Take a break in New York City’s beloved playground.
Occupying 843 acres of prime real estate—six percent of the total area of Manhattan—Central Park is the perfect antidote to the crowds and chaos of the city. Nearly every element here—from trees and shrubs to lakes and hills—was planted or planned by renowned landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in the 1850s. And in true New York fashion, the park is anything but one-size-fits-all. Drop by the small but great Central Park Zoo, a hit with kids thanks to its starring role in the animated “Madagascar” films. Or check out the six-mile-long Central Park Drive that circles the park and is reserved for bikers, joggers and in-line skaters. Come summer, line up for a free ticket to the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park, which performs two plays per season with big names from Broadway and Hollywood. Tickets are distributed earlier in the day at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, at the Public Theater downtown and via digital lottery through the TodayTix app. In winter, ice skate with a dreamy skyline backdrop at Wollman Rink.
- The massive Metropolitan Museum of Art—home to more than 2 million objects—butts into Central Park at 82nd Street and Fifth Avenue. It joins several smaller museums lining Fifth Avenue across the street from Central Park to create Museum Mile.
- American Museum of Natural History. This Central Park West institution of “Night at the Museum” fame lures visitors with an astounding collection that includes gigantic dinosaurs, dozens of wildlife dioramas and a model of a giant blue whale suspended from the ceiling. We can neither confirm nor deny that the collection comes alive after hours.
- Sure, there are dozens of delis within close range of Central Park, but locals’ favorites include Eli’s Manhattan and Grace’s Marketplace on the east side, and Zabar’s and the Whole Foods at Columbus Circle on the west.
If You Go
59th Street to 106th Street between 5th Avenue and Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
6 a.m. - 1 a.m daily
Accessible by N, R, Q trains to 57th and 7th Avenue Station; 2, 3 trains to all stations between 59th Street and 110th Street; A, B, C, D, 1, 4, 5, 6 trains to all stations between 57th Street and 110th Street
Recommended time to spend:
At least two hours