As the snowflakes begin to fall, you're likely wondering, "Where are the best sledding hills near me?" Our guide to local sledding hills will help your kids reach new heights (and speeds!) as they gleefully zoom down all kinds of slopes, including steeper hills and bunny hills.
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Essentially, we're just happy to report that city families don't need to plan a ski trip near New York City to have fun on a snowy day. There are plenty of great sledding spots in every borough—if you know where to look, that is! Just look to the prettiest NYC parks for families, ask around for tips in your neighborhood and browse our guide below for some quick insight. You also might want to check the city parks department website, since rangers are known to lend a hand to some hills with free hot chocolate!
Best sledding hills in NYC
The grande dame of NYC sledding institutions—and rightly so, with its perfect steepness and gentle denouement (that's sledspeak for a smooth finish). This spot gets crowded, so prepare to slalom around a few human obstacles. Enter at 72nd St and Fifth Ave (centralparknyc.org). Subway: 6 to 68th St.
Though this long, narrow park isn't known for its steep tundra, it's a great option for downtown kiddos to get their sledding fix. Since it's located right on the river, parents can enjoy the scenic view while their tots play. Montgomery St to E 12th (nyc.gov/parks). Subway: F, J, M, Z to Essex St—Delancy St.
This is where the Columbia crew hangs out, using dining hall trays, cardboard boxes and snowboards. Take a cue from the undergrads and tote along a household item to use as a makeshift (read: cheap) sled. Morningside Dr at 115th St (morningsidepark.org). Subway: B, C to 116th St.
There are some gentler slopes between 92nd and 103rd Streets, but for some real excitement head to Hippo Playground (91st St at Riverside Dr), where you can catch a glimpse of the Hudson River as you dodge trees on your way down. Hay bales at the bottom prevent impalement on the fence beyond. You'll find another great slope up on 103rd Street, which is the Parks Department's designated Manhattan activity spot. On super-snowy days, Rangers supervise sledding, snowman contests and snowball fights, and hand out complimentary cocoa. Go to nyc.gov/parks for announcements. Subway: 1, 2, 3 to 96th St (for Hippo Playground); 1 to 103rd St (for activity spot).
This popular Bay Ridge spot should be on every little daredevil's sledding shortlist. Slopes are just steep enough to provide the thrill of reaching full throttle, but the trip back up the hill can really tucker tykes out. The stunning views may be mesmerizing, but watch out for trees at the bottom. Colonial Rd at 68th St (nyc.gov/parks). Subway: R to Bay Ridge Ave.
For a little downhill action, hit the slopes situated in Long Meadow, the Parks Department's Brooklyn snow day site. On those days, kids can venture into the nearby Picnic House for free hot chocolate. Finish up by making snow angels on the Nethermead. Enter at 9th St and Prospect Park West (prospectpark.org). Subway: F to Seventh Ave.
Bayside natives swear by this open space, which offers both a moderate pitch and a steeper one for daredevils. If you're into solitary sledding, come here to avoid the masses that dominate larger parks. 35th Ave between Cross Island Pkwy and 215th St (nycgovparks.org). Travel: LIRR to Bayside.