Skirting the southern edge of Manhattan, this 12-acre oasis lures with public artworks, meandering walkways and perennial gardens. Its memorials include tributes to those who died in the Korean War and Italian navigator Giovanni da Verrazzano. The first Dutch settlement on Manhattan was founded here in 1625, and the city's first battery was later erected in its defense. You'll also find the lovely SeaGlass Carousel, historic Castle Clinton and the ferry service to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Warning! There's an ongoing turf war of hustlers scamming tourists looking to visit the Statue of Liberty. Only one company, Statue Cruises, sells these tickets. If you didn't purchase them online, buy them at the ticket office in Castle Clinton.