Things to Do in Central Park: Exploring the City’s Oasis
You may know Central Park as a location for its popular summer pastimes—picnics on the great lawn, games on the softball fields, and concerts and Shakespeare performances on its stages. But there are many more hidden points of interest throughout. Read on for a list of some of our favorite things to do in Central Park.
Take a Literary Walk
Nicknamed the Promenade for it’s straight length of pathway underneath a canopy of American elm trees, The Mall is a classic location for strolling in the park, and one of it’s most photographed. At the south end is Literary Walk, where bronze statues of some of history’s most prominent writers stand at attention. On the ground you’ll find paving stones that recognize every endowed tree in the park.
Pay Tribute to John Lennon
Across from the Dakota building on 72nd Street, where John Lennon lived in the 70’s and was subsequently killed in 1980, the mosaic Strawberry Fields serves as a tribute to the artist’s life, a remembrance of his terrible death, and a striking directive for his vision for the future.
At Conservatory Water, families love to race miniature sailboats, which can be rented there. Or go the romantic route with a rowboat rental at the Lake. You can get a gondola ride there too.
Visit a Castle
A “whimsical” structure, Belvedere Castle was created along with the park in 1869, and in addition to being the highest viewpoint in the green space, now serves as the location of the National Weather Service. Located mid-park, go for the incredible photo-ops and visitor center.
Be a Naturalist
Exploring The Ramble is one of the best things to do in Central Park, especially for birders. Spot many of the 280 bird species that make the secluded location their home, or that use it temporarily during migration. The 37-acre wilderness between 72nd and 79th street is home to black-and-yellow striped warblers, red-bellied woodpeckers, hummingbirds, finches, and even hawks and owls. Bring your own binoculars (or use a camera) and join a bird walk — there are many, including some put on by the Audubon Society.
See Ancient Egypt
Well, a part of it anyway. Known as Cleopatra’s Needle, this 71-foot granite obelisk towers over a hill, not far from the Met on 5th Avenue. Although it was constructed nearly 3500 years ago, the structure was gifted to the U.S in 1880, and is inscripted with hieroglyphics that offer praise to the gods.
Central Park & Beyond
There’s myriad things to do in New York. Check out our New York City travel guide for the latest recommendations on what to experience in the City That Never Sleeps.