The Statue of Liberty is great. The Met is nice. The Empire State Building is okay. But Central Park… Central Park is easily the most iconic area in New York City. If you ask any person in the United States — possibly the world — to describe New York City, you’ll most likely get hear a description of Central Park.
Central Park isn’t just a tourist attraction, it’s the heart and soul of what New Yorkers love most about their own great city. If you are paying a visit to the Big Apple, going to Central Park needs to be on the top of your to-do list. And if you are visiting Central Park make sure you check out our list of how to explore Central Park like a local.
Five Ways to Visit Central Park
- Horse Carriage Rides
If you’ve ever seen a movie set in the City That Never Sleeps, then you’ve probably seen the iconic horse carriage rides through Central Park. When visiting NYC with a romantic partner, there is no better way to celebrate love than via Central Park carriages. If you are interested in horse carriage rides through Central Park, your best bet is to set up a reservation in advance. Not only do walk-up horse carriage rides cost $15 to $25 more, there are often long wait times. Not to mention, the stagecoach ride can be customized to go along your special occasion (such as a proposal, anniversary, celebration, and so on) if you plan it out early enough.
- Hit the Lake
There are so many great ways to enjoy the Central Park lake. You can take a romantic paddle boat tour for just a few dollars an hour. You can hire a gondola to paddle for you will you relax and soak in the views. If boats aren’t your thing, consider hitting up a nice restaurant on the lakeside for some fine fish cuisine!
- Monkey Around With Monkeys at the Zoo
The Central Park Zoo is home to 130 different and exotic animal species, including snow leopards, penguins, sea lions, and poisonous dart frogs. If you have children with you, visiting the children’s zoo that is adjacent to the regular zoo is a must-do! Your kids will relish getting to be up close and personal with goats, sheep, and cows!
- Say Hello to the Belvedere Castle
The Belvedere Castle is free to visit and includes the Henry Luce Nature Observatory, with examples of nature, such as skeletons and paper mache birds, as well as tools of science like telescopes and microscopes.
While visiting the Belvedere Castle, make sure to take a ramble through the Ramble. The Ramble include 36 acres of almost untouched nature, and is a much loved spot for bird watchers (as 230 bird species call the Ramble home!).
- Galavant in Sheep Meadow
Sheep Meadow is a hub for all outdoorsy activities when the weather is nice. Make sure to pay a visit to Sheep Meadow if you love pickup musical jam sessions, frisbee and ultimate playing, picnicking, or just people watching.
If you plan to visit Sheep Meadow when the weather is ideal, make sure to arrive no later than 11:00 to secure a nice, shady spot!
- Enjoy the Frivolity of Wollman Rink
No matter what time of year you go, Wollman Rink has fun and games to offer! During the warmer seasons, you can enjoy a visit to the carnival with the games, rides, and street performers at Victorian Gardens. During the colder days, Wollman Rink is the best place to soak of the Central Park scenery with a romantic ice skating trip, where you can imagine you are the real-life characters from almost any rom-com set in the great NYC!
- Relax in Conservatory Garden
If you want to pretend you are in a breathtaking European garden without actually going to Europe, Conservatory Garden is the place to go! Tourists flock to Conservatory Garden year round to admire the tulips and chrysanthemums, depending on the season. If you are the photographic type (on either side of the lens), Conservatory Garden is a setting that will not disappoint!
Do you have any other great tips for visiting Central Park? Please share below!