While summer is winding down in New York City, there’s still plenty you haven’t done outdoors. Before fall events begin and you all go into hibernation, take a trip to one (or more) of New York City’s botanical gardens and check out some of the events still going on while we can still call it “summer.” When you do go, don’t forget the history of botanic gardens which date back to 16th and 17th centuries in order to study and cultivate medicines and new species of plants from different countries.
1. Brooklyn Botanical Garden
Probably the most popular of gardens in New York, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden is an easily accessible green space where you can pretend you’re not in one of the most chaotic cities in the world. This garden lives up to Brooklyn’s trendy rep.: there’s a green roof, a zen Japanese garden, a Shakespeare garden with the plants mentioned in his works, and a hip gift shop with plant-filled glass orbs. There’s also an impressive conservatory with three different controlled climates inside.
2. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx
The largest botanical garden in the 5 boroughs, the New York Botanical Garden has some of the world’s funkiest plants, native New York woodlands, and tons of gardens and on paths to lose yourself in. If you’re a foodie, make sure to stop by the Edible Academy for gardening, cooking classes, and daily garden-to-table family dinners. Plus there’s the amazingly architectural holiday train show that takes place there every winter.
3. Queens Botanical Garden
The Queens Botanical Garden is a haven for locals. Its impressive eco-community has a compost garden, a cleansing biotope, a roof garden, and even a parking garden as part of their Sustainable Landscapes and Buildings Project. Also part of this project is a fountain that reuses rainwater… and looks really cool. We loved the bee houses and the herb garden–a great way to spend one last afternoon of free-time before the chill sets in.
4. Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, Staten Island
Staten Island has one the city’s most underrated garden at Snug Harbor. Over 83 acres of land, there is the city’s second oldest music hall, incredible contemporary art and even a residency program for artists, and an entire farm. The New York Chinese Scholars Garden emulates the ancient Ming Dynasty Gardens (1368-1644). Make your way through a Tuscan villa-style garden, a green maze, or stop into the Healing Garden for a peaceful rest. This botanical garden has gone to wonderful lengths to house many different cultures with regional flora.
5. 6BC, Manhattan
There are more than seventy community gardens in Lower Manhattan, but 6BC is our favorite. Tiny compared to those other botanical gardens, 6BC still manages to use its space in interesting and surprising ways.
6. Narrows Botanical Garden, Brooklyn
Located in Bay Ridge along Shore Road, this garden offers a unique view of the waterway. Run by volunteers, the Narrows Botanical Garden gives and takes from the community. Events such as movie nights, poetry reading, youth camp activities, and a harvest festival are still going on in this 4.5 acre-park.
7. Wave Hill, Bronx
Although the greenhouse at the historic Wave Hill estate is wonderfully kept year-round, spend sometime in the outdoor gardens while you still can. We especially love the 10 acres of native-New York woodlands and the aquatic gardens.