2. Roosevelt Island
When to visit: All year round
How to get there: Tramway at the Upper East Side, MTA F train, MTA Bus Q102, NYC Ferry (Astoria Route), Roosevelt Island Bridge through Astoria, Queens (for short-time visits only)
A quick trip over the East River and you’ll find Roosevelt Island. The island sits between Manhattan and Queens and offers visitors plenty of things to do, places to eat and ways to relax—all while being mere minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. You’ll want to start at the top of the island and explore the Blackwell Island Light, a charming lighthouse with the best view of the city. Then begin walking down to see landmarks like Renwick Ruin (a former smallpox hospital and apparently home to a lot of cats), Octagon Tower (an abandoned asylum), Blackwell House and Strecker Lab along the way. By the time you make it to the southern tip, you’ll come across the serene Four Freedom Park where you can kick back after a busy day of exploring.