Central Park is one of the most famous world spots that attract thousands of visitors from all around the globe (over 40 million tourists went there in 2013). Every year around 37.5 people visit Central Park. And the park completely deserves its fame.
Besides plenty of scenic views Central Park offers us numerous opportunities to have fun with friends or the family, enjoy extremely beautiful natural spots, visit historical monuments and places of world value. It’s hard to choose just one side of Central Park as there are many that deserve to be visited. Even if we go there often, the park can always surprise us as we will see something different every day.
This park offers us many forests, meadows, fountains, lakes and other bodies of water, historical sites, bridges with amazing architecture and also alleys for walking, carridge or bike tours to see all of park’s amazing spots. The park’s plant species are so various and amaze us every time with their beauty. It’s a real green heaven in the heart of one of the world’s biggest metropolises.
Central Park is created in such a way that it looks like a genuine natural spot created by mother nature herself. It’s of course impossible to see everything in one day so we suggest you to stick to the most famous attractions if you are short on time.
For those of you who don’t know Central Park is located in Manhattan, New York. Its exact location is between Upper East Side and Upper West Side. It’s the most frequented urban park in America. It spreads itself on 843 acres of land and it was opened for visitors for the first time in 1857.
The park is full of many amazing places with great views that there is probably no single person who won’t find a favourite spot in this enormous park. No matter if you go there with your family, kids, loved one or just travel to this spot solo, there are wonderful places that guarantee well-spent time for people of all ages.
The park’s plan is originally designed by the architects Frederich Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. It is a property of New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and it’s managed by Central Park Conservancy. But enough with the facts, let’s jump onto a brief imaginary trip through the park.
If you are planning a trip to this amazing world-famous park then we will suggest you a few places that you shouldn’t miss to visit. The order in which you will visit them is up to you.
Top spots in Central Park that are worthy visiting
The Great Lawn
For those of you love to go to concerts or gather with friends or family on picnics, this is place is exactly for you. This lawn is spread over an area of 55 acres. This lawn can be seen in many movies and many big concerts hold place there. You can do many things there: have picnic, read a book, play a favourite outdoor game, see a famous music star or just walk with friends.
This 6-acre site is made of three beautifully arranged gardens – French, Italian and English. In this garden you can feel as if you are in an European-style garden without really going to Europe. The garden has an abundance of flowers in a rich color palette, beautiful fountains, paths and it’s a great place to relax surrounded by colorful plants.
The name Belvedere in Italian means literally beautiful and this is completely true for this small but charming stone castle. It was built in 1869 and it’s situated at the highest point in the park. The idea behind its creation was to make a place that will serve as an observation point.
The Belvedere castle actually has a rooftop lookout and amazing views open towards the whole park from it such as Turtle pond, the Ramble and even Delacorte Theater on the north. The park’s curators measure the weather from the top of the castle. This castle experienced a period of neglect but it was renovated and reopened in 1980.
This attractions has been entertaining kids as well as adults since 1871. The current carousel in Central Park was installed in the beginning of the 1950s. It experienced restoration in the 90s and hand-made horses were added to it. If you are fan of amusement parks then don’t miss this spot. It attracts hundreds of visitors each year.
Being so old makes it also a place of historical importance. There is an evidence that in the past this carousel was made to move by the use of horse or a mule which was placed beneath a platform. Also an organ music was played during the ride which the visitors enjoyed at the price of 3$ per ride.
Alice in Wonderland
This site is a famous bronze statue and has become an icon of New York city. It’s interesting mostly to the kids as they can climb on it but it fascinates the older visitors too. It was commissioned in 1959 by the philanthropist George Delacorte. The statue is made of figures representing Alice, the rabbit and the Mad Hatter standing around big mushrooms.
Central Park Zoo
Central Park’s zoo has over 100 animal species that come from various world regions: polar regions, California Coast, the tropics ant the temperate climate zones. You can see there wild as well as domestic animals.
The park has different climate sections: equatorial rain forest with tropical birds and monkeys, an Arctic section with rare snow leopards, polar bears, penguins, snow monkeys and red pandas.
The zoo is inhabited also by sea lions which perform amazing tricks to get a tasty treat and domestic animals like goats, cows, pigs and sheep, so bring your kids too.
If you are visiting it with your kid, make sure to stop near the zoo’s entrance to see the charming Delacorte Clock. It features bronze musical animals that play happy songs once every 30 min.
This site which is also known as Model Boat Pond is situated on the eastern side of the park. It’s named like that because local park goers visit the place mostly in the weekend for sailing and racing model boats from spring to fall season.
It is close to 72nd Street. At the pond’s shores you will find benches hidden underneath huge trees where you can chill and contemplate the pond’s beauty. At the eastern side of the pond is Kerbs Boathouse that has a cafe and at the northern side is the famous bronze sculpture Alice in Wonderland.
Bethesda Fountain and Terrace
If you like to see architectural masterpieces then this site is suitable for you. This site is located between other famous landmarks: the Mall and the Lake. The fountain was finished in 1873 but its statue that sits on the top – Angel of Waters exists from 1842. The fountain has a double staircase decorated with tiles and friezes which are a creation of Jacob Mould.
It’s a big artificial lake which you can cross by boat on rent if you like adventures. There is a kiosk where you can rent row boats. And if you get hungry you can go to Loeb Boathouse Restaurant which sits at the eastern side of the lake directly at the water’s edge. We can observe the beautiful lake and the slowly gliding boats in its peaceful waters while enjoying a drink or a delicious meal.
Boathouse restaurant has an outdoor seating area and indoor dining room. The lake offers amazing opportunity for the organization of corporate events or weddings thanks to the splendid surrounding views.The lake is surrounded by the popular iron-cast Bow Bridge which offers great views towards the lake.
If you are a fan of Shakspearean poetry then this place is right for you. Free Shakspearean performances are held there and some of the plays are even from world-famous authors.
If you are searching for a relaxing getaway spot, this site is perfect for this purpose. This 6-acre Conservatory garden is planted with more than thousand of shrubs and trees and it can be entered through Vanderbilt Gate close to Fifth Avenue. This garden is divided into 3 parts that have different garden styles: English, Italian and French.
In the French zone of the garden you can see Walter Schott’s bronze fountain called Three Dancing Maidens. It’s a comparatively quieter place than the other Central Park spots. Here you will see no skateboards or bikes. That’s why this calm spot is a preferred spot for wedding events.
Literary Walk and The Mall
If you are seeking a quiet place to walk in Central Park’s beautiful nature Literary Walk and The Mall are the two top spots you should not miss out during your trip there. The Literary Walk is a wide walkway which goes under a green “roof’’ of big elm trees at the southern part of Central Park.
This promenade in the park is great to see not only in the warm seasons but also in the winter when everything is covered with snow. Close to the Mall is the Literary Walk which is surrounded by statues of famous writers by each side. If you go there you can see the busts of Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scot, Shakespeare and other poets.
If you are searching for a calm forest to escape the city’s busy life, the Ramble is for you. It is a quiet 36-acre woodland with hills and rocks at the northeastern site of the Lake. It has a dense forest, plenty of paths, artificial lakes, streams, rustic structures. It is in fact inhabited by 230 bird species. During the bird migration season it’s a favourite spot for birdwatching.
5th and 6th Avenues Carriage Tours
Enjoy a little time-travel with an old-fashion carriage ride across Central Park’s green alleys. Horse-drawn carriages symbolize New York’s past when buses, cars and trains didn’t exist yet. You can book a carriage at 5th and 6th Avenues and enjoy the park’s beauty.
This site is a famous memorial in honor of John Lenon who find his tragic death at this spot. In 1980 at the western side of the park near Dacota apartments he was brutally murdered.
Strawberry Fields is a mosaic put in the walkway bearing an inscription of the word “imagine” which is the exact name of the Lennon’s song part of his 1971 album. It often has flowers placed as a decoration by fans of the famous singer.
The landscape around this memorial was designed by Vaux and Olmsted. We can see there more than species of plants gathered from every country in the world. John Lenon’s memorial is a top favourite attraction in the park and many tourists come to this spot to take a photo of this iconic place.
If you are planning to visit New York in the winter don’t miss to go ice skating to Central Park’s popular Wollman rink. From October to April you can rent skates on-site if you don’t have and have an awesome winter adventure.
Even if the sun is up skating in the park is still an amazing winter outdoor experience. The rink is enclosed by skyscrapers and trees that rise high above the rink and create a wonderful background. This rink is really close to the Central Park Zoo and sometimes it hosts hockey matches.
Another spot for those of you who like this famous poet. It’s a special garden with plant species that are mentioned in William Shakespeare’s poetic masterpieces. If you are looking for a green and relaxing spot to spend the afternoon Shakespeare garden is exactly for you. This 4-acre garden has different plants depending on the season.
There can be found white mulberry tree. It is believed to have grown from tree graft that was planted by Shakespeare himself in 1602. Because of its romantic charm and lush fauna this garden is a preferred place for weddings too.