Things to do in Central Park

One of the city's most beloved landmarks, New York's Central Park is almost a destination in itself. As well as the simple pleasure of enjoying this glorious green space in the heart of a vibrant city, visitors and locals alike love the fabulous variety of activities and entertainment on offer. Here's our list of the seven top things to do in Central Park.

Messing about in boats


Continue a 150-year-old tradition and head to Loeb Boathouse on The Lake. Whether you choose a rowing boat or gondola, an hour bobbing around on the water is a delightful way to spend some time in the park.


Bring your binoculars


The park is home to 230 species of bird including red-tailed hawks and Cedar Waxwings. A few hours strolling along The Gill, a stream in one of the park's wooded areas, will reward even amateur birdwatchers with a host of unusual sights.


Lose yourself in music


Music lovers will love the free Naumberg classical concerts at the bandstand, or the chance to enjoy outdoor spectaculars and indie favourites as part of SummerStage. Don't forget to visit Strawberry Fields as well, a peaceful and moving memorial to John Lennon.


Explore the architecture


As well as charming boathouses and bridges, Central Park is home to exquisite Bethesda Terrace, which is decorated with 16,000 Minton encaustic tiles. Dating from the 1860s and restored in the noughties, this lovely terrace is a tranquil haven to step back from the buzz of the city.


Charm your children


Any park is great for kids; wide open space, plenty of play areas are always a hit. Central Park is a little bit special though, with a vintage carousel, miniature boats on Conservatory Water, and many climbing statues including George Delacorte's Alice in Wonderland sculpture and Hans Andersen's Ugly Duckling.


Winter Wonderland


New York is a chilly but startlingly beautiful place in winter, and sledging down Pilgrim hill makes an unforgettable memory of your New York holiday. If you fancy a more elegant option, then a spin round one of the ice rinks should fit the bill beautifully.


Relax in Sheep Meadow


The city that never sleeps is pretty full on, so follow the locals' lead by taking some time out in Sheep Meadow, a 15-acre field on the south-west of the park.


Top Tips


  • The park is easy to reach by bus, subway or on foot. You can plan your route using and tailor it to what you want to see.
  • General opening times are from 6am until 1am, but individual attractions will vary.
  • If you lose your bearings, just find a lamp post, and look at the code on the base. The first two or three numbers show you what street you're near, and the final number tells you what side you're on. Even numbers mean east, and odd mean west, so 5021 would mean you're close to 50th street on the west side. Clever stuff.

Central Park is the beating heart of a unique and dynamic city, and discovering your favourite part will be a highlight of your holiday to New York.


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