Visit Governors Island NYC

Image of author Selwyn
30. August 2019
133 ratings

Governors Island NYC is a great destination to be in during the summer. There’s activities for all age groups and even the well-known Governor’s Ball. If the weather is nice in New York City and you want to escape the noise of the New York City atmosphere, then head down to Governors Island NYC.


The Governors Island Ferry will take you across the East River from May 1, 2019 with the Governors Island Ferry until the end of September 2019 for only $3. Governors Island does not feel like New York City at all, which is probably one of the reasons why many locals come here. A lot of tourists really don’t know much about this island.

The Governors Island Ferry Terminal is located right next to the South Ferry Terminal, which is home to the Staten Island Ferry. The trip takes about 3 minutes and you will see that this is mainly used by the locals, children, older residents of New York and only small amount of tourists.

Landmarks on Governors Island NYC

Governors Island has a lot of history. The 70-acre island served as the US Army base for decades until the 1960s. It was considered a top secret location, so therefore on older maps of New York, the island is not to be found. After the cold war, the military retreated. Unfortunately, the island became more and more neglected.

In 2003, the federal government sold the island to the City of New York for a (rather symbolic) $ 1 to transform it into a recreational area. If you go today you will see all of the  preserved old houses, Fort Jay barracks, various schools, Castle Williams prison, a hospital, a church and old supermarkets, as well as an old theater. It seems like a scary movie because everything is abandoned, but that’s what makes it exciting. For the visitors, green spaces, a small miniature golf course and many resting places were built which invites you to enjoy the island.

Bike Tour and Bike Rental on Governors Island NYC

The best way to explore the island is by bike. You can either rent one on Governors Island for $ 15/2 hours (follow the blue signs after leaving the ferry) or you bring one yourself. The best part is, you don’t have to pay an extra fee on the ferry.

Governors Island NYC has routes specially designed for bike riders. Are you looking for more ideas for cycling in New York? Just be aware that pedestrian lanes, former residences of the US military, Castle Williams and Fort Jay are bicycle-free zones.

In some cases you’ll want to explore the historic and really imposing houses. We left our bikes in front of the site and it seemed to be ok. Around Colonens Row you will find the most beautiful houses on the island. Large terraces, sumptuous rooms with fireplaces and a lot of space inside and outside were for the officers.

A Great View of the Statue of Liberty

Governors Island NYC offers breathtaking views of the  Manhattan Skyline. But, it also has a wonderful view of the Statue of Liberty. You can pretty much have a picnic with an amazing view. This really is very unique that it’s even worth the visit alone. If you do want to visit Miss Liberty, here are our tips for visiting.

Picnic on Governors Island

In the middle of the island you will find many playgrounds, as well as picnic spots that can be used. A cafe, several ice cream trucks (great organic ice cream made in Brooklyn), New York City-known food trucks are also on site.

Also, Governors Island has a small beach including Beach Club ( Gov’Nor’s Beach Club ). There are regular concerts, festivals and parties with trendy DJ’s (Avicci, Laidback Luke and the Bingoplayers played here already). The food here is just as fantastic as the cocktails.

The Most Popular Events

Make sure to visit Governors Island NYC in the summer because there are a lot of activities that take place. We’ve put together our guide for you so you do not miss any of the spectacular events on the island. You’ll find the best events on Governors Island in this detailed article.

Best time to visit Governors Island?

The early bird catches the worm. Come as early as possible to escape the big onslaught (especially on weekends). The first ferry departs at 6:00 am from Pier 6 (the pier can be found if you turn left at the South Ferry Terminal / Subway Line 1 to South Ferry).

The full schedule of the Governors Island Ferry can be found here.

Relax on Governors Island

Governors Island NYC is the perfect retreat from the noisy and busy New York City. You feel like you’ve been transferred to another time and can get an authentic picture of the way of life on Governors Island. A trip, even with children is definitely recommended. The car-free island offers so much for the young and elderly that you have to see for yourself.

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