As New York City moves along the road to recovery, more shops, restaurants and attractions—at limited capacity, with new health and safety protocols in place—are opening up. Locals and visitors can help support them, and in doing so remind themselves what makes NYC the most exciting destination in the world. We’ve got a few itinerary suggestions to help you start exploring Staten Island again. Wherever in the borough you may decide to go, make sure to follow the guidelines from the Stay Well NYC Pledge and check each individual business’ own rules.
Light the way: A three-minute walk from the ferry terminal, the National Lighthouse Museum,which reopened August 26, educates visitors about the history and technology of the nation’s lighthouses.
Shop here: Catch up on shopping at NYC’s only outlet-shopping destination, Empire Outlets; it’s all outdoors and has views of Lower Manhattan. Grab-and-go food and beverage options at the Outlets include Shake Shack, Starbucks and Häagen-Dazs.
Sip outside: Head south from the ferry and St. George to reach Flagship Brewery, which serves up cold brews streetside in the Craft Garden.
Walk this way: From the ferry, you can also take a long walk over to explore the grounds of Snug Harbor, a garden-filled retreat on the waterfront. Each summer week, Wellness Wednesdays, on the South Meadow, feature farm-fresh produce, meditation workshops and music.
Admire activism: The Staten Island Museum, on the grounds of Snug Harbor, marks the centennial of the 19th Amendment with Women of the Nation Arise! Staten Islanders in the Fight for Women’s Right to Vote. The exhibition is running outdoors, showcasing the stories of local suffragists who worked to effect change on a national level.
Stay overnight: After spending a day at the Staten Island Museum and Snug Harbor, spend a night at the borough’s Hilton Garden Inn, which is open for weekend reservations.
Staten Island Zoo and Clove Lakes Park
The Staten Island Zoo is not NYC’s largest, but that’s part of its charm. It’s manageable to get around and particularly revered for its Serpentarium, which holds an extensive collection of rattlesnakes. A ticket reservation is required, and can be made through the zoo’s website.
The zoo is located adjacent to Clove Lakes Park, which holds woodlands, lakes and Staten Island’s largest living organism, a tulip tree that’s more than 100 feet tall and 300 years old. While at the park, grab a bite to eat at The Stone House at Clove Lakes, with a picturesque setting on the main lake, or venture farther afield for Joe & Pat’s pizzeria, beloved for its thin-crust vodka pies.
Alice Austen House Museum
Alice Austen House Museum honors Staten Island photographer Alice Austen, who captured more than 7,000 photographs of NYC and its immigrants, and broke boundaries by documenting intimate relationships between Victorian women. On display at the museum is a show about another of the borough’s iconic artists. Powerful and Dangerous: The Words and Images of Audre Lorde explores how the poet and activist’s words echo the sentiments of today’s social justice movements.
Jacques Marchais Tibetan Museum
The Jacques Marchais Tibetan Museum, located near the borough’s Historic Richmond Town, showcases the culture and art of Tibet and the Himalayas. Visitors can expect to see a rare collection of sacred artifacts.
One of Staten Island’s most popular summer destinations is South Beach, which has a 2.5-mile boardwalk backing up its sandy shoreline. The Ocean Breeze fishing pier provides a place for recreation, as does a park geared toward seniors that features checkerboard tables, bocce courts and plenty of benches.
Staten Island Greenbelt
Spend time outdoors at one of New York City's best-kept secrets, the Staten Island Greenbelt—a network of lush parks, wetlands, open meadows and hiking trails. Take some moments out of your hike to try bird-watching, or check out the Greenbelt Nature Center to learn about the park’s history, geography, flora and fauna.
History can be found at the Sandy Ground Historical Society Museum, which preserves the legacy of the oldest continuously inhabited free Black settlement in the United States. The museum offers guided tours, exhibits and lectures.
Tour Your Own City
The Guides Association of New York City (GANYC) has a launched a Tour Your Own City initiative that makes it easy to find out what Staten Island has to offer, with excursions led by professional, licensed tour guides.