Central Park is a magnificent oasis – 843 acres in the heart of Manhattan providing locals and tourists alike with a sanctuary to explore and enjoy. The park boasts a zoo, a castle, beautiful bridges and waterways, and seemingly endless trails to run or hike. To see all of what Central Park has to offer in one day is impossible; however, in just a visit, you can get a good feel for its culture and importance by visiting these 9 must-see spots in Central Park.
Bethesda Terrace & Fountain
Considered the heart of Central Park, Bethesda Terrace and Fountain are a spirited nucleus of activity. Here, you’ll see lively musicians and street performers, the iconic lower passage, and a beautiful view of The Lake.
Loeb Boathouse & The Lake
The Loeb Boathouse is where park visitors can stop for a quick snack or rent a row boat to explore The Lake. On the boat, don’t forget to row under Bow Bridge to catch a great view of the iconic San Remo, the twin-peaked Emery Roth masterwork and city landmark on Central Park West.
Bow Bridge is one of the most romantic spots in Central Park. Built between 1859 and 1862, Bow Bridge was the first cast-iron bridge in the park and is the second oldest in America.
If you’re looking for the highest and best views of Central Park, be sure to visit Belvedere Castle. Located around 79th street, Belvedere Castle looks out on the Great Lawn to the north and the Ramble to the south.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir
Built in the 1860s as a temporary water supply for the city, the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir is one of the most picturesque spots in Central Park. President Bill Clinton, Madonna, and Jackie Kennedy Onassis (for whom the reservoir was named in 1994) have all run around the 1.58-mile track.
Central Park has something for everybody, including birdwatchers and nature-lovers. The Ramble is a 36-acre wild garden for visitors to get lost in nature where over 230 species of birds have been spotted. Wander around inside and find hidden treasures like waterfalls and the Ramble Stone Arch.
Nothing signals the arrival of the warm weather like seeing Sheep Meadow fill up with sunbathers, picnickers, and people. Experience Central Park like a local and grab a blanket and some food and enjoy a view of Manhattan’s skyline and people-watching that Sheep Meadow has to offer.
A tribute to John Lennon and named after one of his favorite songs, Strawberry Fields is a quiet section of Central Park located on Central Park West at West 72nd Street, directly across from the Dakota Apartments, where Yoko Ono still lives and where Lennon was murdered in 1980. The focal point of Strawberry Fields is the mosaic of inlaid stones spelling out the word “Imagine.”
One of my personal favorites, the Mall is a must-see in Central Park. This wide walkway lined with majestic elm trees is one of the most wonderful spots in the park any time of the year. Its beauty has inspired many as the Mall is one of the most photographed features of Central Park.
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