The 6 Best Parks and Outdoor Spaces in NYC

best parks and outdoor spaces in NYC

New York is one of the few cities in the world that has a bit of everything! Life in New York is dynamic and rewarding. But are you lacking some time in the great outdoors to relax, recharge, or exercise in nature? If your answer is yes, then your next vacation should be designed to spend time in lush vegetation where you can get some fresh air. This is where New York’s fantastic parks come in and offer you a wonderful break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. New York City has some of the world’s best and most popular parks. The following are the best parks and outdoor spaces in NYC. Various activities are regularly held in these great New York parks to offer visitors and locals alike recreational activities, such as picnics, shows, trips, and sports events.

Central Park

boating in central park nyc

This is of course the most popular, and probably best-loved, park in New York. It is strategically located in downtown Manhattan and is a must-see when visiting the city with the family. Central Park offers 843 acres of public space in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. Frederick Lowe Olmsted and Calvert Waugh developed it, and this wide green expanse provides a stark contrast with the surrounding tall buildings and busy urban life of New York.

Central Park offers fascinating lush vegetation, large open spaces, and plenty of natural beauty, making it difficult to discover and enjoy fully in a single visit! Central Park is your answer to how leaves change color, and a wonderful place to make the most of winter. Truly one of the most beautiful parks in New York, it is also very functional, with fantastic places for jogging, cycling, and tennis.

When you spend time in the park, you will experience an amazing combination of a relaxed atmosphere and various activities. Popular activities in the park include mountain climbing, the Central Park Zoo, bird watching, ice skating, and boat trips. Another attraction of the park is spectacular sculptures. Alice in Wonderland, the Duke of Ellington, the Water Angel, and Balto are famous sculptures that can be found while walking in the park. Hanging out in Central Park in summer allows you to participate in various sunny weather activities, for example paddling in the outdoor swimming-pool.

Battery Park

At the foot of Manhattan, Battery Park is without a doubt the best place to head to in order to visit famous New York City attractions such as the Statue of Liberty or the Ellis Island ferry crossing. But this green space with its pedestrian promenade along the Hudson River is also an enjoyable attraction in its own right. You can use Battery Park as a gateway to hop on the ferry to Ellis Island, or simply walk along the shore and stop to read a book on a park bench with great views of the Statue of Liberty.

Battery Park

Bryant Park

Bryant Park is another park in New York that is well worth a visit. As in other parks in the city, you can spend unforgettable moments with your family in this park. The grounds cover four acres, making it the longest strip of green grass in Manhattan. The main attraction of the park is the William Cullen Bryant statue. Several events are organized in the park every year. The Bryant Park Summer Festival has been the most popular park event since the 1990s. If you visit the park in July and August, a notable Broadway event will be held at Bryant Park.

Children can ride a carousel and play chess, table tennis, and backgammon. You can also read some books in the reading room. You don’t have to reveal your identity or become a member to read books. For the best experience, arrive early to be there by 5:00 PM, as park rangers open the lawns to the public and take their place by spreading a picnic blanket. Food and drink add to the experience, but don’t overdo the drinks as it can be difficult to find a bathroom!

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

The list of the best parks and outdoor spaces in NYC would be incomplete without the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. It was founded in 1910 and occupies an area of 52 hectares. The park has an art gallery, the House of Aquatic Plants, and the C.W. Rigid bonsai. The house of aquatic plants is made of glass and white cast iron. More than 10,000 plant species are represented in the botanical garden.

The main attractions of these gardens are the Cranford Gardens, the Kindergarten, and Shakespeare’s Garden. If you visit in spring or summer, be sure to check out the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens! With lots of vegetation and lush flowers, it’s the perfect place to spend a relaxing day with the family.

Prospect Park

Prospect Park is the last remaining forest in New York City. There is also a historic carousel, rowboats, ice skating, and the Lefferts Homestead Children’s Museum. However, Riverbank State Park offers more active recreational opportunities, encouraging visitors to ice skate, swim, and take advantage of the playgrounds and play areas. The park itself is a 28-acre, multi-story leisure complex on an 800-meter platform with breathtaking views of the Hudson River, New Jersey, and the George Washington Bridge.

You can enjoy a stroll through the hills and expansive lawns of New York’s Prospect Park when you visit New York City. Designed from the same inspiration as Central Park, you can also enjoy tons of public concerts and the park’s ice rinks. Every year this park is visited by over 7 million people and the New Year celebration is the brightest event of the year! People from all over the world come to see the fantastic and fascinating fireworks that are put up in this park during the New Year holidays.

Prospect Park

Highland Park

The famous Bat Festival takes place in Highland Park every year, giving visitors from the USA an opportunity to see 22 acres with almost 500 species of bat. The park is also home to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the impressive AIDS Memorial Garden.

Flushing Meadows – Corona Park

Flushing Meadows Corona Park is well known to New Yorkers but is often overlooked by tourists. The park hosted the World’s Fair in New York in 1939-1940 and 1964-1965. Getting lost in the 1,255-acre park is a stroll through history. You will find many artifacts and traces from the world expositions, including the famous Unisphere.


These are just some of our favorite green oases in New York City, although there are many more. We hope this list inspired you to spend time in nature and check out some of these outdoor playgrounds next time you’re in the Big Apple.

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What are the best parks and outdoor spaces in NYC for you? Do you have a favorite one? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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