Top Central Park Things to Do

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, New York City

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 Movie Tour

Central Park tours include famous Movie and TV spots, bike rentals and/or bike tours, walking tours, horse and carriage tours and pedicab tours. Some great places to view Central Park Tour choices and save big: 

Central Park TV and Movie Sites Tour (On Location Tours) – one of the city’s 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

Central Park Loeb Boathouse

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 landscape are gorgeous.

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.

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

Venetian Gondola Tour around Central Park Lake. $30 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

The New York Pass

The New York Pass

Includes Central Park Movie & TV Sites Tour ($25 Value) and choice of Central Park Sightseeing Bike Tours & Rentals ($50 value). 

New-York-City-Go-Select-Card-Discount Pass

New York Explorer Pass

Offers Bike and Roll Central Park Tour ($40 value), Central Park Zoo admission and discounts to Central Park Movie & TV Sites Tour as choices.

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Walking Tours of Central Park NY

Strawberry Fields in Central Park NY

Strawberry Fields in Central Park NY

Most New Yorkers agree, Central Park is best seen on foot. Choose from over 10 different inexpensive tours all year round, such as Art of the Park, Belvedere’s Kingdom 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.

Check the official Central Park NY Tours site or try these FREE Central Park Tours with our favorite NYC free tour company, Free Tours by Foot

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Ride a Bicycle in Central Park NY

Central Park Bike Tour

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. 

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

Do it Yourself Central Park Bicycle Rentals:

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

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

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

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Roller Blade in Central Park NY

Central Park NY

Blades Board & Skate
W 72nd Bway/Columbus
(212) 787-3911
roughly $15-25 per day
www.blades.com

Also: www.centralparkskate.com

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Picnic in Central Park NY

Picnic in Central Park NY

You can grab anything at a local deli, or order a pre-made picnic from many places, including Perfect Picnic and Delivery.com.

For a DIY version, 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.

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Central Park Zoo

Central Park Zoo Polar Bear

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.

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

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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 (by Central Park Sighteeing), 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 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 Jogging in Spring
Central Park View
Central Park Bicycle Rental
Central Park NY Summer Carnival

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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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