A Traveler’s City Island, The Bronx Guide + Things to Do in City Island

What better way to escape the big city than by spending a day in a small island neighborhood. City Island is the perfect spot for a seaside vacation located in the northeast of the Bronx in New York. Over 4,300 residents live on the 230-acre island known for affordability and delicious seafood.

This sleepy town may surprise you with tons of island water activities to do and local restaurants and shops to visit.

Whether you are looking for the freshest seafood or the most vintage souvenir, you will find it on City Island. Your one-day itinerary will be filled with fun and unique adventures that are worth telling.

If you need complete information about the island, look no further as you landed on a comprehensive traveler’s City Island guide.

This guide includes things to do in City Island, where to stay, how to get here, and many more! Continue reading to learn more.

Where Is City Island

City Island is located in Long Island Sound in the Bronx, one of the boroughs in New York City. The neighborhood is surrounded by water and is near southern Pelham Bay, Kings Point, and Sands Point.

It is approximately two hours away from Queens and Brooklyn, and about an hour and 30 minutes to Manhattan via public transportation.

History of City Island

Siwanoys, indigenous Americans of Long Island Sound, were the original occupants of City Island.

However, the island was bought in 1654 by an English physician named Thomas Pell and was later purchased by Benjamin Palmer in 1761.

In 1895, the island became a part of New York City, specifically in Pelham, Westchester County which is now the seventh most populated county in New York.

What to Do and See

City Island Nautical Museum

190 Fordham St, The Bronx, NY 10464

Phone: 718-885-0008

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City Island Nautical Museum 1

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City Island Nautical Museum has plenty of exhibits and activities to do. Some of the popular ones are the Main Hall and Gallery, the Walsh Library, and the Nautical Room.

Visitors can purchase the City Island Walking Tour here to explore the entire neighborhood’s places of interest from north to south.

Samuel Pell House

586 City Island Ave, The Bronx, NY 10464

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Samuel Pell House is a historical landmark that was built around 1876. The house is a perfect example of the Second Empire style frame houses, a style that used to be popular back in the days and is now rarely seen.

Samuel Pell was the original owner of the house and was once known to be the leader in the oyster industry.

Kaleidoscope Gallery

280 City Island Ave, The Bronx, NY 10464

Phone: 718-885-3090

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Kaleidoscope Gallery

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If you are looking for unique jewelry designs, imaginative artwork, and cool souvenirs to take home, stop by at Kaleidoscope Gallery from 11 am to 7 pm.

Paul Klein is the owner and jeweler of the store where he creates custom-designed jewelry. The store is also a repair shop for jewelry, so if you need a jewelry fix, this is the place to go.

Jack’s Bait and Tackle

551 City Island Ave, The Bronx, NY 10464

Phone: 718-885-2042

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Jacks Bait and Tackle

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Established in 1945, Jack’s Bait and Tackle helps you with all your fishing needs. From fresh bait to tackle and sturdy gear – they have it all for a quality fishing experience. Moreover, boat rental is possible on all days of the week from 6 am to 4 pm.

239 Play

239 City Island Ave, The Bronx, NY 10464

Phone: 917-596-0320

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239 Play

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239 Play is a heaven for all collectors and vintage lovers. Get collectible vintage items from the 1950s to 1990s such as metal signages, cards, polaroids, comic books, toys, figurines, dolls, robots, and many more.

Merchandise from popular franchises including James Bond, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Pokemon is also available here.

Starving Artist

249 City Island Ave, The Bronx, NY 10464

Phone: 718-885-3779

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Starving Artist

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Starving Artist is the best place to catch live music and performances. In the past, it used to be an art and jewelry studio before turning into an events place in 2004. If you want to see some live action, visit the venue every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Early Ruth Art & Antiques

319 City Island Ave #A, The Bronx, NY 10464

Phone: 718-885-0228

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Owned by Ruth Markowe, Early Ruth Art & Antiques sells different kinds of artwork including paintings and sculptures. The store also has a collection of one-of-a-kind antique pieces that are carefully picked out by Ruth.

Whether you are looking for unique art for Christmas decorations or interesting paintings for your home, this store can give you what you need.

Where to Eat and Drink

Artie’s Steak & Seafood Restaurant

394 City Island Ave, The Bronx, NY 10464

Phone: 718-885-9885

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Arties Steak Seafood Restaurant

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One of the best restaurants for scrumptious seafood is Artie’s Steak & Seafood Restaurant. The owner and executive chef Spiros Chagares runs the restaurant and has garnered several awards throughout the years including “Best New England Clam Chowder 1st Place Winner 2014” and “#1 Zagat Rated City Island Restaurant”.

Don’t forget to try their famous clam chowder, as well as the typical surf and turf to complete the seaside food experience.

City Island Diner

304 City Island Ave, The Bronx, NY 10464

Phone: 718-885-0362

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City Island Diner

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If you are craving the typical American comfort food, City Island Diner is the perfect spot to have a hearty meal. Whether you are looking for breakfast plates, sandwiches, or pancakes, this diner will surely fill your appetite.

Have a bite of their diner basics such as BLT, grilled cheese, and egg salad, or a big plate of their homestyle dinners like Thanksgiving dinner, roast loin of pork, and famous meatloaf dinner.

Fella’s Bar & Grill

522 City Island Ave, The Bronx, NY 10464

Phone: 718-885-9898

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Fellas Bar Grill

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Fella’s Bar & Grill is one of the homiest and coziest bar and grill restaurants in City Island. They serve the finest draught beers that are best paired with their most delicious food such as chicken fingers, chicken wings, and zucchini sticks.

You can also have mouthwatering sandwiches, burgers, and Mexican quesadillas.

Johnny’s Reef

2 City Island Ave, The Bronx, NY 10464

Phone: 718-885-2086

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Johnnys Reef

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Johnny’s Reef is a casual seafood restaurant with a cafeteria dining vibe. They serve a variety of dishes including fried meals, steamed seafood, and clams.

Moreover, their bar menu offers only four brands of beers: Bud or Bud Lite, Coors Lite, Heineken or Heineken Lite, and Corona.

Lobster Box

34 City Island Ave, The Bronx, NY 10464

Phone: 718-885-1952

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Lobster Box

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Opened in 1946, Lobster Box is one of the most famous seafood restaurants offering all kinds of seafood dishes including lobsters, surf and turf, and crabs. Whether you are looking for great views or delicious food, Lobster Box is a great place for dinner with friends and family.

Their regular package includes three courses where you can select from their selection of entrees including baked fillet, fried fillet of fish, broiled shrimp, and pasta primavera, to name a few.

Lickety Split Ice Cream

295 City Island Ave, The Bronx, NY 10464

Phone: 718-885-9654

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Lickety Split Ice Cream

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Beat the heat with Lickety Split Ice Cream serving desserts, over 20 ice cream flavors, and coffee. It is a charming neighborhood ice cream shop with breezy outdoor seating for a pleasant afternoon chill. They also offer delicious desserts such as brownies, pies, shakes, and yogurt.

Tony’s Pier

1 City Island Ave, The Bronx, NY 10464

Phone: 718-885-1424

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Tonys Pier

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Tony’s Pier is your all-in-one restaurant that offers a wide selection of food options. You can get raw, broiled, or fried seafood dishes or opt for the classics such as burgers, barbecues, soups, and chicken.

It is a 276-seat restaurant with indoor and outdoor seatings, so finding a comfortable seat won’t be a problem.

The Snug

302 City Island Ave, The Bronx, NY 10464

Phone: 718-885-9559

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The Snug

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The Snug is one of City Island’s hippest bar and grill restaurants that is famous for its signature burger and fish and chips. They also offer specialty wraps such as buffalo chicken wrap, California wrap, and chef salad wrap.

Accompany your food with their selection of wines including reds, whites, and rosés.

Where to Stay

Unfortunately, there aren’t any hotels available on the island if you wish to stay over. The nearest hotels are located just outside the island which are 15 minutes away by car. Here are some of the best hotels near City Island.

Residence Inn by Marriott

1776 Eastchester Rd, Bronx, New York 10461

Phone: 718-239-3939

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Residence Inn by Marriott

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Radisson Hotel New Rochelle

One Radisson Plaza, New Rochelle, New York 10801

Phone: 914-576-3700

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Radisson Hotel New Rochelle new

Ramada by Wyndham Bronx

1000 Baychester Avenue, Bronx, New York 10475

Phone: 718-862-2000

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Ramada by Wyndham Bronx

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Not to worry, hotels are not the only options for your stay. You can also choose from a few available Airbnb units for rent in the center of City Island itself.

The price per night ranges from $90 to almost $400, depending on the size of the unit you want to rent. Here are some Airbnbs available:

City Island Studio Apartment Retreat

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Price: $81/night

City Island Sanctuary BR & Pvt Bath à la française

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Price: $123/night

Island with City Benefits

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Price: $115/night

How to Get to City Island

How to Get to City Island from Manhattan

Car

  1. Drive is approximately 16.5 miles for a 25-minute car ride via I-95 N,NY-9A N, or I-95 N.

Bus and Train

  1. Take the M86-SBS bus line from W 86 Street/Central Park W going to E 86 St/Lexington Av.
  2. From there, walk to 86 Street station and take the 6 train linegoing to Pelham Bay Park.
  3. Then, walk to Bruckner Blvd/Wilkinson Av and ride the Bx29 bus linegoing to City Island Ave/Fordham St.

How to Get to City Island from Brooklyn

Car

  1. Drive for approximately 21.3 to 24.8 miles for a 33 to 38-minute car ride via I-678 N (with tolls),I-295N, or I-278 E.

Bus and Train

  1. Take the A train line from Kingston-Avs going to Fulton Street Subway Station.
  2. Then, transfer to the J train line and drop off at Chambers St.
  3. Walk to Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall station and take the 6 train line going to Pelham Bay Park.
  4. Take the Bx29 bus line and alight at City Island Ave/Fordham St.

How to Get to City Island from Queens

Car

  1. Drive for approximately 14.1 to 17.9 miles for a 21 to 25-minute car ride via I-295 N(with tolls), Grand Central Pkwy, or Cross Island Pkwy.

Bus

  1. Take the Q65 bus line from 164 St/75 Ave going to Main St/Roosevelt Av.
  2. Then, transfer to the Q50bus line and change to the Bx29 bus line at Bruckner Blvd/Wilkinson Av going to City Island Ave/Fordham St.

Should You Spend a Day at City Island?

Yes, of course! City Island is packed with amazing activities and sights to explore. From yacht clubs to vintage stores and local restaurants, there is always something charming about the neighborhood on every corner.

If you are dreaming of a laid back and relaxing vibe, spending it at the sea and isolating on the island is the way to go. Renting a boat, sailing, fishing, and strolling in the quiet streets are some of the best ways to unwind.

You don’t normally do these activities in a big city, so you should take full advantage of them on the island.

Plus, it is easy to reach the island via land public transportation thanks to the City Island Bridge or the Moyai Bridge. On top of that, there are plenty of bus and train lines to help you get to the island. So, what are you waiting for?

Visit the island and share with us what you think. Did you find this guide useful? Share your thoughts in the comments section below! I and fellow travelers would love to know them.

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