We laugh in the face anyone who suggests that another urban park is quite as perfect at this 843-acre oasis. The bucolic beauty of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux's gorgeous 19th century design—the lake, the trees, the gardens, the winding paths that give way to bridges—deserves days of exploration. But while you might only be in it for the nature, you're going to be tempted by all the great cultural ways the park gives back: Shakespeare in the Park, Summerstage concerts, ice skating, Central Park Zoo, puppet shows at the Swedish Cottage, movie screenings, and the list goes on. You can't go more than a few steps before finding another treasure, whether it's a piece of public art, or a hidden plaque that reveals the history of the park, or the spirit of its visitors.
When you live in the greatest city in the world it’s hard to choose the absolute best restaurants, free museums or NYC parks, but it’s easy to see where most of these institutions call home: Manhattan. As the original New York—the other boroughs weren’t added to the city’s limits until 1898—Manhattan is the face of Gotham, which the rest of the world imagines when they think of the Big Apple, The City that Never Sleeps, NYC—whatever you want to call it. While other boroughs might have more residents and plenty of hometown pride, the others can’t compare to the convenience, beauty and ambitions of this island.
Recommended: Full guide to Manhattan, NY