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Outdoor Escapes in the LES

New Yorkers know the Lower East Side as a vibrant mix of old and new, high-end and hip, and bustling city life and quiet outdoor retreats. Here’s how you can enjoy a day outdoors in this iconic neighborhood.

A slice of green in the urban landscape, East River Park captures the best of city living. The park isn’t just a place to catch your breath — it’s a hub where athletes, families, and city dwellers mingle. It’s a common sight to find regulars running with the Manhattan skyline as their backdrop or games unfolding on the sports fields, accompanied by cheers that echo off the waterfront.

Just around the corner, Seward Park adds to the area’s outdoor offerings. Whether you want to join in on a game at the basketball and volleyball courts or just sit back and watch, there’s something for everyone. Despite its small size, it’s the kind of park where you can lose track of time.

Take a quick trip across the river to Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse, and the pace slows down. Here, you can rent a kayak and glide along the East River, taking in views of the city from a perspective few get to see. It’s not about breaking a sweat; it’s about carving out a little peace amid the city’s hum.

Back on land, the neighborhood’s Citi Bike stations invite you to take a spin. Hop on a bike and traverse the Lower East Side’s streets. With a bike under you, the neighborhood becomes a sprawling canvas, ready to be explored.

Beyond the parks and sports, the Lower East Side has a different outdoor appeal. Grab a table at one of the many sidewalk cafés and restaurants dotting the streets. Check out Lena Lower East Side or La Contenta. You can’t beat the atmosphere — it’s a people-watching paradise with great food to boot.

Immerse yourself in over an acre of private green space at One Manhattan Square, a creation by architecture firm West 8, famed architects behind Governors Island and Miami Beach’s SoundScape Park. Featuring unique spaces and family-friendly amenities, it’s a rare slice of nature in the heart of Manhattan. Some of the more interesting features include a birch garden, social courtyards with relaxation lawns, and even a tree house.

Living on the Lower East Side means getting the best of both worlds — the buzz of city living and the calm of outdoor spaces. Whether you’re a sports enthusiast, a foodie, or just love being outdoors, there’s a place for you. So lace up, gear up, or simply step out — the Lower East Side awaits.