You wouldn’t expect to find many places where a garden can grow, but New York City is always full of surprises. Cities are best known for their towering skyscrapers and bustling streets filled with cars and buses. Throughout all five boroughs of the Big Apple, there are beautiful green spaces and landscapes open to the public filled with every type of flower, tree and plant you can imagine. Whether you’re looking for a walk in the warm weather or a place to stop and smell the roses, you’ll find it at one of these hidden gems in NYC.
Beautiful Gardens of New York City
Central Park has acres of gardens in every corner of the grounds that visitors can experience. One of its most popular is Conservatory Garden. This space gives visitors a taste of European style thanks to its three sectors created in French, Italian and English styles. It isn’t hard to find, thanks to being guarded by the tall Vanderbilt Gate that was donated to the park in 1939. The gorgeous space captures the feeling of a secret garden hidden from the rest of the city, as it’s filled with an abundance of plants like wisteria, tulips, crabapple trees and much more. There are also several fountains scattered throughout to top off your experience.
Elizabeth Street Garden
One of the oldest gardens in the city has been a part of Little Italy for almost 200 years! The Elizabeth Street Garden has become a neighborhood staple since it was first created in place of an old public school. It’s a small but intimate spot where residents and visitors alike can enjoy a sunny day away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Alongside the plants and sculptures found inside are the various events held throughout the week. Community gardening takes place on the weekends, so everyone has a chance to be a part of the space. There are also movie nights, fitness classes and poetry readings that help visitors get a taste of community.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is the place to be if you’re looking to spend an entire day amongst the flowers. This site hosts a variety of different landscapes throughout the year, but it’s best known for its “Cherry Esplanade,” which blooms during cherry blossom season. The fun doesn’t stop at cherry blossoms, as there are also roses, herb gardens and conservatories built for different climates. The venue especially loves to celebrate Japanese culture throughout the grounds, so be sure to stop by for its annual Sakura Matsuri festival or visit its Japanese garden and “Bonsai Museum.”
Jefferson Market Garden
Another green space that’s tied to local history is the Jefferson Market Garden in Greenwich Village. Open from April to October; this garden started out as a marketplace in the 1800s and a women’s prison in the 1930s before being converted in the 1960s. A variety of plants grow inside the iron gates throughout the year, like magnolias, lilacs and black-eyed Susans. Other kinds of wildlife also call the space home, such as various birds and even koi fish! If you truly want to make the most of all the venue has to offer, be sure to ask about its event areas, as many weddings have been held among its flowers in the past.
New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Garden is a National Historic Landmark that features over one million plants and diverse spaces, such as the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden and the Indigenous Plant Garden. The garden also houses several greenhouses, including the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, which showcases tropical rainforests, cactus deserts, and more. In addition to its stunning landscapes and greenhouses, the venue offers educational programs and events, such as cooking demonstrations and plant-based wellness workshops. Visitors can also explore the Library Building, herbarium, and Archives, which contain over seven million books, specimens, and artifacts related to botany and horticulture.
Katharine Hepburn Garden
If you want to get a taste of Old Hollywood in New York City, head to Midtown East and step inside the Katharine Hepburn Garden. Located inside Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, this space is dedicated to the titular actress and the work she did in protecting the wildlife of Turtle Bay. Visitors can currently find hydrangeas growing along the nature trail inside, as well as sycamore trees. The fun doesn’t stop at the plants, though, as there are also events hosted inside, a cafe and stones engraved with quotes from Hepburn herself to enhance this living tribute to the legendary Golden Age actress.
Queens Botanical Garden
Another borough that’s home to a gorgeous green space is Queens, where visitors can learn how to take care of the environment alongside admiring the flowers. The Queens Botanical Garden was inspired by an exhibit at the 1939 World’s Fair and continues to showcase just how special nature can be. It’s home to several spaces meant for healing, such as one for herbs and one for cleansing for the environment. The grounds are deeply rooted in Asian culture thanks to its events and landscapes created to honor it. Visitors also have the opportunity to learn how to take care of the environment through its on-property “Bee Garden” and composting site.