10 fun things to do near Yankee Stadium
With the baseball season officially here, it’s time to start planning a visit to the House that Ruth Built. But as New Yorkers know, the Bronx is more than just baseball. It’s a borough full of art, culture, historic spots, green space, and diverse cuisine, all of which can be found around Yankee Stadium. Ahead of the home opener for the Bronx Bombers, 6sqft put together a list of places to visit near the ballpark, on game day or during the offseason, from the city’s oldest surviving bridge and the site of the former Polo Grounds to Arthur Avenue’s Italian restaurants and the legendary sports bars on River Avenue.
The Bronx Museum of the Arts
Located just 10 minutes from Yankee Stadium is the Bronx Museum of the Arts, one of the only major museums in the city to offer free admission every day. Founded in 1971 and first housed in the rotunda of the Bronx County Courthouse and later a former synagogue, the museum now occupies a building designed by award-winning architecture firm Arquitectonica that boasts a unique folded accordion-like exterior. The museum is currently undergoing a $21 million renovation by Marvel that reimagines the lobby and moves the main entrance.
The Bronx Museum of the Arts has a collection of more than 2,000 contemporary works, with a focus on showcasing the art of diverse and underrepresented artists. The museum’s newest exhibition, Jamel Shabazz: Eyes on the Street, features photographs taken by street photographer Jamel Shabazz of New Yorkers in the outer boroughs. Reserve a free ticket to the exhibition, on display through September 4, here.
The High Bridge
While you’re in the area, why not check out New York City’s oldest surviving bridge? First opened in 1848, the High Bridge was constructed as part of the Croton Aqueduct system. After closing to the public in 1970, the iconic landmark reopened in 2015 after a nearly $62 million restoration, providing pedestrians and cyclists a scenic connection between the South Bronx and Washington Heights.
You’ll also get a look at the High Bridge water tower, which sits on the Manhattan side of the bridge and which the Landmarks Preservation Commission described as one of the borough’s “most picturesque architectural monuments.” This past November, the city’s Parks Department reopened the granite tower to public tours on select Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Before first pitch, enjoy a free tour of the historic water tower led by the city’s Urban Park Rangers and take in the panoramic views from 200 feet above the Harlem River. From there, you can get to Yankee Stadium by taking the B/D and A/C in 20 minutes, a 30-minute walk, or about a 15-minute drive or bike ride.
Site of the old Polo Grounds
Cross the Macombs Dam Bridge over the Harlem River and into Manhattan, and you’ll find yourself in one of the city’s most under-the-radar historic neighborhoods: Washington Heights. While there are several noteworthy spots to visit in this area, baseball fans will enjoy visiting Coogan’s Bluff, once the site of the Polo Grounds. The unique ball field was home to the New York Giants before they moved to San Francisco, as well as both the Yankees and the Mets. While the stadium was demolished in 1964, and an apartment complex has since sprouted in its place, an original staircase that led to the ticket booth of the Polo Grounds remains today. According to Atlas Obscura, the staircase, which was built in 1913, has an inscription that reads “The John T. Brush Stairway Presented by the New York Giants,” named after the owner of the Giants who passed away in 1912. Although it doesn’t lead anywhere these, the stairway is worth finding for any baseball history buff.
Nearby, check out one of the best “secret” streets in New York City. Step back in time on Sylvan Terrace, a one-block stretch of cobblestone connecting St. Nicholas Avenue and Jumel Terrace between 160th and 162nd Streets. Built as the carriage drive of the Morris-Jumel Mansion, the oldest residence in Manhattan, the street has two rows of 20 yellow wooden homes. The mansion, now a museum, is not only famous for being George Washington’s temporary headquarters during the Revolutionary War and hosting dignitaries like John Adams and Aaron Bur, but “Hamilton” fans may know it’s where Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote songs for the Broadway hit.
Photo by JHSmithArch on Wikimedia
Edgar Allan Poe Cottage
Back in the Bronx, take the D train a few stops from 161st Street and get off at Kingsbridge Road. Here in Fordham, along the Grand Concourse, you’ll find the former, and final, home of Edgar Allan Poe. Built in 1812, the five-room cottage was typical of the working-class houses that filled this part of the Bronx, which was mostly farmland at the time. As 6sqft previously noted, Poe picked the home in 1846 in the hope that the rural location would cure his wife’s tuberculosis, but she passed away in 1847, and he followed two years later. At the cottage, which has operated as a house museum since 1975, Poe wrote “Annabel Lee” and “The Bells.”
Photo of Daffodil Hill by Marlon Co. Courtesy of the New York Botanical Garden
New York Botanical Garden
Baseball season is also one of the best times of year to visit the 250 acres of meadow and forest at the New York Botanical Gardens. Located about five miles north of the stadium, the garden has been a picturesque destination for plant lovers since its founding in 1891. The urban oasis also offers events, educational opportunities, and exhibitions, including the current orchid show, which is on the display now through May 1.
The Bronx Zoo
Another borough landmark, the Bronx Zoo is considered one of the best (and biggest) zoos in the country. Home to more than 10,000 animals found across 260 acres, the zoo recreates the natural habitats of its incredible residents. From Tiger Mountian and the Congo Gorilla Forest to the World of Reptiles and the Baboon Reserve, the exhibits provide the perfect way to spend the afternoon before catching a night game. What’s even better, the zoo offers free admission on Wednesdays. For all tickets, you must reserve a spot online.
Photo courtesy of the Belmont Business Improvement District
Ballpark food is all well and good but sometimes you’re craving something a little tastier than the classic hot dog and mound-of-fries combo. Head north of the stadium to get to Arthur Avenue, a famed stretch of the Bronx’s Little Italy neighborhood known for its Italian goods. Thanks to the city’s Open Restaurants program, the thoroughfare has for the past two years transformed into “Piazza di Belmont,” a European-style outdoor dining experience. Some must-try eateries that have participated in the past include Zero Otto Nove, Mario’s Restaurant, Enzo’s of Arthur Avenue, Estrellita Poblana III, Ann & Tony’s, and Pasquale’s Rigoletto Restaurant. This year, the alfresco setup is expected to return in May and run on Fridays and Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Arthur Avenue between East 186th Street and Crescent Avenue. Expect performances from the doo-wop band “The Belmont 4” every month.
Courtesy of Bronx Night Market
The Bronx Night Market
Since 2018, the Bronx Night Market has brought cuisine and culture from around the world to Fordham Plaza. The 2022 season kicks off on April 30 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. with more than 50 food and merch vendors and live music. There are many diverse options at the open-air market available, especially since 70 percent of Bronx Night Market vendors classify themselves “as micro-, small-, POC-, immigrant-, LGBTQIA+-, and female-owned businesses,” according to a press release.
Photo by Antonio Bonanno on Flickr
A Yankees bar
As any seasoned sports supporter should know, grabbing a pre-game beer is both fun and thrifty, saving you from over-paying for a brew inside the stadium and hyping you up to watch the game. There are several great watering holes right outside of the stadium. Nearly as old as the team itself, Yankee Tavern has been serving baseball fans, and even some baseball greats like Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle, since 1927. Located at 72 East 161st Street, Yankee Tavern offers a full menu and a decent selection of beers on tap. Right across from the stadium is Stan’s, another go-to before, after, or during a Yankees game, but the bar does tend to get very crowded. The over-the-top pinstripe decor and memorabilia add to the experience. Other notable bars just a stone’s throw away from the House that Ruth Built include Billy’s Sports Bar, a multilevel bar that’s more club-like than dive, and Dugout, a more laid-back and spacious bar on River Avenue with affordable drink options (and a “secret” Taco Bell window).