It’s a classic conundrum for summertime visitors to New York. The city is host to some of the greatest and most innovative artwork in the world, but who wants to be stuck in a museum or gallery on a gorgeous day? Luckily for visitors and locals alike, there is plenty of exciting, appealing outdoor artwork on display throughout New York. While art can literally be found seemingly everywhere these days, we’ve chosen five downtown favorites that are sure to inspire.

1. Elizabeth Street Sculpture Garden: A neighborhood institution since 1990, the Elizabeth Street Garden offers lush, much appreciated green space in the heart of Little Italy. In addition to the permanent sculpture collection and beautiful gardens, Elizabeth Street offers live music on most evenings throughout the summer – a perfect escape from the bustle of Houston Street just a block away.

2. The Houston Bowery Wall: The Houston Bowery Wall is a classic New York artistic institution. Conceived by Keith Haring and Juan Dubose in 1982 as a gift to the community, the Wall, at the corner of Bowery and Houston, has since become an ever-changing canvas for pop and graffiti artists from around the world. As a temporary exhibition space owned and maintained by real estate firm Goldman Properties, the Wall is constantly revitalized and repurposed, allowing for new talents to leave their mark on a historic stretch.

3. “Alamo” by Tony Rosenthal: “Alamo,” a massive cube that serves as the centerpiece of Astor Place, established artist Tony Rosenthal as a master of interactive public art. It’s not hard to see why – the statue can be spun on its axis, and it’s not rare to see it in action. In such a busy corner of Manhattan (within view of Cooper Union and just down the street from Indochine and the Public Theater), Alamo injects a sense of play.

4. Archeo at The High Line: The High Line, perhaps Manhattan’s most resourceful park, is all about making what’s old new again. In that spirit, Archeo, a new multi-work exhibition, focuses on what can be created from outdated machinery and technology. Pieces are on display throughout the elevated park in Chelsea – perfect for a leisurely summer stroll. And while you’re there, pick up some sweets from on-site food vendors like People’s Pops and Melt Bakery.

5. “Folly” by Rachel Feinstein: New York sculptor Rachel Feinstein’s debut public exhibition is a bit of a cautionary tale. Her three large scale sculptures, all on display in Madison Square Park, represent architectural follies, built with aesthetic rather than functional purpose. The effect verges on theatrical – a fanciful addition to one of the city’s most beautiful parks. And while you might think you’re not familiar with Feinstein’s work, anyone interested in fashion should think again – Marc Jacobs commissioned her to create the set for his Fall 2012 collection’s runway show.

– Francesca Giacco