15 Best Parks in New York City (2024)

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Among its skyscrapers, chaotic streets and neon lights, there are some incredible green spaces in New York and we’ve had lots of fun exploring the best parks in NYC.  The cities parks are the perfect place to relax, meet friends, have a picnic, exercise and take some time out in a city with 8 million residents. New York’s green spaces are highly coveted and, for when you crave some park time, this is our guide to the best parks in NYC!

Best Parks in NYC
Exploring Central Park

Best Parks in NYC

From the world famous Central Park to the beautiful waterfront Hudson River Park to the hidden gems of Elizabeth Street and Alice’s Garden, here are our 15 best parks in NYC!

1 |  Central Park

It is the largest green space in Manhattan and, with 843 acres to explore, there is an incredible variety of things to do in Central Park. From quirky sculptures to magnificent architecture and vintage carousels to rowboats on the lake, Central Park is a magical escape from the hectic New York City streets.

Best Parks in NYC
Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park

Gaze in awe at the Bethesda Terrace where the ceiling is comprised of 1,600 colored tiles, stop by the Alice in Wonderland Statue for a tea party, pack a picnic for Sheep’s Meadow, row a boat at the Loeb Boathouse, pay tribute to John Lennon at Strawberry Fields and admire Belvedere Castle.

Best Parks in NYC
Bethesda Terrace

The park is awesome for families and there are lots of fun things to do in Central Park with kids. Our family favorite activities include the Turtle Pond under Belvedere Castle, the park’s 21 playgrounds and the Delacorte Music Clock where nursery rhymes play every hour.

Best Parks in NYC
Row boats at Loeb Boathouse

Location: Central Park runs between North 110th Street to Central Park South at 59th Street, and from Central Park West at 8th Avenue to 5th Ave.

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2 | Washington Square Park

Surrounded by Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park has a real neighborhood feel and is one of our favourite parks in NYC. The vibrant park is always full to the brim with people and activity and you’re likely to spot a mix of artists, sunbathers, chess players, musicians and cute dogs.

Some days, you might even catch a pianist recite scores on his grand piano! The park’s dancing fountain is the perfect spot to sit back with a coffee and enjoy the park’s atmosphere.

Washington Square Park

3 | Brooklyn Bridge Park

With its waterfront location on New York’s East River, the Brooklyn Bridge Park has amazing views of the Brooklyn Bridge against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic and the beautifully restored Jane’s Carousel is a treat.

Best Parks in NYC
The incredible views from Brooklyn Bridge Park

The park’s two piers are home to sports areas, a playground and a lawn garden.

Best Parks in NYC
Jane’s Carousel at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Best parks in NYC tip: Make sure to stop by the intersection of Water and Washington Street. Washington Street aligns perfectly to give a beautiful view of the Washington Bridge with the Manhattan skyline in the background and the Empire State Building framed perfectly by the legs of the bridge. It’s one of our favorite skyline views of New York.

One of the best views in NYC

4 | Bryant Park

Surrounded by giant skyscrapers, Bryant Park is the perfect contrast of city and park life. Given its location in the heart of midtown, it attracts an interesting mix of office workers, locals and tourists.

The park is usually action packed with intense chess games, open air movies, exercise boot camps and even juggling classes! Bryant park is also home to Le Carousel, Bryant Park’s resident carousel which revolves to French classical music!

best parks in NYC
The carousel in Bryant Park

During the holiday season, the park transforms into a winter wonderland with a ice skating rink and Christmas market stalls.

Best parks in NYC tip: pop into the neighboring Whole Foods for some treats and have a mini picnic in the park!

Best Parks in NYC
Having fun at Bryant Park

5 | High Line

The High Line is an elevated public park and walkway which meanders up the West Side of Manhattan. Spanning almost 2.5km, the High Line starts in the Meatpacking District, passes through Chelsea and finishes up at Hudson Yards and the Vessel, a recent addition to New York’s landmarks.

best parks in NYC
High Line views

Some of the best views of the New York skyline can be seen from along the walkway. There are lots of quirky seating areas and creative landscapes with fun art installations dotted along the walk. One of the highlights is reaching the Vessel, a 16 story gold honeycomb structure in Hudson Yard, and one of the most incredible photo spots in NYC.

best parks in nyc
The Vessel

6 | Hudson River Park

The Hudson River Park is a waterfront park which runs from Battery Park to 59th Street. It passes by Tribeca, Greenwich Village, the Meatpacking District, Chelsea, Hudson Yards and Hell’s Kitchen.

There’s a 5-mile running and bike path, playgrounds, basketball courts, a skate park, tennis courts and beach volleyball as well as many piers along the way: Pier 25 and Chelsea Piers are among the most popular. The historic Lilac, Intrepid, and Frying Pan boats are docked in the waters alongside the park.

Best parks in NYC tip: Once a floating lighthouse, the sunken Frying Pan was salvaged and is now docked close to Chelsea Piers. It is the ultimate New York sunny day destination!

Best Parks in NYC
Views from Hudson River Park

7 | Battery Park

Best known as the departure point for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island ferry, Battery Park is also home to the awesome SeaGlass Carousel. Riders sit in giant fish illuminated in neon lights on this aquarium themed carousel, one of our favorite among the NYC carousels!

Battery Park also boasts breathtaking views of the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn.

Best Parks in NYC
The SeaGlass Carousel in Battery Park

8 | Brooklyn Botanical Garden

With 18,000 plants from across the globe, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden is set over 16 parks in 52 acres of park land. An oasis of calm away from the concrete buildings, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden is home to beautiful Japanese Gardens, a lovely herb garden, a colorful rose garden and Shakespeare Garden. The park is popular in Cherry Blossom season when the cherry blossoms are in bloom and the Sakura Matsuri festival takes place.

Best parks in NYC tip: for kids, make sure to check out the dedicated Children’s Garden and the Discovery Garden, both of which will capture their imaginations.

best parks in nyc
Cherry blossoms in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden

9 | Madison Square Park

An oasis of calm in the heart of the Flatiron and Nomad, Madison Square Park is located at the intersection of Broadway, Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street. With a playground and a dog run, Madison Square Park is popular with families and NYC’s cutest canine residents! The park is famous for its art installations which are a mix of rotating exhibits and permanent fixtures. There’s also a branch of Shake Shack where the burgers and milkshakes are among the best fast food offerings in the city and the queues are often around the block!

Best Parks in NYC
Madison Square Park

10 | Elizabeth Street Garden

The Elizabeth Street Garden is an acre of bliss in Nolita and one of the loveliest parks in NYC. The garden originated in the 1970’s when a local gallery owner leased the land, created a green space and used it as a storage space for sculptures.

It’s a beautiful place to hang out with lots of seating and quirky sculptures dotted throughout.

Best Parks in NYC
Elizabeth Street Garden

Best parks in NYC tip: New York’s City Planning Commission recently approved a proposal to build affordable senior housing on the site of the garden and a lawsuit has been filed against the city to prevent this happening.

Best Parks in NYC
Elizabeth Street Garden

11 | Gramercy Park

Manhattan’s most exclusive park, the tree lined Gramercy Park is only accessible to a chosen few. With just 383 keys in existence only those who live directly on Gramercy Park or are members of a select few clubs or religious organisations are granted access. The locks are changed every year to ensure it remains one of the most exclusive keys in town.

Best parks in NYC tip: For visitors to the city, a stay at the very hip Gramercy Park Hotel will provide a glimpse into Gramercy Park.

Best Parks in NYC
Gramercy Park

12 | Paley Park

The tiny Paley Park, with its 20-foot waterfall in the heart of Midtown, is one of the most unique and best parks in NYC. The soothing sounds of the gushing water surrounded by honey locust trees and ivy-covered walls make it easy to forget one is the middle of Manhattan!

best parks in nyc
Having fun in Paley Park

13 | Alice’s Garden

Local resident Alice Parsekian cared for this Port Authority plot for over 20 years, visiting every day from her apartment across the street. The garden fell into disrepair after her passing but reopened after a community clean-up operation. it was named Alice’s Garden in her memory.

he garden has 17 plots adopted by local residents who grow plants and vegetables. The little garden is filled with lush vegetation, flowers and statues. Visitors can rent a key for $2 from the community office.

Best Parks in NYC
Alice’s Garden

14 | Flushing Meadows

Nestled between the Queens’ neighborhoods of Flushing and Corona, Flushing Meadows Corona Park is NYC’s second-biggest park. The huge park has a variety of sights including a zoo, the New York Hall of Science museum, the Queens Museum of Art, a skate park, an Olympic sized swimming pool and an ice hockey rink. For baseball fans, the Mets play at its CitiField Stadium and the US Open is held annually at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Best parks in NYC tip: Flushing Meadows is home to the iconic Unisphere, a steel globe which was erected for the 1964 NYC World’s Fair expo.

best parks in nyc
The Unisphere at Flushing Meadows

15 | Stuyvesant Square Park

The picturesque Stuyvesant Square Park is the perfect spot to grab a coffee, read a book and watch the world pass by.

The downtown park is split by Second Avenue and each half of the park is surrounded by a cast iron fence, the oldest in the city. A fountain sits in the center of the park and a dog run brings in the canine residents.

Best Parks in NYC
Stuyvesant Park

The park is surrounded by some amazing historic buildings including St. George’s Episcopal Church, the Friends Meeting House and a collection of beautiful town houses. Stuyvesant Park is one of our favorite spots to catch a glimpse of NYC neighborhood life.

Best Parks in NYC
Stuyvesant Park is split by Second Avenue

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