One of the most famous tourist destinations in New York – Central Park covers 843 acres and is one of the hallmarks of Manhattan. Some of the most popular attractions are Strawberry Fields, Belvedere Castle, and the Central Park Zoo, but the park also boasts a variety of scenery, hills, lakes, playgrounds for various sports.
To best organize your day, stop in front of the visitor center and study in advance the possible routes and attractions. Here are the most famous among them.
- 1. Belvedere Castle
- 2. Central Park Zoo
- 3. Strawberry Fields
- 4. Bethesda Fountain and Terrace
- 5. Conservatory Garden
- 6. Loeb Boathouse on The Lake
- 7. The Mall and Literary Walk
- 8. Central Park Carousel
- 9. Conservatory Water
- 10. Ice Skating
- 11. Central Park Horse and Carriage Ride
- 12. The Pond and Gapstow Bridge
- 13. Sheep Meadow
- 14. The Swedish Cottage
- 15. The Delacorte Theatre
1. Belvedere Castle
At the top of Vista Rock is the mini-castle Belvedere, built in 1869. It gives you the opportunity to see Central Park from a bird’s eye view. To the south, you will see a beautiful wooded area, and to the north is the Delacorte Theater, where Shakespearean plays are regularly performed.
At the top of the castle is the meter that gives information about the weather in Central Park, and in the castle itself, there is a gift shop and a visitor center.
2. Central Park Zoo
Penguins, snow leopards, and pandas are just some of the representatives of Central Par Zoo. Animals from the polar regions, California and Asia are gathered here, which brings a huge variety of wildlife to visitors. As one of the Central Park places that excite the most visitors, the zoo has a 4D theater (for children 6 years and older).
Not far from its entrance are the Delacorte Musical Clock and its bronze animal figures that count down every 30 minutes of the day.
3. Strawberry Fields
Among the Strawberry Fields is the John Lennon Memorial, which was tragically killed near the park. The area is specially designed to accommodate 161 species of plants (as many as the countries in the world).
In addition, the area is secluded and not accidentally named Peace Garden. This is one of the must things to do in Central Park.
4. Bethesda Fountain and Terrace
The fountain, which is one of the main attractions of the park was created in 1873. The terrace around the fountain is an ideal place for photos behind the beautiful ancient ornaments in Italian style.
In the center of the fountain rises a statue called Angel of the Waters. You probably will know what to do in Central Park, but if you have more free time, take it to see this attraction.
5. Conservatory Garden
For nature lovers, the Conservatory Garden offers an escape from the urban reality. An ideal place for weddings, the garden spreads over 6 acres and is divided into 3 sections – French, English, and Italian.
The garden provides a little peace away from cyclists and skateboarders. It is most impressive in the spring when the trees are in bloom and are painted in different shades.
6. Loeb Boathouse on The Lake
This amazing restaurant, located on the east shore of The Lake, features indoor and outdoor lounges that allow guests to sit back and enjoy the calm waters of the lake.
The place is preferred for weddings and business events. Of course, after you have lunch and good rest you can rent a boat and do a tour of the lake by yourself.
7. The Mall and Literary Walk
The Mall is actually a picturesque straight path under the shade of tall trees, which is ideal for a quiet walk away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Every season, including winter, is the perfect time to visit it and it hides its charm.
From here you can continue your walk along the Literary Walk, which is filled with statues of world-famous writers such as Shakespeare and Robert Burns.
8. Central Park Carousel
The carousel in Central Park is known as the first carousel open for business and dates back to 1871 as a tradition in the park. Of course, physically it has changed over the years and now features hand-carved horses dating back to the ’90s.
The carousel is for rent and is currently operated by one of Donald Trump’s companies.
9. Conservatory Water
In the eastern part of the park is one of the most fun things to do in central park. People come here to compete with their model boats or just to enjoy the race.
There is enough space around the water for relaxation and even a picnic. If you look north you will find a beautiful statue of Alice in Wonderland. The seasons from spring to autumn are especially busy here.
10. Ice Skating
One of the most beloved Central Park places if you travel with your partner or family in the period from October to April is winter skating. There are two options – Wollman Rink, which is located near the zoo, or Lasker Rink, which in summer is a swimming pool, and in the cold months turns into a winter slide.
Whichever of the two places you choose, you’ll have to pay a fee to skate (like the one at Wollman Rink is higher).
11. Central Park Horse and Carriage Ride
If you still do not know what to do in Central Park – choose a tour of the park with a horse and carriage, which will leave an unforgettable memory. You will have the opportunity to visit some of the most famous sights and learn a little more about the history of the park.
12. The Pond and Gapstow Bridge
The Pond is the southernmost point of water in Central Park, which is powered entirely by the city water supply system. Above it passes the famous Gapstow Bridge, which blows you have certainly seen in many photos. Wedding photoshoots or marriage proposals are often made here.
13. Sheep Meadow
As expected, the name of this huge green meadow comes from the fact that in the past it was used to graze sheep here. This was the case until 1934 when the place slowly began to be used for recreation and relaxation of people, and a restaurant was opened nearby. The weekends here are quite crowded so go earlier in the morning to reserve your place for a picnic or relaxation.
14. The Swedish Cottage
Built in 1875, the Swedish Cottage was an example of the traditional Swedish schoolhouse of the traditional Swedish Pavilion, until it was spotted by Fredrick Law Olmstead, who decided it would become a great part of the Central Arch.
It was brought to New York in 1877 and has since operated as the oldest marionette theater in the United States, known for its tales of Cinderella and Peter Pan.
15. The Delacorte Theatre
We end with an attraction for theater and art lovers. This open-air theater has 1800 seats, and Shakespeare in the Park performances are organized here every summer. Every year since 1962, the theater has been visited by over 100,000 people a year and has become one of the must-do things in Central Park.
Central Park is a place that offers quite a lot of entertainment and cannot be toured in one day. Here you will find something for every age and hobby. And the opportunity to escape from the hustle and bustle of New York is great not only for tourists but also for locals. So take the time to explore as many places as possible from this place full of history and sights.