If you’re looking for the ultimate list of things to do in Central Park, NYC, you’ve come to the right place!
There are so many incredible things to do in Central Park, NYC.
Central Park is one of my favorite places in the city, and somewhere I spend so much time. This place is so special, and part of the reason why, is because there is something for everyone.
You might think Central Park is just a park – but you’d be so wrong! There are so many activities inside – it could keep you busy for days!
If you’re visiting NYC and looking for fun and unique things to do in Central Park, this list will give you plenty of ideas and inspiration!
Central Park isn’t just cute pathways and open fields… There is history here. And food. And architecture. And even shops!
So, let’s get into it!
Fun things to do in Central Park, NYC!
Walk around (and get lost!)
First on our list of the best things to do in Central Park, NYC, it’s walking around and simply getting lost.
Sometimes the most simple ideas are the most fun, and walking around Central Park is one of the best ways to see it and experience it.
You don’t necessarily need to ‘make a plan’ – sometimes all you need to do is go exploring and be OK with getting lost!
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Capture some photos of the skyscraper views
Next on our list, it’s taking some incredible photos of the amazing skyscraper views.
Now, you’ll get these views across and around the entire park, but the best skyscraper views are (in my opinion!) found around The Pond, and Gapstow Bridge.
So, if you want to spend an hour or two grabbing some insanely cool photos of the NYC skyline, then this is a great choice.
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Ride the Central Park Carousel
Did you know that Central Park has it’s own beautiful carousel? It’s housed in this amazing old-style brick enclosed, and it’s such a fun choice for things to do in Central Park.
There are lots of carousels dotted around NYC (it’s kind of cute actually!) and one of the best ones is located in the heart of Central Park.
The Carousel is located near where 65th Street crosses the park, and it’s pretty easy to find. There are also toilets in the area, and a gift shop.
Rent a rowboat at the Loeb Boathouse
If you’re looking for romantic options – then you HAVE to rent a row boat.
It’s not just about the views and the amazing backdrop, but it’s about having that ‘main character moment’ on the lake too!
This is also a really affordable choice for things to do in Central Park, it costs about $25 per hour, which is obviously split between however many people are in the boat with you (max 4).
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Sail a model boat at Conservatory Water
Ok, this is a kind of cute option for things to do in Central Park, NYC!
If you can purchase yourself a mini model boat during your time int he city, you can go and sail it on Conservatory Water!
This is one of the quieter lakes in the park, and it’s really popular with model boat enthusiasts!
Such a cute choice for spending time in Central Park, and you may recognize the idea from the movie Stuart Little!
Pay for a poem
My next suggestion, is getting a poem written for yourself in Central Park.
When the city is blessed with good weather, you’ll often find freelance writers in the park (mainly around Bethesda Terrace) offering to write you personalized poems, for a small donation or tip.
It’s something that is so unique and so beautiful, not to mention romantic too!
Who doesn’t want to have someone write a beautiful poem for them?
How much does it cost? Well, most poets doing this work for ‘tips’ so there’s no official asking price, but I tipped my poet $20 when I did this.
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Admire the Central Park benches
Next on my list of things to do in Central Park, it’s enjoying all the beautiful Central Park benches.
If you didn’t know, most Central Park benches are dedicated to individuals with these beautiful little plaques.
I love walking around the pathways and finding inscriptions and tributes that are particularly beautiful. You’ll truly read some stunning dedications.
It’s such a low-key, free and beautiful choice for spending time in Central Park.
Explore Belvedere Castle
Belvedere Castle is next on my list of places to see in Central Park.
Yes, Central park has it’s own castle! And you can go and explore it!
Belvedere Castle is located about halfway up the park, and it’s a great choice for things to do in Central Park, especially on a sunny day!
This super iconic location in Central Park is a must-visit, and it’s located atop the huge rock outcrop known as Vista Rock.
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Visit the Dairy gift shop and visitor centre
Did you know that Central Park has it’s own gift shop? It’s called the Dariy gift shop, and it’s next on my list of things to do in Central Park.
What makes this gift shop so special? Well, it’s so far from the average gift shop in the city.
Just take a look below to see some of the magical stuff they sell!
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You’ll find stunning park-related items in here, but made my independent sellers, artists and small brands.
So, if you’re looking for truly unique souvenirs from Central park, or NYC, then this is the place to visit.
Take a pedicab tour
I don’t like recommending the horse and carriage rides on my website (just a personal choice) but I don’t mind recommending the pedicab tours as an alternative.
Pedicab are bike-lead cabin tours, that will zoom you around the park, and give you lots of useful information and facts about your surroundings.
Your tour guide will usually be happy to take your suggestions on what you’d like to see, or they can go with a pre-set route if you’re not sure where to go!
Find the Balto Statue
There are some incredible statues in NYC, and the Balto statue is the first one I’m going to mention, and it’s next on my list of things to do in Central Park, NYC.
Balto was a heroic dog, that saved many people’s lives – and his staue is a beautiful reminder of man’s best friend.
I really recommend visiting, and doing a little reading about this amazing dog and why he’s so deserving of his famous satue!
Go skating on Wollman Rink (seasonal)
In the autumn and winter months, this is one of the most popular activities in Central Park.
Wollman Rink is a classic New York City location, it has been featured in many movies, and books, and it’s a great place to enjoy a spot of ice-skating.
You can rent skates (if you don’t have your own!) and the views of Central Park are pretty insane!
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Find the Alice in Wonderland Statue
I couldn’t write a list of things to do in Central Park, without mentioning the amazing Alice in Wonderland Statue!
I really recommend trying to search for this statue during your time int he park, because it’s such an iconic spot in NYC.
I kind of love it, especially because when you’re visiting Central Park for the first time, it’s a little bit like being Alice herself!
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Visit Bow Bridge
Next up on my list of things to do in Central Park, it’s visiting the incredibly beautiful Bow Bridge.
Bow Bridge is known as one of the most romantic places in the city, and it’s where countless couples have become engaged!
But it’s worth adding to your list of things to do in Central park, even if you’re not planning anything romantic!
Why? Well, because of the amazing views, and because it’s a stunning piece of architecture too. And such a classic sight to see in Central Park.
Another thing I love about visiting Bow Bridge, is seeing all the people in their rowboats sail underneath!
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Explore Bethesda Terrace
Next up on my list of places to see in Central Park, it’s visiting the Bethesda Terrace and fountain.
This is a really scenic part of the city, and the covered terrace area is also home to some seriously beautiful building work and tiling too. For anyone into decor!
There is usually music underneath Bethesda Terrace too – which is always worth enjoying!
Oh, and public toilets! Bonus!
Visit ‘Tavern on the Green’
Tavern on the Green is next on my list of things to do in Central Park.
This adorable little restaurant and garden is located on the Upper West side of the park, and it’s such a great spot to grab lunch.
In the spring and summertime, there’s no better place to sit and enjoy a glass of bubbles, and a bowl of their French Onion Soup (my personal favorite!).
Is you’re looking to eat there at the weekends, I do recommend booking ahead, as it’s a very popular spot!
See the fall foliage (seasonal)
Next on my list, it’s seeing the fall foliage and all the beautiful autumn leaves.
Now, of course this is only going to apply to people who are visiting in the autumn months… But if that’s you… Then you absolutely need to go searching for Central Park’s stunning fall foliage.
It’s unmissable, and such a beautiful sight to behold!
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Admire the blossom trees (seasonal)
If you’re visiting NYC at the right time of year, then you might be lucky enough to witness the amazing blossom trees in Central park!
So, seeing the blossoms is next on my list of fun things to do in Central Park!
Obviously, this isn’t an all-year-round guarantee, but it’s a wonderful pick if you’re visiting Central park in the late spring.
Take up birdwatching at the Hallett Nature Sanctuary
Next up on my list of things to do in Central Park, it’s the beautiful Hallett Nature Sanctuary.
The Hallett Nature Sanctuary is a tiny corner of the park, and it’s home to some amazing spcieies of birds and wildlife.
So, if you want to learn more about the local birds, this is a really gorgeous way to spend time in Central Park.
Discover some of Central Park’s movie / TV locations
Another great choice for fun things to do in Central Park, is to explore the park’s many movie locations.
If you didn’t know, Central Park is a bit of a movie hub – and there have been so many fantastic films set and filmed in the area.
You can do tours of the movie locations in Central Park, or you can search them for yourself. Either way, it’s a fantastic choice!
Take an audio / walking tour
If you want to explore the park on foot, but you also want lots of information and facts along the way, then a walking / audio tour is a great option for things to do in Central Park.
There are so many different audio tours you can do in Central Park – whether you’re more focused on the history side of the park, or the popular culture!
Rent a bike for the day
Next on my list of the best things to do in Central Park, NYC, is taking a bike tour, or just renting a bike and exploring yourself.
Walking around the park is great, but if you’re short on time, then exploring by bike can be a little quicker and you’ll cover more ground!
There are specific guided bike tours you can take (which I definitely recommend!) or if you’re feeling confident, you can hire a bike and navigate yourself.
Just remember to read up on the park / bike etiquette first, so you know the rules and what’s expected of riders in the park.
Have a picnic
Next up on my list of things to do in Central Park, it’s having a picnic.
If you’re lucky enough to get some amazing weather when visiting Central Park, then you absolutely have to treat yourself to a picnic in the park!
There are several food stores close to the park (Whole Foods on Columbus Circle being one of the closest) so you can stock up on goodies, and make your way into the park for a delicious al fresco lunch!
There’s just something magical about having a picnic in Central Park! Just be sure to grab yourself a great picnic spot with an awesome view!
Have a coffee at Ballfields Cafe (seasonal)
Having a coffee at Ballfields Cafe is next on my list of ideas for spending time in Central Park.
This cafe is seasonal (it’s not always open in the winter months) but if you’re there when it’s open, it’s well worth stopping by.
One a long day of walking around the park, you’re bound to need a little sit down and rest at some point! So, this cafe is the perfect solution!
And it’s a great choice for things to do in NYC.
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Central Park Zoo
Yes, Central Park has a zoo! And it’s a pretty lovely zoo too!
So next on our list of places to visit in Central Park, is the amazing Central Park Zoo!
This is a great option for things to do in Central Park with kids too – as the zoo is really geared towards children and keeping them entertained!
Check out the artists
You’ll find lots of artists scattered around the main pathways in Central Park.
And checking out their art work is next one my list things to do and see in Central Park.
Even if you’re not interested in buying anything, it’s still lovely to enjoy their work!
Find Strawberry Fields & the Imagine Mosaic
Next on our list of things to do in Central Park, it’s finding the iconic Strawberry Fields & the Imagine Mosaic.
For any Beatles fans, or music fans, this spot is a must-see in the famous Central Park!
Visit the Ladies Pavilion
Next up on my list, is the Ladies Pavilion.
This unique little area of the park is super scenic, and has some pretty incredible views of the city and the skyscrapers!
It’s also a lovely area just to admire and explore, given it’s so unique and beautiful too!
Fun fact – this area is also a popular place for couples to tie the knot!
Enjoy the views from the outer pathways
Next on my list of things to do in Central Park, it’s exploring some of the external pathways that run around the outside of the park’s perimeters.
Some of the best views in Central Park, are actually from the pathways along the outside.
If you love architecture and NYC’s famous buildings, then taking some of the exterior pathways around the park is a great way to soak in some amazing neighborhood views.
Enjoy the flowers
In the spring and summer, the gardeners of Central Park really work hard to make the park come back to life after winter.
Which is why enjoying all the flowers and tulips in springtime, is a gorgeous choice for spending time in NYC.
The floral displays and arrangements are simply incredible and not to be missed.
Relax on Sheep Meadow
Sheep Meadow is one of the most famous large spaces in the park, and it’s next on my list of things to do in Central Park.
This is one of those great locations to set up a picnic, enjoy relaxing and just soaking in the city vibes all day.
In the summer, this is a really popular choice, and you’ll find loads of people sunbathing and soaking up the rays here!
Walk over Gapstow Bridge
Next on my list of things to do in Central Park, it’s the rustic and charming Gapstow Bridge.
This little bridge is a beautiful little part of the park, and we really recommend taking a walk over it during your time exploring.
This amazing bridge was constructed way back in 1896, so it’s a real part of New York City’s history.
Take your kids to one of the (many) playgrounds
Another great choice for things to do in Central Park with kids, is finding one of the many playgrounds.
Central Park has so many amazing playgrounds, dotted all over. And they’re ideal for letting your kids loose and helping them burn some energy!
At my last count, there was 21 kids playgrounds in Central Park – so you’re in for a treat!
Go sledding on Cedar Hill (seasonal)
If you’re lucky enough to visit Central Park during snowfall, then you simply HAVE to try sledding!
There are many hills where the local New Yorkers do sledding in the winter months – but my favorite is Cedar Hill!
Watch a show at Shakespeare in the Park
Last on my list of spending time in Central Park, it’s Shakespeare in the Park.
During the summer months, Shakespeare in the Park is an amazing outdoor theater experience – that I 100% recommend you check out.
Even if you’re not into Shakespeare – it’s such fun to watch a performance outdoors in the park!
I hope this list of things to do in Central Park has given you loads of ideas!
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