Many people are surprised by the number of parks they come across in Manhattan and the other four boroughs. There are actually over 1,700 parks, playgrounds, and recreation facilities in New York City. Below, we’ve listed a few of the major parks that we think are worth a visit.
Some of our favorite parks in Manhattan include: Central Park, Bryant Park, Madison Square Park, and Washington Square Park.
Enough can never be said about the wonder that is Central Park. An unbelievably huge and well-preserved park located in the heart of Manhattan, Central Park is a lovely reprieve from the city. You must go. No excuses whatsoever. There are an infinite number of things to do and see here. If nothing else, just walk in, sit down, and have a picnic. It’s home to a zoo, boating ponds, sports centers, a carousel, and tons of cafes, restaurants, and street vendors. Please visit it at some point during your stay and just enjoy the stroll around. Website
This is quite a small park, but one of our favorites. It is located right in front of the NY Public Library and during most of the year is packed with outdoor seating that fills up incredibly quickly during peak lunch and dinner hours. It’s a wonderful place to grab a table on a warm summer day and just sit, relax, people watch, drink a beverage, and hang out. I’m not sure any park has many tables as this one. Website
Madison Square Park
To be honest, there isn’t anything particularly special about this park except that it’s located in a great area across from Eataly and the Flat Iron building. It’s kind of a fun vibe and the original Shake Shack is located in the park. The park is never really overly crowded (unlike the Shake Shack stand) and it makes a nice place to sit if you’ve grabbed some food from Eataly, which doesn’t have much seating outside of its restaurant areas. There are also usually food vendors in the area. Website
Washington Square Park
This is quite a youthful park as its located by NYU’s campus and there is always something going on. Generally you’ll see a few performers or a show taking place at any given time and the best part is that with quite a bit of regularity, someone shows up with a piano and plays it in the park for hours. Website
The High Line
The High Line comes highly recommended, though not particularly by us. We just can’t get our heads around why people think this is the best thing ever. Nonetheless, people love it, so there’s a good chance you will, too. It’s a 1.5 mile long park built on an elevated section a discontinued railroad. It’s particularly nice to take a stroll on when the weather is warm as it runs right along the river and has lovely views. The High Line itself is packed with greenery, plants, ponds, and spaces to relax, though it can get so crowded it’s hard to move. You’ll also run into vendors selling ice cream, drinks, and other snacks to enhance the experience.
The High Line also occasionally hosts free public guided tours to provide more background and history and music, arts, and cultural events are held throughout the year. After you’ve visited the High Line, you can pop across the street to the Whitney Museum. Website
Brooklyn Bridge Park
This park is great to visit for views of Manhattan as it’s located right at the start of the Brooklyn Bridge on the water. Website
There is always something cool going on in this park like a weekly drum circle, a free concert series every summer, a carousel, and free events each weekend. It has a very long stretch of greenery called the Long Meadow (90-acres), a Picnic House, and plenty of sports facilities. Website
Flushing Meadows – Corona Park
The most well-known part of this park is the steel globe that was created for the 1964 World’s Fair, but the park is also home to the New York Hall of Science, the Arthur Ashe Stadium, and Citi Field. There’s a zoo, a boating lake, a skating park, play fields, and BBQ areas – certainly worth checking out if you’re in the area. Website
Pelham Bay Park
The largest in the city! Website
What are you doing on Staten Island? Take the ferry back to Manhattan, quick!