The Big Apple is famous for its beautiful skylines, endless sidewalks and crowded subways, but its parks don’t often get a mention. That’s a shame because the parks in NYC are an absolute must-see for residents and visitors alike year-round. Whether you’re visiting NYC on a flyby or you live and breathe city life, heading to one of these parks should be super high on your list of priorities.
While the parks of NYC might not rival the more exotic national parks of Brazil or Mauritius, they have their beauty and rustic charm, too. Watching the seasons change at any one of these green spaces is a treat worth going back time and time again. So, whether you’re looking for somewhere to burn off some steam, have a leisurely picnic or stroll through the autumn leaves, these are the places to see.
Possibly the most famous park in the entire world, Central Park covers 6 percent of the total land mass of Manhattan, which means that you could spend all day strolling around its grounds. With over 50 fountains, monuments and sculptures and 36 bridges and arches, there are plenty of beautiful photo opportunities here, so don’t forget to bring your camera.
Central Park sees over 25 million visitors every year, which is unsurprising given that there are plenty of activities here year-round. From ice skating in the winter to pedal boating in the summer, indeed there is something for everyone, no matter the season.
Although this gem of a park is only a few blocks west of Central Park, it is hardly ever visited by tourists. Meaning Riverside Park is the perfect place to head to if you need to get away from the hustle and bustle of inner city life. Taking in the views along the Hudson River and New Jersey shore is a relaxing and peaceful way to spend a few hours while the beautifully manicured lawns and waterfront promenades are a wonderfully romantic backdrop for a picnic.
Fort Tryon Park
Another spot to catch sweeping views of the Hudson River is from Fort Tryon Park, one of Manhattan’s highest points and arguably, best-kept secrets. With a stunning Heather Garden, breezy promenades and the very photogenic Billings Mansion, the only problem you will have is working out what to see first. Sunsets here are breathtaking, so be sure to head here with a blanket and warm drinks to watch the sun go down.
Flushing Meadow-Corona Park
One of the most iconic sites in NYC, this park has a rich history that draws visitors from all over the world. The park was created as the site for the 1939/1940 New York’s World’s Fair and later hosted the 1964 World’s Fair. The Unisphere towers created for these events still dominate the skyline and were featured in the movie “Men in Black.” The park is also home to the current U.S. Open where some of the biggest names in tennis compete for the coveted top spot.
Pelham Bay Park
Although not as well-known as the other parks in NYC, Pelham Bay is the largest park in the city. It measures almost 2,772 acres, which makes it three times the size of Manhattan’s Central Park. It features the Orchard Beach, a man-made beach constructed in 1936 by Parks Commissioner Robert Moses. There’s also a mansion, which is open to the public, perfect for anyone who likes to learn a bit about the history of the area.
Washington Square Park
You can’t head to Greenwich Village without checking out Washington Square Park. Nestled in the center of the New York University campus, there is so much to see and do here that you might not be able to fit it all in! From 24-hour dining and shopping to the spectacular nightlife and arts scene, you could be forgiven for thinking that you are even in a park at all. Worry not, though, as there is plenty of greenery and stretches of lawns to take in the fresh air.
Whichever park you choose to visit, you are guaranteed to have a great time in the green spaces of NYC.