You could spend days exploring all 843 hectares of New York City’s Central Park. But if you’re short on time here are some great ideas.
Row, row, row your boat
Going rowing might not be the first thing you think of when you plan a visit to Central Park but it is worth it. You can hire rowboats for $15 an hour near the Loeb Boathouse and you’re free to explore until sunset. If you’ve never rowed before it can make for some hilarious experiences dodging other boats, birds and turtles. It’s also a great way to see areas of the park that aren’t easily accessible on foot.
Have a drink at The Loeb Boathouse
To celebrate your success (or hilarious failings) at rowing, a drink by the water at the Loeb Boathouse is a must. Particularly in the warmer months it is so relaxing to sit in the sun and watch boats pass you by. For something a bit more special consider making a booking in the restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner (or brunch on the weekend). You’ll need to plan ahead though as they book out weeks in advance!
Down the rabbit hole
Central Park is home to a number of monuments, including a number of popular fictional characters. The statue of Alice in Wonderland is located at East 47th street, north of Conservatory Water (which you might know as the sailboat pond). Unveiled in 1959 the statue is a great photo opportunity and children (and let’s be real a few adults as well) tend to climb over the various levels. A word of warning though, that bronze can get very hot in the sunshine so be careful before you sit down on a toadstool!
Imagine all the people
Strawberry Fields is an area of Central Park dedicated to the memory of John Lennon. Named after the Beatles song “Strawberry Fields Forever”, the entrance to the memorial is at West 72nd street, across the road from where John Lennon lived and was killed in 1980. The focal point of the memorial is a large mosaic spelling out the words of John Lennon’s famous song. Visitors regularly leave roses and other tributes and Yoko Ono, who still lives across the road at The Dakota building, contributed over a million dollars for the upkeep of the memorial.
Have a go at sailing
When you’re done visiting Alice in Wonderland you might like to try your hand at sailing a model boat. Now, this sounds like it would be very simple, after all they provide you with a handy remote and a large expanse of water. But it is deceptively hard to master. Don’t be ashamed when you see local kids with their own model boats effortlessly steer their vessel around the water, everyone has to start somewhere. Bonus points if you buy a sailor hat.
Hunt for squirrels
Wherever you go in the park, you’re likely to see some squirrels. The novelty is yet to wear off for me and I took great joy in hunting for them and attempting to have a photo with them. I wouldn’t recommend feeding them but if you spot one don’t be scared, they’re friendly if not a bit shy!
If there’s one thing you absolutely must do in Central Park, it is to let yourself get lost. Go for a walk and discover new pathways and areas to rest and reflect. The park is so beautifully green in the warmer months and the colours change with the seasons. It would take days to cover every area in the park, but it is worth exploring as much as you can. You never know what you might find.
Join the discussion:
What are some of your favourite things to do in Central Park? Leave a comment below!