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The Top 35 Things To Do in Central Park (By an NYC Local!)

The Top 35 Things To Do in Central Park (By an NYC Local!)

While most of New York City is filled with high-rises, bustling streets, and bright lights, you can find some peace and tranquility within the 843-acre Central Park.

There are so many various things to do in Central Park during a visit that you will never run out of activities to experience. As a local New Yorker, I have been to Central Park over a hundred times and still find new places to visit and attractions to take in.

This guide will go over some of my favorite things to do in Central Park and help you uncover some of the park’s most hidden gems.

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1) List of Things to Do in Central Park

Central Park is packed with things to do that can keep visitors busy for days and days. As a local New Yorker, I visit the park constantly and still find new pathways, viewpoints, and sites to see during my time there.

For the purpose of this article, I wanted to list out 35 of the top things to do in Central Park during a visit. Depending on your interests, time of year, and overall itinerary, you can pick and choose which ones are best for you.

To start, below is an overview of the things to do that I will be going over throughout the remainder of this guide:

  1. The Pond
  2. Hallett Nature Sanctuary
  3. Wollman Rink
  4. Manhattan Survey Bolt
  5. Sheep Meadow
  6. Summerhouse at the Dene
  7. The Bridle Path
  8. The Mall & Literary Walk
  9. Bethesda Terrace & Fountain
  10. The Lake & Loeb Boathouse
  11. Conservatory Water
  12. Bow Bridge
  13. Hernshead Rocks
  14. The Ramble
  15. Belvedere Castle
  16. The Obelisk
  17. The Reservoir
  18. Harlem Meer
  19. The Ravine & Loch
  20. North Woods
  21. Conservatory Garden
  22. Shakespeare Garden
  23. Central Park Zoo
  24. The Great Lawn
  25. The Dairy
  26. North Meadow
  27. Strawberry Fields
  28. Alice in Wonderland Statue
  29. Central Park Carousel
  30. The Met
  31. Running in Central Park
  32. Bicycling in Central Park
  33. Central Park Cherry Blossoms
  34. Central Park Fall Foliage
  35. Central Park in Snow

Learn More: Visit Central Park as part of a longer 4 days in NYC itinerary or one week in New York that takes you throughout the city

Top Things To Do in Central Park

2) Map of Attractions

Throughout the remainder of this guide I will be listing out the 35 best things to do in Central Park.

The map below will pinpoint the locations of these activities and attractions. While some places are pinpointed exactly, remember that other places (like the Ramble or North Woods) are much larger areas to explore.

From there you can decide on what you are most interested in and start putting together your own Central Park itinerary.

3) Best Things to do in Central Park

While there is literally countless things to do in Central Park, below is a list of some of my favorite and most unique features of Central Park.

Some may be well known that you will across on other websites, while others will be a bit off the beaten path.

You can take part of most of these attractions by following the Central Park Self Guided Walking Tour I put together. Hope you enjoy some of the best that Central Park has to offer!

The Pond at Central Park

There are several water features around Central Park (many which will be on this list), and The Pond is certainly one of the best there is.

Located at the southeast corner of the park, The Pond offers various walkways and viewpoints to enjoy as you make the stroll around. Be on the lookout for the famous Gapstow Bridge at the northern end of The Pond.

Photo Spot Tip: my favorite spot at The Pond is located along the southern walkway, where you get to see most of The Pond itself and the bridge. Head there during the Fall to see that multi color foliage. You can also get an elevated view from a large rock located on the east side of the water.

The Pond Central Park
The Pond in Fall

Hallett Nature Sanctuary

There are three woodland areas of Central Park (more on the other two soon) but the Hallett Nature Sanctuary is the smallest one, and the only one that has set hours.

While small in size, it does offer the chance to walk among the peaceful nature on maintained trails throughout. The sanctuary also surrounds part of The Pond so you will have various viewpoints of the water feature from here as well.

Other highlights include a small waterfall, city viewpoint spots, and an elevated view of The Pond and other parts of Central Park.

Learn more in the Hallett Nature Sanctuary guide up on the site

Hallett Nature Sanctuary Viewpoint
Hallett Nature Sanctuary Fall

Wollman Rink

The Wollman Rink is located in the southeast portion of the park between The Pond and The Mall (more on that soon).

If heading to Central Park during the Fall / Winter, you will get the opportunity to ice skate in the park at the Wollman Rink.

During the offseason, the rink may be converted into a roller skating rink, movie nights, or NY sports watch parties. So, no matter what time of year you visit, you are sure to find something going on at the rink.

Wollman Rink in Central Park

Original Manhattan Survey Bolt

In the early 1800’s a man by the name of John Randel Jr. was tasked with creating what we now know as the NYC grid. For several years, he laid out hundreds upon hundreds of bolts that would mark the grid’s intersections.

Now, since Central Park was not part of those original plans, he also placed survey bolts throughout today’s Central Park.

Out of all of the survey bolts that were put into the ground all around Manhattan, just one authentic one has been confirmed and is still in place.

While the location is not outwardly mentioned to the public, if you do just a bit of research, you should be able to find it for yourself.

Survey Bolt NYC Central Park

Sheep Meadow

While there are a few large open grass areas in Central Park, Sheep Meadow is one of, if not the top option.

This massive green lawn is located between 65th and 68th Streets and can be used for spreading out some blankets, playing some outdoor games, or just relaxing in the sun.

Fun fact: on the East side of Sheep Meadow you will find Central Park’s volleyball courts

Sheep Meadow Central Park Loop
Sheep Meadow Snow

Summerhouse at the Dene

One of my favorite viewpoints in Central Park is the Summerhouse at the Dene. Located on a large elevated rock on the eastern side of the park, you will find a wood structure covered in vines.

Here you will get some great views of the Manhattan skyline out back and the greenery of Central Park down below.

It is also a popular place for weddings & proposals, so don’t be too surprised if you come across either during your time there.

Summerhouse at the Dene

The Bridle Path

While the main Central Park loop is one way to go about discovering the park, the Bridle Path offers another way. Instead of walking along the paved road, why not head on the dirt path that slivers its way around the west side of the park, and then up and around the Central Park Reservoir.

During a walk along the Bridle Path, you will come across plenty of bridge underpasses, beautiful trees, and a more quiet way of enjoying the park.

Once you reach the Reservoir, you can decide to stay on the path or hop on over to the Reservoir pathway, before looping back around.

Learn more in the Central Park Bridle Path guide up on the site

Central Park Bridle Path
Central Park Running Bridle Path
3 Mile Loop Bridle Path

The Mall & Literary Walk

Central Park is full of walking paths curving their way in all directions. The most notable of paths has to be The Mall & Literary Walk.  Spanning from Center Drive ( near 66th Street) up until Bethesda Terrace at 72nd Street, The Mall is surrounded by American Elm trees and statues of historical figures.

While it is bustling with pedestrians, street performers, and artists during the day, a visit earlier on in the morning will leave you with a quiet and memorable experience (check out the picture below).

Each season offers a different type of perspective of the pathway. During the Fall, the leaves turn bright yellow, in the Winter the trees are bare, the Spring brings light green leaves, and in the Summer you will find dark green all around.

Learn more in the Central Park Mall & Literary Walk guide up on the site

American Elm Trees Central Park
The Mall Central Park Foliage
Central Park Foliage Mall

Bethesda Terrace and Fountain

A trip to the park is not complete without checking out the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain area. Located at the northern end of The Mall, and right next to The Lake, is a beautiful terrace with a fountain in the middle of it.

As you approach the fountain and terrace area, you will also pass through the underpass of the Bethesda Arcade. Here you will take in the unique Minton Tiles.

Once at the terrace area, you will get your first glimpse of The Lake alongside the Loeb Boathouse.

Bethesda Terrace and Fountain Central Park
Minton Tiles Central Park
Bethesda Terrace Snow

The Lake and Loeb Boathouse

Now that you have been introduced to the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain area, you will also be welcomed to The Lake and the Loeb Boathouse.

The Lake is a fan favorite as you have the chance to take in some views from a variety of angles and perspective points around this body of water.

Not only that, but you also have the chance to rent some rowboats and head out on the water itself. In order to do so, you will want to head to the Loeb Boathouse, where you can grab a boat for a small fee.

Once you are done with boating around, the Loeb Boathouse also offers a dining area where you can relax and enjoy the view.

Learn more about this body of water in the Lake Central Park guide up on the site

The Loeb Boathouse of Central Park
Loeb Boathouse View

Conservatory Water

Another famous body of water in Central Park is that of the Conservatory Water. Located just east of the Lake, you will find this smaller water feature surrounded by a peaceful walking path.

Be on the lookout here for the small model boats that are raced around its waters, making it a fun activity to enjoy while walking along the area.

To the north of the Conservatory Water, you will also find the famous Alice in Wonderland statue.

Conservatory Water Central Park Views

Bow Bridge

When it comes to bridges in Central Park, the Bow Bridge is the spot to be. This short bridge connects the Bethesda Fountain area with the Ramble (another woodland area of the park) as it makes its way over The Lake.

The Bow Bridge is a fan favorite when it comes to wedding photos, Instagram shots or whatever other vibe you are looking for.

So, whether it be the walking the bridge itself or taking in some photographs from afar, the Bow Bridge has you covered.

Take a look at the Central Park Bow Bridge guide up on the site for more info about this structure.

Bow Bridge Fall Foliage
The Lake Bow Bridge
Bow Bridge Viewpoint West Drive

Hernshead Rocks

If you are looking to take in some views of the midtown Manhattan high-rises and their reflection off of The Lake, then the Hernshead Rocks is a spot to visit.

This off the beaten path Central Park rock gives you some of the best landscapes you can ask for as you enjoy the rowboats on The Lake with the city skyline hovering up above.

Also be on the lookout for all of the turtles laying on the nearby rocks and basking in the sun. If you are looking for a relaxing spot to sit down at for a while, this is one of the best there is.

Hernshead Rocks
Hernshead Rocks Central Park

The Ramble

While it is easy to get lost in the park as a tourist, it is also easy to get lost in the park as a local. That is even more so an accurate statement when it comes to The Ramble.

This 36 acre wooded area is packed with winding paths, streams, ponds, bird watching, viewpoints and more.

Every time I visit The Ramble, I have a hard time not just getting lost as I wander all of the paths. Eventually I make my way out but it is definitely one of the more convoluted parts of the park to visit.

With that said, it is also one of the most pristine parts of the park. You are fully immersed in nature here and it is a top choice when it comes to bird watching.

I would recommend heading across the Bow Bridge and walking north towards the Belvedere Castle (next on the list). Along the way you are sure to take some roundabout turns but it is all part of the experience here.

Learn more in the guide to the Central Park Ramble up on the site

The Ramble Walking Trails
Hernshead Rocks Boat Landing
Ramble Central Park Waterfall

Belvedere Castle

Arguably, the best aerial viewpoint in Central Park comes from the outdoor courtyard area of Belvedere Castle.

From up top you will be able to see Turtle Pond down below with the Great Lawn further out in the distance.

Built in 1869, this miniature castle is located on top of Vista Rock and is the highest point of elevation in Central Park. You can head into the castle to check out some exhibit rooms, an observation deck and gift shop. Fun fact: the castle is also home to Central Park’s weather station.

Tips: don’t forget to check out the nearby Shakespeare Garden and even the Delacorte Theater for an outdoor performance.

Belvedere Castle NYC
Views from Belvedere Castle
Belvedere Castle Snow

The Obelisk

The oldest man made object in Central Park is the Obelisk.

Also known as Cleopatra’s Needle, the Obelisk was created over 3,000 years ago in Egypt. Over the course of time, the Obelisk made its way to Central Park, where it now stands tall behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It is surely one of the most interesting and unique parts of the park, and is worth the visit to learn more.

The Obelisk Central Park

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

The largest water feature of Central Park is the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. This 100+ acre body of water is surrounded by the Stephanie and Fred Shuman Running Track.

The track is 1.6 miles in length and goes around the entirety of the reservoir. I would highly recommend a walk around here as you get to take in the city skyline, the reservoir, the surrounding trees, and all the way out to the George Washington Bridge.

If you enjoy those vibrant trees, visit in Fall to enjoy the color changing foliage or in the Spring to take in the cherry blossom trees.

While a bit more on the uncommon side, sometimes the entire body of water is perfectly still. During these times you will get stunning reflections off of the water and is a sight to be seen.

If you want to learn more about the pathway around the water, check out the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir guide up on the site.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir NYC
Central Park Reservoir Summer
NYC Skyline Reservoir

The Harlem Meer

Most visitors of Central Park usually don’t make it to the northern end. But I must say, some of my favorite spots are located north of the Reservoir.

One of the most quiet and peaceful bodies of water is that of the Harlem Meer located in the northwest corner of the park.

Not only do you have this relaxing water feature here but you also have the beautiful Conservatory Garden right nearby.

The Harlem Meer

The Ravine and Loch

If you are looking for a river stroll, look no further than the scenic Loch stream located in The Ravine. Since it can get quite confusing in the northern wooded areas of the park, I would recommend starting the walk at The Pool (the name of a pond on the west side of the park by 100th Street).

Once at The Pool, you can follow the pathway that takes you under the Glen Span Arch and along The Loch stream. Along the way you will be welcomed to a serene pathway with plenty of foliage surrounding you.

During the walk you will also have these stream viewpoints, where you will be able to get some great views of the reflective water. The grand finale is the Central Park waterfall feature located at the end of the pathway just prior to the Huddlestone Arch.

The Pool Central Park
The Ravine Central Park
Central Park Waterfalls Winter

The North Woods

Another less visited attraction in Central Park are the North Woods, located just above The Ravine and Loch area.

Once you finish walking the pathway along The Loch, you can continue the trail northbound and get lost in the North Woods. Similarly to The Ramble, things can get confusing in here.

There are several pathways and directions to choose from but at the end of the day, just wandering the woods here will be an enjoyable experience.

And when exploring, be on the lookout for the oldest structure of the park – The Blockhouse. Built in 1814, it was a lookout tower used to defend New York against the British.

This North Woods and Ravine article I put together will give you more details about both of these beautiful locations.

North Woods Central Park
The North Woods Entrance Points
North Woods Autumn

Conservatory Garden

Not to be confused with the Conservatory Water, is the Conservatory Garden. Located in the northeast part of the park near 105th Street, you will find the most elaborate of gardens that Central Park has to offer.

The garden is split into three different sections, where you will find multiple fountains, lawns, walkways, and plenty of flowers, plants and trees all around.

The garden does have set opening and closing hours, so be sure to check the latest schedules before heading up to it. If visiting in the Spring time get ready for some of the best spring blooms in the entire park.

The Conservatory Garden Central Park

Shakespeare Garden

One of the most beautiful and colorful areas of Central Park is the Shakespeare Garden. The garden is situated on the hillside of the Belvedere Castle. So, if you are heading to the castle be sure to make your way through the garden before or after a visit.

The garden takes its form after a classic English cottage garden and is filled with many of the various flowers, plants and more that can be found all throughout William Shakespeare’s work.

The best time to visit the garden will be during the springtime as the flowers come to life and bloom. However, there will always be some type of flora present no matter what time of the year.

Shakespeare Garden

Central Park Zoo

Believe it or not there is actually a zoo located within Central Park. You can find the zoo in the southeast corner and it is the perfect add on to a day in the park.

There is a little bit of everything within the Central Park zoo. Some of the top highlights include the sea lions, penguins, snow leopards, red pandas, and grizzly bears.

Within the zoo you can visit the 4D theater or also head to the smaller children’s zoo instead.

If you aren’t up for a full visit to the zoo, you can simply walk the pathway past the zoo and the Delacorte Clock. From the pathway you actually get great views of the sea lions.

Note that you must purchase tickets to visit the zoo in order to visit.

Central Park Zoo

Great Lawn

While Sheep Meadow is one place to hang out and enjoy some relaxation time, the Great Lawn is another option. The lawn is located more towards the central of the park between 81st and 85th Streets.

The lawn is full of ball fields but it is big enough where you should be able to find a spot to lay down a towel and hang out to break up your day.

During cherry blossom season, be on the lookout for some colorful trees surrounding the pathways. You can also head to the very southern part for some views of Turtle Pond and Belvedere Castle.

Great Lawn Snow Central Park

The Dairy

One of the early structures in the park is the Dairy built around 1870. It was originally used as a place to buy fresh milk and food for the children hanging out in the park. It was in 1979 when the Dairy was transformed into a visitor center.

However just more recently in 2021, the Dairy went through a whole renovation and opened a brand new visitor center and gift shop. It is located right in between the Wollman Rink and Mall, so it makes for the perfect addition to your day.

The Dairy Central Park

North Meadow

If you are trying to get away from the hustle and bustle of the southern part of the park, try and get yourself north of the reservoir. You will find this area much quieter with fewer people around.

One of the best open areas of northern Central Park is the North Meadow.

While there are also baseball fields located here, the North Meadow offers plenty of space to find a nice spot to relax on.

Once finished up with the North Meadow you can visit some of the other top highlights in the area like the Conservatory Garden, Harlem Meer and North Woods.

North Meadow Central Park Fields

Strawberry Fields

Located on west 72nd street is a five-acre area named the Strawberry Fields (named after the song Strawberry Fields Forever). The fields were built in 1986 as a memorial to John Lennon after his death.

The main highlight of the fields is the Imagine mosaic. Here you are sure to always find someone singing a song in tribute to Lennon.

In addition to the mosaic, you will come across several walking paths and small meadows, surrounded by various plants, flowers, and more.

Strawberry Fields Central Park

Alice in Wonderland Statue

There are many statues located in all corners of Central Park. The most famous of them very well be the Alice in Wonderland statue located by the Conservatory Water

It’s one of the larger statues in the park and has Alice, Dinah, Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter, Dormouse, and White Rabbit surrounding a giant mushroom.

It was donated by George Delacorte as a memorial to his wife whose favorite book to read to her kids was Alice in Wonderland.

If Delacorte sounds familiar that is because he also donated the clock near the zoo and the theater that holds Shakespeare in the Park.

Today the statue is a popular spot to bring the kids as they can climb all over it and take some photos.

Alice and Wonderland Statue

Central Park Carousel

One of the first children attractions opened in the park is the famous Central Park Carousel. The carousel is located near the southern end of the park near the Heckscher Fields and Playground.

The current carousel is actually the fourth one built. The first carousel, believe it or not was operated by a horse, who was hidden underground. The following two versions were electric but eventually were destroyed by a fire.

The carousel you see today was originally built in 1908 and has 57 horses & two chariots that move along with the music.

Kids can ride the carousel year-round (weather dependent) and it costs $3.50 for a ride.

Central Park Carousel

Visit the Met

While there are hundreds of museums throughout New York City, none are more iconic than the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

At the Met you will find permanent and temporary exhibitions throughout its 2.2 million square feet. The Met represents over 5,000 years of art from around the world with over 2 million pieces of artwork.

You will find the museum between 80th and 84th Streets on the east side of the park. In order to enter, you must exit the park and head onto 5th Avenue, where you will find the main entrance.

I would also recommend heading up to the rooftop, where you should get some beautiful views of Central Park from above.

The Met Cherry Trees


When it comes to running in NYC, there are many options to consider. You can head to the rivers, run within the streets, or make your way to Central Park.

All throughout Central Park, you will find various pathways to run on. However, there are some more standard routes to consider to make the route decisions a bit easier for you.

Below are some of my favorite & most popular running routes in the park (some of which we already spoke about):

  • Central Park 6 Mile Loop: a complete loop of Central Park on the main street that makes its way all around the park
  • Bridle Path: this 4 mile soft trail, gives you the chance to get off the pavement and along a more scenic pathway in the park
  • Central Park 3 Mile Loop: a loop of the lower section of Central Park, that makes its way from the south end up to the Reservoir and back down
  • Central Park 1.7 Mile Lower Loop: there is also an option to just head around a short lower loop that wraps around Terrace Drive
  • Reservoir Loop: this 1.6 mile loop takes you around the Reservoir pathway as you take in the water, trees, and NYC skyline

Those are just some of the options to consider. Feel free to check out the Central Park running guide to learn more.

Yoshino Cherry Trees Reservoir


While walking through Central Park is my favorite way to go about a visit, bicycling around the park is going to be the way to go for many others.

Renting a bicycle can be done towards the southern end of the park at one of the several rental spots. You can then begin your bike journey all around the main paths of Central Park. This will have you covering much more ground in a shorter amount of time.

Just a couple of warnings when it comes to bicycling the park:

  • You will not be able to fully take advantage of each place in the park as many spots are off of the main path. You may be able to visit some by walking your bike through these areas.
  • In addition, you will need to be very cautious as you bicycle around. There are thousands of people walking at will and it can be dangerous if you aren’t paying close enough attention.
Central Park Bicycling

Cherry Blossoms

From mid March to early May, the Central Park cherry blossoms brighten up the park and make for some beautiful scenery. You can find three different types of cherry blossoms in the park including the Okame (mid March), Yoshino (beginning/mid April), and Kwanzan (end of April/early May) trees.

These cherry blossoms are found all throughout Central Park including the Reservoir, Cherry Hill, Pilgrim Hill, Cedar Hill, among plenty of other spots.

Check out the Central Park Cherry Blossom overview to learn more about these blooms. And if you want to see even more, the NYC Cherry Blossom guide has you covered.

Reservoir Cherry Blossoms Central Park
The Lake Central Park Cherry Trees
Central Park Reservoir Cherry Trees Tunnel

Fall Foliage

One of the best things to do in Central Park, is to visit during Fall foliage. The colors of the trees begin to change color in October before peaking later in the month and the beginning of November.

During this time, the leaves of the park change from their green color to hues of red, orange, yellow, and purple. Getting to see the brightness of these trees all around you is a special experience to be part of.

If you are thinking of visiting NYC in the Fall, I would highly recommend trying to time your trip to coincide with this time. By doing so you will get to see the park in a whole new way (see below for some pictures!).

Take a look at the Central Park Foliage guide up on the site to learn more about a visit

The Lake Foliage NYC
Fall Foliage Central Park
Central Park Mall Walk

Central Park in Snow

If visiting in the Spring or Fall isn’t for you, then maybe a winter visit is. While the temperatures in NYC certainly drop during the winter, there is a chance for some Central Park snow.

Instead of seeing the park covered in colorful trees and flowers, during a snow, the park will be covered in a sheet of white. Having the chance to walk the park in the snow is a perfect way to spend a winter day in the park.

You will get to experience the park in a way that few others get to and this is sure to be one of the best things to do during a visit.

Read through the Central Park Winter guide up on the site to learn more about a snow experience

Central Park Winter Snow
Great Lawn Snow Central Park
Central Park Snow

4) How to Get There

Now that you have an understanding of the best things to do in Central Park, let’s go over how to get there. Since the park is just so massive, there are over 50+ entrances to choose from.

This is great for visitors, since no matter where you may be staying or where you may be coming from beforehand, an entrance won’t be too far away. Some of the “main” entrances include:

South Side

  • 59th Street & 5th Avenue (Grand Army Plaza)
  • 59th Street & 6th Avenue
  • 59th Street & 7th Avenue
  • 59th Street & 8th Avenue (Columbus Circle)

East Side

  • 64th Street & 5th Avenue
  • 72nd Street & 5th Avenue
  • 79th Street & 5th Avenue (The Met – South)
  • 85th Street & 5th Avenue (The Met – North)
  • 90th Street & 5th Avenue
  • 102nd Street & 5th Avenue

North Side

  • 110th Street & Central Park West (Frederick Douglas Circle Plaza)
  • 110th Street & Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd
  • 110th Street & Malcolm X Blvd

West Side

  • 67th Street & Central Park West
  • 72nd Street & Central Park West
  • 79th Street & Central Park West (Museum of Natural History)
  • 86th Street & Central Park West
  • 100th Street & Central Park West

While those are just some options, there are literally countless more. Some may be more obvious than others, but you shouldn’t be walking more than 5 or so blocks without seeing an entrance.

Learn More: Check out the Central Park Entrances guide to learn more about where to enter the park from


Getting to these entrances is also super convenient no matter where you may be coming from. One of the simplest and most convenient options is to take advantage of the NYC subway system.

Whether it is the NRQW, 456, 123, or ABCD, these subway options do stop all along the south, east, north and west sides of the park.

If the subway isn’t for you, then walking over or grabbing a taxi, Uber, or even Citi Bike will have you to the park in no time.

Note: remember though, the park is big! So, if you are trying to see certain places, you may want to think about your overall route and which entrance would be best for you. Have any questions? Feel free to write them in at the bottom of this article and I can give some advice.

Central Park Subway Stop

5) How Long Do You Need to Walk Around

Central Park is a very large area, coming in at 843 acres in size (50 blocks across 3 avenues). As you can imagine, this is a lot of ground to cover. It can take days to walk every last pathway that winds its way through the park.

The full outer loop of the park measures in at just around 6 miles. That is also the approximate length of this self-guided walking tour that covers most of the things to do in Central Park mentioned on this list.

If you want to follow that walking tour, you are probably looking at around 4-5 hours to cover all of these top spots.

On the other hand, if that seems too long to you, you may want to consider a shorter loop along the southern end of the park. You can visit many of the top attractions focused on all the various highlights south of the Reservoir. A loop like this will include many of the best spots and comes in closer to 3 hours give or take.

Belvedere Castle Central Park Photography

6) When to Visit

Over the years, I have been to Central Park all throughout the seasons and at all times of the day. By now, I have a very good sense on the best times to visit (both time of day and time of year).

Time of Year

When it comes to the time of year to visit Central Park, I would recommend heading there during those months when the park is at its most colorful. This happens for periods of time in the Fall (during foliage) and during the Spring (during blooming season).

Usually the leaves turn color in the second half of October into the beginning of November. During this time, you will come across yellow, orange, red, and other colorful leaves all throughout.

After the winter ends, the flowers of the park begin to come to life. This usually happens throughout April into the beginning of May. The most famous of the trees would be the cherry blossoms, which I covered earlier on.

While the park is full of greenery in the summertime and can be full of snow in the winter, it is hard to beat those colorful times of year.

Time of Day

Since Central Park is on every tourists’ bucket list, the park can get very crowded (at least certain parts of it). I have found that visiting the park in the early weekday morning around 8AM/9AM will give you the most enjoyable experience.

Around these times, the park is at its quietest and I have found it very pleasant to walk the paths without the crowds and the noise. Strolling around without being surrounded by hundreds of people will be a whole different experience to take part of.

So, if you can take in a visit earlier on in the day, I would recommend you give it a try!

Central Park Instagram Photos

7) Food Options

When it comes to food in Central Park, you will have a few different main options to consider. This will also depend on whether you are looking for a full meal or just want a quick snack. Some of the top food options in the park include:

Tavern on the Green: full service restaurant in the southwest part of the park, which also includes a Tavern to go option.

Loeb Boathouse: a restaurant located on the eastern side of the Lake, where rowboats are rented from. There is an outdoor takeout area here as well.

Le Pain Quotidien: there are two locations for those that want a more casual dining experience. These are located at the Conservatory Water and the north side of the Sheep Meadow.

Food Carts: no matter where you are in the park, you won’t be far from an official food vendor. Here you will find hot dogs, pretzels, ice cream, snacks, and drinks. You can find even more variety on the outskirts of the park (most notably on the southern end).

Other: There is also a small café at the Central Park Zoo, and a rooftop bar at the Met.

Restaurants: If you are looking for some dining & drinking options overlooking the park, then be sure to read through the top restaurants with a Central Park view.

Hotels: And if you are trying to wake up to a view of the park, check out a list of the top hotels with Central Park views.

MO Lounge Central Park

8) Where to Stay in Manhattan

There are so many different neighborhoods to choose from when visiting Manhattan. Below are some articles to help you make the best choice for your trip.

Looking for the top hotels & neighborhoods in NYC? Check out some helpful accommodation resources when it comes to picking the best spot for you!

Neighborhood Overview: Best Places to Stay in NYC
Best Skyline Views: NYC Hotels with a View
Times Square: Top Times Square Hotels with a View
Theater District: Hotels in Broadway Theater District
Central Park: Best Hotels with Central Park Views
Tribeca: Best Tribeca Hotels
SoHo: Where to Stay in SoHo
Greenwich Village
: Top Greenwich Village Hotels
Brooklyn Bridge: Hotels with Brooklyn Bridge Views
Best Panoramas: Hotels in NYC with Floor to Ceiling Windows

Moxy Hotel NYC

I hope you enjoyed this guide to some of the best things to do in Central Park on your next visit to NYC. If you have any questions or comments feel free to add them in below.

Also don’t forget to check out the remaining New York itineraries and guides up on the site (like the best things to do in NYC). Have fun out there and safe travels!

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