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Central Park

50 85th Street Transverse, Manhattan, New York City, New York

The heart and soul of Manhattan, Central Park is 843 acres (341 hectares) of green space featuring running paths, a boating lake, ponds, a zoo, fountains, statues, gardens, and a skating rink. New Yorkers and visitors alike have gathered at this National Historic Landmark year-round since 1857 to enjoy a respite from Manhattan’s concrete jungle.

As the top urban park in Manhattan and New York City, Central Park has something for everyone. Visit Bethesda Fountain, Strawberry Fields (John Lennon Memorial), or the Alice in Wonderland statue; enjoy kid-friendly fun on the carousel at the Central Park Zoo; sail model boats at the Conservatory Water Pond; or simply relax and soak in the scene at Bethesda Terrace or Cherry Hill. The park’s size can be overwhelming, so consider a park bike tour, a walking tour, or a pedicab tour for a guided experience. Bike rentals are also available.

  • Several spots offer information about the park: the Dairy Visitor Center, Belvedere Castle, the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, the Chess & Checkers House, and the Columbus Circle information kiosk.

  • No parking is available in the park, but parking garages are nearby.

  • Wheelchairs can be used on many paths, but there are stairs around the park, so consider starting at an information center to pick up a map.

  • The Central Park Conservancy offers official guided tours seven days a week.

  • Dining options include the Boathouse Restaurant and the Tavern on the Green.

Central Park runs from 59th Street to 110th Street, and Fifth Avenue to Central Park West (a continuation of Eighth Avenue) from east to west, making it reachable on foot from many Manhattan neighborhoods. A number of subway stations are nearby, including B and C stops along Central Park West, and stops on the 6 along Lexington Avenue, a few blocks east of Fifth Avenue.

The park is open daily from early morning to late night. It’s a can’t-miss attraction any time of year, but to enjoy a classic NYC activity such as ice skating at Wollman Rink or seeing open air summer concerts, you’ll want to visit during the appropriate season.

Many of the city's top museums stand just on the edges of Central Park, most notably on the famed Museum Mile, a stretch of Fifth Avenue that’s home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Guggenheim Museum; the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; the Jewish Museum; the Museum of the City of New York; and the Neue Galerie New York. On the other side of the park, you’ll find the American Museum of Natural History.

There are a few horse-drawn carriage operators around Central Park—prices tend to hover anywhere from $90–$120 for 30 minutes. There are all sorts of specific tours to choose from, including small-group tours and private tours, 30-minute tours and 2-hour tours, filmed tours, light tours, holiday tours, and more; prices vary by tour.

Whether or not Central Park carriage rides are worth it depends on your interests. If you value seeing the country’s most famous city park the way it was intended—by horse—and want a slower, more romantic way to take in sights like Wollman Rink, Belvedere Castle, and Bethesda Fountain, then yes, Central Park carriage rides are absolutely worth it.

At half a mile (0.8 kilometers) wide and 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) long, you could see Central Park on foot; but you might have a better time on two wheels, traveling via bicycle like many locals do. That way, you’ll save time navigating between the park’s most iconic spots, like Wollman Rink and Bethesda Fountain.

At 843 acres (341 hectares) and 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) long, it takes most visitors about an hour to walk Central Park’s length. That being said, if you want to stop and see famous sights like Bethesda Fountain, Wollman Rink, or Belvedere Castle—or just zigzag its half-mile width—you’ll need considerably more time.

No, the Central Park Zoo is not free. Adults are $13.95; $19.95 includes access to the 4D theater. Children (3–12) are $8.95; $14.95 for 4D theater access. Seniors (65+) are $10.95; $16.95 for 4D theater access. Unlike the Bronx Zoo, the Central Park Zoo does not run fee-free days.

NYC carriage ride operators are largely accustomed to standard American tips—that means 15 to 20% of your ride fee, or roughly $10 to $30. Cash is required and smaller bills are ideal; tips are not included in your ride fee or booking. Tips of any size are not technically required, but they are always appreciated.


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