Whether you’re visiting New York City with your beloved or you’re a local simply trying to plan the perfect date, Central Park is a romantic destination offering an abundance of activities which are perfect for couples. If you really want to sweep your loved one off their feet, here are 10 activities which are sure to get the sparks flying.
1. Row a Boat
Drop by the Loeb Boathouse and you can rent a small rowboat for an hour. Head on out on the water together with your date, and you can enjoy a romantic time together with one of the park’s most iconic buildings in the backdrop. Afterwards, stay for a meal at the boathouse restaurant.
2. Picnic in Central Park
While there are a lot of great restaurants around Central Park, sometimes the best meal is the one that you pack yourself. With spots like the Great Lawn, Sheep Meadow, Great Hill, Strawberry Fields, and Belvedere Castle to choose from, you’ll find plenty of lovely spots to enjoy the scenery while sharing a delicious meal with your loved one. Remember, you can also grab takeout nearby instead of packing lunch yourself.
3. Go Ice Skating
If it’s too cold for a picnic, it might be just the right weather for ice skating. Head with your special someone down to Wollman Rink, one of Central Park’s most recognizable landmarks. Featured in films like Serendipity and Love Story, it is one of the most romantic spots in all of NYC.
4. Visit the Central Park Zoo
Most people think of the Central Park Zoo as a family destination, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t also a perfect spot for a date with an animal lover! At the zoo, you can see cool animals like snow leopards, penguins, sea lions and red pandas—more than 130 species in all. With the skyscrapers of the city in the backdrop, it is also undeniably one of the most scenic zoos in the world.
5. Admire the Belvedere Castle
This folly is one of the first sites that a lot of people think of when they picture Central Park. The name Belvedere translates to “Beautiful View,” and it certainly is one. Additionally, it offers more than a few. Climb to either of its two balconies and you can look out across the landscape of the park.
Inside, there is more to do. The Belvedere Castle contains a museum with a selection of artifacts and also loans out field packs which you can take with you around the park. These contain binoculars, maps and other useful materials—great if the pair of you are birdwatchers or naturalists.
6. Walk the Bow Bridge
Arcing gracefully across the lake, this delicate bridge is an unabashedly romantic spot featured in movies like Autumn in New York, Keeping the Faith, and Manhattan. It dates all the way back to 1862, when its construction was completed. In all, it spans 87 feet and features a set of bas-relief panels topped with eight planters. The banisters are a set of circles interlinked—not unlike interlocking rings. This would be a great place to propose.
7. Explore the Conservatory Garden
One of the best reasons to visit Central Park on a date is to get away from the noise of the city. You can do this by heading to the Conservatory Garden, which is designated as an official quiet zone. Take a stroll through English, French and Italian-style gardens and enjoy a moment of quiet and serenity with your beloved. With the fragrance of flowers and the beautiful cultivated greenery all around, you will have the perfect backdrop for romance.
8. Hike in the Woods
If you really want to get a moment all to yourself with your beloved, you can go on a hike together through the park’s forested areas. There are a number of lovely shaded trails which take you out of sight of Central Park’s wide open lawns and get you away from the crowds. Visit the Ramble or the Hallett Nature Sanctuary or the North Woods to surround yourself with natural beauty. With its small waterfall, the North Woods is an especially romantic destination.
9. Attend a Performance of Shakespeare in the Park.
Shakespeare in the Park is a Public Theater service formerly known as the New York Shakespeare Festival. Taking place on an open-air stage, these performances are free. To get tickets, you need to wait at the Delacorte theatre on the same day as the performance. You can get up to two, so this is a perfect activity for a couple.
10. Check out Cleopatra’s Needle
Enjoy the mystique and romance of the past with someone special by paying a visit to the famous “Cleopatra’s Needle.” This Egyptian obelisk has been standing in its location before the Metropolitan Museum of Art since 1881. Archaeologists have estimated its year of construction to be around 1450 BC. After you’ve checked out the obelisk, head inside the museum to spend a day touring the exhibits.
Now you have 10 ideas for planning a romantic visit to Central Park. What’s the best way to get around? While you can walk or ride a bicycle, a Central Park pedicab tour is a much easier way to get around. Your pedicab guide can point out more great destinations for you and your loved one to explore as well. That way you don’t miss a single moment of romance in Central Park!