There’s nothing on the planet quite like Central Park.
Sure, there are other parks in other cities around the world and many of them are breathtaking in their own way. But there’s just something about Central Park (and New York City in general) that’s completely different than any other city on the planet – and that’s a big reason why so many people flood Central Park each and every day, even if they are visiting from halfway around the world.
Certainly one of the largest urban parks on the planet (and may be the most famous) a lot of people are expecting nothing but wide-open outdoor spaces when they visit Central Park. And though there is plenty of room to roam and a lot of nature to take in (smack dab in the middle of the city), there are some amazing sites to see, monuments and landmarks to visit, and entertainment options to enjoy.
Here are some of the best things to do in Central Park!
Rent a bike and circumnavigate the park itself
Cruising around the entirety of Central Park can be an almost impossible challenge if you’re going to walk, but if you rent a bicycle things become a lot more manageable. Bike rentals are available pretty much anywhere around the park (around the perimeter, anyway) and once you get on two wheels you will be able to cruise around the entirety of the park itself and still have plenty of time to stop and “smell the roses” if you’d like.
Take in a movie or TV show
More than 40 different outdoor TV and movie locations are littered throughout Central Park, with something “on the air” pretty much 24/7. A lot of the shows and movies that are going to be shown on these outdoor screens will have some kind of connection to New York City, and there are plenty of first-time screenings of independent films and shorts to check out as well.
Be sure to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York City is home to some of the most world-renowned museums on the planet, as well as some of the most famous art installations and exhibits you’ll ever have the opportunity to enjoy. But of all the different museums that you can decide to check out while you’re in the city the Met has to be the most popular and the most iconic. This is a museum that you just can’t afford to miss out on and it is located in Central Park.
Animal lovers are going to enjoy the Central Park Zoo
While perhaps not as large or as exotic as some of the other city zoos around the United States (especially the San Diego Zoo), the Central Park Zoo is definitely a hotspot that you want to visit if you love animals. Snuggled right into the middle areas of Central Park, this charming zoo offers a variety of different species that range from grizzly bears to snow leopards and everything in between. You’ll have to pay extra for admission to the Central Park Zoo but almost everyone agrees that it is well worth the price of admission – especially if you brought your camera or phone along!
Ice-skating the Lasker Ice Rink in the winter is an iconic NYC tradition
Almost all of your favorite movies that feature New York City in the winter have at least a little bit of screen time dedicated to the Lasker Ice Rink. It featured prominently in Home Alone, Elf, and a handful of others and people that haven’t ever been to New York City OR Central Park are likely to know exactly what this ice-skating hotspot looks like just from the exposure that it’s had on movies and TV shows. You can bring your own ice skates or rent some from the station located right here, and even though it is one of the most popular spots in New York City during the winter there’s almost always space for everyone on the ice no matter what.
Check out the American Museum of Natural History
Just across the street from Central Park is the American Museum of Natural History, one of the largest museums dedicated to this subject matter and famous for having some of the coolest permanent exhibits including dinosaur fossils and ancient cultural artifacts found nowhere else on the globe.
Though you’ll have to “leave” Central Park to visit the museum, it’s only just across the street and you can spend as much or as little time in the museum as you like while still spending plenty of time in Central Park as well.
Just don’t be surprised if this amazing museum gobbles up more of your time then you anticipated!
Invest in the New York City Explorer Pass to save on (almost) all Central Park Tours NYC
Available online as well as at numerous kiosks and stations throughout the city, the New York City Explorer Pass is going to provide you with access to almost all of the attractions in Central Park as well as other hotspots all over the city.
You’ll be able to take advantage of Central Park bicycle rides, rentals, and tours, TV shows and movies all over the park, admission to the American Museum of Natural History and the Met as well as so much more. This pass is going to provide you with access to these attractions at a 50% off saving (sometimes even more than that) depending upon all the different things that you end up squeezing in while the pass is still valid.
At the end of the day, there is plenty of stuff to keep you interested and involved when you visit Central Park. This list only barely begins to scratch the surface and it would be impossible to take in everything that Central Park has to offer in only a single day or even a single week!
There are people that have lived in New York City their entire lives that have yet to discover everything that Central Park has to offer. That’s pretty incredible and leaves plenty of adventures for you to explore!