New York City Parks
Whether you’re looking for a quiet place to people-watch, or just want some outdoor exercise, New York City is full of parks. With more than 1,900 parks, NYC is the perfect city to escape to for a bit of nature and serenity. Here are 13 of the best city parks to visit during your next trip to NYC.
Van Cortland Park
Located in the northwest Bronx, Van Cortlandt Park is New York City’s third-largest park. It has more than a thousand acres of ridges, valleys, forests, wetlands, and a freshwater lake. The 1,146-acre park is home to a variety of amenities, including golf courses, hiking trails, a skatepark, and playgrounds. It also features two dog runs, which is great for dogs of all sizes. The park is managed by NYC Parks with help from the Van Cortlandt Park Alliance. It also has several on-site parking lots, some of which are easy to find and free.
Located in the Bronx, Wave Hill is one of the city’s most popular parks. It features 28 acres of gardens and woodlands that attract visitors from all over the world. The garden is famous for its classic horticultural craftsmanship, but it also embraces a design spirit that is bold and innovative. It uses a mix of traditional plants and wild nature to create a garden that changes with the seasons. The garden is also known for its educational opportunities, including paid youth internships in a variety of fields that relate to environmental stewardship. They also host family art project days and indoor rotating nature-inspired multimedia art exhibits.
Van Cortlandt Park
Van Cortlandt Park is New York City’s fourth-largest park, encompassing 1,146 acres along the Bronx-Yonkers border. It is home to the nation’s first public golf course and the borough’s largest freshwater lake. It is also the site of many important historical landmarks. For example, the Van Cortland Mansion is the oldest surviving standing house in the Bronx and served as a military headquarters during the American Revolution. The trails within Van Cortland Park are filled with trees, forests, wetlands, and lakes. You can enjoy a run or ride here year-round and explore this beautiful green space.
Fort Tryon Park
The 67-acre (27 ha) Fort Tryon Park is situated on a ridge of Upper Manhattan close to the Hudson River. The pristine views of the river make it an ideal setting for meandering strolls, picnics, and photography. The park was created by philanthropist John D. Rockefeller in 1917 after he purchased the “Tryon Hall” estate of Chicago industrialist C. K. G. Billings and several other landowners. The rocky terrain preserves much of the pre-urban landscape of northern Manhattan that would have been familiar to early residents. The sweeping views of the Hudson River and George Washington Bridge, as well as the Heather Garden with more than 500 varieties of plants, flowers, and trees, help create a special sense of place.
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With the Bronx Zoo, New York Botanical Garden, the Bronx River, and more than a dozen playgrounds, it’s no wonder Bronx Park is a hidden gem for families. The 250-acre site selected for the New York Botanical Garden was once part of the country estate of tobacco merchant Pierre Lorillard, who built a water-powered snuff mill here in 1840. But despite its beauty and history, the park faces several challenges. Land that sits in limbo, pollution,, and language barriers are just a few of the issues.
Central Park is a huge green space that stretches two and a half miles long and half a mile wide in the heart of New York City. It’s a favorite of local New Yorkers and tourists alike, who come here to relax and get away from the buzzing city life. One of the park’s most iconic features is Strawberry Fields, which is a memorial to John Lennon, who was shot nearby in 1980. Another important attraction is the Central Park Zoo, which features animals from around the world.