New York City is often referred to as a concrete jungle, but it's also home to an impressive array of parks that are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. From Central Park's Sheep Meadow to Riverside Park's panoramic views of the Hudson River, there are plenty of outdoor spaces to explore in the city. Central Park is one of the most iconic parks in New York City and a must-visit for first-time visitors. Sheep Meadow is a 15-acre meadow near the south end of the park that is filled with people enjoying picnics, throwing frisbees, attending performances, and soaking up the sun.
Riverside Park is another picturesque spot in New York City, stretching four miles from 59th Street to 158th Street. It's lined with majestic trees and historic buildings, and dotted with family-friendly play areas. Bryant Park is the cultural heart of downtown Manhattan, located just steps from Grand Central Station and the New York Public Library. It hosts more than 1,000 activities each year, including ice skating in Winter Village and free summer movies on the lawn.
Washington Square Park has been a center of counterculture and creativity for decades. It's nearly 10 acres in size and marked by an iconic white arch that pays homage to George Washington. The park was once a potters' camp and cemetery for the poor, criminals, and victims of disease. The High Line is a 1.5-mile long park that passes through some of New York City's most historic neighborhoods.
Much of the park has remained untouched since Europeans colonized Manhattan in the 17th and 18th centuries. It's an ideal place for hiking and biking along the Hudson River, as well as for friends and families with children's play areas, dog parks, and barbecue areas. Prospect Park is Brooklyn's crown jewel, spanning 585 acres in Brooklyn. It's home to Smorgasburg, one of New York's most beloved food truck events, as well as Prospect Park Lake which is a peaceful oasis in Brooklyn.
McCarren Park has had many uses throughout its long history, from sports facilities to a children's farm. Nowadays it's equipped for a season of games from kickball courts to soccer fields, baseball, petanque, handball, basketball, tennis and running trails. Fort Greene Park was Brooklyn's first designated park in 1847 and was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. It's 30 acres in size and surrounded by brownstone houses and century-old buildings.
It was once a Continental Army post during the Revolutionary War. Governors Island is located on 172 acres in New York Harbor and offers a complete escape from the relentless energy of New York City. Visitors can take a quick ferry ride from Manhattan or Brooklyn to explore its waterfront park and promenade that stretches from the southern tip of Manhattan to the center of the city. Hudson River Park encompasses 550 acres, more than 400 of which are in the water. It's the second largest park in the city at 1,255 acres and home to Citi Field where you can watch a Mets game; Arthur Ashe Stadium for tennis; and much more.