First time to the Bronx? I recommend that you plan your trip around the stunning New York Botanic Garden (NYBG). Even though it has been coined a “top NYC tourist attraction” it is, however, highly visited and enjoyed by locals from all boroughs just as much.
While the Yankee Stadium is the place to go if you are visiting the Bronx between April and October, the NYBG is a great starting point if you are new to the Bronx because you can find interesting exhibitions and cultural events all year long. One such is the Frida Khalo, Art, Garden Life happening now until November 1st, where you can catch dance/musical performances; watch female artisans from Chiapas and Oaxaca demonstrate their weaving techniques and even take Frida inspired classes/workshops.
Your Morning Trip Itinerary to the NYBG:
If you’re coming from Manhattan (Grand Central/Metro North), you can start your day by stopping at Nick’s Garden Coffee Shop on Webster Avenue for a very cheap egg, cheese and bacon breakfast sandwich (sans the garden) bronxite style, before walking across Southern Boulevard to the Mosholu Gate entrance. If you prefer a more scenic sit down lunch, then head straight to the NYBG where you can have omelets, burgers, and New American food at the Hudson Garden Grill.
Should you decide to travel via regular MTA trains, take the 2 train to Pelham Parkway, and start your day by having a Dominican/Latin breakfast at Café Colonial (White Plains Road/Brady Ave). The most typical and loved Dominican breakfast is mangu con huevo, queso y salami (mash plantain with eggs, cheese, and salami). The Gardens are approximately a 20-minute walk away. More directions can be found here.
In addition to new exhibits, some of the must-visit yearly events at the NYBG include the family-friendly Holiday Train Show (winter) featuring miniature New York City landmarks and trains; The Orchid Show (spring) a stunning indoor orchid garden; The Haunted Pumpkin Garden, a carved pumpkin and ghouls garden with month-long activities leading to Halloween day.
The Magnolia trees are magical in the spring, the Rose Garden is beautiful and at its peak in summer, the fall foliage is absolutely stunning, and on snowy months you’ll find yourself in a winter wonderland. There is plenty to see and explore during your visit, and it really lends itself to gorgeous photography.
Lunch in The Bronx’s Little Italy
Once you are done exploring the gardens, make your way over to The Bronx’s Little Italy on Arthur Avenue for an authentic Italian lunch break. It is approximately a 30-minute walk from the Conservatory and the Everette Garden Gates or you can ask an employee to help you get a taxi which will cost about $10.
If you have a little bit of time to kill, have a drink at The Bronx Beer Hall. Located in the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, you can also purchase meats and other Italian provisions. Also, be sure to stop by the Teitel Brothers for imported cured meats, and pick up the delicious fresh Mozzarella from Casa Della Mozzarella. And, to complete your homemade Italian dinner, freshly made ravioli and other kinds of pasta from Borgatti’s, a local’s favorite for the past 70 years.
Your Evening Trip Itinerary to the NYBG
For those who prefer a kids-free activities at the gardens, there are many evening after-hours events which often include performances, special viewings, food and cocktails for adults age 21+. Orchid Evenings and Bar Car Nights are among the favorites. You still have time to catch Frida al Fresco Evenings until September 30th. For your evening trip, you can either start or end your evening with dinner on Arthur Avenue.
Full Moon Pizza
600 E 187th St
Summary: Inexpensive ($); Pizzas available by the slice; seating tables available.
Trattoria Zete Otto Nove
2357 Arthur Ave
Summary: $$; Romantic; A local’s favorite for great food, nice atmosphere, and good service.
2477 Arthur Ave
Summary: $$; good food and al-fresco dining with beautiful patio with pergola.
2370 Belmont Ave
Summary: $$; you can order anything on this menu and walk out satisfied; large portions/great for sharing; If you have a sweet tooth look out for the Nutella pizza.
2335 Arthur Ave
Summary: $$; huge portions/great for sharing; there is no menu at this restaurant and if you are feeling adventurous let your waiter surprise you for dinner.
Price Key: $ =under $10 $$ = $11-$30