Central Park is New York’s backyard. This lush 843-acre patch of nature in the middle of Manhattan is one of the city’s biggest attractions and greatest assets, enjoyed by tourists and locals year-round. Countless scenes from movies and TV shows have been filmed here over the years. If you are visiting New York’s Central Park, here are the 8 Top attractions you must visit.
1. Central Park Zoo
The Central Park Zoo features animals from Asia, polar regions, and the California Coast. In the Temperate Territory, watch for red pandas, snow leopards, and snow monkeys. Head over to the Polar Circles to see the much-loved penguins. Other animal highlights include grizzly bears, California sea lions, and lemurs.
Also located at the zoo is a 4D Theater intended for visitors aged six and up. The theater charges a fee but is included with a Total Experience ticket.
Near the entrance is the charming Delacorte Musical Clock, where bronze animals encircle the timepiece and play children’s songs or seasonal pieces every half hour.
A living memorial to John Lennon in Central Park is one of the most visited attractions in NYC.
Located within Central Park, Strawberry Fields (map) is a memorial to John Lennon, who was tragically murdered in front of the Dakota apartments just off the west side of the park. A mosaic is set in the pathway with the word “Imagine” inscribed, named after Lennon’s 1971 song.
Strawberry Fields officially reopened on October 9, 1985, the 45th anniversary of John Lennon’s birth. Annually, on this date, as well as on the anniversary of John Lennon’s death, visitors and fans from all over the globe flock to Strawberry Fields to pay homage to this Beatles’ legacy.
The iconic black and white Imagine mosaic was designed by a team of artists from the Italian city of Naples. Named after another famous song by John Lennon, “Imagine” evokes a vision and hope for a world without strife, war and conflict. Additionally, there is a bronze plaque that lists the more than 120 countries that planted flowers and donated money for the maintenance of the area; they have also endorsed Strawberry Fields as a Garden of Peace..
3. Bethesda Fountain and Terrace
At the center of Bethesda Terrace is Bethesda Fountain, one of Central Park’s most beloved works of art.
Bethesda Fountain on Bethesda Terrace stands between the Lake and the Mall and is one of the architectural highlights of Central Park. The fountain was dedicated in 1873 and the statue, Angel of the Waters, in 1842. The Spanish-style detailing of the double staircase with tiles and friezes was done by Jacob Mould. The terrace is a popular place for photos and a pleasant area to relax.
4. Conservatory Garden
Conservatory Garden is a peaceful oasis, filled with thousands of trees and shrubs. Known for being the only formal garden in the park, this six-acre area has a much calmer atmosphere than other portions of Central Park, with no cyclists or skateboarders. It is frequently the setting for weddings.
The main entrance is through the large, wrought iron Vanderbilt Gate off Fifth Avenue. Inside, the garden is divided into three sections of different styles: French, Italian, and English. The French garden features the bronze fountain, Three Dancing Maidens by Walter Schott.
The gardens are particularly impressive in spring when the fruit trees come into bloom and the tulips provide a showy display of color.
5. Loeb Boathouse on The Lake
Row a boat or take a gondola ride on Central Park Lake!
On the far eastern shore of The Lake, the beautiful Loeb Boathouse is a restaurant with an indoor dining room and an outdoor seating area, set right on the water’s edge. The picturesque setting here is often used for weddings and other formal events.
You can sit here on a warm afternoon sipping coffee or enjoying a meal while watching people rowboats on the usually calm water. If you are looking for a little more activity, you can rent a boat yourself and go for a paddle around the lake.
6. The Mall and Literary Walk
A lovely area for walking, the Mall is a straight, wide pathway running beneath a canopy of huge trees in the south end of Central Park. This spot offers a peaceful retreat from the busy streets of New York City and a chance to enjoy a little nature.
Joining the Mall is the Literary Walk, lined with statues of literary giants that include Shakespeare, Robert Burns, and Sir Walter Scott, as well as others.
7. Ice Skating
Skating in central park is a great family activity, but couples can also enjoy a romantic skate. This is a seasonal activity, open from late October to April, and if you are visiting New York in the winter, a skate in Central Park on a sunny day is a memorable event.
Two options exist for skating in the park: Located near the Central Park Zoo, the Wollman Rink offers outdoor skating for a fee in a beautiful setting, surrounded by trees. Skate rentals are available on-site, and spectators are welcome but they also have to pay a fee.
The Lasker Rink serves as a skating rink in winter and a swimming pool in summer. The fees are less than Wollman Rink. Both rinks only accept cash.
Enjoy gliding across the ice with the New York City skyline in the background! Ice skating in Central Park is a perfect day or nighttime activity to do with friends, family or even a date. So grab your skates (or rent some) and enjoy!
8. Sheep Meadow
Sheep Meadow in Central Park often admits up to 30,000 people per day during the summer months. This expansive 15-acre field is today used for sunbathing, kite flying, and relaxing summer picnics.
Sheep Meadow has been home to various demonstrations, concerts, and political movements over the last century. Sheep Meadow has stunning views over Manhattan. We recommend you to go, on a sunny weekend day, to one of the multiple delis in New York (or a typical hotdog cart, there are a lot in the park), buy your food and get a towel or blanket to sit in these meadows to enjoy a sunny day as you will see that many New Yorkers do.
Where Is Sheep Meadow in Central Park?
Sheep Meadow is located in the southwest part of the park at 1802 65th Street Transverse, New York, NY 10065. It occupies the field north of 65th Street.
How to Get to Sheep Meadow
Central Park has several subway stops along its perimeter, with the closest to Sheep Meadow being 59th Street Columbus Circle, and 72nd Street. You can also reach Central Park by taxi or, our recommendation, by bike.
When visiting, note that Sheep Meadow is open only from 11 am to 7 pm from April or May to mid-October. It closes in the winter for landscape upkeep in preparation for the warmer months, when up to 30,000 visitors a day might pass through Sheep Meadow.