843 Acres to Bike, Blade, Boat, Walk, Picnic, Tour

Central Park NY has so much to see and do! Native New Yorkers always want to live “by the Park,” not just because of its beauty, but also for all the cool things to do there. Central Park draws 38 million visits a year and is home to the Central Park Film Festival, SummerStage, Shakespeare in the Park, Ice Skating, Central Park Zoo and much more. Most everyone has their favorite Central Park spot and you can read more about them below.

Central Park is probably one of the most famous places in the world and one of NYC’s best (and free!) things to do. Central Park has been showcased for decades in movies, film and books. Here are some of the best things to do while visiting Central Park.

Central Park Tours

Central Park tours include famous Movie and TV spots, bike rentals and/or bike tours, walking tours, horse and carriage tours and pedicab tours. Here are some highlighted Central Park Tours and and below we cover what is included with the NY Tourist Passes:

Central Park TV and Movie Sites Tour

On Location Tours is THE premiere tour company in NYC for all your favorite movie and TV sites. One of their most popular two-hour walking tours includes over 40 locations in Central Park NY. Visit the Boathouse Café used in ‘When Harry Met Sally’, the Bandshell from ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and ‘Kramer vs. Kramer’, and Bethesda Fountain seen in movies such as ‘One Fine Day’ and ‘Ransom’.

More Info: New York City TV & MOVIE Tours – Huge Selection, Save Big!

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Dine in Central Park NY

The Boathouse

The Boathouse is one of MY FAVORITE NYC Restaurants! The view and atmosphere are unparalleled. Surround yourself with trees and a lake and you likely won’t even know you are in the City. Both the day and night landscapes are gorgeous and locals love it here.

The food is also good, especially considering most restaurants with “prime locations” don’t have great food. Rent bicycles, row boats or, for a classic NYC wedding proposal, rent a private Gondola.

Central Park Loeb Boathouse

The Loeb Boathouse on 74th, East Side, www.thecentralparkboathouse.com

Hire a Venetian Gondola Tour around Central Park Lake. $50 per half hour for up to 6 people; must reserve in advance. Andres, Central Park’s very own gondolier, can take your family on a 30-minute spin around Central Park Lake. A classic for a marriage proposal in New York City.

Tavern on the Green

Reopened again in April 2014, Tavern on the Green is a classic NYC institution, especially popular for their Sunday brunch. Tavern on the Green has proudly served locals, presidents, royalty, artists, actors, and first-time visitors since 1934. Tavern on the Green, divided into multiple areas, both indoors and al-fresco, has a dining experience for everyone on every budget:

  • The Bar Room is great if you want to sit on a comfortable sofa after a long walk or bike ride through Central Park.
  • The Central Park Room provides all guests view of the courtyard through the floor-to-ceiling glass wall, as well as the open kitchen
  • The main dining room has sweeping views of Sheep’s Meadow and floor-to-ceiling windows.
  • The South Wing, the second dining room, looks like a stable with green tufted-velvet banquettes.

Enter on 67th Street and Central Park West, www.tavernonthegreen.com

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Central Park NY and New York City Passes

NYC Sightseeing Pass

Here are some of the usual included Central Park tours and activities on most of the NY Attractions Passes.

  • Central Park Movie & TV Sites Tour ($25)
  • Central Park Sightseeing Bike Tours & Rentals ($50)
  • Bike and Roll Central Park Tour ($40)
  • Central Park Zoo (admission)

Compare sightseeing pass options:

  1. Go directly to the New York Sightseeing Pass Website to check out the details of the pass
  2. Compare prices at: New York Passes and NYC Attractions Passes, where there are always great deals and discounts
  3. More Info: Compare NYC Attractions Passes

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Walking Tours of Central Park NY

Most New Yorkers agree, Central Park is best seen on foot. Choose from over 10 different inexpensive or free tours all year round, such as Art of the Park, Hidden Highlights, Belvedere’s Kingdom, Statues & Monuments and Iconic Views of Central Park.

You can also print multiple self-guided tours and download their free app. Central Park is always free, but with so many options, and 843 acres of park to see, pick the things best for you and your family.

Central Park Walking Tours NYC

Check the official Central Park NY Tours site or try these FREE Central Park Tours.

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Ride a Bicycle in Central Park NY

If had to pick my FAVORITE way to explore NYC, it would be on bicycle! Just ask anyone who has visited me, I take them all around on bike. The views and hidden nooks of NYC you can see along our greenways and in our parks are second to none.

Central Park Bike Tour

Luckily, there are a dozen ways to rent bicycles and you can choose from:

Do it Yourself Central Park Bicycle Rentals:

Loeb Boathouse
thecentralparkboathouse.com
centralpark.org/biking/
$6-$15/hr, all day $45-$50

Bike Rental Central Park
2 hr tours daily: 10am, 1pm, & 4pm Adults: 45$ Kids: 35$
bikerentalcentralpark.com

Central Park Bicycle Shop
315 W 57th St, #6 (8th-9th Aves)
Start at $15/hr
centralparkbicycleshop.com

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Central Park NY Like a New Yorker

New Yorkers are super active in the park. Running, blading, biking, tennis, picnics on The Great Lawn or Sheep Meadow. For a DIY picnic in Central Park, stop at the Whole Foods market in the Time Warner Center and make your own picnic to go, then enter CP right across the street at Columbus Circle. Come and enjoy Central Park like a local.

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Central Park Zoo

Open 365 days per year, the Zoo is fantastic place to see leopards, polar bears swimming, pandas, lions, penguins, harbor seals, monkeys and bears.

Check out the Petting Zoo, 4-D movies, snack at the Leaping Frog Café, rain forest with tropical birds and so much more right in the heart of NYC.

Central Park Zoo NYC

Tickets start at Adult $20 and Child $10, Senior $9. Included with New York Pass and a choice on the Explorer Pass.

64th Street & 5th Avenue
centralparkzoo.com

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Carriage Ride in Central Park NY

Please Note: NYC Insider Guide does not encourage (or discourage) riding horse-drawn carriages in NYC. However, many New Yorkers and animal rights activists are AVIDLY AGAINST this practice. Don’t be surprised to see picket lines and protests near the carriages. Our current Mayor is reportedly going to ban these rides soon.

Central Park Carriage Ride

The carriages that sit outside Central Park and pick up passengers have fixed pricing mandated by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs, which is who licenses the Hansom Cab Drivers. Those prices are for a set 1.5 mile route that takes, on average, 20 minutes (18- 23 minutes, depending on the horse pace).

The signs say "$50 for 30 minutes or any fraction thereof." What the sign really should say is "$50 for 1.5 mile tour, $20 per 15 minutes thereafter," although the Hansom Cab Drivers do not like to add on time. The bottom line is you are paying for the tour, not hiring the Hansom Driver by the minute. Suggested tip is $10 if the driver does a great job, so budget $60. Prices are for 4 Adults, or up to 5 people with 3 Adults and 2 small children.

There are also private Horse and Carriage Tours, who offer more flexible and longer tours, somewhat nicer Hansom Cabs and allow you to make reservations in advance.

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Central Park NY Hotels

These are NYC Insider hand picked hotels that are not just “near” Central Park, as most NYC hotels claim to be…but on the Park itself, either Central Park South, Central Park West or Fifth Ave. Many other hotels are nearby, or within a few blocks, but these are the closest, and all offer Park views from select rooms.

Central Park NY Hotels

Some of our top value picks near Central Park include:

See the Insider Guide for dozens more Central Park NY Hotels and download our free Central Park map at Central Park NY Guide

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Central Park NY Annual Events

Central Park NY Printable Map

Central Park Map New York City

Download our Free Printable NYC Guide which includes a Central Park Map

Also see the Central Park Site

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Get a Central Park Map + 50 more Pages

NYC Insider Printable Guides

"The guides are exactly what we were looking for to help us navigate NYC and the highlights of each area.
THANK YOU for taking the time to put this together."

NYC Insider Printable Guides


 

"Amazing, Melissa. This is my second copy! Congratulations for this always excellent guide. I have been living in this area for 18 years, but I still leave the guide as a treat when people come to visit me by their bed. So comprehensive!"

 

“Helps me get a grip on what I want to do when I visit with very easy to understand maps and info. Thanks for the excellent work.”

“Thank you for such an informative book it covers all the things a first timer would need to know while in New York, so thanks A+++”

“Thank you so much for putting this information together. NYC can be intimidating for tourists, but this took all my fear away. I can see why you love your city! I love it too and will definitely be back!”

More Ebook reviews

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More on Central Park NY

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Central Park Tours

Central Park Tours is your one stop shop for everything Central Park. We offer guided tours, pedicab rides, walking tours, bicycle tours and many other activities in Central Park. We can help with your next picnic arrangement, special event, team building or even company incentive event. Central Park Tours is a one of the few hall of fame winners of the TripAdvisor annual event, with 5 consecutive certificate of excellence rewards for superb customer service.

More Info: centralparktours.net

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Central Park Photo Gallery

Central Park

Central Park

Central Park Spring Cherry Blossoms

Central Park Reservior South View

Central Park Boathouse

Central Park Horse Carriage Ride

Climbing Rocks in Central Park NY

Central Park Ice Skating North Rink

Central Park in Spring

Central Park View

Central Park Bicycle Rental

Central Park NY Summer Carnival

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Most Popular Ticketed Tourist Attractions

Sightsee from the Sky

Top of the Rock, Empire State Building, One World Observatory, Edge or Summit? Which is best and, if we have to choose, which should we visit? There is no easy answer, but here are some facts to help guide your choice.

Edge NYC Observation Deck

  • Empire State Building - (86 and 102 floors) Best for patient movie and history buffs who need to check it off their bucket list. Recently redone indoor 102nd Floor Observatory
  • Top of the Rock - (67-70 floors) Best for sweeping 360° vista views, including of the Empire State Building and Central Park. Shorter lines and cheaper than the ESB.
  • One World Observatory - (100-102 floors) Best for homage to the Twin Towers. Modern and high tech, with phenomenal views
  • Edge - (100-101 floors) Highest outdoor observation deck, glass bottom floor, deck extends 80 feet away from building (photo)
  • Summit One Vanderbilt - (91-93 floors) Opens Oct 2021, all glass elevator, indoor and outdoor decks and glass terraces off the side of the building

Free NYC Tourist Attractions

New York City Shopping

New York City Museum Guides

New York City Museums