Based on population, New York City is the largest city in America. People call it many names: The Big Apple, the city that never sleeps, and the Concrete Jungle. This is because the city is massive, and there are a million things to do in New York City, a million places to eat, and a million ways to do them all. With such diversity in people, stories and experiences, one might wonder if nature is all but gone from this beautiful skyline.

New York City is one of the most developed areas in the country, and perhaps the world, but natural beauty is not too hard to find. Amidst this concrete jungle, there are plenty of places to go and activities to do involving nature — you just have to squint your eyes a little.

Here we have compiled a short list of things to do in New York City for those who want to appreciate nature in a place where it is rare.

New York Botanical Gardens

Located in the Bronx near Fordham University, the New York Botanical Gardens is a fantastic activity in New York City to see nature. With dozens of specialty gardens, the area encompasses 250 acres–making it the largest city garden in the Unites States.

Flushed with greenery, the botanical gardens is like an endless parade of flowers and foliage. All these gardens are just as beautiful all year long, not to mention the indoor displays and greenhouses.

The New York Botanical Gardens also offer tours, classes, and host events all throughout the year. Because of this, the gardens are a perfect place for the nature lover visiting New York City.

This information and more can be found here.

New York Botanical Gardens, New York, New York, USA

Photo: Acroterion via Wikimedia Commons

The High Line

Built on an abandoned elevated rail line, the High Line is a large public park. Run by a nonprofit, the park runs on the former tracks for almost a mile and a half in the lower west side of Manhattan. Spanning this distance is a handful of overlooks, crossroads, and plenty of foliage.

Because of it’s reach, the High line is accessible at many points, therefore they are great places to walk on. It is a great place to enjoy nature while being surrounded by buildings. Therefore, if you happen to be walking on the lower west side, The High Line is a perfect alternative walking path, away from the bustling streets of New York.

This information and additional info can be found here.

High Line Park, New York, New York, USA

Photo: David Berkowitz via Wikimedia Commons)

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Unlike the other places on this list, Jamaica Bay will take you a little bit farther from the center of the city. Located in Brooklyn and Queens, this 19,000 acre refuge is home to endless trees, islands, and wildlife to see–all right outside the city.

Apart from its vast areas to go running, biking, and boating, there is plenty of wildlife as well. If you are a fan of bird watching, Jamaica Bay is a perfect place to get the binoculars out. Many different species of birds flock to the area during different times of the year, making it diverse and ecologically beautiful.

More information about Jamaica Bay can be found here.

Jamaica Bay, New York, USA

Photo: Rhododendrites via Wikimedia Commons

Central Park

As New York’s most iconic park, it would be hard to exclude Central Park form this list. At over 750 acres, Central Park sits right in the middle of Manhattan, and yo can see it in almost every postcard, travel brochure, and Arial view of the city.

There is so much nature in Central Park it is almost like a imaginary world. You can go hiking, running, and biking all year long. For those who love the water, there are several large bodies of water to explore. You can bird watch all day and look at the sunset over the lake. You could even visit the Central Park Zoo and rent a small boat to explore the water. Like its own city, the possibilities are endless in the things you can do here.

Additional information about Central Park can be found here.

Central Park, New York, New York, USA

Photo: Jet Lowe via Wikimedia Commons

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