New York City Parks

New York Parks Guide

New York City Parks

New York City has over 28,000 acres of municipal parkland and 14 miles of public beaches. This parkland is augmented by thousands of acres of Gateway National Recreation Area, part of the National Park system, that lie within city boundaries.

Although there is enough to see in New York City to keep a person going 24 hours a day, there is also something to be said for stepping back and taking a little break from it all.

Luckily, there are great New York City Parks that are perfect for doing just that. The city has a number of parks that are well-landscaped and beautifully maintained, making city parks attractions in their own right.

Another great think about New York City parks is that they are conveniently located in great areas and near tourist attractions. You hardly have to break your sightseeing stride to enjoy them!

Central Park

Manhattan’s Central Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, is the most visited city park in the United States with 30 million visitors each year. While much of the park looks natural, it is almost entirely landscaped.

”CentralCentral Park holds several natural-looking ponds and lakes, extensive walking tracks, horse paths, two ice-skating rinks (one of these is a swimming pool in the summer), the Central Park Zoo, the Central Park Conservatory Garden, a wildlife sanctuary, a large expanse of natural woods, a 106-acre billion-gallon reservoir with an encircling running track, and an outdoor amphitheater called the Delacorte Theater that hosts the “Shakespeare in the Park” summer festivals. Indoor attractions in central Park include Belvedere Castle with its nature center, the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, and the historic Carousel.

Prospect Park in Brooklyn

In addition, there are numerous major and minor grassy areas. Some are used for informal or team sports, some are set aside as quiet areas, and some are enclosed as playgrounds for children. The park has its own wildlife and serves as an oasis for migrating birds, especially in the fall and the spring, making it a significant attraction for bird watchers; 200 species of birds are regularly seen. The 6 miles of drives within the park are used by joggers, bicyclists, and inline skaters, especially on weekends, and in the evenings after 7:00 p.m., when automobile traffic is banned. Prospect Park in Brooklyn, also designed by Olmsted and Vaux, has a 90-acre meadow.

Bryant Park

Bryant Park Bryant Park is a meticulously landscaped park that gets bonus points for its extremely convenient location.

Bryant ParkThis park is right in the middle of many of the city’s most popular tourist attractions and it’s close to some of New York’s hottest shopping spots. It is the perfect place to take a break between sightseeing and other activities.

Union Square Park

People come to Union Square Park as much for the quirky atmosphere and eclectic crowds as for anything else.

Union Square ParkFor a park that’s a little less conventional than the rest, check this one out. And don’t be surprised if you see skateboarders doing tricks, a bluegrass band, or a large crowd gathered around a street performer.

Madison Square Park

Madison Square Park is a great place for a quick rest and maybe a little lunch.

Madison Square ParkYou can see both the Flatiron Building and the Empire State Building from the park. It’s a little calmer and less crowded than Bryant Park or Union Square Park. The park’s family-friendly atmosphere and legendary Shake Shack make it even harder to pass up.

Battery Park

Battery Park is located at the very tip of Lower Manhattan, so it’s the perfect place to go when you’re sightseeing in the Financial District.

Battery ParkThis park is right on the water where you can catch great views of the New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty, and boats passing by. It’s also full of monuments and memorials.

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, the city’s third-largest, was the setting for the 1939 World’s Fair and the 1964 World’s Fair.

Over a fifth of the Bronx’s area, 7,000 acres, is given over to open space and parks, including Van Cortlandt Park, Pelham Bay Park, the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Gardens.

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, the only wildlife refuge in the National Park System, alone is over 9,000 acres of wetland islands and water taking up most of Jamaica Bay.

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