With its car-free environment and tranquil natural surrounds it’s hard to believe Governors Island is located just yards from Lower Manhattan. This 172-acre parcel of land sits in the heart of New York Harbor and provides breathtaking views of Lady Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. This urban oasis is open from May 1 to October 21. Once used as a military base, this tourist destination is now bustling with outdoor recreational activities, cultural events, and dining options.
Arts and Culture
Governors Island hosts a variety of cultural events and art exhibits for its visors to enjoy. The island’s Urban Farm offers information and tours with a variety of hands-on learning opportunities. The primary focus is on environmental issues and the changing climate.
Late Friday Night
Every Friday night from Memorial Weekend through September 14 visitors can gaze at the city’s skyline and view the breathtaking sunsets over the harbor. Many of the area restaurants and beer gardens will remain open on these evening to serve visitors.
New York Poetry Festival
Poetry readers from a variety of genres are invited to Governors Island to present their talents in this unique setting.
Picknic – June 30 to July 1
Nothing rings in the summer season like a “Rosé All Day” celebration. Come dressed in your favorite pink and white outfit, sip the finest in Rosé wine selections, dine on locally chef prepared delicacies, and listen to live music. Watch the sunset followed by a spectacular fireworks display.
NYC Volkswagen Traffic Jam July 8 10-5pm
Calling all VW fans! July 8, is Vintage Volkswagen Car Show and Picnic Day on Governors Island. See over 100 Beetles and VW busses circa 1950’s and 1970’s.
With Governors Island being a car free zone it provides a perfect destination for miles of cycling, play areas, zip lining and other outdoor fun.
There are seven miles of bike trails around the island. Rentals are available for bikes, quadricycles, and tandem bikes.
Take part in the island’s Free 1-hour walking tour. Visitors can learn about the island’s history and its plans for future development. Tours begin at the Governors Island Welcome Center.
Those looking for little more action will enjoy the Flywire Zip Line, 3D Climbing Challenges, and the Amazen’s Maze.
Kids of all ages as well as adults will enjoy the thrill of gliding down Governors Island’s 57-foot long slide. There are many other slides to choose from offering varying lengths including an extra wide slide for the whole family to enjoy together.
In the island’s Hammock Grove you’ll find 50 red hammocks for visitors to relax and enjoy and beautiful summer day while taking in the views of the Manhattan skyline.
This well-known dining spot is located right on the waterfront near the Manhattan ferry landing. It serves up summer dishes and tropical cocktails for patrons to enjoy while taking in the majestic views of New York Harbor.
Taco Beach is Governors Island’s newest waterfront dining option. It serves your favorite Mexican dishes and refreshing cocktails.
Visitors enjoy its a cold beer in this local beer garden and dine on grilled options.
Governers Beer Co.
Your choice of eight refreshing draft beers (or try them all) are produced within the five New York City boroughs. A perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day. There is also a selection of summery wines and a menu of summer fare.
How to Get There
Governors Island is just a short ferry ride from New York. Ferries depart daily from Battery Maritime Building, 10 South Street or weekends only from Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
For more unmissable things to do and see, check out our guide to the best New York tours.