May 19, 2024

Things To Do in Bronx, New York

The Bronx is often overshadowed by its more renowned borough neighbors in the minds of New York residents and visitors alike. However, this vibrant cultural epicenter is bursting with heritage, history, and various activities, making it the perfect destination for an energizing urban adventure. There’s something for everyone in the Bronx, from iconic landmarks to off-the-beaten-path treasures. 

Best Bronx Attractions You Can’t Miss Out On

The Bronx is the birthplace of many significant cultural movements and is home to world-class attractions. From zoos to historical institutions, these must-see attractions will leave an indelible impression on your visit to the Bronx.

The Bronx Zoo

Immerse yourself in the heart of one of the country’s largest metropolitan wildlife habitats. Home to over 6,000 animals from around the globe, the Bronx Zoo offers a wild array of exhibits, including the Congo Gorilla Forest, Tiger Mountain, and the Butterfly Garden. For a truly unforgettable experience, visit during one of their special events or take part in their popular seasonal activities, such as Boo at the Zoo or the Holiday Lights.

Bronx Zoo Bug Carousel

While many are familiar with carousels that depict traditional horses, this one is an ode to the tiny creatures that make the world go around. Each seasonal-themed bug is a work of art, handcrafted and painted in whimsical colors. Riders are given the unique opportunity to choose their mount from a selection that includes a praying mantis, damselfly, and rhinoceros beetle. 

Bronx Zoo’ Fountain of Youth’

Near the Himalayan Highlands habitat in the Bronx Zoo lies “The Fountain of Youth,” an enigmatic and fascinating exhibit. The plaque on the legendary exhibit promises “good health and good fortune to all who drink” from the fountain.


The New York Botanical Garden

Right across from the Bronx Zoo, the New York Botanical Garden beckons with its 250 acres of gardens, special exhibitions, and family-friendly programming. Whether you’re marveling at the spring blooms, learning from its educational programs, or taking in the seasonal train show, the garden is a peaceful retreat and a celebration of nature in the heart of the bustling city.

 

Arthur Avenue

Dubbed the “real” Little Italy by many New Yorkers, Arthur Avenue is a culinary haven featuring family-owned markets and restaurants that have been serving up traditional Italian fare for generations. Savor fresh pasta, cannoli, and hand-pulled mozzarella as you wander the bustling streets of this charming neighborhood.

Enid A. Haupt Conservatory

Located adjacent to the Bronx Zoo, the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden entices visitors with its magnificent glasshouse housing diverse plants from across the globe. Whether you’re wandering among tropical flora, admiring the lush greenery, or attending one of its curated exhibitions, the conservatory offers a tranquil escape and a botanical adventure in the heart of the vibrant city.

Bartow Station

Hidden behind the New York Botanical Garden stands the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum, a picturesque portal to the 19th century. One of the last remaining upper middle-class estates in Pelham Bay, the museum transports guests to a time of grandeur with its stately Greek Revival exterior, opulent interior decorations, and meticulously maintained gardens. 

Holiday Train Show at New York Botanical Garden

Join the New York Botanical Garden for a beloved seasonal tradition – the Holiday Train Show. Watch as model trains zip through replicas of historic New York landmarks, including the original Penn Station and the Brooklyn Bridge, each re-created from natural materials like leaves, twigs, and bark.

Bronx Banana Ripening Facility

Ever wonder how that perfect bunch of yellow bananas end up at your local grocery store? Step into a world rarely seen by the average consumer with a visit to the Bronx Banana Ripening Facility. The facility ripens and distributes bananas to local supermarkets, ensuring the just-right ripeness we’ve come to expect. It’s an exciting and often overlooked part of the food supply chain—a unique detour that adds a layer to the story of how food makes its way to our tables.

Nano Billiards Cafe

For the billiards enthusiast looking for a unique experience, Nano Billiards Cafe offers an alternative to the typical pool hall scene. This offbeat locale features miniature billiards tables, adding a novel twist to a classic game. 

Best Bronx Restaurants

While you’re out touring all that the city has to offer, you can’t miss out on any of these amazing restaurants. 

Cafe al Mercato

If you crave the flavors of Italy, look at the authentic cuisine of Cafe al Mercato. Tucked away in Arthur Avenue Retail Market, this spot serves up classic Italian fare, from flavorful paninis to handcrafted espresso. The market, a hub of Italian-American culture, is home to a plethora of specialty shops offering everything from fresh mozzarella to imported olive oils. 

La Morada

For a more south-of-the-border flavor right here in the Bronx, La Morada brings the authentic taste of Oaxaca, Mexico, to the table. This family-owned restaurant is known for its variety of traditional Oaxacan dishes, from tlayudas to mole and chapulines. The star dish at La Morada is the “Mole Oaxaqueño,” a rich and flavorful mole sauce served over tender chicken, showcasing the complexity and depth of Oaxacan cuisine.

Ceetay

Ceetay is a contemporary Asian fusion restaurant in the Bronx, offering a diverse menu that blends traditional Asian flavors with modern culinary techniques. Their standout dish, the “Dragon Roll,” features fresh sushi-grade ingredients rolled with avocado and cucumber, topped with eel and tobiko, creating a visually stunning and delicious sushi masterpiece.

Beatstro

Beatstro is a vibrant hip-hop-themed restaurant located in the South Bronx, known for its creative fusion of Southern comfort food and New York City flair. The star dish at Beatstro is the “Bronx Burger,” a juicy Angus beef burger topped with smoky bacon, melted cheddar cheese, and a tangy Bronx sauce.

Tosca Cafe

Tosca Cafe is a classic Italian eatery in the Bronx’s Throggs Neck neighborhood, offering a cozy setting and a menu filled with hearty Italian comfort food. Their signature dish, the “Eggplant Parmesan,” features thinly sliced eggplant breaded and fried to crispy perfection, layered with marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese—a comforting favorite among locals.

Antonio’s Trattoria

Antonio’s Trattoria on Belmont Avenue is a charming Italian restaurant that offers a warm and inviting atmosphere along with a menu filled with traditional Italian dishes. Their specialty lies in perfectly crafted Neapolitan-style pizzas cooked to perfection in a wood-fired oven. Whether you’re in the mood for classic pasta dishes or authentic pizzas, Antonio’s Trattoria promises a delightful dining experience that captures the essence of Italian cuisine.

Zero Otto Nove Trattoria

Located on Arthur Avenue, Zero Oto Nova Trattoria is renowned for its authentic Italian fare. It specializes in wood-fired pizzas made with the freshest ingredients. The star dish at this trattoria is the Margherita Pizza, a true classic that embodies the flavors of Italy in every bite.

Enzo’s Of Arthur Avenue 

Enzo’s Of Arthur Avenue is a beloved Italian eatery known for its diverse menu featuring an array of pasta, pizza, and seafood options. Their signature dish, the “Linguine alle Vongole,” showcases the perfect marriage of fresh clams, garlic, and herbs, offering a taste of the sea in the heart of the Bronx.

Claudy’s Kitchen

Claudy’s Kitchen is a must-visit spot for Peruvian cuisine in the Bronx, offering a vibrant and diverse menu that highlights the bold flavors of Peru. Their star dish, the “Lomo Saltado,” is a savory stir-fry featuring tender beef, onions, tomatoes, and a hint of Peruvian spices, creating a mouthwatering culinary experience.

Cafe Italia

Cafe Italia is a cozy Italian cafe located in the Bronx, serving up a delightful selection of traditional Italian dishes with a modern twist. One of their standout offerings is the “Ravioli di Zucca,” homemade ravioli filled with creamy butternut squash and topped with a sage-infused brown butter sauce, a dish that perfectly balances sweet and savory flavors.

Sabor Latino

Sabor Latino on White Plains Road is a beloved eatery in the Bronx known for its authentic Latin American cuisine. Their star dish, the “Pernil,” features succulent slow-roasted pork shoulder seasoned to perfection with a blend of traditional spices, offering a taste of authentic Latin flavors in every bite.

Best Coffee Shops and Bakeries

Want to start your morning off right with a warm cup of coffee or a special treat? Bronx is filled with amazing coffee shops and bakeries; here are a few to check out. 

De Lillo Pastry Shop

De Lillo Pastry Shop on E 187th St is a beloved bakery in the Bronx that has been serving up delicious cakes and pastries for years. Their diverse menu caters to every sweet craving, making it a favorite destination for locals seeking quality baked goods.

La Casa Del Caffe

La Casa Del Caffe is known for its signature “Cuban Cortadito,” a delicious espresso-based drink made with steamed milk and a touch of sweetness, offering a perfect balance of bold flavors.

The Boogie Down Grind

The Boogie Down Grind is famous for its specialty, “Boogie Brew,” a unique blend of cold brew coffee infused with hints of vanilla and cinnamon, creating a refreshing and aromatic coffee experience.

Prince Coffee House

Prince Coffee House delights customers with its standout “Avocado Toast with Poached Eggs,” a savory and satisfying dish that combines creamy avocado, perfectly poached eggs, and a sprinkle of spices on toasted artisan bread.

Moss Café

Moss Café offers a delightful “Matcha Latte,” a vibrant green tea latte made with high-quality matcha powder and steamed milk, known for its smooth texture and earthy flavor profile.

The Hungry Bird Cafe

The Hungry Bird Cafe prides itself on its unique “Turmeric Latte,” a golden-hued latte made with frothy milk and turmeric spice, known for its anti-inflammatory properties and warm, comforting flavor profile.

Iconic Bronx Landmarks

The Bronx is home to many iconic landmarks that testify to its rich history and cultural impact.

Yankee Stadium

Even if you’re not a baseball fan, visiting Yankee Stadium is a quintessential Bronx experience. You can book a tour of the legendary park, home to the New York Yankees, to learn about its storied history and the greats who graced its field.

The Grand Concourse

Modeled on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, the Grand Concourse is a thoroughfare that encapsulates the history of the Bronx. Admire the distinct art deco architecture and mosaics that line this historic street, or visit one of the many art galleries that have found a home here.

The Hall of Fame for Great Americans 

This open-air colonnade on the campus of Bronx Community College houses the busts of over 98 American luminaries. Take a stroll and be inspired by the likes of Edgar Allan Poe, Jane Addams, and Emily Dickinson, whose legacies are immortalized in this unique historical monument.

Edgar Allan Poe Cottage

For those with a literary interest, a visit to the home of the legendary Edgar Allan Poe is in order. This modest cottage, a serene escape from the city, is where the poet worked on some of his most famous pieces.

Van Cortlandt House Museum

The Van Cortlandt House Museum in Van Cortlandt Park proudly holds the title of the borough’s oldest standing structure. This Georgian-style mansion, completed in 1749 by Frederick Van Cortlandt, witnessed occupancy by both British and Colonial troops during the Revolutionary War, adding layers of historical significance to its charm. Surrounded by a vast 1000-acre park, the museum offers visitors an immersive experience that delves into the rich heritage and architectural grandeur of this esteemed landmark. 

Kingsbridge Armory

This cavernous, castle-like structure was built in the 1910s as a spot for the National Guard to train. Now, it’s being reimagined as an ice skating rink and a community center. This represents not just a fun activity in the present but a bridge to the Bronx’s storied past and hopeful future.

Must-See Neighborhoods

The diverse neighborhoods of the Bronx each have their own flavor and story to tell.

City Island

This quaint island at the edge of the Bronx feels a world away from the urban bustle. Known for its seafood restaurants and maritime history, it’s the perfect spot for a relaxing day trip or a leisurely weekend escape.

Belmont

This neighborhood is home to Arthur Avenue and all of its famous culinary treasures. It’s also a place to shop for Italian imports, enjoy a rich espresso, and soak up the authentic Italian-American ambiance.

The Hub

An energetic commercial and cultural center, The Hub is a bustling intersection that serves as a crossroads of the Bronx’s diverse communities. Here, you’ll find an array of casual eateries, street vendors, and local businesses, all set against a backdrop of historical architecture and contemporary murals that capture the neighborhood’s spirit of resilience and renewal.

Fordham

A vibrant commercial and educational district, Fordham is best known for the prestigious Fordham University and the neighborhood’s bustling shopping district, Fordham Road.

Riverdale

This affluent neighborhood offers stunning views of the Hudson River, cozy cafes, and historic mansions that have attracted famous residents over the years.

Reflective Places

Discover the Bronx’s more contemplative sites, perfect for quiet moments of reflection.

Wave Hill

Wave Hill is a 28-acre public garden and cultural center that offers breathtaking views of the Hudson River and the Palisades. Its lush landscapes and thoughtfully curated art exhibitions provide a serene escape from the daily grind.

Unique Urban Parks

The Bronx offers respite from city life with its collection of diverse and captivating parks.

Pelham Bay Park

Spanning an impressive 2,772 acres, it offers visitors a diverse range of attractions, including miles of bridle paths and hiking trails, the historic Bartow-Pell Mansion, two golf courses, and the picturesque Orchard Beach overlooking Long Island Sound. This urban oasis provides a serene escape from the city with its expansive green spaces, recreational facilities, and natural beauty.

Van Cortlandt Park

This 1,146-acre park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. It offers various recreational activities, including hiking, horseback riding, and the oldest public golf course in the United States. Don’t miss the Van Cortlandt House Museum, a Georgian mansion that serves as a testament to the area’s significance during the Revolutionary War.

Orchard Beach

This man-made beach’s crescent shape, boardwalk, and calming waters provide a Mediterranean ambiance that’s a surprising delight for those visiting the Bronx. It’s a perfect spot to relax or enjoy various recreational facilities.

Concrete Plant Park

Located alongside the Bronx River, Concrete Plant Park is a testament to the remarkable transformation of industrial spaces into community greenspaces. The park’s unusual name comes from its history as a concrete plant; it now serves as a venue for local events, a tranquil retreat for urban dwellers, and a connector of the Bronx River Greenway. 

Cultural Experiences in the Bronx

The Bronx is synonymous with culture, and these experiences highlight its creative spirit and commitment to the arts.

The Bronx Museum of the Arts

A pioneer in the Bronx’s cultural landscape, the Bronx Museum of the Arts is dedicated to making the arts accessible to the community and beyond. With a focus on contemporary and 20th-century works by artists of African, Latin, and Asian American descent, the museum celebrates diversity and creativity.

Street Art of the South Bronx

The South Bronx has become a canvas for some of the most celebrated street artists in the world. Organized and sanctioned by the TAG Public Arts Project, this mural tour encapsulates the resilience and innovation of the Bronx community.

The House That Hip-Hop Built

No trip to the Bronx is complete without paying homage to the birthplace of hip-hop. Step into 1520 Sedgwick Avenue and celebrate the genre’s humble beginnings at the legendary Kool Herc’s apartment building.

The Andrew Freedman Home

Formerly a luxury retirement home for the rich, this historic building is now a unique social services center, artist residency, and exhibition space. It provides an intriguing perspective on the borough’s storied past.

Entertainment Venues in the Bronx

Have a night on the town at one of the Bronx’s many entertainment hotspots.

The Bronx Beer Hall

Located in the historic Arthur Avenue Retail Market, the Bronx Beer Hall offers a unique entertainment experience with daily live stand-up comedy shows, paired with an impressive selection of craft beers and a menu inspired by local flavors.

The Bronx Documentary Center

This cultural institution offers screenings, photography exhibits, and educational workshops that provide insight into the social and political issues shaping the neighborhood and the rest of the world. The center is a documentary storytelling hub and a must-visit for those passionate about the visual arts and social justice.

The Bronx Opera House

Catch a show at the magnificent Bronx Opera House, a century-old theater that continues to host a diverse array of performances, from opera productions to community events.

Pregones Theater

This acclaimed Latino arts organization offers a stunning program of live performances, workshops, and other cultural events that showcase the neighborhood’s storied cultural legacy.

The Turtle Cove Golf Center

Golf enthusiasts can tee off in this scenic, city-operated facility that features an 18-hole golf course, a driving range, and miniature golf for all skill levels.

Woodlawn Cemetery

Take a self-guided or group tour of Woodlawn Cemetery, the final resting place for many New York luminaries, including Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, and Celia Cruz. The intricate mausoleums and sculptures set among rolling lawns and tree-lined paths create a peaceful and historic setting.

Raymond’s Cemetery

Another place to reflect and enjoy the natural surroundings is another Bronx cemetery. St. Raymond’s Cemetery serves as a 180-acre arboretum with its expansive grounds featuring rolling lawns, pristine gardens, and inviting walkways that provide solace and serenity in a bustling metropolis.

The High Bridge

An iconic structure that once carried water from the Croton Aqueduct into Manhattan, The High Bridge has been restored as a pedestrian walkway, offering breathtaking views of the Harlem River. This engineering marvel and New York City landmark provides a serene spot for contemplation and a unique vantage point to admire the city’s skyline.

Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto at St. Lucy’s Church

A serene and spiritual stop amid urban chaos, the Grotto at St. Lucy’s Church offers a tranquil respite for reflection. This beautiful stone structure dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes, complete with illuminated votive candles, a pool, and a standing stone carving of the Virgin Mary, is a place of pilgrimage for many. Despite being located in the heart of the bustling Belmont neighborhood, the grotto’s peaceful atmosphere invites visitors to pause and connect with something more significant.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s Grave

History buffs and those with an interest in the women’s suffrage movement will find a unique and educational experience at Woodlawn Cemetery. Here lies the final resting place of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a pivotal figure in the fight for women’s rights.

Villa Charlotte Bronte

The Villa Charlotte Bronte, an eclectic mansion with an impressive history and stunning views of the Long Island Sound, is nestled in the northern edge of City Island. Built-in the 1800s, the mansion, and its grounds have served as a silent witness to the changing tides of City Island, from a maritime community to a seaside escape for New Yorkers. While private property, a stroll along the short can provide a glimpse of their architectural gem and the stores it holds.

William Spain Seismic Observatory

One of the bits of esoteric history in the Bronx is the William Spain Seismic Observatory, a relic from the early 20th century when the Bronx was home to open fields where such institutions could exist. Now part of a conversancy and natural sanctuary, the observatory will appeal to those interested in the geophysical sciences and the world of yore, where seismology was just beginning to find its place in scientific research.

Van Cortlandt Park Monoliths

The towering monoliths that mysteriously stand in Van Cortlandt Park are as beautiful as they are enigmatic. Carved from local granite, these stones offer a window into the ancient past of the region. Their exact origins and purpose remain a mystery, yet they tell a story of the people and the land that predates New York City’s bustling metropolis.

Outdoor Spaces

For those who love the outdoors, the Bronx has plenty to offer in its scenic and recreational enclaves.

Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, NYBG

This hidden gem is designed to spark children’s imaginations and excitement through hands-on nature activities and interactive exhibits. Here, little ones can explore three distinct climate zones, each with its own learning center. They’ll talk to plants, experience the changing seasons, and even find their way through mazes inspired by the natural world.

North Brother Island

Located in the East River, the island was home to a quarantine hospital that housed the notorious Typhoid Mary and later served as a rehab center for adolescent drug addicts. The ruins of the facilities remain off-limits due to their ecological significance, but tours are occasionally available to offer a glimpse into this eerie and isolated slice of New York’s past.

Hart Island

Just to the west of North Brother Island lies Hart Island, a poignant and often overlooked historic site. The island has served as a military training ground and a psychiatric institution, but it’s primarily known for its use as a potter’s field. Throughout the decades, Hart Island has become the final resting place for over a million individuals, including the unidentified and unclaimed. Although public access is restricted, New York urban park rangers will provide tours. However, participants are chosen by lottery. 

Crotona Park

Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and the Olmsted Brothers, Crotona Park offers a respite for those seeking a retreat in the heart of the Bronx. Featuring sports fields, a running track, and cultural institutions like the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, the park is a community gathering place that hosts diverse events and activities.

Bronx River Greenway

A verdant corridor that spans 23 miles along the Bronx River, the Bronx River Greenway is a haven for cyclists, joggers, and those seeking a peaceful retreat. This urban escape features natural areas, botanical gardens, and opportunities for birdwatching and fishing, inviting you to experience the Bronx’s natural beauty in a new light.

Orchard Beach

Dubbed “The Riviera of the Bronx,” Orchard Beach offers a delightful blend of saltwater and sand within city limits. The beach’s crescent shape and boardwalk, designed by Robert Moses in the 1930s, provide the perfect setting for a day of sun, surf, and the simple pleasures of beach life.

Macombs Dam Park

This oasis in the South Bronx features a variety of sports facilities, playgrounds, and picnic areas, attracting visitors with an array of outdoor entertainment options.

Hunts Point Riverside Park

This waterfront park offers spectacular views of the Bronx River and is home to community gardens, public art exhibits, and an amphitheater for performances.

Thain Family Forest

The Thain Family Forest is a verdant oasis spanning 50 acres, preserving an ancient old-growth forest ecosystem. As you meander through its towering oaks, tulip trees, and maples, you’ll immerse yourself in the rich history of this urban woodland, thought to be the largest surviving remnant of the city’s original landscape. 

Recap of Top Things to Do In Bronx, New York

The Bronx is a borough of contrasts, with a bounty of experiences waiting to be had by those willing to venture from their well-trodden paths. From the tranquility of a garden to the hubbub of an urban market, from the history of an ornate old-world mansion to the enigma of an uninhabited island, the breadth and depth of its offerings are as eclectic as the borough itself. This list is but a starting point for those looking to explore the Bronx in a way that goes beyond the ordinary, and it’s sure to provide an adventure-filled itinerary that leaves no stone unturned. Whether you’re spending the day or looking for a new home, the Bronx invites you to find something unusual and extraordinary in every nook and cranny.



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