Don't spend the afternoon cooped up in a bus tour when, for a much lower price, you can get a little exercise while cycling through the city. Metro Bicycles has six locations in Manhattan and each rents bikes for $9 an hour, $45 for a full day (with a same-day return) and $55 for 24 hours (prices as of 2009). Central Park has miles of paths to explore and can be coupled with a picnic in Sheep's Meadow. The West Side Bike Path runs almost the entire length of Manhattan along the Hudson River and offers views of the skyline. Pedaling through the skyscrapers of midtown is a lesson in insignificance. Lastly, a ride through Chinatown and over the Brooklyn Bridge can be rewarded by a visit to Grimaldi's Pizzeria, a local favorite.
360 W. 47 St.
New York, New York 10036
Grimaldi's Coal Brick Oven Pizzeria
19 Old Fulton Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201
For those who are looking for a different type of city experience, Manhattan Kayak Company is a suitable choice. Offering tours as well as lessons year round, Manhattan Kayak caters to seasoned and beginning paddlers. Introductory courses are offered in kayak, paddling and rescue techniques and take place in the Hudson River at the Chelsea Piers. Tours start at 1.5 hours all the way up to monster all-day trips that circumnavigate the island, visit the Tappan Zee or Verrazano-Narrows Bridge or paddle by Coney Island. Private tours and classes are also available. For more strenuous trips, guests may be required to first demonstrate their ability during a shorter tour.
Manhattan Kayak Company
Pier 66, 26th Street and 12th Avenue
New York, New York 10001
Take the subway up to the Bronx and stroll through the New York Botanical Garden. This oasis in the midst of a concrete jungle is sought out by visitors and locals alike for its quiet lanes and considerable flora. Located on more than 250 acres, the park is also home to a large number of plant laboratories. This is an ideal place for relaxing walks, and visitors can easily spend a couple of days here discovering the various displays. A main attraction is an area of more than 50 acres that represents the last remaining stretch of forest that once covered the area. A National Historic Landmark, the botanical garden contains more than one million plants. If you have children, the botanical garden offers well-structured educational programs.
New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Blvd.
Bronx, New York 10458