Ultimate guide to exploring New York’s Central Park

Recorrer el Central Park
Redactora / Travel writer

New York’s Central Park is the most important park in the city, one of the essential places to do in the Big Apple and one of the places that, the snow, the summer heat or any season of the year make it special, attracting thousands of tourists in each of its sectors. It is indisputable that going to New York and not touring Central Park is practically an unthinkable fact, that is why, in this post, we will help you with everything you need to know to tour Central Park in the best way: how to get there, what to do, how to get around it, and some travel tips, ideal for a first visit. Are you ready?

What is Central Park in New York?

As we told you at the beginning, Central Park is the largest and most important park in New York which, with its almost 3.5 square kilometers, makes it one of the urban parks largest and most famous in the world which, like London’s Hyde Park, is one of the key places to visit in the city (planning a trip to London? Don’t miss this guide to visit Hyde Park)

get around New York's Central Park

When a movie is filmed in New York, there is no chance that it does not include a super aerial shot of the dimensions of Central Park, in the form of an oasis that is generated, surrounded by the most important buildings. important throughout the city.

Did you know that Central Park is an artificial park? Of course this does not mean that the trees are fake, far from it, but that their construction was defined because of wanting to improve the quality of life of the residents of the “Big Apple” and of the need for a lung in the middle of a big city like New York. Construction of Central Park began in 1857 and was completed 20 years later.

Central Park in numbers

  • It measures a total of 3.41 square kilometers, being larger than the Principality of Monaco.
  • It has 45 kilometers of footpaths.
  • It is made up of more than 4 million trees, shrubs and plants of more than 1,500 species.
  • It is 4 kilometers long by 800 meters wide.
  • There are 51 statues within the park.
  • It has 21 courtyards, 2 skating rinks and 30 tennis courts.
  • There are more than 10 bridges and arches.
  • It is visited annually by more than 40 million people.
  • Almost 58 million dollars are invested in their maintenance.

Did you know that there are dozens of movies that were filmed in Central Park? Some of the best known are: 27 dresses, Enchanted, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Girlfriend War, Sex and the City, When Harry Met Sally and many more… (it’s time to see them).

How to get to Central Park in New York?

Of course, with so many kilometers in length and, being literally in the middle of the city, the ways to get to Central Park are hundreds, but here we tell you the most used ones:

  • On foot: Being located in the middle of the city, for travelers who are visiting the center of Manhattan, taking a walk through Central Park can be an activity of every day. To better locate you from the main tourist spots of the city, Central Park is located:
  • 15 minutes walk from Times Square
  • 2 blocks from Lincoln Square
  • 30 minute walk to the Empire State building
  • 20 minute walk to Bryant Park
  • By subway: this is the most used way to get around New York City in an easy and comfortable way. The closest subway lines to Central Park are A, B, C, 2, N, Q, R.
  • By bus: Despite the traffic that can hit the city, especially from Monday to Friday, some travelers enjoy taking the bus and seeing the city while they move from one place to another. other. To get to Central Park by bus, the lines that can be taken are the M10, M96, M106 and 0028.
  • By taxi: Unless you are very tired or on a budget (although in the city there are many more options to do), take a taxi in New York to go to Central Park is not the best recommendation. Traffic is not the only problem, but the prices are usually high enough to have to use them to visit the park.

How much does it cost to go to Central Park? The park is free to enter, although some attractions, guided tours or ways of exploring it They have a separate cost, but to enter and walk, you do not have to pay any dollar. One of the things to do for free in New York? Sure! Central Park hours are from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m., every day of the year.

How to get around Central Park?

Central Park is a giant park and the number of hours that are allocated or the number of attractions that you want to see will depend on the itinerary of each traveler. For those short on time, the favorite space and the most visited place in Central Park is its southern part, starting at 59th Street (north). Touring Central Park from “end to end” is not impossible but there are different ways to do it:

Visit Central Park on foot

Like your arrival, is one of the most used ways to organize your own time and the attractions that you prefer to do. Of course, being such a large park, you may not be able to do many sites in the same day but yes, at least, visit most of them that are located in the middle to the south.

Cycle through Central Park

If someone asks us, what is the best way to get around Central Park? So the answer, undoubtedly (and from my own experience) is by bike. As there are so many internal streets, touring Central Park by bicycle makes it a great option to visit a large part of the attractions and not get so tired of each other. The places where you can rent bicycles are in the surroundings of the park and you can rent bicycles for one person, for two or for families, for a whole day or for a few hours.

Guided tour of Central Park on bicycle carts

A great way to get to know Central Park and avoid the fatigue of walking is to hire a tour in a kind of “mini float” but led by a guide on a bicycle (with a more physical condition how enviable). These tours can be found on 59th Street and at the corners of 5th Avenue and Central Park West (the two adjoining avenues to the east and west).

Exploring Central Park by boat, is it possible?

Although it may seem incredible, touring (part) of Central Park in a small boat is possible. Of course, not all the attractions are visited, but The Lake of the park is very large and has spectacular views (especially if it is visited in autumn, the best time to visit Central Park? Possibly ). The boats are suitable for 4 people and can be rented around the lake, located in the middle of the park, almost at 71th Street.

places to visit in central park
Touring Central Park by boat, is it possible?

What do we not recommend to visit Central Park? Floats

Although we do not endorse or agree with horse-drawn carriages, it is indisputable that it is one of the ways some travelers use to get around Central Park. The floats are located to the south of the park, on 59th Street, although, again, carriages in the 21st century should already be prohibited and we do not recommend it at all.

What to do in Central Park?

As we told you before, Central Park is not a simple urban park, but all the attractions inside and around are interesting to visit and discover, during any part of the year and For any occasion. The best thing is to buy food to have a picnic, walk and rest in one of the many green spaces that the park has.

The attractions are many and each one of them tells a story behind that makes it more than interesting. Here we will name you the most important places in Central Park, although of course, each of them deserves a separate chapter.

Traveler information: in addition to the different visitor centers located in various sectors (where you can request an exclusive map of Central Park), the app Central Park (available for IOs) has tips and maps to better locate within the park. In addition, doing click on this link, it is possible to enjoy a tour through Central Park, and there are even options to do a virtual tour of different parts of New York City.

Essential: 10 places to visit in Central Park

  • Central Park Zoo : As with floats, we do not encourage travelers to visit the world’s zoos as we firmly believe that animals should be in their habitat Natural but, we cannot deny that it is one of the attractions found in Central Park ( friends, moviegoers, this is the place where part of the DreamWorks movie Madagascar takes place ). Admission to the Central Park Zoo costs USD 13.95 for adults though, travel tip for those who do not support zoos, taking a photo at the entrance is free and is the clear image of the animated film.
  • Strawberry Fields: sounds like a song, right? Yes, of course Strawberry Fields or the John Lennon Memorial is one of the essential places to see in Central Park that does honor, through the word IMAGINE, who knew how to be a member of The Beatles, John Lennon, murdered in 1980 in the Dakota Building, one of the buildings around Central Park, a few meters from the memorial.
places to visit in central park
Places to visit in Central Park: The must-see Strawberry Fields

Traveler advice: It is a place of great respect but photos are allowed. If you wait a few minutes, almost every day there is a spontaneous musician singing songs by the artist.

  • Shakespeare Garden: This is one of the key places to visit in Central Park, especially if you visit New York in spring, since the colors of the flowers and plants form a Very nice postcard to see.
places to visit in central park
Places to visit in Central Park: Shakespeare Garden

Gapstow Bridge and Bow Bridge: attention instagramers! The Gapstow Bridge is one of the most picturesque little bridge to see in Central Park because, despite having a “rustic” style, it contrasts perfectly with the buildings and skyscrapers that make up the city and that are located as a backdrop. The Bow Bridge we can say that it is one of the most romantic bridges in Central Park and it is another of the unmissable visits to do in the urban park of Manhattan, the photos are incredible! Definitely two must see in Central Park.

places to visit in central park
  • The Mall: who has seen movies filmed in New York and especially the scenes shot in Central Park, The Mall (maybe not by name) is one of the sites Most visited. It is the tree-lined passage, full of literary sculptures and, depending on the time of year, street artists demonstrating their skills.
  • Bethesda Fountain: who has seen a photo of Central Park, at some point the most famous and most important fountain in the park must have appeared. The fountain commemorates the arrival of drinking water in New York in 1842 and since then, it has “decorated the park” in the best way. Travel tip: ascend to Bethesda Terrace (the terrace) where you get the best views. ( Cinephile travelers, this is not the source of Friends, but it served as inspiration for the montage in the series ).
  • Conservatory Water Lake: Have you seen Stuart Little ? Then surely the remote-controlled boats on the Central Park lake will sound familiar to you. This is a great place to get some air and continue your tour.
  • The Statue of Alice in Wonderland: yes, the Disney novel and film has its own statue, nothing more and nothing less than in Central Park in New York.
  • Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir: in honor of who was the first lady in 1994 and for being the favorite place to exercise for her and thousands of New Yorkers, the Reservoir of the Central Park is an ideal place to visit, a huge reservoir that stretches from 86th to 96th streets.
  • The Wollman Rink: If you visit New York in winter, it is almost a mandatory stop (to do the activity or simply to see) the skating rink also known as Trump Rink. It is one of the most famous ice skating rinks in Central Park.
places to visit in central park
Places to visit in Central Park: The Wollman Rink

Are you traveling as a family? These are the best things to do in Central Park with children

Although many think that traveling with children to New York can be complicated, the reality is that the Big Apple has so many options for different types of travelers that it is impossible to get bored or not find activities to do.

Visiting Central Park is always a great idea, again, regardless of the time of year, but what to do in Central Park with children?

  • El Carousel : the place is spectacular and super photographic and, if you visit Central Park with children, it is a great alternative.
  • Children’s playgrounds: although the best known, largest and most accessible is the Heckscher Playground, located south of Central Park, more than 20 playgrounds, integrated with swings and areas for adults to rest.
  • Victorian Gardens: this “mini amusement park” is set up in spring and summer (the same place where the skating rink is set up in winter) that, although the entrance is paid, it’s a great way to entertain the little ones.
What to do in Central Park with children
What to do in Central Park with children: Visit the Victorian Gardens mini amusement park

Look for the squirrels of Central Park: despite not being a place, it is one more attraction to do in Central Park with children at any time of the year. Of course, you have to take into account not to feed or disturb them, there are thousands and they are everywhere, so having a photo is not a difficult task.

places to visit in central park
  • Comprar (o armar) un trineo y disfrutar de la nieve: el Central Park en invierno es un gigantesco campo blanco, repleto de nieve, y las colinas del Central Park son utilizadas por turistas y residentes para divertirse durante las épocas más frías del año. Consejo: no utilices cualquier colina porque puede haber rocas en el medio, hay algunas demarcadas para utilizar y evitar cualquier inconveniente.

El Central Park es un sitio increíble de visitar, formando parte de una actividad que hacer en Nueva York haga frío, calor, caigan las hojas o florezcan las plantas, todo forma parte de una postal del oasis de la ciudad. ¿Qué estás esperando para conocerlo?

¡Valora esto!
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