For a fun city getaway, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to explore Staten Island. It’s renowned for its museums, historic landmarks, beaches and parkland—including a center that pays tribute to local maritime heritage. You can reach NYC’s southernmost borough on a free ride aboard the Staten Island Ferry, an attraction in its own right.
Contrary to popular belief, there’s a wide variety of restaurants on the island, from the cozy, eclectic new American cuisine at the Michelin-rated Bin 5 to Enoteca Maria a convivial trattoria featuring real international grandmothers cooking on a rotating schedule. There’s even an artsy, elaborately decorated Sri Lankan restaurant Lakruwana with a weekend lunch and dinner buffet for more adventurous diners.
Enjoy some retail therapy at the 350,000-square-foot retail complex Empire Outlets. The open-air complex offers picture-perfect views of Lower Manhattan, a lush landscaped plaza with tranquil fountains and access to some of the best deals from major retailers, including H&M, Nordstrom’s Rack, Brooks Brothers and True Religion. Hit the niche boutique Sanctuary for trendy womenswear as well as styling services. Also check out one of a few female-owned comic book stores in the city, Hypno-Tronic Comics, for classic, sci-fi, horror, fantasy and pop-culture comics as well as toys and rare memorabilia.
Check out Flagship Brewery in Tompkinsville for copious pours of its own craft beers, with varieties including American Pale Ale and Dark Mild. All beers on tap can be sampled in the tasting room and are available by the pint and take-home growler. After a long day of exploring the island, grab some late-night snacks at The Kettle Black whose claim to fame is being named one of the top wing spots in America by Food & Wine magazine because of its 13 styles of wings. Pop into retro gastropub The Hop Shoppe for some low-key fun as they serve up generous drafts, comfort food with a twist and Skee-Ball games.
While on Staten Island, why not take in a minor league baseball game at Richmond County Bank Ballpark? It’s just a short walk from the Staten Island Ferry’s St. George Terminal. The stadium sits feet from New York Harbor, and fans can see the Manhattan skyline from their seats. Also, visit the home of one of America’s earliest and most prolific female photographers, Alice Austen. The cultural hub presents new exhibits regularly and asks for a $5 donation for entry. Budget some time on your visit to explore Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens which consists of 28 buildings, 14 distinctive botanical gardens, a two-acre urban farm and 10 acres of wetlands on a free, open campus that was once home to retired sailors.