5 Must See Spots in Central Park

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One of the most relaxing experiences when visiting New York City is to take some time out of your hectic schedule to explore probably the most famous park in the world – Central Park. However, the first thing you will notice when you arrive at the entrance to this majestic park is the magnitude and size that it covers. So just exactly what must you see inside the park?

After recently wandering the sidewalks that meander through New York’s famous park, we want to share with you our top 5 must see spots in Central Park. Of course this is not an exhaustive list and there are many more attractions that you can experience if time permits.

We all know that visiting New York City isn’t about one particular attraction; therefore allocating your time efficiently will ensure you can see everything you want to during your stay in the Big Apple.

Gapstow Bridge

If you have ever seen Home Alone 2, I am sure you will be familiar with the sight of Gapstow Bridge, which is an iconic structure that crosses the lake. Surrounded by beautiful wildlife, it is no surprise that this is a haven for a variety of species to congregate among the millions of tourists that visit here.

Gapstow Bridge Central Park

We spent quite a bit of time here just sat on one of the benches looking across the lake to Gapstow Bridge. With a beautiful city skyline in the background, this really is a tranquil spot to grab a book and a coffee and just take some time away from New York’s hectic lifestyle.

Of course, you may spot one or two pigeons in the area but don’t forget that Macaulay Culkin or the Pigeon Lady could be right around the corner!

Bow Bridge

An even more impressive structure that is a photographer’s dream is Bow Bridge. Crossing over the boating lake, which in itself is a gorgeous attraction that you should experience, Bow Bridge is probably the most famous of all bridges in Central Park.

Bow Bridge Central Park

Whether you want to just sit alongside the banks of the boating lake and watch as people test their rowing skills on the lake, or actually partake in the experience of rowing, there is certainly something for everyone here. For only $12 for the first hour, you and your loved ones can hop into a rowing boat and venture out on the lake to really capture the full experience.

You will also find that Bow Bridge and the boating lake offer some of the most spectacular views of the New York City skyline from Central Park, so plan on staying in this part of the park for quite some time.

Strawberry Fields

Let me take you down, cos I’m going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields forever

The beautiful opening lyrics to Strawberry Fields echo in your mind as you wander around Central Park and head to the symbolic memorial of John Lennon. Located on the west side of the park, just in front of The Dakota, Lennon’s former home and also place of his murder, Strawberry Fields is one of the most visited landmarks for good reason.

Imagine Mosaic Strawberry Fields Central Park

The Imagine mosaic design emblazoned on the ground in the heart of the Strawberry Fields location is a clear favorite among visitors, especially for those die-hard Beatles fans who want a moment remembering their lifelong hero.

Walking The Ramble

Just spending time wandering around Central Park is a must-see attraction in itself. There are certain parts of the park, such as The Ramble trails, which give you a variety of options on routes that you can take. Enjoying a beautiful summer’s day walking the Central Park trails is a moment you should certainly cherish, as it allows you to get away from the hustle and bustle of New York City.

Central Park New York City

We really enjoyed our time wandering from Bow Bridge around the perimeter of the boating lake through some of the hidden trails until we reached apparent civilization. For a brief moment, you are taken away into the wilderness as there are a variety of paths you can take with very little direction, however which ever path you choose there will be a hidden gem along the way worth exploring.

Some may consider The Ramble to be a maze of confusion, but we preferred to see this as an opportunity to lose yourself in Central Park for a short time. Come on folks, this is Central Park in New York City we are talking about!

Geological Wonders of Central Park

Many of you may think that Central Park is entirely man-made but the reality is there is an abundance of ancient bedrock formations that form a natural guide through the park. There are many spots throughout Central Park that provide either a perfect backdrop or a great climbing spot to get a better view of the surrounding NYC skyline.

New York City Skyline Central Park

I would highly recommend taking some time to find some of these geological wonders. Central Park probably isn’t the first place you would think of visiting as a budding geologist but the rock formations really provide a nice blend of natural beauty among the acres of man-made park.

Other Must See Spots in Central Park

Although we have listed our top 5 must see spots in Central Park, this is primarily based on our recent experiences there. Other attractions worth exploring based on our research and recommendations include the historic Carousel, Bethesda Fountain, Central Park Reservoir and Central Park Zoo.

When you next visit New York City, take some time out of your schedule to explore Central Park. What ever you decide to experience there, we can assure you that it is a memorable, relaxing location that provides a perfect contrast to the New York City stereotype!

What are your favorite things to do in Central Park?

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Chris Boothmanhttps://abritandasoutherner.com
Chris Boothman is the co-founder of A Brit and A Southerner. Born near Manchester, England, Chris moved to USA in 2006 where he soon after met his wife and travel partner in crime, Heather. They have since embarked on an amazing journey of travel as they challenge others to follow in their paths of working full-time but also being able to travel frequently! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Chris at [email protected]


  1. I work one block from Central Park – if your Facebook photo had just been focused a foot or two towards the left, you would see my building. I don’t take advantage of this as much as I really should. Your pictures are proving that to me. I am glad you had a great time there!

  2. I used to live right down the block from the Strawberry Fields entrance on 72nd street, and loved just walking around Central Park. My favorite parts of the Park are the hidden nooks and crannys you find as you explore the paths. I also love biking and running around the road, particularly as you get higher up and it thins out. ALSO if you go early in the morning before 8AM, dogs are permitted to run free, and the park is filled with dogs and their owners… its great!

  3. Another great one is the Belvedere Castle where you can climb to the second level for a fantastic view of the park! I believe it is near the Museum of Natural History, but I haven’t been to NYC since 2009 so it’s hard to remember! Great wrap-up of some iconic sites! I’d love to rent a rowboat there as I missed that bridge the last time I was there!

  4. I love how you mentioned Home Alone—half of the pictures I see from Central Park remind me of that movie! (Watched it a few too many times at Christmas when I was a kid.) Didn’t know there was a John Lennon memorial in Central Park; that would be a must-see for me 🙂 I’m ashamed to admit that the one time I visited New York City, I didn’t even get a chance to see Central Park. There’s just so much to do in Manhattan that seeing everything in a long weekend is completely impossible!

  5. Central Park was such a welcome reprieve from the bustling city when my daughter and I visited NYC. I’d add a stop at the Castle- which is on the edge of the Ramble (where we got lost- not hopelessly- just not where we had planned to be). My son and I also enjoyed seeing the Obelisk behind The Met, just inside the park. It was given to the US by Egypt. I’d love to return to explore more. My dream is to take a romantic horse drawn carriage ride through the park with my husband during the holiday season.

  6. I lived in NY city for months, and one of my favourite things to relax was going to Central Park. Some parts of it was so thick with vegetation that I would even forget I was in a city!!

  7. ooooo! I have not been to NYC yet 🙁 🙁 🙁 I want to go so, so badly. When I do, i will be visiting all these as you had mentioned. 🙂

  8. Unfortunately we never got to explore Central Park the way you did. We visited on our last day in NYC but since it was in the winter, we could see right through it to the other side of Manhattan. It was grey and cold, not even snowing so it was a bit disappointing for us. Hopefully there will be another time we can see it all. The bridges are very enchanting, just like they came from a movie 🙂

  9. Perfect post for me since I will be here next weekend! I was in NYC at Christmas before and didn’t get to enjoy central park so I’m really looking forward to it this time. Fingers crossed weather cooperates!

  10. We were surprised how large the park was when we visited–I wasn’t expecting there to be so much in the park! Unfortunately we didn’t have time to see much, but all the spots you found look great. I would love to take a boat out!

  11. Not only one of our favorite places in NYC, but one of our favorite places in the whole wide world. Big, beautiful and utterly romantic – how can anyone not fall in love with Central Park? Great rundown of some of its loveliest spots, guys! Good luck!

  12. I love Central park and just found the John Lennon a few months ago. The last time I was there I just wandered around and was in awe of all of the different places there are to explore there. It almost makes you forget you are in the middle of such an incredible city!

  13. Been to NYC 4x so far, and I have to say that CP is by far the most unusual thing you’ll find in Manhattan – in terms of urban planning. Apparently you get sued for even proposing to develop it.

  14. This is exactly the list I needed. I’m planning a trip to NYC. I know I want to visit Central Park, but I wasn’t sure exactly what to do when I got there. You’ve also put a name to a few of the places I wanted to visit after seeing them in movies and TV shows, so now I know exactly where to go. Thanks!

  15. I used to live a few blocks from Central Park and would jog around the reservoir several times a week. I really miss having such an incredible green space nearby! I make it a point to visit the park every time I’m back in the city. And even after all this time, I still fine new-to-me corners to explore!

  16. […] Thanks Carol for sharing what sounds like an awesome way to celebrate July 4th in Central Park before seeing the stunning fireworks over the Hudson River! It’s our favorite city in the States, so I think we are sold. If you need a few more ideas on how to spend time in this iconic park, check out our post on must see spots in Central Park. […]

  17. If we ever make it back to New York, I would love to do the huge Geocache in Central Park. You need to visit a load of the bridges in the park, noting down all the numbers from dates and the like. Then you need to plug all the numbers into a formula and you come up with the final co-ordinates. Loads of people don’t finish it, but if you do, you get a special Geocoin!!


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