by Michael Hsu, 01/28/2014 [Updated 02/04/2015]
Photo: Jeff Goldberg/Esto
Queens Botanical Garden
43-50 Main St., 718-886-3800
Originally created as an exhibition for the 1939–40 World's Fair, the Queens Botanical Garden's 39 acres of woodlands, wetlands, meadows and gardens make up an excellent escape from the bustle of city life. In the spring, visitors from far and wide come to see the blossoming dogwood, magnolia and cherry trees. The Rose Garden (in bloom from late May through October, though at its peak in June), Fragrance Walk (featuring aromatic shrubs, perennials and bulbs) and Perennial Garden are also popular attractions, and birding walks are offered throughout the year (everything from red-tailed hawks to yellow-rumped warblers stop by). The visitors' center has a 3,000-square-foot green roof and a geothermal heating and cooling system, making it one of the City's most eco-friendly buildings.