General Grant National Memorial
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:Riverside Drive at West 122nd Street, Manhattan, NY
Hours:Memorial and museum: 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. daily; park: sunrise to sunset daily
Fee: Free
Contact:; 212-666-1640

Bathrooms: Overlook Pavilion across Riverside Drive to west; Claremont Dolphin Playground, just north of monument at West 124th Street
Water/Snacks: None

USGS Central Park

Grant's Tomb is a must-see stopover—or an off-the-beaten-path destination for a picnic—on a longer hike in Riverside Park.

The lawns of Sakura Park near General Grant National Memorial provide plenty of space for games.
Photo by: Cheryl and William de Jong-Lambert

Perched at one of the highest points in Manhattan, the General Grant National Memorial—better known as Grant’s Tomb—is a longtime tourist destination whose popularity has risen, declined, and risen again, along with that of the surrounding neighborhood. Established with great fanfare in 1897, the site was modeled on the original “mausoleum”—the tomb of Mausolus, a satrap, or governor, in the Persian Empire between 353 and 350 BC. It had fallen into serious decline by the 1970s, but its restoration and revival gained momentum in the 1990s.

Owing to its open, flat, paved surfaces, Grant’s Tomb is popular with skateboarders, and the New York Unicycle Club holds its meetings there on the first Sunday and third Saturday of each month, from 1 P.M. to about 5 P.M. It is also an ideal place for young children to gain expertise on a scooter, tricycle, or toddler bike.

Grant’s Tomb sits on an island that is surrounded by Riverside Drive. A bird sanctuary is due west in Riverside Park, and many massive mature trees surround the monument itself. Combined, these elements turn the airspace over Grant’s Tomb into a flyway for migrating birds. The area just north of the memorial has grassy hills and picnic tables, as well as sweeping views of the Hudson River to the George Washington Bridge. Beyond that, on the park’s northern edge, is the Claremont Dolphin Playground. Sakura Park is due east.

The park can be reached from Riverside Park (Trip 18) to the west, or from West 122nd Street to the east. The National Park Service recently restored the Overlook Pavilion, across from the memorial in Riverside Park, providing space for a visitor center, a small museum, and a bookstore. Remember: Riverside Drive surrounds the park on all sides, and in the absence of nearby pedestrian crosswalks, you must watch traffic to cross into the park.

Plan B:

The Manhattan Waterfront Greenway North (Trip 6) and Riverside Park North (Trip 18) are just west of the memorial park, offering additional playground options and long stretches for hikes and bike rides.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Grant’s Tomb is an excellent, off-the-beaten-path picnic spot. Provisions can be purchased in grocery stores and restaurants along Broadway, from West 116th Street heading south. Convenience stores on Broadway between West 121st and 122nd streets are also an option.


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