New York City is home to many outstanding parks. Whether you want to experience small, manicured spots or larger ones, there are options of all shapes and sizes all over the city. In addition to wonderful activities and tours, these parks offer locals and visitors a chance to escape from the street and enjoy a taste of nature in the city.
Central Park features 843 acres of public space in the heart of Manhattan with 7 bodies of water contained within it's boundaries. Designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux, Central Park first opened in the winter of 1859. Central Park is a surprising contrast to New York City's popular image as a "concrete jungle" -- lush greenery, big open spaces and natural beauty dominate this wonderful park.
Like Central Park, Prospect Park was designed by landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in the 1860s. Located in Brooklyn, Prospect Park's 585 acres of space attract over 7 million visitors a year. Prospect Park features a variety of events, including Philharmonic in the Parks and Metropolitan Opera in the Park in the summer. Prospect Park's Grand Army Plaza is the site of an enormous annual New Year's Eve celebration, complete with fireworks.
Located in the heart of midtown Manhattan, Bryant Park offers a welcome oasis from the bustling streets of Times Square and the surrounding business district. Bryant Park is located between 5th and 6th Avenues from 40th to 42nd Streets with the New York Public Library at the southern end of the park. Bryant Park hosts a variety of popular events, including outdoor film screenings, Broadway in Bryant Park, and Ice Skating.
Bound by 14th Street, 17th Street, Union Square East and Union Square West (1 block east of 5th Avenue), Union Square Park is well known as the home of New York City's largest year-round Greenmarket. The Summer in the Square Series features a variety of free events, including concerts, yoga and dance performances. Union Square also offers free wi-fi access, as well as free weekly walking tours.
Washington Square became a park in 1828, but before that time, the nearly 10 acre park in Greenwich Village was a cemetery, execution site and parade ground. The iconic landmark of Washington Square Park is the Washington Arch designed by Stanford White. The Washington Arch was built to mark the centennial of George Washington's inauguration in 1885.
Madison Square Park is located in the Flatiron District between Madison and Fifth Avenues, running from 23rd to 26th Streets. Although Madison Square Park has been a public open space since 1686, it formally became a park in 1847, and was named for President James Madison. Today, many visitors to Madison Square Park dine on burgers and concretes from The Shake Shack, while enjoying the many Public Programs organized by the Madison Square Park Conservancy.
Located along Manhattan's West Side, the Hudson River Park consists of 550 acres of waterfront park space running from Battery Park to 59th Street. The Hudson River Park has 5 miles of bike paths running along the Hudson River and hosts a variety of events, particularly in the summer, including free movie screenings with their RiverFlicks series.
Located along the downtown Brooklyn waterfront, Brooklyn Bridge Park is a growing greenspace offering visitors a wide variety of diversions, including an amazing playground at Pier 6, picnicking, spectacular views and ongoing events.
Built upon an abandoned elevated railway, The High Line is located along Manhattan's West Side and offers visitors beautifully landscaped spaces, impressive vistas and a welcome oasis from the bustle below. When the park is completed, it will span 1.5 miles from the Meatpacking District to Clinton Hill/Hell's Kitchen.