New York might be a concrete jungle … where dreams are made of, but it is also home to over 1,700 parks, each with its own character and individuality, which makes it a challenge to narrow down the most worthy of visiting. We have created a list of our top 6 favorite parks in New York, which must be visited during a trip to the city of dreams.
1. Central Park
You can’t really claim you have visited New York, without visiting its most precious jewel, Central Park! The most recognized park in New York and perhaps the whole world, this 840 acres park is located in the heart of Manhattan. The landscape of the park includes gentle hills, various lawns, water fountains of all sizes, endless walking paths, lakes, dozens of astonishing bridges, statues and monuments and even a castle! Central Park is a whole world within the world’s most distinguished city, which is also a year-round destination. During the winter, enjoy picturesque views of frozen lakes, practice your skating moves at the ice rink, sip on some hot chocolate while enjoying long walks in this astonishing park. During summer of course the park blossoms, creating the perfect spot for a cozy picnic, a private gondola ride guided by the swans of the park, watch a movie or a play in the open-air theater, or enjoy a concert by your favorite artists. Of course one of the most-worthy attractions of the Park is the Central Park Zoo, which is home to 1,487 animals representing 163 species!
2. City Hall Park
The City Hall Park is a public park surrounding New York City Hall in the Civic Center of Manhattan. The Park is a great venue for those people-watching enthusiasts, as the park provides a crosscut of New York life such as government workers and jury members or newlyweds visiting City Hall for their marriage licenses, stroll through its grounds. The park is dotted with donated benches signed by their benefactors, monuments and statues, a central fountain that decorates the park and during summer the gardens and trees blossom, add color to the park. Although the park is differently structured than its sister parks of Manhattan, it is a well-worthy park to pay a visit to while in New York.
3. Bryant Park
Bryant Park is the beating cultural heart of Midtown Manhattan. Surrounded by office buildings and just a few steps from Grand Central Station, Bryant Park is known as Manhattan’s Town Square and is the most famous meeting point for New Yorkers, all year-round. On the park’s grounds, there are lush seasonal gardens, lawns to host picnics, and free events such as open-air movies, pop-up performances, and musical concerts. Every year the park hosts over 1,000 free activities and attracts more than 12 million visitors per year! There are plenty of al fresco dining options and bars, street-food stalls of international cuisine and outdoor seatings. During the colder months, the park turns into a Winter Village, where visitors can practice ice-skating, drink some mulled wine and hot chocolate under the heat of fireplaces, and kids can take pictures and give wishes for their presents to Santa Claus and his Reindeers.
4. Washington Square Park
One of the best-known public parks is located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan. The arch and the fountain located in the heart of Washington Square Park are NYC icons and the park itself is a center for cultural activity. During the warmer months of the year, the park gets filled with street performers and buskers such as musicians, dancers, poets and jugglers, and street-food vendors. It is the perfect spot to have a family picnic or to enjoy some sunbathing during the hot New York days while wandering in the grounds where Iron Man, Spider-Man and Cull Obsidian from Avengers have fought before!
5. Prospect Park
Designed by the same architectures of Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, Prospect Park is a 585-acre oasis in Brooklyn, which is worth visiting when in Brooklyn. The park is accessible all year-round but truly shines during the summer. From the Soldier’s and Sailor’s Memorial arch, which resembles the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, at the Grand Army Plaza to the dog beach and Picnic House in the expansive Long Meadow, there is so much to explore in Brooklyn’s largest park. The park is ideal for those who love wandering amongst nature, enjoy long walks, family picnics during spring days, and for those seeking to practice some sports, as there is an abundance of sports facilities spread across the park grounds.
6. Brooklyn Bridge Park
Tucked under New York’s oldest bridge, the waterfront Brooklyn Bridge Park offers the most amazing views of lower Manhattan. The park is very popular amongst families and younger crowds as the park’s establishments offer an abundance of exciting activities. Grab your binoculars and relax on the rich lawns and beautiful gardens where you can spot over 100 bird species or alternatively find a spot in the park’s piers and go fishing. There are soccer, basketball, baseball and volleyball courts where you can either participate in a game or watch a competitive match. Before covid-19 restrictions, educational events and workshops with topics surrounding the environment for both kids and adults used to take place everyday in the park’s grounds, urging to engage the visitors with nature.