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Three men, one in a power wheelchair, smile for the camera in front of a lake with city buildings behind it

Accessible Outdoor Activities in New York

New York City is an exciting destination at any time of the year. Winter offers the chance to experience city snow and a holiday spirit that takes over Manhattan. Spring in New York has a special energy coming out of the cold winter: people start to spend more time outside and enjoy the parks and blooming flowers. Summer’s heat brings the city outside with outdoor activities and events from day to night. In the fall, the city cools down, the leaves change color and everyone starts preparing for the winter to come around again.

No matter what season you choose to visit New York City, one of the great things about the city is the variety of things to do outdoors. While New York is full of accessible museums, shops, restaurants and theaters, it’s a special destination for the amount of accessible outdoor activities it offers travelers and tourists.

Accessible Outdoor Activities in Central Park

A walking bridge stretches across a lake in Central Park, surrounded by greenery and foliage.
People enjoy an afternoon on the Lake at Central Park

Perhaps the most famous park in the world, Central Park covers almost 6% of Manhattan. A stroll or roll through Central Park at any time of the year makes for a wonderful experience, with many things to do. People-watching, having a picnic, relaxing in the grass, cycling, boating, eating a snack from a street cart – the possibilities are endless. Visitors and locals can easily spend half a day or a full day in Central Park. Here are some accessible outdoor activities you can enjoy in Central Park:

Stroll or Roll through Central Park

three men, one in a power wheelchair, stroll down a path in Central Park
Travelers stroll through Central Park

The outer paths of Central Park create about a 6 mile (10 km) loop. Within the park, you’ll find interior paths that lead you to the lagoon, gardens, castles, and statues – there is so much to explore. If you’d like to explore the park with a guide, you can learn more and book a guided tour here.

Bike through Central Park

A man and a woman smile at the camera as they sit on parked handbikes
Getting ready for a handbike experience

Another way to see Central Park is by bike. Wheel the World offers an adaptive cycling experience through the park. The tour starts by getting you set up on a handbike. From there, a guide will lead the way, stopping at important landmarks and explaining more about the park’s history. You’ll follow the outer paths of the park and see places like Belvedere Castle and Strawberry Fields. 

Explore Manhattan from the Water

A large sailboat sails away from the Manhattan skyline
Skyline views from the boat tour

A boat tour allows you to see Manhattan from the outside. A less active outdoor activity, it gives you the chance to sail the Hudson and take photos of the famous skyline.

See an Outdoor Film

This one is specifically for when the weather warms up, but New York is full of outdoor movie options. In the late Spring through Summer, locals and visitors can enjoy outdoor movies at  various drive-ins that have made a comeback, and free movies in the park at places like Bryant Park in Brooklyn, Astoria Park in Queens, and Bellevue Park in Manhattan. Be sure to look up the schedule and get there early enough to find a good spot.

Explore New York’s Food Scene

There’s no doubt that the food scene in New York is and always has been booming. New York has everything from street food, to pizza, to fine dining. Explore the different neighborhoods of New York and the cuisine of each one. Wheel the World’s Tenements, Tales and Tastes Tour takes travelers through a history and food tour of the city. You’ll learn about the melting pot of cultures in New York through food. Or, explore the street food industry with a food truck and street cart guided tour, where you’ll learn about the industry and sample some of the best food from street carts and food trucks in the city. Whether you choose to taste New York through a tour or to go out to eat on your own, New York’s mix of cuisines is not something to overlook.


Whether you choose to visit during the holidays, summer or in between, New York is full of accessible outdoor activities to enjoy. There are so many ways to explore the city and its rich culture, check out more accessible things to do in New York here.

New Yorks Skyline

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