New York City is home to almost 8.5 million residents and hosts over 60 million tourists each year. Let’s face it: this city is crowded. You can’t spend too much time here without the desire to escape the hoards of tourists and locals every once in a while. Luckily, there’s a few places where you can beat the crowds and enjoy a little time to yourself.

The Other Parks

Everybody knows about Central Park. Every-body. That’s why you’ll need to head to some of NYC’s lesser-known parks if you want to avoid the crowds. 

Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s Central Park, is a great place to enjoy a little Victorian Americana without running into to many people. You can hike, bike and boat your way through the park — just as you would in Central Park.

Fort Greene Park is another lesser-known park that’s great for people watching. Riverside Park is popular with Upper West Side residents for its beautiful views and scenic walking trails.

VR Arcades

Though you might not think of a VR arcade right away when you think of New York City, they’re a great way to escape the crowds. You pay a flat fee to gain entrance to the arcade. Once you’re inside, you can stay as long as you like, exploring several floors of virtual reality movies and games. Though there might be several other visitors in a room with you, you’d never know it with your headset on.

NYC Ferries

Getting out on the water is a great way to see a little open sky and get away from the hoards of people. Though the Staten Island Ferry can get pretty crowded during high season, it’s a great way to enjoy some scenery and open water. The East River Ferry gets pretty crowded on the weekends, but it’s a commuter ferry during the weekdays. You won’t see too many people if you ride during business hours. 

The Brooklyn Museum

The Metropolitan Museum of Art can get kind of crowded. Yet, did you know that you can enjoy a cavernous art museum that sees fewer crowds and is almost just as impressive? 

The Brooklyn Museum features some of the same famous artists as the Met, yet it doesn’t get as much foot traffic. It also features contemporary and Brooklyn-based artists. Visit Tuesday through Thursday when the museum sees the least amount of traffic. 

Staten Island

Staten Island is a residential haven, just south of the chaos that is Manhattan. You might even forget you’re in NYC when you visit. Staten Island has its own zoo and botanical gardens. It has miles of suburban road. It also boasts some of the best restaurants in the city. All that, and you don’t even need to wait in line at a crosswalk.

The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

While the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx can get kind of busy, its Brooklyn-based little sister tends to be less crowded. Visit the cherry blossoms in the spring and the tropical gardens in the winter. You could wander around for hours here without getting bored — or running into too many other visitors.

City Island

If you want to visit a beach that doesn’t get as crowded as Coney Island, head to City Island instead. This small residential community is located in the Bronx. You’ll need to take the subway and a bus to get there (or just rent a car), but it’ll be worth the travel time. City Island feels like it belongs in a remote area of New England instead of the Bronx, and it has a sleepy seaside vibe to match.

The Met Rooftop

The Metropolitan Museum of Art might get a little crowded (especially on weekends), but its rooftop is usually pretty empty. Not many visitors know about the Met’s rooftop “gallery,” and most New Yorkers would love to keep it that way. 

From May through October, visitors can head up to the rooftop for photos, drinks and socializing. You’ll get some amazing views of the city and Central Park — without fighting crowds to get them.

The Cloisters

More and more visitors head to the Cloisters each year to get beautiful views of the Hudson River and New Jersey. Yet this offshoot of the Met still remains relatively quiet. The Cloisters is an homage to Medieval art. It’s located in a monastery, and visitors are encouraged to be as quiet as possible while wandering through galleries. You won’t find too many crowds of people here, but you will find some gorgeous tapestries and sculptures in a naturalistic setting. 

Sometimes it seems impossible to find a little peace and quiet in the City That Never Sleeps. Luckily, there are a few places that can offer a little peace, quiet — and a few extra square feet of space

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