There are lots of cool things to do in The Bronx, so if you’re on the fence about whether to visit, I recommend checking it out. The Bronx may not be as popular as the touristy hubs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, but it’s an interesting area that stands out for its rich, unique culture.
The Bronx is known for being the toughest of NYC’s 5 boroughs, but it’s also the hometown of legends like Al Pacino, Jennifer Lopez, and Mary J. Blige. This borough has its own history and a legacy of artistic exploration and wealth. It’s also full of natural parks and green spaces, as well as some of the oldest homes and monuments in the city.
Plus, it’s just north of Manhattan, so you don’t have to go far to appreciate the best tourist attractions in The Bronx. If you’re short on time or want to make sure you only visit the safest areas of the borough, consider this contrasts tour, which also takes you through Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.
Of course, I suggest taking the time to visit this borough and its hidden gems. To help you decide what to see in The Bronx, I’m sharing the 10 best attractions and activities below.
1. Visit New York Botanical Garden, the best thing to do in The Bronx
Without a doubt, New York Botanical Garden is one of the best places in The Bronx. It encompasses over 250 acres of themed gardens, walking paths, and greenhouses, making it a lovely spot for all ages.
Here, you’ll find a children’s adventure garden as well as lush areas of azaleas, roses, and herbs. This attraction is open year-round, so depending on when you go, you’ll see seasonal blooms and different plant species.
Don’t forget to visit the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory to explore all kinds of tropical plants, vines, cacti, and even aquatic plants during the warmer months. The outdoor lake has lovely water lilies and lotus flowers, which look absolutely stunning in the spring.
Throughout the grounds, you’ll find wooded walking trails through the arboretum, so this is a great place to go for a date in NYC or for a family outing. This famous Bronx landmark is very popular, so get your ticket here or use your New York Pass.
2. Watch a baseball game at Yankee Stadium, something fun to do in The Bronx
If you’re a sports fan, then Yankee Stadium is a must-see in The Bronx. This massive arena is home to the New York Yankees, one of the most celebrated teams in Major League Baseball, with 27 World Series wins.
Even if the Yankees aren’t your favorite team, it’s worth visiting the stadium for a tour or a summer baseball game. Yankee Stadium has an over 50,000-person capacity, and it holds tours for visitors. Each tour lasts about an hour and includes a stop at Monument Park, the stadium’s open-air museum.
Check out memorials, plaques, and commemorative granite blocks for famous players like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, and Lou Gehrig. You’ll also see retired jersey numbers and artifacts chronicling the history of the franchise.
3. Edgar Allan Poe Cottage, one of the most famous places in The Bronx, New York
For those who appreciate literary history, the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage is a famous place in The Bronx to check out. This simple house in the Fordham neighborhood of The Bronx served as the writer’s final home, which he shared with his wife and mother-in-law.
During his time here, Poe penned some of his most notorious literary criticisms, as well as poems like Annabel Lee and Ulalume. Today, the home is a designated landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
You can go and see for yourself the modest, colonial-style furnishings and humble ambiance of the house, which surprised many of Poe’s contemporaries at the time. From the outside, the building doesn’t look any different from the other homes in the area, but it holds significant value for fans of Poe and his dreary and mysterious writings.
4. Little Italy, one of the best places to eat in The Bronx
While you may be more familiar with the Little Italy of Manhattan, The Bronx also has a Little Italy. It’s along Arthur Avenue, in the Belmont section of The Bronx, and is home to various bakeries, restaurants, pizzerias, and shops.
Little Italy is one of the best places to eat in The Bronx since you’ll find mouth-watering pizza, delicious homemade Italian specialties, and scrumptious desserts here. Some notable attractions include Terranova Bakery and Artuso Pastry Shop for fresh-baked bread and sweets, as well as Famosa Pizza and Ivana’s Pizzeria for the tastiest NY-style pizza in the area. Top it off with authentic cannoli, and you’ve got a complete food tour through Little Italy.
In addition, this neighborhood has independently-run shops, markets, butchers, and delis where you can buy fresh mozzarella cheese, handmade pasta, and more. So, if you’re looking for a Bronx tourist attraction that will appeal to everyone, Little Italy is a must-see.
5. Stroll through Wave Hill, something to do in The Bronx as a family
One of the top things to do in The Bronx is to spend time in a park or natural area, and for that, I recommend Wave Hill. This old estate dates back to 1843 and consists of two homes, a conservatory, and beautiful public gardens spread across 28 acres.
Wave Hill was built by a lawyer before being sold to a prominent New York publisher in 1903. Over the years, famous figures have rented the home, such as Theodore Roosevelt and Mark Twain. Today, it’s a gorgeous landmark in The Bronx, New York that’s open to the public.
Here, you can check out the visitor center and explore the wooded walking trail, then stroll through the public gardens full of herbs, perennials, and other blooms. The garden pergola overlooks the Hudson River, so it’s the perfect spot to sit down and spend a few relaxing moments in nature. Keep an eye out for hummingbirds, great blue herons, and bald eagles.
There is also a conservatory with cacti and succulents, and the T.H. Everett Alpine House, which contains mountainous plants and flora. Overall, this is one of the best places in The Bronx to visit as a couple for an outdoor date or peaceful afternoon.
6. Bronx Museum of the Arts, one of the most popular tourist attractions in The Bronx
For something free to do in The Bronx, I recommend visiting The Bronx Museum of the Arts. This is one of the top free museums in NYC and focuses on contemporary art by a diverse group of artists and communities.
The museum has several permanent collections of art installations and sculptures, photographs, paintings, drawings, prints, and more. There are also various visiting exhibits that you can find here throughout the year, not to mention community events like curated tours and family days.
The works here explore all kinds of themes, from different ethnic identities to historical events, as well as legends and local creators. It’s among the most famous museums in The Bronx, NY, so if you’re looking for things to do on a rainy day or you want to experience unique perspectives, check it out. The museum is open Wednesday – Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
7. Pelham Bay Park, one of the best parks in The Bronx, NY
As I mentioned, there are lovely parks in The Bronx, New York, so you can’t come here without spending some time outside. Pelham Bay Park is a great spot for recreation, people-watching, and nature walks, so it’s a must-see during your visit.
Pelham Bay Park is massive, covering 2,700 acres and boasting several different geological areas where you can discover various flora and fauna. The park dates back to 1888 and has grown to include two golf courses, an equestrian center, a running track, and several playgrounds.
For this reason, it’s one of the nicest places in The Bronx to visit as a couple or with kids. You’ll always find people playing basketball, tennis, or bocce here, as well as folks lounging in the grass or chatting on benches.
In addition to the recreational activities, the park offers a break from the busyness of the city. It’s a popular venue for nature walks and bird-watching since ospreys, loons, and willow flycatchers inhabit the area.
Pelham Bay Park is also home to Orchard Beach, the only beach in The Bronx and one of the best beaches in NYC. This public, artificial beach is known as The Bronx Riviera and offers views of Long Island Sound, a beautiful freshwater cove, and a waterfront promenade where you can go shopping or grab a bite to eat.
8. Van Cortlandt Park and House Museum, a famous landmark in The Bronx
Another one of the best parks in New York City is right in The Bronx. Van Cortlandt Park is another popular park in The Bronx, New York for its relaxing atmosphere and sprawling green spaces. People come here to play sports, take a nature walk, and admire the historic monuments and buildings.
One of those famous Bronx landmarks is the Van Cortlandt House Museum. Built in 1748, it’s the oldest remaining building in the borough and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. This home has a fieldstone exterior, reflecting the Georgian style and over time, the Van Cortlandt family added a grist mill and grain plantation here.
During the American Revolutionary War, generals like George Washington stayed here, and today, you can take a self-guided tour to see what the inside of the house would’ve looked like back in the day. The house museum also has some exhibits and historical artifacts that give you a glimpse of 18th-century life.
Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for kids, but you can get in for free on Wednesdays.
9. Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum, another museum in The Bronx, NY
The Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum is another historic house museum in The Bronx, New York. It’s in Pelham Bay Park, so if you needed another reason to visit this beautiful green space, this is it.
The estate house is one of the area’s few surviving buildings from the mid-19th century and was originally built in 1836. It was first designed in the Greek Revival style, although its later renovations reflect the Federal style. In addition to the main mansion, there is a carriage house and a formal garden with a terrace and a children’s garden.
Moreover, the museum houses impressive objects like Aaron Burr’s old desk and an authentic Lannuier bed, as well as the Pell family gravesites. The estate also overlooks the bay, so it’s a nice place in The Bronx to visit for a change of scenery. Admission to the mansion museum is $10, and you can take a guided tour.
10. Visit Woodlawn Cemetery, a unique thing to do in The Bronx, New York
Finally, Woodlawn Cemetery is a magnificent tourist attraction in The Bronx, even if at first it seems a bit strange. While it is indeed a cemetery, this place is also a National Historic Landmark with over 400 acres of beautiful natural scenery, tree-lined paths, and a tranquil atmosphere.
Taking a reflective stroll along the grassy hills and admiring the monuments, sculptures, and memorials is one of the best outdoor activities in NYC. As one of the largest cemeteries in the city, Woodlawn has over 300,000 burial plots and serves as the final resting place for many famous figures.
For example, author Herman Melville, musicians Miles Davis and Duke Ellington, and entrepreneurs Rowland Hussey Macy and F. W. Woolworth are buried here. You can also visit singer Celia Cruz’s mausoleum and several Civil War-era memorials and war graves.
Overall, this is a lovely outdoor area with a peaceful ambiance that’s quite welcome after a busy day in the city. You can visit on your own or sign up for a walking or trolley tour through the cemetery’s website.
Now you know the coolest things to do in The Bronx, NY! I’m leaving a map here with all my recommendations so you can plan your visit to the best places in The Bronx.
Of course, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment if you have any questions about The Bronx, New York. I would be delighted to help, and I’d love to hear about your favorite thing to do in The Bronx.
Until then, have an awesome trip!