Getting out and about in nature is not only good for the soul, it is also good for our health. When relaxing in nature, our blood pressure lowers, our nerves begin to calm, and our mind manages to place things back into proper perspective. We also experience a free and natural dose of aromatherapy and an increased level of creative flow.
This is especially true for people living and working in large cities where cement is far more prevalent than delicate blades of grass.
So, if you’re ready to walk among the trees again — in green space New York City style — and get back in touch with the natural beauty that’s actually closer than you might think, here’s a list of the 10 best parks in NYC. Why not take the next few months to experience, and enjoy them all — one at a time?
10 Beautiful Must-Visit Parks in NYC
1. Central Park
It’s impossible to mention beautiful parks in NYC (or beautiful locales anywhere in the world) without mentioning the most famous park in New York City, Central Park. A landscaped oasis in the center of Manhattan, it offers relaxation, boating, walking, biking, wildlife viewing, picnicking, dining, and photography and educational opportunities galore.
With approximately 40 million visitors annually and 800 plus acres of heaven on earth, this park is definitely one of the best places to visit in NYC. Just because it’s conveniently close doesn’t mean it’s not absolutely amazing. There’s a reason people come to visit Central Park from all around the world. Be sure to experience our crowned jewel, again, this summer.
2. Bryant Park
Bryant Park has more than 12 million visitors per year. Located next to the New York Public Library, it boasts impeccable seasonal landscape, great eateries, plenty of free activities, a reading room, an art cart, and even a carousel.
Bryant Park also presents dance events, poetry readings, and movie nights. Whether you’re single, or you come with a family, or a date, there’s absolutely everything to love about Bryant Park.
3. Botanical Gardens
Get ready to spend an entire day, and then come back for more later. With over 250 acres and over a million plants, that range from tropical to desert flora, the Botanical Gardens is a sight to experience, over and over again.
You’ll enjoy educational lectures with plenty of gardening tips, hands-on planting opportunities, shops, delicious dining establishments, a spectacular waterfall, and a Garden of Eden environment that will simply take your breath away.
At the Botanical Gardens, you’ll find 50 separate garden collections, what remains of a historic, living New York City forest, and even a wetlands area. This is a perfect family outing or a great one for sharing with your out of town, green thumb, guests. Enjoy!
4. Prospect Park
Prospect Park is a 500 plus acre park located in Brooklyn. Here, you’ll discover a 60-acre lake, a 90-acre meadow, a zoo, a picnic house, and even the perfect setting for entertaining concerts in the summer.
You can have a family picnic at the long meadow or just walk among the trees for a time of personal refreshing. The free summertime concerts are fun events to share with family and friends. Bring a picnic basket and join in on the fun!
5. Brooklyn Bridge Park
This is an 85-acre park where it is less about traditional landscape and more about the scenery of the beautiful river. There are 6 pier locations with large lawn acreage, concessions, play areas, dog runs, multiple ball fields, a fishing station, a roller rink, a marina, and even a cool beach spot.
While not an entirely traditional park, this locale gives everyone an opportunity to be outdoors near the river and find an activity that’s just right for them. Your family will love this one!
6. Flushing Meadow: Corona Park
This park has it all! It proudly ushers in multiple play areas, delicious eateries, picnic spots, a marina, ball facilities, fishing spots, indoor pools, fitness equipment, model aircraft fields, a zoo, a science and art museum, as well as a marina. They even have WiFi hotspots, in case you just can’t get away from Facebook for more than an hour, or have to catch up on important emails.
And did you know, this park was the location of two 20th century World Fairs? There is plenty of historic memorabilia to discover along with fun, rotating events. In fact: many of the events are free and do not require registration.
For more information, check out their website at www.nycgovparks.org
7. The Hills of Governor’s Island
Leave it to New York to turn an abandoned former military base into a wonderful green space for everyone’s enjoyment.
The Hills of Governor’s Park offers bike trails and picnic areas encompassing New York Harbor. With over 800 trees and 40,000 shrubs, the greenery addition has definitely brightened our city life.
Besides a picnic, be sure to get your camera ready. This park offers panoramic views of the Statue of Liberty, the harbor, Jersey City, lower Manhattan as well as Brooklyn. This is definitely a must-visit location.
8. The High Line
An unusual and relatively new park, the High Line was officially established in 2014. It is about a 1 ½ mile elevated and linear green space sourced from a former railroad line. The idea for this unusual park came from a similar creation located in Paris, France.
With more than 14 million visitors annually, the contemporary landscape offers a creative and natural atmosphere from formerly wasted space. This park is a beautiful monument to the vision of repurposing. Along your walk, you’ll enjoy views of the city and the Hudson River. This is definitely an unusual park, but it’s well worth the visit.
9. Hudson River Park
Known as the longest riverfront Park in all of America, the creators have turned what once was a decaying property into a beautiful getaway locale for New Yorkers. At this park, you will enjoy a carousel, kayaking, multiple dog parks, restaurants, mini golf, and children’s play areas
They also offer great public events like family movie nights, fitness, dances, concerts, as well as multiple guided tours. For more information, visit www.hudsonriverpark.org.
10. Astoria Park
With something for everyone, you can enjoy the outdoor pool, dog areas, playgrounds, skate parks, tennis courts, running tracks, exercise equipment, and various restaurants
At Astoria Park, you’ll also experience concerts, dance, arts and crafts, and even theater. Children and teens have special programs available including swim lessons and summer camp opportunities.
The phenomenal outdoor pool is known as the oldest and largest in the city. And admission to the pool is always free, which makes it the perfect place to spend a hot summer day in New York City.
Once you’ve had a great afternoon relaxing in the sun at one of our amazing city parks, why not top off your adventure with a cocktail and delicious small plate at High Bar? We offer awesome rooftop views, excellent service, and a dining and bar experience you won’t forget.
You’ll find us in the heart of Manhattan, located at the top of the Doubletree, at 346 West 40th Street. For reservations, give us a call at 646.362.7363 and we’ll gladly set a table just for you.