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The best sledding hills in NYC

When the snow starts to fall, you'll want to head straight to the best sledding hills in NYC

Written by
Allie Early
,
Danielle Valente
&
Oliver Strand
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At the first sign of snow in the forecast, kids and adults alike are ready to head for the hills. And by that we don’t mean skipping town for warmer climes, we mean heading for the best sledding hills in NYC. One of the best winter activities for kids, sledding is fun for the whole family and can be as easy-going or thrilling as you want it to be, depending on how fast you decide to head downhill.

Alongside snowball fights, snow angels and snowmen, sledding is a classic wintry activity. You can plan a winter weekend getaway with the family, take a trip to a family-friendly ski resort or pack up the car and head out for some snow tubing, but there’s nothing easier than heading to a nearby hill in one of the city’s best parks for an epic day of sledding and playtime in the snow. After a day of zooming around on the hills, be sure to indulge in a warming mug of the best hot chocolate in NYC. Until the snow builds up, check out the best places to go ice skating, and keep your eyes on the forecast.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to outdoor activities for kids in NYC

Best sledding hills in NYC

Yankees and Mets, Coke and Pepsi, Harvard and Yale—add to that list of storied competetors Cedar Hill and Pilgrim Hill, the two great sledding hills of Central Park. Cedar Hill is a gentler alternative to Pilgrim Hill, plus, the quieter slopes are 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).

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Inwood Hill Park is a sledding wonderland in the winter. Steep incline, light crowd, gorgeous view: This sledding hill has it all. Kids flip for this spot, so brace yourself for a lengthy afternoon outdoors. Bonus: Your little sledder will have the deepest of sleeps after. Dyckman St at the Hudson River (nyc.gov/parks).

 

When the forecast predicts a wintery mix, you can be certain that Vannie (the fourth-largest park in NYC, thank you very much) will guarantee a gorgeous sledding experience. There are hills for sledding, and lots of open space for epic snowball fights. Van Cortlandt Park South between Broadway and Jerome Ave (nyc.gov/parks).

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Central Park, Great Hill

5. Central Park, Great Hill

Cedar Hill and Pilgrim Hill might be Central Park's marquee sledding hills, but Great Hill is one of the best slopes in the city. It's one of the highest points in the park, and because it's off the beaten path it's less crowded than other sledding hills—it's where the locals go. Enter at W 103rd St and Central Park West (centralparknyc.org).

Prospect Park

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 finish the afternoon by making snow angels on the Nethermead. Enter at 9th St and Prospect Park West (prospectpark.org).

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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). 

 

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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. Riverside Drive and 96th St  to 103rd St.

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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 are mesmerizing, but watch out for trees at the bottom. Colonial Rd at 68th St (nyc.gov/parks).

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While daredevils have been known to tackle "Suicide Hill" (Forest Park Dr at 79th St), the Parks Department says it's a big no-no. Not only is it located on a golf course and therefore off-limits, it's considered dangerous. Instead, try the park's Mary Whalen Playground (Park Lane South at 79th St, nycgovparks.org).

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