Bronx Museum. Photo: Adam Pape
—NYC & Company Invites Travelers and Locals Alike to Explore Parks, Gardens, Neighborhoods and Food in the Bronx, As Part of New “Get Local NYC” Campaign—
—From World-Famous Yankee Stadium to Arthur Avenue, the Bronx Zoo and City Island, the Bronx Offers Unique Destinations, Vibrant Communities and Green Spaces—
NYC & Company, New York City’s official destination marketing organization and convention and visitors bureau for the five boroughs of New York City, invites locals and visitors alike to Bronx Like a New Yorker, by exploring the borough’s many offerings.
Just a train ride north of Manhattan, the Bronx offers everything from the Bronx Zoo to world-famous Yankee Stadium. Take a stroll on the Grand Concourse or take a ferry from Manhattan to an idyllic waterfront spot called Clason Point. Explore unique and vibrant neighborhoods like Riverdale, where visitors can down a Guinness at An Beal Bocht, an authentic Irish pub; Arthur Avenue, the borough’s very own Little Italy; and Mott Haven, where The Lit. Bar is an essential stop for book lovers and Chocobar Cortés is a must for chocolate lovers.
The Bronx is loaded with history: George Washington slept here in the 18th century, poet Edgar Allan Poe lived here in the 19th century and hip-hop music was born here in the 20th century. The borough also has 7,000 acres of parkland (about 25 percent of its total area), from glorious gardens like Wave Hill and the New York Botanical Garden to Van Cortlandt Park, famed for its cross-country running trails.
“As the birthplace of hip-hop and an epicenter of diverse cultures and expansive green spaces, the Bronx is filled with can’t-miss New York City experiences,” said Maria Torres-Springer, NYC Deputy Mayor for Economic & Workforce Development. “As the weather warms up, there’s no better time to explore the extraordinary music, food, art, shopping and nature that Bronx neighborhoods have to offer.”
“The Bronx may be most famous for Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Zoo, the New York Botanical Garden and as the birthplace of hip-hop, but it is also brimming with authentic, unique local experiences to explore,” said NYC & Company President and CEO Fred Dixon. “From waterfront destinations like City Island and Orchard Beach to Arthur Avenue and Little Italy, the murals and restaurants along River Avenue and 161st Street bordering Yankee Stadium, sprawling parks and gardens, to enjoying remarkable ethnic cuisine throughout the borough, the Bronx stands out as a remarkable destination to experience NYC Like a New Yorker.”
A unique and lovely choice for accommodations in the Bronx is the boutique Opera House Hotel. It’s located in a renovated historic theater that once hosted entertainment legends like Harry Houdini and the Marx Brothers. The hotel has 60 rooms, a gym, free breakfast, concierge service, and it’s located near two subway stations: 149th Street-Grand Concourse and 3rd Avenue-149th Street.
The Bronx is also home to hundreds of restaurants, many of them friendly mom-and-pop establishments offering authentic cuisine from around the world, whether it’s Colombian sancocho at La Masa, Mexican fare at Taqueria Tlaxcalli or Italian food on Arthur Avenue. The red-and-white Michelin logo can be found on the door at SUYO Gastrofusion, a sleek, chic space where the Latin-Asian menu includes Thai chicken empanadas and panko maduros. The Bronx has also become a destination for West African food, thanks to vibrant immigrant communities like Little Ghana. Try Ghanaian cuisine at Papaye, Togolese specialties at Bognan International, and Grin for food from the Ivory Coast.
Below is a detailed look at some Bronx neighborhoods, along with major attractions, eateries, arts venues, and other unique destinations and experiences, including boating and bridge walks:
YANKEE STADIUM, THE GRAND CONCOURSE AND HIP-HOP HISTORY: There’s nothing like taking a subway train packed with Yankee fans to see the Bronx Bombers on their home turf (B, D, or 4 train to 161st Street). If on a budget, grandstand seats can be had for $10 and bleachers tickets are under $30. Just be prepared to root for the home team: Yankee fans are extremely loyal. Stadium food goes well beyond hot dogs and beer these days with options like Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque, Marcus Samuelsson’s Streetbird, The Halal Guys and City Winery.
Outside the ballpark, have a beer at Stan’s Sports Bar, known for Yankee memorabilia and diehard fans, or go for wings and craft beer at the Bronx Drafthouse. The neighborhood has many offerings aside from catching a game. Eating Tree, a Jamaican restaurant, is known for jerk chicken. While walking around, look for murals by street artist Andre Trenier; he’s painted a dozen honoring baseball legends like Joe DiMaggio.
Across the street from the stadium, the historic Bronx Terminal Market is home to a variety of restaurants and retailers. An exhibition called [R]Evolution of Hip Hop, organized by the Universal Hip Hop Museum (which has a permanent location currently under construction in the Melrose neighborhood), is scheduled to open in the market in May. In the meantime, hip-hop fans can also make a pilgrimage to the “Hip Hop Blvd” sign at 1520 Sedgwick Ave. That’s where hip-hop was born in 1973 when a DJ started rapping and scratching records on a turntable to keep people dancing at a party.
A few blocks east of the ballpark is the Grand Concourse. This famous 5-mile-long boulevard was inspired by the Champs-Élysées in Paris and is known for its art deco buildings. The Grand Concourse Historic District includes the Fish Building, 1150 Grand Concourse, with an exterior aquatic-themed mural and boldly designed lobby, and the Andrew Freedman Home, 1125 Grand Concourse, a block-long neo-Renaissance-style villa originally used as a retirement home for rich people who’d lost their fortunes. The Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse, is worth a visit and admission is free. Nearby, though not on the Concourse, is one of two Bronx locations for the Ghanaian eatery Papaye.
MOTT HAVEN AND THE SOUTH BRONX: Take the 6 train to 3rd Avenue-138th Street and walk a few blocks to Alexander Avenue, which is home to The Lit. Bar, the only independent bookstore in the Bronx. It offers cutting-edge fiction, poetry, nonfiction and children’s books as well as classics by writers like bell hooks and Toni Morrison, all curated by The Lit. Bar’s extraordinary founder, Noëlle Santos. On the same block, try Southern and Puerto Rican comfort food at Beatstro, which pays homage to hip-hop with displays of original vinyl LPs and more. On the corner, stop in at Chocobar Cortés for chocolate martinis and other delights.
The area also has a cluster of arts destinations: WallWorks New York – Kreate Hub, a contemporary art gallery; BronxArtSpace, a venue for underrepresented and emerging artists; and the Bronx Documentary Center, a showcase for photos, films and perspectives not found anywhere else. On Walton Avenue, the Pregones Theater hosts the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater. The unique boutique Opera House Hotel is nearby.
Southeast of Mott Haven in the Port Morris area, check out The Bronx Brewery and Empanology, offering contemporary versions of classic Puerto Rican cuisine as well as vegan fare.
ARTHUR AVENUE (BELMONT), BRONX ZOO, NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN: There’s just one thing to say to anyone headed to Arthur Avenue: Buon appetito! Located in the Belmont neighborhood, the area is known as Little Italy in the Bronx and it’s a major foodie destination. Fans rate the pizza at Zero Otto Nove as good as anything in Italy. Mario’s has an old-school feel (the restaurant celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019), while Tra Di Noi offers homey classics, Dominick’s serves food family style and Antonio’s Trattoria is a bit more contemporary. Get take-home ravioli at Borgatti’s and pastries at Delillo, and don’t miss the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, home to The Bronx Beer Hall and Mike’s Deli. The nearest subway station is Fordham Road (B, D or 4 train).
The Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden are located east of Arthur Avenue in Bronx Park. The 265-acre zoo, one of the country’s largest, is home to more than 17,000 creatures representing 700 species. Exhibits include the African Plains (lions), Madagascar (lemurs), Congo Gorilla Forest, Tiger Mountain, Himalayan Highlands, World of Reptiles, World of Birds, Mouse House, plus giraffes, bison, bears, the Butterfly Garden (April–October), Wild Asia Monorail (May–October) and more. Kids will love the Bug Carousel, the Children’s Zoo and the Nature Trek climbing structure (ages 3 and up). Other experiences include in-person animal encounters and the Treetop Adventure aerial climbing course. A limited number of free tickets are available online in advance for Wednesdays. Take the 2 or 5 train to the East 180th Street station, then a cab or bus to the zoo’s Asia Gate a mile away. Details on other routes here.
The New York Botanical Garden is the country’s largest urban botanical garden and a National Historic Landmark. Its 250 acres include a million plants and 50 specialty gardens, including orchids, azaleas and roses; thousands of trees (some more than 200 years old); and the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, a Victorian-style glasshouse. Take Metro-North commuter railroad’s Harlem local line from Grand Central Terminal to Botanical Garden Station; the B, D, or 4 to Bedford Park Boulevard, or the 2 to Allerton Avenue.
RIVERDALE, KINGSBRIDGE AND VAN CORTLANDT PARK: The northwest Bronx is home to some wonderful spots to eat and drink, along with two of the borough’s most beautiful green spaces: Wave Hill and Van Cortlandt Park.
Wave Hill originated as a private estate visited by luminaries like Charles Darwin, Mark Twain, Arturo Toscanini, and Theodore Roosevelt. Today anyone can enjoy its woodland trails, themed gardens and panoramic views of the Hudson River. Programming includes bird and nature walks, art shows and live music. Take a Metro-North commuter train from Grand Central Terminal to Riverdale on the Hudson Line, or the 1 train to Van Cortlandt Park-242nd Street.
Van Cortlandt Park is famous for its cross-country running trails, which include the notorious Cemetery Hill. Along a run, look for the sculpture of a tortoise and a hare, and stop by Lloyd’s Carrot Cake shop just outside the park; it’s a favorite among runners looking to reward their efforts. Hikers can enjoy woodlands and wetlands at a more leisurely pace on the Putnam Trail, Cass Gallagher Nature Trail, John Kieran Nature Trail, John Muir Trail and Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, all 1.5 miles or less. The park is also home to playgrounds, a skate park, an Olympic-size pool, fields for cricket, baseball, and soccer; ball courts; and even a horseback riding stable and trails. The Van Cortlandt House Museum, inside the park near Broadway at 246th Street, was built in 1748 and hosted George Washington twice during the Revolutionary War. An exhibition tells the story of enslaved individuals of African descent who lived and worked on the property.
A few blocks from the museum, the Kingsbridge Social Club makes pizza in a unique rotating oven and serves heavenly zeppole. And don’t miss An Beal Bocht, one of the City’s finest Irish pubs. Named for a famous Irish novel, An Beal Bocht displays a mural of Irish writers as part of its decor. Saturday mornings, visitors can hear bluegrass musicians jamming while enjoying a hearty Irish breakfast. Enjoy more live music in the pub at night while downing a Guinness. The 238th Street station on the 1 line is the nearest stop, but be prepared to climb a steep outdoor staircase (known as a step street) to reach An Beal Bocht from there. The 242nd Street station is farther away but the terrain is less hilly.
WOODLAWN: This northerly neighborhood bordering the Westchester suburbs is sometimes called Little Ireland. A cluster of Irish food-and-drink spots along Katonah Avenue includes Rambling House and Behan’s Public House (named for Irish writer Brendan Behan, whose work is excerpted on the walls). Both places offer live music. The Kitchen serves up fish and chips and a proper Irish breakfast. Prime Cut Irish Butcher Store offers sausages and potpies among other fare.
Woodlawn Cemetery is a glorious green space with 400 acres of landscaped and wooded grounds dotted with sculptures and mausoleums. Stop by the office at the main entrance for a map listing dozens of famous people buried there. At the cemetery’s Jazz Corner, pay respects to music legends Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and Lionel Hampton. Other notables interred at Woodlawn include the great Cuban singer Celia Cruz, suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Moby Dick author Herman Melville, New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and powerful parks commissioner Robert Moses, actress Diahann Carroll, African American entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker and African American Nobel Peace Prize winner Ralph Bunche. Founded in 1863, the cemetery is a National Historic Landmark. Themed tours are available. Take the 4 train to the Woodlawn station; 2 or 5 train to 233rd Street; or a Metro North commuter train (Harlem local line) from Grand Central Terminal to Woodlawn.
PELHAM BAY PARK AND CITY ISLAND: Sprawling over 2,772 acres, Pelham Bay Park is New York City’s largest park. Attractions include the Playground for All Children, Pond Walk, Sensory Garden, a 36-hole golf course and other athletic facilities, plus nature walks around Hunter Island, the Siwanoy Trail and Turtle Cove. History buffs can tour the park’s 19th-century Greek Revival–style Bartow-Pell Mansion. Orchard Beach–sometimes called the Bronx Riviera–offers a mile of sand on Long Island Sound, a promenade, pavilion, food concessions and ball courts. On peak summer days, be prepared for crowds and music. To get there, take the 6 train to the Pelham Bay Park station at the end of the line.
To reach City Island, the Bronx’s very own fishing village, catch the Bx29 bus From the Pelham Bay Park station. Choose from any number of eateries: Sea Shore Restaurant and Marina, Artie’s Steak & Seafood Restaurant, Lobster Box, Tony’s Pier and The Black Whale. For a drink, head to The Snug. Pick up souvenirs at Kaleidoscope Gallery (jewelry, crafts, decor and artwork) or 239 Play (vintage toys). Notable homes include the Samuel Pell House, a Victorian-style 1876 landmark, and 21 Tier St., which was featured in Wes Anderson’s film The Royal Tenenbaums. Visitors can also see the City Island Nautical Museum, find graves decorated with ships and sea creatures in the local cemetery, or rent a boat at Jack’s Bait & Tackle.
A mile south of the Pelham Bay station, the Schuylerville neighborhood is home to Third Eye Throwbacks for vintage clothes and more. Nearby Louie & Ernie’s is known for great pizza.
BRIDGES: The Bronx is the only New York City borough that’s not on an island. It’s connected to the rest of the City by a multitude of bridges, and visitors can actually get to the Bronx by walking across some of them. Two of the most appealing pedestrian walkways are on the Henry Hudson Bridge and the High Bridge.
The Henry Hudson connects Inwood Hill Park in Manhattan to the Bronx’s Spuyten Duyvil neighborhood. Spuyten Duyvil is also the name of the nearby Metro-North commuter rail station, as well as the name of the creek that flows below the bridge.
The High Bridge connects Washington Heights in Manhattan (at 172nd Street and Amsterdam Avenue) to the Highbridge neighborhood in the Bronx (at University Avenue and 170th Street). The High Bridge is New York City’s oldest bridge. It opened in 1848 as part of the Croton Aqueduct system, though some of its original stone arches were replaced by a steel arch.
BOATS: Take the NYC Ferry to the Bronx for just $2.75, the same price as a subway ride. Boats depart from Wall Street, 34th Street and other East River piers to two stops in the Bronx, Soundview and Throgs Neck-Ferry Point Park. The Soundview stop is in a small park called Clason Point. It’s on a lovely, quiet peninsula that looks like it could be in New England. Bring a picnic and enjoy the view or stroll to Soundview Avenue for a bite at Maravilla’s Bar & Grill or Mi Casita Lounge. The boat’s last stop, Ferry Point Park, includes an 18-hole links-style golf course.
Along the 8-mile-long Bronx River, two organizations offer rowboat and canoe outings, tours, birding and other activities to locals and visitors alike. Check out the Bronx River Alliance schedule here and Rocking the Boat programs here.
For further information on exploring the Bronx, visit nycgo.com/bronx.
About NYC & Company:
NYC & Company is the official destination marketing organization and convention and visitors bureau for the City of New York, dedicated to maximizing travel and tourism opportunities throughout the five boroughs, building economic prosperity and spreading the positive image of New York City worldwide. For all there is to do and see in New York City, visit nycgo.com.