Things To Do On Roosevelt Island

A tram over New York City headed to Roosevelt Island on a sunny day.
Photo Credit:

One of my favorite traditions to do in NYC when the weather warms up is to take the tram to Roosevelt Island for an afternoon. Not only is it fun getting there (the views of the city are spectacular), but being on a tiny 2 mile island outside of the hustle and bustle of Manhattan feels like a mini vacation. Below you’ll find our top things to do once you’re on the island. Happy exploring!

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Attend an Event at Four Freedoms Park

Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park is a lovely memorial dedicated to the former President. This beautiful green space is perfect for warm weather activities, located on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island. You’ll find it’s one of the most pristine parks in the city, with some of the best views, too!

Besides being a perfect spot for a picnic, an outdoor workout, or a space to watch the sunset, Four Freedoms Park has an excellent lineup events for the summer. You can view the calendar here, but some of our favorites include a pop-up imagination playground for kids, a sunset garden party, and plenty of live music events.

A group of people sitting outside at Roosevelt Island in NYC taking a yoga class.
Photo Credit: Roosevelt Island Facebook

Take A Swim or Workout

You don’t have to leave NYC for a summer swim, just head to Sportspark on Roosevelt Island! This place is the ultimate facility for the sports lover, with the following options to keep you active on the Island at a very affordable price:

  • A swimming pool
  • A full-size basketball court
  • Ping pong room
  • Fitness classes – including $5 Zumba and yoga drop classes

The Olympic pool has plenty of open swim hours, and also features water aerobics and swim classes. Sign us up!

An aerial view of Roosevelt Island in NYC and a green park surrounded by the Hudson Rover.
Photo Credit: FDR Freedom Park Facebook

Watch a Summer Movie Under the Stars

While the exact lineup of films hasn’t been announced yet, the calendar of dates has! From June through August, you have 6 opportunities to watch a film under the magical NYC stars of Roosevelt Island’s own Firefighter Field. A little secret? Since this is a bit more under the radar than popular outdoor film series, such as Bryant Park’s HBO Movies, there’s a lot less of a crazy crowd. This means you can easily pack your picnic, spread your blanket, and make an enjoyable date night under the stars of it – without having to arrive 3 hours early to claim your space!

Last year there were food trucks on site, too, which is good to know in case you don’t have time to pack a basket!

See a Show

Roosevelt Island’s Main Street Theatre and Dance Alliance is famous for hosting Broadway productions for a fraction of the cost. This month you can catch their showing of Pippin, where tickets go for only $20 (or $15 for students and seniors.) They also host regular improv comedy nights, which are family friendly!

A walkway along side the East River with blooming cherry blossoms at Roosevelt Island.
Photo Credit: Roosevelt Island Facebook

Take a Bike Ride Around the Island

I love bike riding, but not on the wild streets of Manhattan! Roosevelt Island may be the one place in all of NYC where I wasn’t fearing for my life while pedaling around!

If you don’t have your own wheels, stop by Citi Bike before you get on the Roosevelt Island Tram (the nearest location is located at 58th Street and Second Avenue.) Day passes are available if you don’t have an annual membership, which makes this perfect for tourists as well as locals. You can safely bike around the island, taking in the views, the lighthouse at the north tip of the island, and ending at the south end at Four Freedoms Park.  An escape from NYC without leaving NYC!

Stay Up To Date on the Latest Events

The Roosevelt Islander is an online newspaper which keeps locals up to date on news, information, and resources for the island… basically everything! One of my favorite travel hacks is to find small local newspapers or bloggers, because I truly believe you’ll get the best “insider” information that way, rather than sticking only to the big publications.

A quick perusal through the Roosevelt Islander cued me in on a Farmers Market that happens on the island every Saturday, toddler story time happening weekly at their library, and a bonfire celebration – all things I would love to attend!

How do you spend a day on Roosevelt Island? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

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