok. Thanks for reading!

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