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8 Things to Do on Roosevelt Island

Though Manhattan gets all the attention, it’s Roosevelt Island’s time to shine. At Graduate Roosevelt Island, you can experience NYC from the other side of the river, from unique views of Manhattan and Queens to restaurants, farmers markets, and culture you never knew existed.

Head across the East River by train, ferry, or car to explore everything Roosevelt Island has to offer, starting with our eight favorite things to do on and around the island.


Granny Annie’s Bar & Kitchen

Granny Annie’s serves up some of the best grub on Roosevelt Island plus beloved local beers on tap. Belly up the bar or grab a stool to dig into classic American fare like buffalo wings, and fried chicken sandwiches. Like any good pub, Granny Annie’s also leans into influences that are unmistakably Irish, from Guiness behind the bar to bangers and mash and shepherd’s pie on the menu.

Fill up before your adventures on Roosevelt Island or stop by to cheer on your favorite sports teams—their flat screens are a great place to catch a game.

Insider Tip

 Stopping in for brunch? Make sure to order the Irish Eggs Benedict.

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Nisi Kitchen

Indulgent dishes are the name of the game at Nisi Kitchen. Their geometric, windowed entrance is attention-getting from the start, but from then on, the food and drink are the star of the show. This American eatery serves up imaginative dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner so you can get your Nisi fix all day long. 

Savor salad, pasta, burgers, and more, or keep things clean with dishes from their vegan corner. Once you’ve finished your meal, step outside to quaint Main Street and a quick walk to views of Roosevelt Island Bridge.

Insider Tip

For a funky twist on your typical burger, order the Thanksgiving Burger – tastes just like Grandma’s feast!

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overview shot of table and food


Innovative, locally-sourced beers are the pride of BIG aLICe BREWING. With several taprooms throughout New York, BIG aLICe builds community through great beer. Enter their Queens or Brooklyn tap rooms and you’ll see a wall of taps featuring brews like IPAs, witbiers, pilsners, and more. 

If the tap list doesn’t suit your fancy, opt for one of the many canned beers they keep behind the bar. What’s on tap can vary between their three locations, so visit them all so you can try every last variety of BIG aLICe beer.

Insider Tip

Named after the bridge you’ll see right next to the hotel, the Queensbridge IPA is a fan favorite.

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New York Public Library

The New York Public Library is almost as vibrant as the city itself. 53 million items circulate between the library’s 92 locations, one of which is right here on Roosevelt Island. The library is the second largest public library in the United States and the fourth largest in the world, so if you’ve got a book in mind, chances are you’ll find it here. 

Swing by the Roosevelt Island branch to pick up a book to pass any downtime, or take the train into Manhattan to see the stone lions that flank the stairs up to the iconic main branch.

Insider Tip

Traveling with kids? There is a dedicated spot just for kiddos to curl up with a book at the NYPL branch located right on the island!

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stack of books

Roosevelt Island Farmers Market

Mingle with New Yorkers on their weekly shop at the Roosevelt Island Farmers Market. Every Saturday of the year, the market comes to life with produce, baked goods, and even art from around the world. 

The market’s core vendors include Wengerd Farms with fresh fruit and veg, baked goods, and local meat and dairy, as well as other farms bringing breads, pasta, pasta sauce, poultry, pickles, olives, and African dry foods and art. Pick up snacks to fuel your adventures or simply stroll through the stalls to soak up Roosevelt Island culture.

Insider Tip

The Farmers Market happens every Saturday, so it’s the perfect weekend activity and just a short walk from the hotel.

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Four Freedoms Park

Four Freedoms Park is both an outdoor oasis in the city and a memorial to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The park gets its name from the four freedoms Roosevelt mentioned in his 1941 State of the Union Address: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. 

Head down to the park on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island to pay homage to the late president or simply to enjoy a moment of peace and quiet. The park features stone steps and a tree-lined line all pointing towards the East River.

Insider Tip

Looking for something to do with kiddos? The park is totally free to the public and open every day except Tuesday! 

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