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Governors Island Reopening: Making the Most of a Day on the Island  blog image

Governors Island Reopening: Making the Most of a Day on the Island

April 24 2023

Located just off the southern tip of Manhattan, Governors Island is an often-overlooked oasis, hiding in plain sight in the heart of the city.

Boasting green lawns, a large manmade hillside, and some of the best views available of the New York City skyline – it is the perfect place to escape the bustle of downtown and catch some sunshine now that the weather is heating up.

Every May, the island reopens to visitors, and there is no better place to experience spring or summer in NYC.

Enjoy the Journey

One of the best parts about visiting Governors Island is the journey there. Visitors can only arrive by water – and there are plenty of different boats and ferries to catch.

For most visitors, the easiest way to get to the island is via the NYC ferry, which leaves from a variety of different points in the city. If you’re on a budget, the free Governor’s Island Ferry runs between Lower Manhattan and the Island, running every 30 minutes or so.

Governors Island entrance sign at port

What to See

Whether you’re traveling as a family, looking for a romantic afternoon out, or simply hoping for some peace and solitude, there are plenty of different activities to enjoy across the island.

Outlook Hill

Outlook Hill is perhaps the biggest attraction on Governors Island. The hill is the highest point on the island and offers spectacular views across both Manhattan and Brooklyn. Embrace your inner child and take one of the slides back down!

Historical Sites

During the Revolutionary War and Civil War, the island was home to several important sites that can still be explored. If you’re a history buff or looking for something different from the “typical” NYC Museums, Fort Jay and Castle Williams are well worth a visit.

Explore the Arts

Throughout spring and summer, a range of different concerts, theatre performances, and art exhibitions are hosted on the island. Learn more about the arts on display on the island here.

Get Active

Whether it’s a quick game of frisbee, a walk around the gardens, a ride along the scenic bike path, or even rollerblading – there are plenty of activities to enjoy while keeping active on the island. Bikes can easily be brought over on the ferry, or you can rent one once you get to the island – subject to availability.

Governors Island with Manhattan in the background

What to Eat and Drink

Picnics are one of the most popular choices to enjoy on the island – but that doesn’t mean there is nothing else available. If you obtain a permit, you can use the grilling stations on the island and host your own barbeque.

If you’re looking for something simpler, the island is home to a variety of different quick and easy options. From amazing tacos to delicious ice creams - you can find food stands, restaurants, and even an oyster bar on Governors Island.

If you’re planning a visit to New York City this spring, the Hotel Beacon is just an hour away from Governors Island and located just steps away from some of Manhattan’s most popular attractions.