Over the summer, Zach approached me with an idea to head out to Staten Island for the day. Naturally, I was apprehensive because to be honest, I don’t know much about Staten Island. So, being the researcher that he is, Zach presented me with a New York Times article on the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden within their “Things to Do in NYC This Summer” section, and after taking a glimpse at the picturesque landscapes, I was sold.
So, come Saturday of Labor Day weekend, we headed from Brooklyn and made our first ever trip to Staten Island for what would soon become one of my favorite NYC day trips. Here’s How to Spend a Day at Snug Harbor, Staten Island.
How to Get to Snug Harbor
One of the great things about this day trip is the cost. Given that we were willing to take public transportation the whole way, the cost to get there was simply the cost of a metro card ($2.75 each way or you can purchase the weekly or monthly unlimited, which Zach and I both use).
There are a number of trains that will take you downtown (4/5/6 to Bowling Green, 1 to South Ferry, R/W to Whitehall St South Ferry) to the Staten Island Ferry Station where the ferry runs every 30 minutes.
Once you get to Staten Island, grab the S40 bus right at the station to the Richmond Ter/Sailors S H Gate stop or the Richmond Ter/Snug Harbor Rd stop. The Sailors stop will leave you right at the main entrance of Snug Harbor while the Snug Harbor Rd stop will leave you farther towards the botanical gardens.
All in all, coming from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the trip only took roughly an hour and 15 minutes, compared to the two and a half hours that Google had predicted.
About Snug Harbor
In the 19th century, Snug Harbor, also known as Sailors Snug Harbor, was a rest home for sailors, but after a number of years of renovation, it has been converted into a regional arts center, botanical gardens and a public park.
The best part? Majority of the park is free to visit, with only the Chinese Scholar’s Garden charging a minimal fee of $5.
What to Do
The Snug Harbor grounds consist of 83-acres of plush gardens and art centers so get ready to spend your day walking! We had such a nice time wandering through the different gardens, each inspired by a different location, and taking in all of the nature that surrounded us.
A few of our favorite spots were the Tuscan Garden, the Healing Garden and the White Garden.
Another must-see spot on this trip is the Chinese Scholar’s Garden. For a minimal fee of $5, you can view some really impressive Chinese architecture, a bamboo forest path, waterfalls, a Koi pond and more. The garden itself is a compilation of different gardens in China, and all of the components of the garden were fabricated in Suzhou, China. It truly is a sight to see and really feels like you’ve been transported right to Asia.
Although we didn’t make it there this time around, Snug Harbor is also home to the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art’s five small galleries.
If you’re looking for a quick bite after all of the walking, pop by Harbor Eats on the Snug Harbor campus to grab some hot dogs, hamburgers and popcorn, or if you’re more prepared, bring a picnic of your own and enjoy it on the grounds! Had we had known, we definitely would have come stocked with snacks to sit and enjoy in the gardens.
Once you’re done exploring, walk down the road to Blue, grab a table on the river and order yourself a stiff drink and a bite to eat.
Overall, there were quite a few things that we missed on this first trip to Snug Harbor and I can only imagine that the gardens evolve into a beautiful array of colors come the fall season, so you can bet that we’ll be planning a trip back, this time with picnic in tow!
Looking for other NYC day trip ideas? Check out my post on the Best Day Trips from NYC.3