15 Best Things to Do in Garden City, NY

Garden City, NY
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Exciting museums, lovely public parks, and fun local attractions showcase Garden City on Long Island, New York.

The incorporated village of Garden City is in Nassau County, situated mainly within the Town of Hempstead, with a small northern area in North Hempstead.

Its history dates back to 1869, when Irish millionaire Alexander Turney Stewart purchased 10,000 acres of land in Hempstead Plains.

Garden City was one of the country’s earliest planned villages and developments.

For example, A. T. Stewart built the Garden City Hotel, wide avenues, and the Central Railroad line.

After his death in 1876, Stewart’s wife Cornelia built the Cathedral of the Incarnation, which is now a local attraction, a Bishop’s Residence, and two church schools dedicated to her husband.

You’ll discover many pleasant things in this urban village.

Experience the best things in Garden City, New York!

Discover Aerospace History at the Cradle of Aviation Museum

Exterior of the Cradle of Aviation Museum
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You’ll find the Cradle of Aviation Museum along Charles Lindbergh Boulevard.

The museum’s location was once a part of Mitchel Air Force Base.

Along with Roosevelt Field and other Hempstead Plains, these airfields saw many historic seminal flights during the mid-1920s, called the “Cradle of Aviation.”

Interior of the Cradle of Aviation Museum
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This fascinating museum features one hundred years of aerospace history accounts.

There are more than 70 air and spacecraft exhibits at the Donald Everett Axinn Air & Space Museum Hall.

Explore the 150,000-square-foot museum’s displays ranging from the times of hot air balloons to an actual Apollo Lunar Module exhibit.

Volunteer docents will show you around while sharing their aerospace experiences.

People inside the Cradle of Aviation Museum
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Check out the hands-on exhibits, climb the cockpits, and watch short films throughout the tour.

You’ll also catch the eVTOLs, electric vertical take-off, and landing vehicles at the Future is Now Gallery.

Learn more about aviation history at the Cradle of Aviation Museum.

Aircrafts in the Cradle of Aviation Museum
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Learn about the Iconic Airline at the Pan Am Museum

The Pan Am Museum is inside the Cradle of Aviation Museum on Charles Lindbergh Boulevard.

Pan Am is an aviation icon, an innovative airline, and a pioneer air travel company.

Former employees who formed the Pan Am Museum Foundation established the museum.

You’ll discover the rich aircraft history and the people behind The World’s Most Experienced Airline.

Likewise, you can purchase exclusive merchandise like accessories, apparel, literature, plane models, and posters to add to your collection or bring home as tokens.

Enjoy a great learning experience at the Pan Am Museum.

Spend a Few Days at Garden City Hotel

The Garden City Hotel is not just a local accommodation but a part of Garden City history.

You can find this historic hotel on Seventh Street, right at the heart of the picturesque village.

A. T. Stewart built the original hotel building, which opened to the public in 1874.

It underwent several renovations, expansions, and changes in management until the hotel reopened in 1983; Myron Nelkin built later features.

Several world leaders and famous personalities, including John F. Kennedy, George H. W. Bush, Margaret Thatcher, and Prince Khalid of Saudi Arabia, have stayed in the hotel.

Experience the hotel’s gracious and world-class service and enjoy your stay in their spacious rooms and suites.

Grab a meal at the Red Salt Room and try an array of gourmet dishes.

Enjoy a fantastic stay at the Garden City Hotel.

Enjoy Outdoor Recreation at the Community Park

Located at Cherry Valley Avenue, Community Park offers you plenty of sports and outdoor activities to enjoy.

You can use the fields by calling the Recreation and Parks Administrative Office to get a permit and pay a minimal fee.

The park has a 90-foot baseball field, a full-sized soccer field, three baseball and softball fields, and one skinned lot.

It also has four indoor tennis courts and four aluminum platform tennis courts.

However, only Garde City residents can use the hockey rink and Garden City Pool.

You can enjoy playing on the 18-hole miniature golf course.

Meanwhile, let your little ones have fun on the playground and swings, and grab some food at the Snack Bar stand.

The Community Park also has a Recreation Clubhouse for visitors.

Check Out the Natural Habitats at the Garden City Bird Sanctuary

Garden City Bird Sanctuary was once a neglected water basin that the community called ‘sump’ and has now transformed into a scenic green space.

The seven-acre sanctuary on Tanners Pond Road started with an initial volunteer-led clean-up drive in 1995,  dedicated the following year.

You can visit the sanctuary for free and enjoy nature tripping.

Go birdwatching and spot American crows and black-capped chickadees, some mallards, tree swallows, and other bird species native to the area.

You’ll also discover a variety of lush flora in the sanctuary.

Join the events and activities at the Garden City Bird Sanctuary.

Shop, Dine, and Enjoy at Roosevelt Field

Interior of Roosevelt Field
Kenneth C. Zirkel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Shop at Roosevelt Field, Garden City’s premier shopping location.

Get the best deals on quality brands like Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, JCPenney, and Bloomingdales.

Go on an endless shopping spree with over 200 specialty stores from men’s and women’s apparel, kids’ fashion wear, jewelry, home decor, electronics, and more.

You also have plenty of options for dine-in, outdoor dining, and takeout.

People inside the Roosevelt Field
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Your family can choose from various food choices: fine dining, quick snacks, or food specialties.

Catch a movie after shopping or enjoy the activities at the mall.

Roosevelt Field is just right off Meadowbrook Parkway and Old Country Road.

Taste Seafood Specialties at Waterzooi

Waterzooi is the best stop to try some mouth-watering seafood dishes.

Its flagship location on Franklin Avenue for almost 20 years remains Long Island’s premier Belgian bistro, serving pounds of mussels by the millions.

Enjoy lunch, dinner, or weekend brunch at their cozy Dining Room, Lounge or Patio.

Besides the excellent service, you’ll enjoy the menu's innovative meals and draft beers.

Try blue point oysters, Kumamoto, and lucky 13 oysters, or enjoy crab cocktail, lobster, or jumbo shrimp cocktail bites.

The Oyster Bar is also the main highlight of this restaurant.

From starters to salads and Moule Pots to entrées and sides, Waterzooi has a wide array of delicious menu selections to satisfy your seafood cravings.

Play Active Sports at Nassau Haven Park

Nassau Haven Park is a public park on Colonial Avenue at Hudson Road.

You can enjoy sports like baseball or softball at any of the three fields.

Play soccer or flag football, basketball, or tennis.

You can also jog or exercise on the athletic field, while little ones can have some fun of their own at the playground.

Nassau Haven Park also has a comfort station park for visitors.

Enjoy a Fun Paint and Sip Experience at the Muse Paintbar

Muse Paintbar offers a unique art experience you’ll enjoy with friends and family.

You can find its Garden City location on Franklin Avenue.

Bring out your creativity on canvas as the crew shows you the step-by-step process to help you make your work of art.

You can choose from the public events scheduled on their calendar, like sessions on classic landscape themes, fun themes, and seasonal paintings.

They also offer bookings for private events or celebrations.

Besides the art sessions, you can have servings of tasty food bites and pair them with over twenty beer and wine selections.

You can also purchase paint kits, aprons, and paint supplies at Muse Paintbar to start your artistic hobby or unleash your creativity.

Choose Fine Local Wines at Garden City Wines and Spirits

If you’re looking for a convenient wine store offering great varieties, you can head off to Garden City Wines & Spirits on Seventh Street.

The locally owned and operated store offers wine and spirits selection at reasonable prices.

Check their fine wine collections, or you might find something in their vast selection of Single Malts.

They also offer premium double malts, chilled wines, and champagne.

Whether you’re planning a party, looking for ideal custom holiday gifts or a bottle of quality wine, Garden City Wines and Spirits has everything you need.

Other Things To Do Nearby

Roam the Queens County Farm Museum

A barn at Queens County Farm Museum
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The Queen County Farm Museum in Little Neck Parkway, Queens, New York, is also called Queens Farm.

It’s a 47-acre historic farm with Floral Park and Glen Oaks neighborhoods.

The area is the city’s largest tract of farmland that remains undisturbed and continues to serve as a working farm.

Catch a glimpse of refurbished farm buildings representing different centuries, one of which is the Adriance Farmhouse.

This farmhouse is a landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Corn field at Queens County Farm Museum
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You can get free guided farmhouse tours on weekends all year round.

Likewise, you can roam the planting fields and greenhouse, view livestock, and take a peek at different vintage farm equipment.

Visit the farm from April to October to enjoy the hayrides and take advantage of the seasonal farmstand with assorted herbs, vegetable crops, and flowers for sale every Wednesday through Sunday.

Enjoy a fun farm experience at Queens County Farm Museum, 17 minutes from Garden City.

Check Out the Artwork at the African American Museum of Nassau County

The African American Museum of Nassau County, also known as the African American Museum, is in Franklin Street, Hempstead, New York, four minutes from Garden city.

The museum, which opened in 1970, showcases local and national African American artists in their artistic mediums.

The 6,000-square-foot facility operates under the Museum Services Division of the Nassau County Department of Recreation, Parks, and Support Services.

Through the various museum exhibits, you’ll learn about African Americans' role in Long Island's history.

You can also catch several events at the museum, including Black History Month and Kwanzaa celebrations, and tributes for historical icons like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

The African American Museum of Nassau County also waived the admission fees in 2005 to encourage more visitors to see the attraction.

Stroll the Lovely Gardens at Floral Park Centennial Gardens

The Floral Park Centennial Gardens, located on Floral Parkway and Raff Avenue Floral Park, features relaxing garden views for anyone who wants to find a quiet, tranquil spot.

Dedicated in 2000, the gardens are a joint venture of the Village of Floral Park and the FP Conservation Society.

You’ll enjoy strolling around this 13-acre garden area with a bird sanctuary and different garden themes.

Take your little ones to the children’s garden and let them explore different plants.

Otherwise, bring them to the vegetable garden to learn about other crops.

See the Remembrance fountain and unwind at the gazebo and pavilions.

The Village of Floral Park Centennial also happened at the Floral Park Centennial Gardens in 2008.

You can find this place in Floral Park, New York, 12 minutes from Garden City.

See Art Collections at the Hofstra University Museum of Art

Hofstra University Museum of Art is another interesting museum near Garden City.

The museum is at Hofstra University in Hempstead, eight minutes from Garden City.

See the Emily Lowe Gallery and the David Filderman Gallery inside the campus.

In 1963, the campus established the Museum and the Emily Lowe Gallery.

Later, they added the Filderman Gallery in 1991.

During your visit, you’ll observe and appreciate more than 5,000 artifacts and ethnographic pieces as old as 1,500 BCE.

You’ll find various objects in collections from six continents and significant contributions before the museum’s founding.

Some highlights of the Hofstra University Museum of Art include African art, objects, and Asian collections dating from the early seventh to the 20th century.

Take a Tour of the Nassau County Firefighters Museum & Education Center

The Nassau County Firefighters Museum & Education Center is another exciting attraction in Garden City.

Located on Davis Avenue, the 10,000-square feet museum and educational center promotes and provides information about fire prevention and safety for visitors of all ages.

You can try the hands-on displays and watch live demonstrations in this interactive facility.

View various antique fire equipment and modern fire gear and apparatus on display.

Be a fireman for a day and experience what it’s like to be part of a proud tradition of firefighting.

You can also book the museum for birthday parties and fundraising events for a unique celebration.

Your kids will enjoy and learn at the Nassau County Firefighters Museum & Education Center, located in Uniondale, New York, six minutes from Garden City.

Final Thoughts

The village of Garden City is full of cultural and unique museums that showcase its diverse history and community.

It also has plenty of lovely park attractions that offer sports recreation and enjoyable family activities.

Specialty shops and restaurants also feature the uniqueness of this busy village area.

Plan your trip today and discover the best things to do in Garden City, New York!