Best sledding hills in NYC
The mecca of snow day spots, Central Park's Pilgrim Hill packs in quite a crowd when winter storms roll in. Perfect steepness and gentle denouement (that's sledspeak for a smooth finish) make an adventurous experience for all visitors, of which there are plenty. We recommend making your way to New York's communal backyard ASAP—this hill is sure to fill up early, and understandably so! Enter at 72nd St and Fifth Ave (centralparknyc.org).
If you can't score a spot on Pilgrim Hill, fear not—Central Park is here to deliver. Nearby Cedar Hill serves as a gentler, quieter option that is perfect for tots or newbies. If the kiddos work up the courage (or the crowd winds down), you can always make a trek back to Pilgrim Hill! Fifth Ave between 76th and 79th Sts (centralparknyc.org).
When pint-sized downtown residents need to make the most out of a snow day, East River Park is the way to go. Although it isn't quite as steep as other spots, the park's visitors won't be able to resist the gorgeous waterfront views. Make sure someone in your crew has a phone or camera handy! Montgomery St to E 12th (nyc.gov/parks).
Although cyclists and hikers frequent this uptown locale in the warmer months, the wintertime is when Inwood Hill Park truly shines. Kids will get a kick out tackling the sloping terrain, so brace yourself for a lengthy afternoon outdoors. Dyckman St at the Hudson River (nyc.gov/parks).
When snow flurries swoop in, a collegiate crowd from Columbia ventures to Morningside Park to experience its epic sledding hills. Follow in the footsteps of the Ive Leaguers and make your way to 116th St, too. Morningside Dr at 115th St (morningsidepark.org).
If you're spending an afternoon in Riverdale, we sure hope you're wearing comfortable shoes. Even if there isn't a snowflake in sight, chances are you're going to encounter a few hills along your route. So when the forecast does predict a wintery mix, you can be certain that Vannie (the fourth-largest park in NYC) guarantees an epic sledding experience. Van Cordtlandt Park South between Broadway and Jerome Ave (nyc.gov/parks).
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).
Anything goes at this mellow Brooklyn spot. Grab a giant garbage bag and join the mix of families and hipsters on one of the park's four hills, which range from beginner to painful. DeKalb Ave at Washington Park (nyc.gov/parks).
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).
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).