Real oasis in the city, Central Park is New York's backyard, with a lush 843-acre of nature stretching three avenues wide from 59th St all the way up to 110th St, including a lake, a few ponds, waterfalls, green hills, an ice-rink and even a castle -all that, in the middle of Manhattan. A place that holds many little gems that will make you fall in love with NYC...
Central Park is iconic. Besides being the city's primary green lungs, it's a favorite spot for many New Yorkers. It's perfect for walks, outdoors, sunbathing, ice-skating, picnics -and it's fringed with beautiful museums, boutiques and others great places. It's the spot where you'll think 'Wow, now we're in NEW YORK!'. One of these places that make New York being so... New York.
Discover how to spend a day in Central Park and get ready for an awesome day in the city!
how to spend a day in Central Park?
morning: go for a run, grab a cookie
Going on an early morning run in Central Park is like a rite of passage. Starting the day surrounded by New York joggers will make you feel like a local! The park opens at 6:00am, and is big enough to run any distance, from shorter to longer ones. And since, as they say, after effort comes comfort -head to Levain Bakery for the most caloric -and THE BEST- cookie in the world (167 W 74th St -open 9am-7pm. You deserve it, you just exercised after all!
Head back to your hotel for a quick shower, then direction the Museum of Natural History on Central Park West & 79th St (open 10am-5:45pm, and yes, this is where Ross works ;)). With its giant exhibits of nature, human history and marine life, it's one of the best museums in New York -either you're traveling solo, with friends or with kids.
Get back in the Park, discover the Belvedere Castle on top of the hill and enjoy the panoramic view, get down to the lake for a romantic boat tour, explore the Strawberry Fields, John Lennon's touching memorial, observe the Dakota Buildings, ancient home of the artist, then head to Bethesda Terrace for lunch. You'll find plenty of food trucks with hot dog and pretzel (you have to try these!), then you can eat on a bench in the shade of trees, or watching one of the street shows arounds.
After lunch, walk to the famous Alice in Wonderland statue, enjoy some people watching around the Model Boat Sailing pond, then head north to the Metropolitan Museum of Art -a classic!- or the Guggenheim Museum. If you don't plan to visit the Guggenheim, it's worth the walk up there, just the see the architecture from the outside. Outstanding!
After an afternoon museum hopping, get back in the park and walk all the way down to the Ice Rink -it's not cheap, but it really is something to skate in the middle of the skyscrapers! If you're not a skate fan, you can visit the Central Park Zoo nearby.
That was quite a day walking! You're probably exhausted now and you deserve a treat! Walk for another twenty minutes to Dylan's Candy Bar (1011 3rd Ave, New York, open 10am-9pm), a shop you've probably seen many times in movies. It's playful, full of colors, a real wonderland! When you open the shop's door, you feel like you're 6 years old again...
Across the street is Magnolia Bakery, known to make the best cupcakes in town -get a take-away box for dessert later tonight!
Then it's time for a healthy dinner! Direction Five Guys for what's supposed to be the best burgers in New York (43 W 55th St, New York, opens 11am-10pm).