With approximately 14 percent of the city being covered by public parks, one of the great things about New York City is being able to get closer to nature without traveling too far. Here, we’ve gathered ten of our favorite New York City parks.
1- Central Park
(Photo by Tagger Yancey IV/ NYC & Company)
In addition to being the backdrop to a lot of New York City vacation pictures, Central Park is an energy restorer, a breath of fresh air away from the busy city streets. Even a quick walk along the tree-lined perimeter will make you feel relaxed. Go a little deeper inside and you will be rewarded with an even greater mix of calm and energy as strollers, runners, bikers and pedicabs flow through. Whether you want to watch a show, see some wildlife, paddle a boat or simply relax on the grass, Central Park can deliver all of that and more. We recommend you explore all of this park has to offer. To save some time and see more, you can join a guided tour to direct you through this magical park.
(Photo by Cisc1970/Flickr CC)
Fort Greene Park has interesting architectural elements and plenty of nooks for fun physical activities like soccer, jogging, and hiking. This is a great place for a family picnic, or just to get away from it all.
Right near the memorial, there’s a huge stairway that gives you a spectacular view of Manhattan. Visit at sunset, to capture more dramatic and beautiful shots.
The park is surrounded by residences, which gives it quietness and cleanliness. It feels almost like a collective backyard with lots of kids, families, and fun things happening throughout.
If you plan to have a picnic here, don’t forget to hit the Greenmarket by the park to get some goods for a day in this bohemian wonderland!
3- The High Line Park
(Photo by Marley White / NYC & Company)
Definitely one of the top places to take visiting relatives, the High Line Park is a nice little slice of nature right in the middle of the city. In this modern, clean and perfectly landscaped park, you can enjoy arts programs or even some tasty desserts all while walking above the city. Seeing all of it from one end to the other on a sunny day or dark night is definitely worth the trip. For a quick picnic with incredible views, you can grab some munchies in the area before heading into the park and voila!
4- Flushing Meadows–Corona Park
Located in the center of Queens, Flushing Meadows–Corona Park offers plenty of things to do for kids and adults alike. This place is extremely photogenic and its most lasting icon is the Unisphere. It holds events like the US Open and Maker Faire and it has a lake big enough for boat races. You can enjoy the zoo, watch a play or pretend to be Men in Black movie (which was partly filmed here). If you are looking for an eventful day, go to the park before heading to a Mets game! Give the city’s second-biggest park a day and it’ll show you the world.
5- Gantry Park
(Photo by Will Steacy/ NYC & Company)
Home to the Pepsi-Cola sign, this Park is not your typical playground. It’s really well designed and probably one of the cleanest parks in New York City. If you want to take a romantic walk with your significant other in Long Island City, this is the place to do it. There is a terrific playground for children, lots of hammocks in the summertime, and tons of Adirondack chairs. It’s actually quite fancy!
(Photo by Kari S./Flickr CC)
The beautiful landscapes, meadows and the lake in this park will make you to feel as if you were in a romantic movie. One of New York City’s best-kept secrets, you can have a picnic here, ride a bike, jog, or go to the Prospect Park Zoo. And along the edges of the park, you could visit the Botanical Gardens and the Brooklyn Museum. Prospect Park is definitely one of the reasons to love Brooklyn.
7- Brooklyn Bridge Park
(Photo by Harlem Spirituals)
Go to the Brooklyn Bridge Park in the summer for free movies, food trucks and picnics. This is the perfect spot for barbequing out with impeccable views, there are several picnic tables set up, which makes it ideal for assembling a group of people. This park is perfect for capturing panoramic photos of Lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. You can also take in the views while watching newlyweds getting photographed or while riding the glorious carousel.
8- Inwood Hill Park
This Park sits right at the top edge of Manhattan with prehistoric wilderness, a river that defies the City and the miles of trails weaving through the last remaining bit of forest, which makes it a great location for hiking. As one of New York’s oldest landscapes, Inwood Hill Park reminds New Yorkers that there is still a place in Manhattan where nature truly rules the land. And, it’s populated by enormous red oak and tulip trees that create a mesmerizing canopy throughout the park.
9- Riverside Park
(Photo by Edison Koo/ NYC & Company)
This narrow but wonderful park has everything you could want. It’s a great place to jog, walk your dog, ride a bike, and play baseball or softball. An added bonus is the amazing view of the Hudson River from virtually anywhere in Riverside Park. This is a nice, peaceful, sizable spot for a relaxing stroll to clear your mind. The Hudson River makes Riverside Park a fantastic site for spending an evening waterfront, and the beautiful architecture of the buildings on West End Avenue contributed to the peaceful atomosphere here.
10- Pelham Bay Park
(Photo by Julienne Schaer/ NYC & Company)
This is probably the only place left in the city that still looks uninhabited. But Pelham Bay Park has a long bike path, a doggy park, children’s parks, picnic areas, a baseball field, tennis courts, and even a golf course that are all well maintained. If you walk the less popular routes, you may even stumble on wild peacocks or small deers!
What’s your favorite park in New York City? There are so many choices that the New York City Department of Park and Recreation has created a page that let you find out which park matches your personality best by answering a few simple questions.