The Best Central Park Entrances (and what they’re close to!)

October 3, 2020

Are you looking for the best Central Park entrances? There are many to choose from, and these are my top picks!

Central Park is one of the most amazing places in NYC, and no visit to the city is complete without a day exploring the park and all it has to offer. It can be tricky knowing which of the many Central Park entrances are the best though…!

central park entrances in nyc

Picking the right Central Park entrance can ensure you see all the stuff you want to see, so make sure you take a read of my top picks for Central Park entrances below – and choose the perfect one for your day out in the city’s most famous park.

I’ve started the list with the three main entrances to Central Park – the three that are located on 59th st (closest to midtown, where most tourists stay during their vacation in the city).

However, there are so many more locations where you can enter Central Park – and so much more to discover, so keep reading to learn more about the other Central Park entrances too!


Colombus Circle (W 59th st and 8th Ave)

First on my list of Central Park entrances… it’s the Colombus Circle entrance. The Central Park entrance at Colombus Circle is one of the busiest entrances to Central Park. You’ll find it’s a bit of a hub for people trying to sell tours / bike rides / walking tours / etc – so if that kind of thing annoys you, this is probably an entrance to steer clear of.

Just so you know – if you are looking for tours in and around Central Park – it’s cheaper (and safer) to book ahead. I recommend these Central Park tours...

On the plus side though, this entrance is right near a big WholeFoods Market (across the road in the Columbus Circle Shops), which means if you fancy picking up some picnic supplies, you have one of the best grocery stores in NYC right there!

There are plenty of routes you can take from this entrance too – so it’s a great one to choose if you want to have plenty of options for exploring!

best Central Park entrances

West Drive Entrance (W 59th st and 7th Ave)

Next on my list of Central Park entrances, it’s the West Drive entrance. This entrance to Central Park is located right in the middle of the bottom edge of the park. If you’re heading into the park from midtown, then this is a pretty nice way to enter the park. It’s a little quieter than the other 59th st entrances to the park, which can be nice during peak seasons!

If you’re looking to head to the Heckscher Playground, Dipway arch or Umpire Rock, this is the closest entrance.

Heckscher Playground

Grand Army Plaza (W 59th st and 5th Ave)

Perhaps the other most popular entrance, the Grand Army Plaza entrance is a great one. It’s busy (of course) but the little pathway that leads down towards The Pond (past Lombard Lamp) is one of the nicest walks in the park and has so many beautiful views and photo opportunities.

If you want to get those iconic photos of Central Park with the pond and the skyscraper of midtown – this is the entrance to head to! It’s also the best entrance to Central Park if you’re looking to reach Gapstow Bridge (one of the most picturesque and romantic in the park!).

If you follow the pathway up the park alongside The Pond, you’ll also reach Wollman Rink (one of the city’s best ice rinks in the winter). This is a great option for Central Park entrances!

top Central Park entrances

East 66 and 66th Street

This entrance is the closest to Central Park’s famous zoo, and it’s a great entrance to opt for after exploring the zoo.

The Billy Johnson Playground and the Balto Statue are really close by this entrance, and if you continue along this road into the heart of the park, you’ll also reach Central Park Carousel too.

balto statue in central park nyc

Terrace Drive (East 72nd st)

This Central Park Entrance is the best if you want to take a stroll around Conservatory Water (which is beautiful!) and the beautiful Alice in Wonderland Statue too. An underrated option of Central Park entrances, and one of my favourites for sure.

This entrance is also pretty close to the Loeb Boathouse too (the famous riverside restaurant).

list of Central Park entrances

East 85th St (with toilets)

Next on my list of Central Park entrances, it’s East 85th st.

If you’re looking to head into Central Park after visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this is the best entrance for you as it’s right nearby! There are also public toilets at this entrance too (bonus!) so it scores extra points from me!

This entrance is one of the best for the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir too – as it’ll take you right next to one of the walking and running tracks that circles the entire reservoir.

West 96th st

West 96th st is next on my list of Central Park entrances. Onto the west side of the park! West 96th st is one of the best for the upper part of the park. It’s right next to a subway entrance too – so easy to get to!

West 93rd st (pedestrian only)

This cute little entrance is pedestrian-only, so it’s usually nice and quiet. It’s another nice entrance to Central Park if you’re looking to stroll around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, but it’s also a great entrance if you’re looking to visit the Gothic Bridge too.

Central Park entrances.

American Museum of Natural History entrance

Right opposite the American Museum of Natural History (across the road) you’ll find a little entrance to the park perfect for visitors!

This entrance is perfect for all the sights in the centre of the park, such as Shakespeare Gardens, Belvedere Castle, Turtle Pond and the Lake. You can easily to walk to all of those places from this entrance to Central Park.

I actually love entering the park here, and walking all the way down to the base of the park (I usually head towards the pond int he bottom east corner. You’ll go past most of the sights Central Park has to offer doing this route!

Belvedere Castle new york city central park entrance

Terrace drive (West 72nd st)

Another Terrace Drive entrance (this time on the opposite side of the park). This is the best entrance for Strawberry Fields, Cherry Hill, Wagner Cove, and Bow Bridge, as both are super close.

There’s also a subway station right next to this entrance, so it’s super easy to locate and get to. This is one of my favourite entrances to Central Park!

Central Park entrances
easiest Central Park entrances

West 66th st

Last on my list of Central Park entrances, it’s West 66th st! This is a great entrance if you fancy a drink on the way! You’ll find the amazing Tavern on the Green pub at the entrance!

Stopping off at this place on the sunny afternoon and sipping a cocktail or a beer, is one of my favourite things to do before I head into the park for a stroll! Oh, and if you’re hungry… be sure to try their onion soup!

I hope this list of Central Park entrances has been helpful!

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