New York City: Side Trips

Hudson River Park

Katzs Chris Hondros / Getty
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For a thrilling view of New York City's West Side — and the New Jersey skyline across the Hudson River — get off your hotel gym's LifeCycle and get on the real thing. (Transportation Alternatives lists bike-rental shops.) Begin your journey in Battery Park, at Manhattan's southern tip, and follow the bike path north through Hudson River Park, which runs along the river's edge to West 59th Street. You'll encounter a panoply of New York City sights along the way: sunbathers sprawled across park lawns, daredevils flipping at the trapeze school at Pier 40 (go ahead, give it a shot), skateboarders soaring at the skate park. Architecture fans can admire Richard Meier's trio of glass apartment towers (Charles Street) and Julian Schnabel's Palazzo Chupi (just off the path, at West 11th Street), which looks like it was airlifted in from the Tuscan countryside. As you pedal toward the massive Chelsea Piers sports complex (West 23rd Street), keep your eye out for the frosted, white IAC building (West 18th Street), media mogul Barry Diller's international headquarters — and Frank Gehry's first New York City commission.

When the park ends, you can continue north along the trail to the Boat Basin Café (West 79th Street) in Riverside Park, where you can refuel while looking out over the Hudson. Feeling ambitious? Pedal all the way to the George Washington Bridge at West 178th Street. It may be the (11-mile) ride of your life.

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