For most tourists, Staten Island is the last place they want to visit. Why? No one knows anything about the island. Plus, who wants to visit an island when you can see everything Manhattan and the other boroughs have to offer.
Even for native New Yorkers, Staten Island is a distant land they heard about in fairy tales. You have no idea how many times Staten Islanders are asked what the island is like and is there anything to do there? Well, to answer that question …Staten Island is a place full of charisma and charm and there is plenty to do here.
From museums to shopping centers, Staten Island has everything the other boroughs have to offer. But, every Staten Islander has a list of places they hold dear to their heart and those are the places tourist should visit. Here’s a look into some of the hidden gems of Staten Island that only locals know about.
1. Egger’s Ice Cream Parlor
With three locations on the island, Egger’s has been serving Staten Islanders ice cream since 1932. Best known for their homemade ice cream, they have everything from classic flavors to specialty flavors such as peach and lavender which they roll out monthly. If ice cream isn’t your thing, they have homemade chocolate, 1950’s candy, and classic drinks such as soda floats and egg creams.
2. Staten Island Yankees
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Serving as the island’s minor league baseball team, the Staten Island Yankees has become a national treasure because they represent both the island and the hometown spirit locals have. They are division champions and with every game they have comes a group of passionate Staten Islanders to cheer them on.
3. Cookie Jar
Facebook – @CookieJarNYC
Santa, Snoopy, and kitties, oh my! These are just a few of the vibrant, ceramic cookie jars you’ll find at Cake Chef’s Cookie Jar bakery. Known for its signature wall of cookie jars, this bakery offers an array of desserts — from red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting to chocolate-covered strawberries — so there’s no way you’re going home without a sweet treat.
4. Denino’s Pizzeria & Tavern
If you’re looking to have an authentic Staten Island date night, you have to go to Deninos. It’s a Staten Island favorite because of its crispy, thin-crust pizza which is cooked to order. They make everything fresh daily, including the dough, cheese, and sauce, so the pizza tastes like a warm, flavor bomb that melts in your mouth with every bite.
5. Ralph’s Italian Ices & Ice Cream
After Deninos, you have to walk across the street to Ralphs for a frozen treat. Originating in Staten Island, there are now numerous locations throughout New Jersey and Long Island. From ices to milkshakes they offer more than 50 different flavors for their frozen desserts including margarita, cherry jubilee, dutch apple pie, passionfruit, and rum raisin. Plus, it helps that they make everything on site.
6. The Greenbelt
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Greenbelt is a park that has almost 3,000 acres of land that is comprised of various ecosystems such as a forest, wetlands, and ponds. The diversity of the habits allows visitors to see numerous species of animals while hiking along the park’s trails. Throughout the park are two other parks you can go to for recreational activities such as archery and golf, a wildlife refuge, a nature center, and a plant center.
7. Alfonso’s Pastry Shoppe
Victory Blvd Merchants Association
Since 1970, Alfonso’s Pastry Shoppe has been making elegant, classic pastries that are both delicious and beautiful works of art. With a wide selection of cakes, cookies, tarts, bread, and buns to choose from, the bakery has earned recognition from major publications such as the New York Times. Their desserts are a staple at events on the island because Alfonsos uses the finest ingredients and bakes everything daily.
8. Mother Pug’s Saloon
Voted as “Best Dive Bar” and “Best Bar Bands” by Staten Islanders, Mother Pug’s is a punk/rock bar that honors the local scene. With live music being played every weekend, it’s a great place to check out local bands. Mother Pug’s puts locals first and does everything they can to make sure locals have a fun, welcoming environment to rock out to music.
9. Flagship Brewery
Facebook – @FlagshipBrewingCompany
Known for holding themselves to extremely high standards, Flagship Brewery is making a name for itself amongst locals. From stouts to IPAs, they have a large beer selection that they make in house. Flagship is a fun, communal space that features wooden picnic tables and stacks of board games scattered throughout.
10. The Burrito Bar Restaurant
Facebook – @the.burrito.bar.si
A house that was converted into a restaurant, Burrito Bar is a Mexican restaurant that has become a favorite spot for people of all ages to hang out at. With its vibrant, colorful decor, which is inspired by the 1960s, you can’t help but feel happy and cheerful when you enter this restaurant. Plus, it’s a great place to get authentic Mexican food and specialty cocktails for decent prices.
11. Liberty Tavern
Liberty Tavern SI
Liberty Tavern is a rustic bar that values the community above all else. From the wood detailing to the outdoor patio, this bar is the place you go to when you want to have a chill night out with friends. They amplify this energy by having live music during the weekends and hosting various events throughout the week such as poker nights and Harvest Fest.
12. Clove Lakes Park
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As a protected Forever Wild location, Clove Lakes Park is a park that acts as an escape from the hustle and bustle of your day-to-day life. With trails running along the park, it’s a great place to go for a run or jog, walk your dog, or ride your bike. The park is peaceful and serene even though it’s surrounded by major streets.
13. Bootleg Mannings
Facebook – @bootlegmannings
Bootleg Mannings is a whiskey lover’s heaven. They have a huge selection of whiskeys to choose from, so there’s no way you won’t find your favorite whiskey there. If whiskey isn’t your thing, they have craft beer on tap and other popular bottled drinks such as twisted tea you can choose from.
14. Brother’s Pizza
Instagram – @brotherspizza_si
The winner of “Best Sicilian and Grandma Pizza” on Staten Island, Brother’s Pizza has been satisfying the taste buds of Staten Islanders since the 1980s. Known for having mouth-watering Sicilian and Grandma slices, their pizza has the perfect sauce to cheese ratio with fluffy dough that feels like a cloud in your mouth. Unlike other pizzerias, they don’t accept credit cards nor do they deliver, yet there’s always a line of people patiently waiting for their order.
15. Play Sportsbar
NY Daily News
Play Sportsbar is the place to be on game day. From patrons screaming at the television when a team scores to playfully teasing one another when a team is losing, Play has an electric atmosphere to it on game days. Along with offering over 75 different craft beers, Play has become the place to go for dart tournaments, trivia nights, and so much more.
16. St. George Theatre
This performing arts theater has been hosting events on the island for the last 90 years. The St. George Theatre is a 2,800 seat venue with a breathtaking interior that is inspired by both Spanish and Italian Baroque styles. You can see everything from comedy shows to concerts and Broadway shows at this theatre.
17. Kreischer Mansion
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Known as one of the most haunted places in New York, Kresisher Mansion has become a popular Halloween attraction for locals within the last two years. Normally closed to the public, around October the victorian house gets turned into a haunted house. The mansion’s dark history of murder and misfortune adds to the somber, ominous feeling of the walkthrough.
18. Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn
Winner of the prestigious Good Beer Seal, Killmeyer’s is the go-to spot for authentic German beer and food. They make their food the same way food is prepared in Germany, so you’re getting an authentic food experience without having to travel abroad. Plus, everything from the waitresses wearing lederhosen to beer steins lining the wall makes you feel like you’re in Germany.
19. South Beach and Midland Beach
The two beaches are adjacent to each other and create a 2.5-mile boardwalk. Along with sunbathing and swimming, you can walk along the boardwalk and take in the view of the water. If you don’t want to visit the beaches during the day, you can come back in the evening and sit near the water and just think about life.Next