Magical New York City Waterfalls To Check Out

In Brooklyn, Guides, New York, See & Do by Megan ILeave a Comment

Believe it or not, there are several New York City waterfalls hidden in plain sight or tucked away in our urban green spaces and parks throughout the city. If you want to go chase waterfalls in NYC, then this guide will help you as we picked out the best places to check out these cascading falls in the city.

If you’re hoping to hunt down any of these New York City waterfalls, you first need to set realistic expectations, these are not huge waterfalls, although there are a few sizeable ones for being in a city, and all of these waterfalls in NYC are man-made. Some are tucked away in our parks and botanical gardens and some are located in tiny little greenspaces in the center of chaotic Midtown, and some are just part of landscape design for various buildings in the city.

Regardless, if you’re looking for a moment of calm or serenity in the city that never sleeps, you can visit one of these waterfalls and feel swept away and forget you’re in the center of one of the largest and most populous cities in the world for a moment.

Don’t worry about trying to find these either, we’ve included the nearest subway stop and how to find these beauties! Happy waterfalls chasing!

Amazing Waterfalls in NYC

New York Botanical Garden 

Small waterfall in NYC at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx

I wouldn’t say the four waterfalls at the New York City Botanical Gardens are amongst the largest New York City waterfalls, but they are magnificent enough to guarantee the visitors leave with amazement at the beauty of the perfect interactions between nature and mankind.

Snuff Mill waterfall in New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx

Snuff Mill Waterfall

Probably the most interesting and fascinating of the four is the 7-foot “Snuff Mill waterfall” also known as the “Lillian and Amy Goldman Stone Mill” waterfall. It is more of a man-made waterfall than a natural one and was constructed as far back as 1840. Snuff Mill is fed directly by the Bronx River along with the slightly less popular waterfall in the Botanical Garden – Rock Garden cascade, the featured image of this guide. This is also a very beautiful sight to behold.

The New York City Botanical Garden is an extremely popular tourist site that attracts visitors and even locals. You should, however, note that some folks found these NYC waterfalls smaller than they expected, but while you’re here you can also visit the Bronx River Waterfalls which cascade due to the several dams in the river, but are more sizeable and look more natural.

In the spring, this is also one of the best places to see cherry blossoms in NYC!

Nearest Subway:  Bedford Park Blvd (B, D)

Central Park

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Central Park is arguably the most popular park in New York City with lots of features that pulls in thousands of daily visitors from all around the globe including its locals. In the hidden and lesser-known parts of the park, there are around 5 waterfalls in NYC located here designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.

The main feeding line to the waterfalls, most of which can be found on the hiking trail known as ‘the Ravine’  is the same vein of water that supplies New York City with drinking water. There is a really small pipe concealed by some stones at Pool Grotto and you wouldn’t even notice this if I didn’t just tell you as the original contractors did a pretty good job at camouflaging it with the rocks and maintaining a natural look.

The waterfalls are just one of the many amazing sights that can be seen at Central Park. There are several bars and restaurants located at different points around the park where you can take a break after touring the multiple waterfalls. 

If you’re looking for extra things to do, you can always visit the museums and attractions around the park including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, aka the Met, the Natural History Museum, the Guggenheim, and Central Park Zoo in the park to name a few of the most famous museums in NYC to visit near here!

Nearest Subway:  86 St Station (1), 96 St Station (B, C), 110 St Central Park North Station (2, 3)

Prospect Park

waterfall in prospect park

Central Park’s sister in Brooklyn is Prospect Park which has many similar features because the same designers, Olmstead and Vaux created Prospect Park and includes their own lakes, boathouses, zoos, and even a trail called the Ravine which features more New York City waterfalls.

The Ravine can be found between the Long Meadow and the Nethermead (you can find these locations easily using a map of the park online or they have them dotted outside at the park entrances).

As you pass through the Ravine, which was inspired by the landscape of the Adirondack Mountain range in Upstate New York and meant to replicate the feeling of being there in NYC by designers Olmstead and Vaux, you can find the babbling creek that feeds a few waterfalls.

You can find 6 NYC waterfalls on the Waterfall Hiking Trail, one of the best things to do in Prospect Park, as this route takes you on a .5 miles trail traversing the park to its cascading falls.

My personal favorite waterfall is the one by the Prospect Park Boathouse on Lullwater, there is a trail that takes you to the lookout and if you’re lucky you’ll also get to see the resident swans here. 

If you’re looking for an extra activity to do here we recommend checking out Prospect Park Zoo, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Brooklyn Museum, or take a walk at the neighboring neighborhoods including Park Slope, Crown Heights, Windsor Terrace, and Prospect Heights.

Nearest Subway: Grand Army Plaza (2, 3), Eastern Parkway-Brooklyn Museum (2, 3), Prospect Park (B, Q, & S *Franklin Avenue Shuttle trains), Parkside Avenue (Q), 15th Street-Prospect Park (F, G), Fort Hamilton Parkway (F, G)

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Brooklyn Botanic Garden waterfall in NYC

The Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden waterfall is the main waterfall that can be found in another one of many Brooklyn parks, at Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is such an interesting and beautiful place and was founded in 1910 and interestingly is located just adjacent to the aforementioned Prospect Park.

The Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden waterfalls are easily one of the most beautiful waterfalls in NYC and are still one of the main attractions for the 700,000+ yearly visitors to BBG, both local and foreign. It is a beautifully constructed, Japanese-themed garden that was constructed as early as the 1910s, and my favorite place in the park besides the conservatory and cherry esplanade where you can see the cherry blossoms in Brooklyn every spring.

The garden was initially a typical ancient hill-and-pond style garden, but more recently it evolved to include a more modern stroll-garden style.

Apart from the eye-catching, nerve-calming waterfall, sights like the Japanese temple dedicated to the fox kami, hundreds of Japanese Koi fish in the ponds, wooden bridges, stone lanterns, and so on make the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden truly a sight to behold. 

Nearest Subway: Prospect Park Station (B, Q, S), Franklin Avenue/Botanic Garden Station (4, 5), Eastern Parkway-Brooklyn Museum Station (2, 3),  Grand Army Plaza Station (2, 3) 

Bronx Zoo (River Park Waterfall & Twin Dams Falls)

I’d first like to point out that there are no natural waterfalls in NYC, sorry for being a Debbie Downer. This may come as a shock because the waterfalls in the parks are so well designed, they can fool the unknowing. Along the long and wide Bronx River, there are up to 12 dams constructed in its path, two of which are located within the Bronx Zoo.

The 13-foot tall River Park Waterfall was initially built as the Bolton Dam in 1848 by Henry B. Bolton for private business purposes, but over time it evolved into a major tourist attraction.

Also, near the East Entrance of the Bronx park, the Twin Dams waterfalls are situated, both of which measure up to 10 feet in height!

For the first-timers, both waterfalls are a stone’s throw from each other so you can visit both in one day, including the waterfalls in the New York Botanical Garden. The best view of the Twin Dams is from the Mitsubishi Riverwalk Outlook.

Nearest Subway: West Farms Sq – E Tremont Av (2, 5), Pelham Parkway (5)

Morningside Park

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Here, we move away from the Bronx and Brooklyn to Harlem in Upper Manhattan to the aesthetically pleasing 30-acre public park – Morningside Park.

There are many eye-catching sites to behold including intriguing winding paths, baseball fields, vegetation, and wildlife, but our focus here would be the Morningside Park cascading waterfalls.

The current site of this New York City waterfalls was initially meant to be a gym in the 1960s, but the plan was scrapped due to the Columbia University student protests in 1968 as the gym was allegedly going to be segregated, it was in 1990 that the waterfall and pond were added at this site.

This whopping 20-foot high waterfall can be found near 113th street.

Nearest Subway: Cathedral Parkway – 100th St (B, C),  116 St (B, C)

September 11 Memorial & Museum

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The September 11 Memorial & Museum (9/11 Memorial & Museum) is a Memorial and Museum and one of the most famous New York City experiences that is dedicated to the souls that we lost on one of America’s darkest day – the attack on the World Trade Center and the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.

When you visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, you do not only get a chance to pay respect to the fallen souls, you also get to witness the survivor tree and one of the largest and fascinating artificially constructed waterfalls in NYC – The September 11 Memorial reflecting pool which is located at the exact position the Twin Towers previously occupied. It was unveiled on the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

You can visit these NYC waterfalls for free, but paid tickets are required to get into the museum. Tickets can be purchased up to 6 months ahead of time and photography is allowed in the memorial, as long as visitors are respectful as this is a memorial and has a painful past.

Nearest Subway: WTC – Cortlandt (1), Cortland Street (R), Rector Street (R), World Trade Center (E), Park Place (2, 3), Fulton Street (A, C, J, Z, 2, 3, 4, 5), Chambers Street (A, C, 1, 2, 3)

Paley Park

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Paley Park is a small-scale 4,200 square feet park situated on 53rd Street between Madison and Fifth Avenue, close to the Turtle Bay area, and is the location of one of the hidden and secret waterfalls in NYC many visitors and even locals don’t know about making it one of the best secret spots in NYC!

The park comprises different activities and sites, but the 20-foot backlit waterfall is easily the most interesting structure to be featured here.

The park and waterfalls are privately owned and commissioned by William S. Paley Foundation, one of the past chairmen of CBS. It was completed and opened to the public in 1967 and has garnered a consistently high rate of visitors.

The operation time of the park is between 8 a.m and 8 p.m. It is the perfect spot for any individuals looking to get a touch of nature and drown out the sound of the hustling and bustling of Manhattan in the background with the ambient sounds of cascading Paley Park Waterfalls.

Nearest Subway: 5th Ave – 53rd St Station (E, F, M)

Greenacre Park

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Another park located within the Turtle Bay neighborhood is another gorgeous NYC waterfall, this natural space called Greenacre Pank surrounded by apartment buildings and offices in Midtown. This spot is privately owned but open to the public and is located at 51st Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.

Greenacre Park is owned by Greenacre Foundation and was a gift from the daughter of John D. Rockefeller – Abby Rockefeller Mauze and was opened in 1971 and has been and is free for everyone to enjoy. 

The park is pretty small-sized measuring just about 6,300 square feet, providing a small semi-isolated “secret” space from the outside hustle and bustle of the city.

The main attraction is the 25-foot waterfall located at the back wall of the park which is quite inconspicuous at first glance, hence its inclusion in the list of hidden New City Waterfalls.

Nearest Subway: Lexington Ave – 53rd St (6, E, M)

100 United Nations Plaza

 

 
 
 
 
 
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100 United Nations Plaza is a 51-story brick and glass building rising high above midtown. It is a multipurpose apartment and office building with amenities such as a 24-hr doorman, 24-hr attended garage, a pool, fitness center, central laundry room, etc., stuff that visitors don’t need to worry about.

One of the first things you would notice at the entrance and perhaps the most interesting feature to visitors/tourists is the presence of a state-of-the-art 11,400 square-foot garden with artificial waterfalls that spiral the building corners. They are amongst the more unknown waterfalls in NYC, unless you work or live in the building.

Access to the waterfalls and gardens is free but be respectful as this is a residence and office building.

Nearest Subway: Lexington Ave – 53rd St (6, E, M)

Seton Falls Park

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Seton Falls Park is a secluded 35-acre park located at the Southeast intersection of East 233rd Street and Baychester Avenue in the Bronx. The park contains another one of the artificial New York City waterfalls that are fed by the Rattlesnake Brook (a natural creek that traverses the park and originally emptied into Eastchester Bay).

Seton Falls Park has quite a dark history of being a dumping grounds for bodies because of how remote it is, pretty spooky. However, the earliest foundations of the park were laid as far back as the 1930s and after a lot of ups and downs, multiple breakdowns, and renovations, the Seton Falls we know and love today was finally restored between 2007 and 2008 by the Croton Filtration Plant Migration Fund after falling into misuse during the mid-1990s.

It’s quite a hike to get to the falls themselves which are found at the park’s northwest corner. 

Nearest Subway: Eastchester – Dyre Ave (5)


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