Central Park

Attractions , Parks and gardens Central Park Free
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Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Troy David Jonston

It is nearly impossible to think of Manhattan without thinking of Central Park’s 843-acre bucolic interruption to the rigid Midtown street grid. Spanning three avenues wide and running the length of 59th street to 110th street, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux's pastoral design went far beyond the city’s mid-19th century call for a public green space. For many New Yorkers Central Park is an extension of their living quarters–a place where they can find solitude or entertain company with equal ease and forget the stress of the skyscrapers that loom just along the park’s southerly borders.

Year round the park serves its nearly 40-million annual visitors with endless options of things to do. Come in the winter for snowball fights, sledding down Pilgrim Hill, and romantic spins around Wollman Rink (Mon-Thu $11.25, Fri-Sun $18). As the weather heats up in the spring visitors can be found picnicking on the Great Lawn, bird watching in Belvedere Castle and feeding baby barnyard animals at the Central Park Zoo (adults $16.20). The summer is the height of tourist season when the masses descend on the park for suntanning on the large boulders, playing sports like softball and tennis and boating in the Great Lake ($12 for the first hour, $3 for each additional 15 minutes). For culture hounds the months from June through August also means star-studded free theater with Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater, free movies with the Central Park Film Festival, puppet shows at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater and phenomenal concerts across multiple genres at SummerStage. When the leaves begin to change, locals take over once again biking along the trails, challenging strangers and friends to strategy games in the Checker and Chess House and appreciating the breath-taking foliage along the Mall and Bethesda Fountain.

Venue name: Central Park
Contact:
Address: 59th St to 110th St
New York

Cross street: between Central Park West and Fifth Ave
Transport: Subway: A, B, C, D, 1 to 59th St–Columbus Circle; N, Q, R to 5th Ave; B, C to 72nd St, 81st St–Museum of Natural History, 86th St, 96th St, 103rd St, 110th St; 2, 3 to 110th St.
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Average User Rating

4.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:17
  • 4 star:2
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  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|19
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Pat M

Central Park is NYC's little oasis in the middle of the hustle and bustle. Sheep Meadow is the perfect area for soaking in the sun if you're not going to make it out to the beach over the summer. And if you're feeling limber enough for a workout, go for a jog around the park and take a lap around the picturesque Jackie Onassis Reservoir. If music is your thing, be sure to catch a show at SummerStage in Central Park. With shows almost every night over the summer, SummerStage is your perfect live music fix.

Maria M
tastemaker

Central Park is like like its own city. From bike riding through the hills of the park to lounging in Sheep's Meadow to visiting the Met, you could spend a day (or days!) in Central Park if you really wanted to... and why wouldn't you want to? Central Park makes you forget that you're in the busiest city in the world, and sometimes we all need a break from the hustle-and-bustle busy city life! My favorite things to do are just stroll around, go to the Bethesda Fountain, walk down the mall, lounge in Sheep's Meadow, ice skate at the rink, and go for a run around the Reservoir. There's also tons to do along the border of the park  - the Museum of Natural History and the Planetarium are across the street on the UWS, and there are tons of restaurants like Sarabeths, Serafina, Calle Ocho, and more just blocks from the park!

Stephen L

Envisioned as the "lungs" of a future, teeming metropolis yearning for fresh air, Central Park was an incredible act of progressive foresight when it was proposed a few decades before the Civil War. To turn over thousands of acres of prime Manhattan real estate to create a park for the common people was a radical idea in a city that was expanding so rapidly and making so many fortunes for builders and developers. With the creation of the first subways, New Yorkers from the packed immigrant ghettos of Five Points and the Lower East Side could be "in the country" in half an hour for a nickel. Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux actually improved on nature, creating dozens of different kinds of locales: broad meadows; dramatic wooded hills; lakes, ponds and streams, formal gardens; grand promenades and ornamental fountains; shady glens; and even a castle and a zoo, all from a swampy, rocky site that didn't remotely resemble parkland. Nearly every "natural" view you see in Central Park was carefully designed and created by the landscapers by rearranging the raw materials and adding whatever was necessary to complete the vision. But it's not just a sylvan retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city; Central Park hosts thousands of events over the year. You really can't say you're a New Yorker until you've sat under the stars watching free Shakespeare on a summer evening at the Delecort Theater (after spending the morning waiting on a long line, getting to know other New Yorkers!).

Peter Y
tastemaker

Looks like everything that should be said about Central Park has already been said. However, I will point out that due to the sheer size of Central Park, you will literally encounter something new every time you're here. Grab some comfortable, walking shoes, put in your earbuds, and just allow yourself the pleasure of wandering through the various twisted paths here. You will discover something new to love, I guarantee it.  

GC
moderator

Central Park is an every-season kind of park. Stop and smell the flowers in the spring. Lay out and tan in the summer. Run through falling colored leaves in the fall. Sled down snowy hills in the winter. I feel like I’ve explored a lot of the park, but I am still finding hidden gems. If it’s your first, second or twentieth time visiting the city, be sure to set aside some hours for the park.

Brian M.

Need to get away from "the city" without leaving "the city"?  Central Park is your escape.  Centrally located in Manhattan, this man made park was thankfully an update to the original grid design of Manhattan that had no park. I have run, biked, skated (roller and ice), played softball, seen concerts, seen a polar bear (Zoo), sledded, hiked, seen a Shakespearean play, and ridden amusement park rides all within Central Park. The park has museums along the east side and there are various sculptures throughout the park to view, including a 2000 year old Egyptian pillar. During the summer, grab a place on the Great Lawn and catch some sun while reading a book.  

Naveen

Every season is beautiful in Central Park, it's such a wonderful escape from NYC life, right in the heart of the city! You could spend days in there getting lost, it's so big it has a theatre, pool, running trails, play parks... I'm missing loads, but you get the point. You'll find something new every time you visit. It's a great place for running and biking too. The road around the park is around 10K and in the summer, the water fountains are on and periodically spread out, so you're well covered on hot days! You'll notice the park get really busy as marathon season picks up, it's a firm favorite for runners. Biking is really nice in there too. It's well patrolled by police though which helps keep speeds to a sensible level and red light jumpers down! 

Tom
moderatorStaff Writer

A stunning oasis in the centre of Manhattan, great for escaping the city without really escaping the city.

Tyler L
tastemaker

I've lived across the street from Central Park for about two years now, yet every time I venture in I discover something new. It's the most transformative venue in the city. Whether you want to see a concert, host a brunch, go to the zoo, get a workout in, go ice skating, or see a play, it can all be done at this location. In addition to checking out all of the monuments scattered throughout, there's always an event being held in the park. You can find a full list of events at: http://www.centralparknyc.org/events/. To any New Yorker that hasn't visited Central Park, I really have no idea what you are waiting for.

Jaime B

You know, there are a lot of other parks in NYC, but that's not to discredit Central Park in any way. I live in Brooklyn, with easy access to nearby Prospect Park, and I still make the journey to Central Park on occasion. I have lounged in the grass and napped under trees, had picnics, watched softball games, thrown a frisbee, waited for hours in line to get free tickets to Shakespeare in the park...Central Park makes life better for New Yorkers. I hate to think of what people would be like without this massive respite in the center of the city.

Jillian Anthony

Central Park is a sweet haven that every New Yorker appreciates and treasures. It's an immeasurably valuable respite that's not only gorgeous but one of the only places in the city you might be able to actually find a place to be completely alone. When you're surrounded by concrete and thousands of people all day long, it's incredibly cleansing and rejuvenating to walk under shady trees for hours, getting lost, stumbling upon lakes and hidden castles, watching athletes duke it out on the baseball fields, or my personal favorite, laying out a giant blanket and eating my weight in cheese and charcuterie while someone plays guitar nearby. After a snowstorm, it's ethereal. 

Sanjoy K

Central park is just amazing! Whether it is just a stroll in the park or a boat ride with a loved, playing catch with friends or just a picnic with family, it has everything for everyone. Personally the boat ride is a must! I have been on it a couple of times and not only is it relaxing to just get away from everything but it was also a great work out!The actual lake is not that long as I would like it to be but it is a beautiful place to go, and plus great place to take selfies

Anthony K

Central Park is the most popular of parks for foragers. Because of its varied habitats and the combination of wild and cultivated, native, and exotic plants. Central Park is a great place to forage, even in the winter and early-spring. http://goo.gl/A0r7zi

Goldalee K

Enjoy Biking, Hiking, Dreaming, Walking in "the woods" of NYC, on the island of Manhattan, all year long. ; )

Anmarie S

Great all year round, but especially in the spring/summer time... All I gotta say is, rowboats. Do it.