Covering an impressive 843 acres, Central Park in Manhattan is one of the most iconic urban parks in the world. In fact, if you are planning a trip to New York City, it is probably on your bucket list.
If it isn’t, take out your itinerary and rearrange your schedule. Seriously—do it. You don’t want to miss out on Central Park. It could very well end up being the most exciting part of your entire trip. Here are just a few reasons why.
1. Get away from the crowds.
For starters, this vast park is your best chance at taking a breather from the crowds of New York City. While some parts of the park can get pretty packed at certain times of the year, other areas are surprisingly secluded.
For example, visit the Hallett Nature Sanctuary, and you’ll find yourself with four acres of tranquil woodlands to explore. You can also try the 36-acre zone called The Ramble, or the famous North Woods, which includes a small scenic waterfall.
2. Enjoy a different view of the city.
Where else can you get such a dramatic view of the New York City skyline without even leaving the city? Be sure to bring your camera to capture some epic panoramic shots.
3. Relax in a quiet zone.
Central Park not only allows you to escape the crowds of NYC; it also lets you get away from the noise and chaos. The park has eight special areas which are called “quiet zones.” In these zones, you cannot play music without headphones, and dogs have to be on leashes. Running, cycling, and sports are not allowed—but relaxation is. Grab a book, recline on a bench, and enjoy solitude and serenity you won’t find anywhere else in the city.
4. Discover more about the history of NYC.
There is so much to learn about the history of Central Park. Everywhere you go, you will discover surprising and fascinating facts about the past. For example, did you know that Central Park’s creators needed 3 million cubic yards of soil to complete the job? They also had to clear away swamps and construct a reservoir along with the manmade lakes.
5. Share in fun activities for the entire family.
If you are traveling with children, there is no better place to bring them than Central Park. The park boasts so many kid-friendly activities: the Woods and Water Exhibit at Belvedere Castle, the Tisch Children’s Zoo, the Central Park Carousel, and so much more.
6. There are seasonal activities year-round.
During spring or summer, take a rowboat out on the lake and look for ducks and swans. During the wintertime, go ice skating at the famous Wollman Rink. No matter what time of year you visit Central Park, you will find fun seasonal activities await you.
7. Take in culture through live performances.
Enjoy theatre or music? Watch Free Shakespeare in the Park at Delacorte Theater, or take your children to the Marionette Theatre or the summer storytelling at the Hans Christian Anderson Statue. It is also common to stumble across musicians and artists giving impromptu performances in the park. Every day is an adventure offering special moments in time that will never be repeated!
8. Surround yourself in natural beauty.
Did you know there are more than 25,000 trees in Central Park, with around 174 species in all? Additionally, you can see snapping turtles, carp and squirrels, as well as more than 270 different species of birds. So be sure to bring your binoculars and a bird guide.
9. Get some exercise during your trip.
While you will probably do a lot of walking in NYC, you may end up using the cab or subway to get around town. In Central Park, you can put on your tennis shoes and get a great workout on your trip. In fact, you will be so busy exploring and taking in the sights that you will hardly notice how many calories you are burning.
10. Explore the world far beyond NYC.
Central Park has ties to places and times that span far outside the city’s perimeter. One astonishing example is “Cleopatra’s Needle,” an Egyptian obelisk in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While the obelisk was placed here in 1881, it is authentic, dating back to 1450 BC when it was originally constructed for a pharaoh in Egypt.
11. You can take a pedicab tour.
Finally, one more great reason to visit Central Park is that you can explore it at your own pace. You can walk if you want, but if you are looking to give your feet a break, you can hire a pedicab driver to show you around. This is the perfect way to pick up cool facts about the park while seeing more than you possibly could on foot.
Now you know some of the reasons why so many tourists in New York say that touring Central Park was the best part of their whole trip. If you add it to your itinerary, it will undoubtedly be yours as well!