A Visitor’s Guide to Central Park

by / Thursday, 06 August 2009 / Published in New York City

New York City’s Central Park is the most popular park in the United States with over 25 million visitors every year. Here is a selection of things to do when visiting Central Park!

New York City, Central Park photo
Photo of Central Park from Rockefeller Center © Alfred Hutter


People play many different kinds of sports in Central Park. Tennis and volleyball courts are popular in the summer and fall, while cyclists and in-line skaters use Park Drive all year round. Other popular sports include basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, football, swimming, fishing, handball, ice skating, and more.

Jogging in Central Park
Photo of jogging – Central Park © Gruban

There are even good spots for bouldering in Central Park, like Rat Rock.

Climbing in Central Park
Photo of Rat Rock – Central Park © benssss


Central Park is a great place to celebrate the coming of summer by catching some sun. Unroll your blanket at one of the popular areas or find a more secluded spot.

Sunbathing in Central Park, NYC
Photo of sunbathers in Central Park © Joe Shlabotnik

Carriage Rides

The first horse-drawn carriage rides in Central Park were in 1935 and remain a popular pastime for couples. You can hire a carriage for about $35 per hour on the south side between 5th and 6th Avenues.

Horse and carriage rides in New York City's Central Park
Photo of sunbathers in Central Park © Paul Songco


Summer is the season for concerts in Central Park, when the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera put on free shows for everyone. Other events to check out are Summerstage and Shakespeare in the Park.  (See also our list of free things to do in New York City.)

opera in Central Park
Photo of opera in Central Park © Joe Shlabotnik


See animals from around the world at the Central Park Zoo. Whether you are interested in rainforest sanctuaries or polar animals, this zoo has something for everyone.

Central Park Zoo
Photo of Central Park Zoo © Stig Nygaard

Central Park Reservoir

This massive reservoir covers 106 acres of the park and is a popular place for joggers and birdwatchers. Try and visit in April when the Japanese cherry trees are in bloom.

Central Park Reservoir
Photo of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park © Ken Chow

Strawberry Fields

Pay your respects at this memorial to John Lennon on October 9th, his birthday, or December 8th, the day he was shot. Music sessions and vigils are often held throughout the year.

Strawberry Fields Memorial in Central Park

Tavern on the Green

Tavern on the Green in Central Park is one of the most popular restaurants in the United States with over 500,000 visitors every year!

Tavern on the Green Restaurant

Central Park Photos

Here are some more images of Central Park…enjoy!

Turtle pond at Central Park
Photo of Turtle Pond – Central Park © Daniel Schwen

Rowing Pond Sunset
Photo of Central Park lake at sunset © joiseyshowaa

Boating Lake in Central Park
Photo of Central Park lake © joiseyshowaa

Bathesda Arcade in Central Park
Photo of Bethesda Arcade in Central Park © joiseyshowaa

Central Park photo - Rockefeller Center

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    3 Responses to “A Visitor’s Guide to Central Park”

    1. Annita Weichel says :

      I wrote a similar article on this subject but you nailed it here.

    2. laura says :

      I would like a visitor’s guide sent to me…
      Thank you

    3. Jazz Hostels says :

      Hi Laura,
      For a printed visitor’s guide, check with an official NYC tourism department, though I believe they now keep most of their information online:

      EDIT: click this link to download a NYC visitor’s guide:

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