Top 10 Things to See and Do in Central Park, NYC

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.

Located in the heart of Manhattan, Central Park is an icon of New York City. It provides numerous attractions, that will suite everyone. Families, couples and individual explorers will be pleased to find fun amusements, beautiful gardens and nice trails. Check out our list and share your favorite spot in Central Park with us!

10. Alice in Wonderland

The iconic bronze statue is dedicated to the children, who do not hesitate and climb all over it. Actually, it is exactly meant for that! Commissioned by philanthropist George Delacorte in 1959, the ensemble features Alice and her friends gathered around the mushrooms.


Top 10 Central Park-Alice

9. Belvedere Castle

The miniature castle was built in 1869. Belvedere means “a beautiful view” in Italian and rightfully so: wonderful sights to the whole park, especially to the Ramble and Turtle Pond, open from here – it is the highest point in the park after all.

Top 10 Central Park-Belvedere-Photo by Xacir Deric Miralles

8. The Central Park Zoo

The zoo features various wild as well as domestic animals from around the world. Very suitable for families with children, who love the sea lion pool or get close and touch goats, cows, sheep and a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. Daily theater shows are performed at the Acorn Theater in the Enchanted Forest.


Top 10 Central Park-Zoo2

7. Shakespeare Garden

Conceived in the 1880s the garden features plants and flowers mentioned in Shakespeare’s body of work. For example, rosemary and pansies are a reference to Hamlet’s Ophelia, thistles are from Much Ado About Nothing. It is said that a white mulberry tree is inculcated from a tree planted by the Bard himself in 1602!

Top 10 Central Park-Shakespeare-Photo by Wil Lei

6. Boating

It is one of the most favorite activities. You can rent a boat or hire a Venetian gondola ride. Either way is romantic and will help explore the park. See Bow Bridge – the second oldest cast-iron bridge in America, discover egrets, herons, loons and lakes of the park.

5. Carriage RideTop 10 Central Park-Boating

Horse-drawn carriage is another iconic attribute of the park, often depicted in romantic movies. You can choose various routes, that take from 20 minutes to an hour. Stylish coaches are lined up waiting for you along Central Park South between 5th and 6th Avenues.

Top 10 Central Park-Carriage2

4. Carousel

The iconic attraction in Central Park entertains visitors and especially children since 1871. It is said, that at first the facility was powered by a live mule or a horse, hidden beneath a platform. The visitors can bob around along the organ music for only $3 per ride.

Top 10 Central Park-Carousel2

3. The Conservatory Garden

A six-acre area comprises three gardens – English, French and Italian. The purpose is to experience European style without actually traveling to another continent. Abundance of colorful flowers, walkways and fountains make it a tranquil and aesthetically very compelling getaway.

Top 10 Central Park-Conservatory

2. The Great Lawn

Situated at the hear of the park, the 55-acres area is considered to be the most famous lawn in the whole wide world. It has also featured in many films, that depict a casual New Yorker behavior, who loves to have a picnic, play an outdoor game with friends or just relax and read a book. Also sometimes big concerts take place here.

Top 10 Central Park-Great Lawn

1. Have a Nice Walk

The park encompasses a great chunk of area after all and you can always explore its various corners by having a lazy stroll. It is a wonderful getaway in the middle of the busiest city in the world. You can spend the whole day every day here and still be able to find something new and exciting each time.