Nowadays, we’re inside even when we’re outside. When we leave the boxes we call home, chances are, we get into a different kind of box that moves (a car/plane/train) only to step into yet another box — even if it's one as gorgeous as the spaces on Backdrop. Well, enough about boxes. Outside the many enclosures we’ve gotten used to are stunning views of nature, some less than a mile from the average New Yorker. And don't worry: you can find more places on the Backdrop app.
Are you looking for some fun outside? Check out these outdoor US locations on the Backdrop app — and highlights of fun things to do at those places.
For more information on any location (such as the full address, opening hours, parking information, and much more), download the Backdrop app and click the image to view Key Details.
1. The High Line, Manhattan, New York City
Over a former elevated freight rail line is a 1.45-mile-long park with a fantastic view of the city and Hudson River. The High Line is also home to various native and exotic plants, trees, and flowers and has several landscaped gardens with picturesque seating areas.
An architectural work of art itself, the location features several art installations and murals by local and international artists. The park has several interactive facilities, such as a giant chessboard, ping pong tables, and other games. There are guided tours on the history, architecture, design, and featured artworks on site.
📝 Things to do at The High Line: Take a walk, admire the art, have a picnic, explore the gardens, visit the food vendors, watch the sunset over the city skyline, join a guided tour, take pictures, and play games.
2. Mohonk Mountain House, Hudson Valley
Mohonk Mountain House is a historic hotel and resort surrounded by miles of hiking trails which range from easy walks to more challenging climbs. It is also known for world-class rock climbing, offering guided rock climbing and horseback riding adventures. For a more laid-back experience, there is a nine-hole golf course, perfect for beginners and seasoned golfers alike; also, several tennis courts, where you can enjoy a game or take lessons from a pro.
The resort has an award-winning spa with various treatments and services, including massages, facials, and body treatments. Its beautiful indoor swimming pool is a popular amenity; however, for this article, the real star is the outdoor lake for swimming and paddle boating. At the greenhouse, you can learn about the different plant species and even help with gardening.
📝 Things to do at Mohonk Mountain House: Hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, having a quick spa day, swimming, paddle boating, golfing, playing tennis, and visiting the greenhouse.
3. New York Botanical Garden, The Bronx
The New York Botanical Garden is one of the most extensive and impressive botanical gardens in the world. Its conservatory is a stunning structure of glass and steel, home to several gardens of a variety of plants, tropical and subtropical, from roses to native plants. There’s a children's garden with a notably interactive approach to teaching them about plants and nature. For adults, there are also guided tours, including one on a tram, where you can learn about the different gardens, plant life, and architecture of the garden.
The garden even offers cooking classes, where you can learn how to cook with fresh herbs and vegetables from the garden. Perhaps the best part would be having your meal outside, under the shade.
📝 Things to do at New York Botanical Garden: Exploring different gardens, joining a guided tour, visiting the conservatory, taking kids to the children's park, and attending a cooking class.
4. Conservatory Garden, New York City
Conservatory Garden is a serene environment with colourful scenery thanks to its tulips, daffodils, roses and other flowers, which is why it is a popular photography spot. The garden is also sweet smelling: all you need is a walk here – with your pet if you’d like – for a worthwhile aromatherapy experience.
There are several designated picnic areas with many benches to read a book or do some people-watching. Among its many fountains is a well-known one in the Italian Renaissance style. You can admire the beauty of the water features and enjoy the tranquillity of the sounds of the pouring water.
📝 Things to do at Conservatory Garden: Taking a walk, smelling the flowers, having a picnic, joining a guided tour, visiting the fountains, taking pictures, walking your pet, reading a book
5. Met Cloisters, Fort Tryon Park, Manhattan
The Met Cloisters is a museum in New York City specialising in medieval art and architecture, which makes it one of the more unique attractions to visit. Both the architecture and beautiful gardens are designed in the style of a monastery from the middle ages, with a diverse collection of art and artefacts that are representative of the era. The exhibits include tapestries, sculptures, and illuminated manuscripts. And they offer workshops and classes on medieval art techniques. (Yes! They teach you how to make your art!)
Located in Fort Tryon Park, the museum offers stunning views of the Hudson River and the rest of the surrounding area. The park outside the museum is perfect for picnics or just relaxing and enjoying the scenery: the sights and smells are as peaceful as they are relaxing. The museum has a cafe you can stop by to recharge; they serve coffee, tea, and light snacks.
📝 Things to do at the Met Cloisters: Admiring architecture, exploring the gardens, checking out the exhibits, joining a guided tour, participating in a workshop or class, enjoying the view, having a picnic, recharging at the cafe.
6. Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, Central Park
Bethesda Terrace and Fountain is a popular attraction not only for the fantastic fountain but also for the picturesque views of the surrounding park. You’ll find intricate carvings and sculptures around the scene, highlighting the aesthetic influence of the sound of the flowing water. This place is one of the most famous landmarks in Central Park, notably close to Central Park Lake, where you can rent a rowboat. Street performers – dancers and musicians – tend to pick a spot on the terrace, entertaining the park’s visitors.
📝 Things to do at Bethesda Terrace and Fountain: Visiting the fountain, taking pictures, people-watching, renting a rowboat, seeing street performers, and visiting nearby attractions.
7. Untermyer Gardens Conservancy, Yonkers
Untermyer Gardens Conservancy is a public site home to several beautiful gardens located on a hillside. Through guided tours, the gardens provide visitors with a deeper understanding of the history and significance of the different areas. For instance, The Temple of the Sky is a unique structure that features a domed ceiling with a painted sky.
Workshops and classes are held throughout the year, covering gardening photography, and art. And at the gift shop, you can get unique items from plants to books to other souvenirs.
📝 Things to do at Untermyer Gardens Conservancy: Explore the gardens, take a walk, join a guided tour, attend a workshop or class, picnic, visit the Temple of the Sky, hike, visit the gift shop.
8. Wave Hill Public Garden & Cultural Center, The Bronx
From the Flower Garden to the Aquatic Garden, Wave Hill Public Garden & Cultural Center is a beautiful garden and cultural center is a distinct area for exploration. Its many hiking trails wind through the woodlands, presenting scenic views of the Hudson River and the surrounding area. Structures like the Marco Polo Stufano Conservatory make the centre a perfect outdoor location even on rainy days or during the winter months.
Art exhibitions are put on display every year, featuring established and emerging artists alike. When visitors aren't marvelling at sights, they can attend any of the workshops, walks, storytelling events and performances and other family-friendly programs that hold throughout the year.
Wave Hill Public Garden & Cultural Center
📝 Things to do at Wave Hill Public Garden & Cultural Center: Explore the gardens, attend a performance or workshop, check out the art exhibits, participate in family programs, hike, attend a lecture/talk, visit the shop, picnic.
9. Olmsted, Brooklyn
This outdoor restaurant is owned and operated by a team of chefs and farmers who grow most of their ingredients in the backyard. Typically open from 5 pm to 10 pm from Wednesday to Sunday, they do offer lunch to weekend callers between noon and 2:30 pm, after which they close again till dinner. Olmsted does not open on Mondays and Tuesdays. Even before earning its Michelin star, this place has been quite the destination for years. While reservations are required, visitors who get a spot here can enjoy their meal at the backyard, surrounded by the very plants that made the delicacies possible.
📝Things to do at Olmsted: Grab drinks at the bar, have a meal, visit the backyard farm, have an event.
10. Magic Hour, New York City
On the 18th floor of the Moxy Times Square is a chill spot that lives up to its name. Magic Hour is a hotel rooftop bar, lounge and urban amusement park; a remarkable place for a remarkable time. Even in winter, the area is made warm and cosy so you don’t have to run back inside too quickly. Offering cocktails, views of the skyline, mini golf and a generally unique aesthetic, this place appeals to the senses and sensibilities of any kind of visitor, as long as they're up for a magical time.
📝Things to do at Magic Hour: Grab a drink, play mini golf, take pictures with the props, grab a bite, enjoy the view.