You know that iconic shot at the beginning of every single movie filmed in New York City? The one that pans across Central Park, juxtaposing its peaceful greenery with the famed skyscrapers of the Big Apple? Yeah, it made me want to go to New York, too.
I am a Tour Consultant at Brightspark Travel based out of New York, and I thought I’d take a jaunt through that sweet city oasis to discover and share how to best spend your time during a Central Park visit. At 843 acres, there is certainly plenty to explore!
First, I recommend starting your excursion at the south end of the Park, entering from Columbus Circle. From there, venture east, passing the ballfields and carousel until you hit one of the park’s icons, the Mall. A scenic row of American elms, the Mall is actually one of the largest and last-standing colonies of the tree in North America.
During your stroll along the Promenade, make sure to take a moment at the Naumburg Bandshell. The Bandshell has hosted performances of many Greats including Irving Berlin, Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington.
The Mall leads to another architectural masterpiece of the Park called the Bethesda Terrace. Here sits the Bethesda Fountain, whose Angel of the Waters statue marks the first time a woman received a public art commission in New York City. And if you go inside the Terrace, you can reenact the famous “pecan pie” scene from “When Harry Met Sally.” I’m not saying I do that, but I’m saying you can.
From the Terrace, I recommend moving west, passing Strawberry Fields. This section of the Park is a tribute to John Lennon, built next to his favorite bench in the Park. After paying respects to the Great, take a gander north to pass the 20-acre Lake. If you go during the fall season, the Lake will be beautifully alight with autumn colors.
The next stop is a perennial favorite, the Shakespeare Garden, a four-acre garden full of flowers and plants that appear in the Bard’s plays and sonnets. Keep moving north past the Great Lawn, where you’ll pass several New Yorkers and tourists enjoying the fall colors with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the distance.
As you continue walking, you’ll cross through the North Meadow, and to the east to see the beautiful Conservatory Garden. Divided into three separate gardens, English, Italian, and French, the garden is surrounded by the looming Vanderbilt Gate and the Untermyer Fountain.
Keep walking north past the Harlem Meer and veered west to pass the North Woods, both full of the rich reds and yellows in autumn that make the Northeast so famous.
By this time, you’ll legs will be tired and you’ll be ready to wrap up your visit. A quick exit at this point will be at 110th and Central Park West. You can then catch a train and continue your city adventure!