Central Park in New York is one of the most beautiful and picturesque spots in the city. New Yorkers and visitors alike come to the park to unwind from the hectic city life by playing sports, picnicking, and taking time to enjoy nature.
Nature in the Middle of New York City
Central Park New York, which is four miles long and half a mile wide, has a variety of attractive landscapes and plenty to offer as far as things to see and do. On a day of good weather, you may see baseball games in progress, people flying kites and sunbathing on the many fields and lawns, and runners and bikers making use of the extensive paths that wind throughout the park.
If the activity and noise of the city get to be a little too much, break away from the commotion and take in New York City’s greatest park space. The park offers a nice diversion from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Manhattan.
Every Season is a Good Time to Enjoy Central Park
The landscapes of Central Park New York are striking in every season. Whether its the blue sky and lush greenery of summer, the intense colors of fall, snow-covered fields in the winter, or budding flowers in the spring, Central Park always has great scenery to take in. Remember to dress for the weather and wear your walking shoes!
Highlights of Central Park
In a park this big, it’s easy to walk around aimlessly and miss many of the park’s great attractions. If you have a few hours and want to see some of the best of what Central Park New York has to offer, check out these recommended highlights.
All of these attractions are located in the southern half of Central Park, which is the area that is the most easily accessible to the majority of visitors.
Locate these highlights on a map! For the location of each attraction and a suggested walking route, see the Interactive Central Park Map.
1. Strawberry Fields and the Imagine Mosaic
Strawberry Fields was laid out as a memorial to Beatles singer John Lennon. It is located at the edge of the park across from The Dakota, the residential building where John Lennon was gunned down on December 8, 1980. The name comes from the Beatles’ song Strawberry Fields Forever.
The Imagine Mosaic, located in Strawberry Fields, pays tribute to Lennon. Imagine, the word featured at the center of the mosaic is the title of a famous John Lennon song. The black and white mosaic is often adorned with colorful flowers left by Lennon fans and sometimes performers set up nearby and sing John Lennon songs.
2. Sheep Meadow
Sheep Meadow is a large grassy field with the dramatic Midtown skyline behind it. Urban scenery and nature come together beautifully to make this a truly picturesque spot. Sheep Meadow is one of the best places in Central Park for seeing the city’s skyline. It is also a great place to read a book or have a picnic. Watch out for flying frisbees and softballs!
3. The Mall
A highly photographed location in the park, The Mall is a charming walkway lined with trees that provide a gentle cover above. You’ll see statues of the likes of Christopher Columbus, Beethoven, and literary figures along the path. Its a great place to casually stroll or take a break at one of the many benches along each side.
4. Bethesda Terrace and Bethesda Fountain
The north end of the mall opens up to Bethesda Terrace. This large, tiled open space is often the playground for skateboarders, rollerbladers, and performers. Stone staircases lead from the upper level of the terrace to the lower terrace, where Bethesda Fountain is located.
The bronze sculpture in the middle of the fountain is named Angel of the Waters. The fountain is one of the most photographed fountains in the world and makes regular appearances in movies. When the crowds come out, so does the entertainment. It is not uncommon to see people singing, playing instruments, juggling, and even making enormous bubbles around the Bethesda Fountain and The Mall.
5. The Lake and Bow Bridge
Bethesda Terrace ends at the Lake. The oddly shaped lake winds through the center of the park and offer many recreational opportunities. Scooting around in rowboats is a popular and romantic way to spend the afternoon. During warm months, the boats can be rented at Loeb Boathouse at the northeast corner of the lake. Gondola rides are also available.
To the west of Bethesda Terrace, the Bow Bridge curves gracefully over a narrow portion of the Lake. The Bow Bridge is the most well-known of Central Park’s bridges. The name comes from the bridge’s resemblance to an archer’s bow. Standing on the Bow Bridge, you can admire boaters crossing beneath and views of the lake on either side.
6. Belvedere Castle
Belvedere Castle sits on a rock outcropping overlooking Turtle Pond and the Great Lawn to the north. The structure was built as a lookout in 1869 but is now home to the New York Meteorological Society.
During open hours (10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday), visitors are free to go inside, look around, and go up to the top of the tower for an even better view.
On a warm sunny day, the Great Lawn below will likely be full of sprawling sunbathers and ballplayers. The Great Lawn is a big grassy free-for-all with everything from organized baseball games to picnickers to people flying kites, with no official boundaries to separate the various activities.
What is Central Park New York Worth?
With 843 acres of land, Central Park is as big as it is beautiful. The real estate value of the park was appraised at $528,783,552,000 by the firm Miller Samuel in December 2005.