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Central Park

A green swathe through Manhattan, Central Park is a marvel of urban planning and one of the most filmed locations in the world.

TravelCurious Tip

The park is busy at weekends, and calmer on weekday afternoons; for some peace and quiet head to more secluded spots above 72nd Street such as the Harlem Meer, and the North Meadow north of 97th Street.

Central to the city

Central Park is a quintessential part of the Big Apple's character, and beloved by New Yorkers and visitors alike. Its 843 acres of lush lawns, beautiful lakes and winding paths are immortalised in popular culture the world over; the park is home to 25,000 trees and dozens of bird species, and frequented by joggers, musicians, actors and tourists, all of whom come for an escape to tranquil nature amid the urban chaos. Automobile traffic is banned on weekends, when the looping 'drives' are particularly popular with cyclists and inline skaters.

Indeed, the development of the park in the 1860s and 70s was envisioned as a great social leveller, allowing everyone in New York a beautiful forested oasis for leisure and relaxation. The wide range of sculptures - there are 29 throughout the park - attests to the varied background of the city's inhabitants: there is an equestrian statue of Simón Bolívar, celebrating his contributions to Latin America; the imposing King Jagiello monument memorialises king of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, Władysław II Jagiełło, who won the 1410 Battle of Grunwald; the Founding Father Alexander Hamilton is also commemorated, as are writers from Hans Christian Andersen to Shakespeare, and there's a huge bronze Alice in Wonderland next to the model boat pond Conservatory Water.


Proud history

It's not always been so rosy. Almost immediately after its initial completion, the park began to fall into disrepair due to lack of use, and was only rescued in 1934 by the clean-up efforts of Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. What is now the Great Lawn was at this point the wretched 'Hoover Village' shantytown, which the master urban planner Robert Moses removed; he also constructed playgrounds and sports pitches, aligning the park with the emerging desire for a place for sports recreation, rather than simply an idyllic retreat.

The 1960s and 70s saw the 'Events Era,' during which the park was used for rallies, demonstrations, festivals and happenings of all kinds, including the famous 'Love-ins' in protest against the Vietnam War; since 1962, the outdoor Delacorte Theater has played host to the free 'Shakespeare in the Park' summer festivals, which remain wildly popular to this day.The park is now meticulously managed by the Central Park Conservancy, who proudly keep it in perfect condition for all visitors to enjoy. The Conservancy also operate a variety of tours, highlighting different aspects of the park.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in New York
St Patrick’s Cathedral
This imposing Neo-Gothic construction has been the beacon of Catholicism in New York since 1878.
Rockefeller Center
An iconic complex of Art Deco buildings and public art, commissioned by the Rockefeller family.
Trump Tower
A 68 story skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, built and owned by the billionaire Donald Trump.
Museum of Modern Art
Gallery devoted to the story of art from the late 19th century to the modern day
63rd Street / Lexington Avenue Station
Dive into the past at 63rd Street / Lexington Avenue Station.
Starry Night
Arguably Van Gogh's most famous painting, 'Starry Night' is on display at the MoMA.

Related Tours

Private Walking Tour of Modern Manhattan
Experience the bustle of Manhattan in this extensive trip around some of  New York City’s finest sights. Journey beyond sightseeing and discover their secrets in the company of your own professional, local guide.   

  • See some of New York's best architectural masterpieces
  • Enjoy the bustle of Times Square
  • Learn about what makes Broadway so special in the theatre world
  • Walk through the art deco Rockefeller Center
  • Step inside the beautiful St Patrick's Cathedral
  • Become absorbed in New York's famous Fifth Avenue
Monuments of New York

In this intimate tour of NYC, you will discover some of midtown Manhattan’s best known and much loved attractions. You will begin at the most iconic transportation hub in the United States— Grand Central Terminal. Catch a perfect view of the gleaming spire of the Chrysler Building, another of New York's Art Deco masterpieces, explore the New York Public Library where you will meet the giant stone lions, and enjoy Bryant Park—a lovely green oasis in the heart of Midtown. You will then continue west to the crossroads of the world —Times Square— to view the news ticker on the One Times Square Building, the NASDAQ board, and the myriad neon signs.

Bright Lights and Old School Glamour

Soaking up the bright lights, you will learn about the evolution of Broadway and how theatre  transformed Times Square into one of the most famous destinations in the world. You will have the pleasure of seeing many of the historic buildings in the area dating back to 1900, as you head towards the recently restored art deco masterpiece— Radio City Music Hall. A short walk will lead you to the Rockefeller Center, a magnificent complex of towering skyscrapers. 

As your tour continues, you will see the beautiful, gothic St Patrick's Cathedral, seat of the Archdiocese of New York. Heading north toward Central Park, you will have your chance to be part of the shopping mecca that is Fifth Avenue, abounding in old world glamour. Your tour will finish at the corner of Central Park, near the Zoo and Wollman Rink, where you will be able to explore this green oasis in the very heart of New York City. 
Private Full Day Highlights with Top of the Rock tickets
Explore the Big Apple - from the bustling streets of Downtown Manhattan to the serenity of Central Park.  On this private tour you will:

  • See the best sights of Lower Manhattan, from the National 9/11 Memorial to St Paul’s Chapel
  • Walk around quirky, local Greenwich Village 
  • Experience the bustle of Times Square
  • Enjoy the grandeur of St Patrick’s Cathedral
  • Stroll in both Grand Central Terminal and Central Park
  • Finish your tour gazing out on the city from the views from the Rockefeller Center

Your tour begins  at the National 9/11 Memorial and visit Ground Zero— the original site of the The World Financial Center. Here your guide will share with you the history of the World Trade Center and discuss the tragic events of 9/11. You will also visit Saint Paul's Chapel,  which was the base for rescue workers who heroically searched for survivors on that fateful day.

Next you will head towards  trendy Greenwich Village, home to over a century's worth of bohemians, artists, musicians, novelists, poets and intellectuals of New York City. From here you will take the subway to Wall Street in lower Manhattan, arguably the most important financial center of the world. You will learn about some of the most important moments in US history, from the swearing in of George Washington as the first American President, to the signing of the Buttonwood Agreement—the foundation of the New York Stock Exchange. 

Bright Lights

You will also have the opportunity to explore the gothic architecture of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, where writer F. Scott Fitzgerald was married. Then, you will walk to Grand Central Terminal, the most iconic transportation hub in the United States, with the beautiful celestial ceiling murals. 

Your guide will take you to Times Square in the midtown area to view the news ticker on the One Times Square Building, the NASDAQ board, and all the fluorescent neon advertisements. You will then venture to another icon of NYC—the Rockefeller Center. Here, your guide will give you your tickets for the Rockefeller Observation deck and part with you. Cap off your tour with  a breathtaking bird’s eye view of Manhattan and the rest of the Big Apple. 
Private Central Park History Walk
A green haven in the heart of Manhattan, Central Park is a great place to escape the city. With plenty to see, and larger than Monaco and Vatican City combined, a tour of this bucolic space in the company of your private guide is not to be missed. 

  • Marvel at a 3000 thousand year old statue which shares a space with one of America's greatest founding fathers
  • Visit Turtle Pond— home to Shakespeare Gardens, Belvedere Castle and Delacorte Theater. 
  • Take your turn amongst the children climbing on characters from Lewis Carroll's beloved Alice in Wonderland. 
  • Be transported into the iconic Central Park scene by Gapstow Bridge from the film Home Alone 2: Lost in New York City 
The Great Lawn 

Your guide will take you around the sights of the 55-acre Great Lawn, beginning with the Obelisk, the oldest man-made object standing freely in New York City. This was originally made for an Egyptian Pharaoh over 3000 years ago. While it stood next to its' sister obelisk for 2000 years, it was traded by the Egyptian Khedive in the late 19th century fund modernization efforts in Egypt. Whilst in the Great Lawn, you will hear tales of the concerts held here by artists from Simon and Garfunkel to Bon Jovi and see the statue of Alexander Hamilton, donated by his son in 1880. 

Around Turtle Pond

Taking you around Turtle Pond – the sole remains of the former Croton Water System – your guide will give you the low-down on the reptiles who provided the name. After a brief pause outside the Delacorte Theater, an open-air setting where New Yorkers are able to watch free plays every summer, there will be a short stop in the Shakespeare Gardens. Intended to resemble the English countryside, this garden is built around flowers mentioned by The Bard. Next door is the highest spot in the park: Belvedere Castle. This 19th century folly is split between a meteorological station and a gift shop, but you will still be able to get some of the best views of Central Park from its ramparts. 

 Space for Fairytales and White Rabbits

On the south side of Cedar Hill— an undulating meadow popular where New Yorkers come to relax— lies Conservatory Water. Popular with model-boat sailors, it is also known for two famous statues nearby. The statue of Alice in Wonderland shows her among fellow fictional characters invented by the English author Lewis Carroll. From there it is not far to the statue of Hans Christian Andersen, where the Danish author is portrayed reading one of his stories. 

Balto and Bridges

Venturing into the south of the park, you will say hello to the statue of Balto—a very special Alaskan dog. After he fought the Alaskan tundra to help indigenous communities threatened by a diphtheria epidemic, the husky became a legend of the radio age and New Yorkers contributed to a bronze sculpture of the brave canine. You will also see a body of water known simply as “The Pond”. Crossing it by Gapstow Bridge, where Kevin meets the pigeon lady in Home Alone 2, you will reach the border of Central Park and say goodbye to your guide.  
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