Riverside Park (North)
GOOD FOR: Ages 0-4

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:Riverside Drive at 116th Street, Manhattan, NY
Hours:Dawn to 1 A.M. daily
Fee: Free
Bathrooms: Across from General Grant National Memorial (Riverside Drive and 124th Street); Riverside Park Café (near Henry Hudson Parkway at 105th Street)
Water/Snacks: Water fountains every few blocks along top level starting at 120th Street and less frequently along middle level; vendors throughout park; seasonal outdoor café at 105th Street

The shady upper promenade features a series of small playgrounds and is great for toddlers.

Riverside Park North and its many hills create a sledding mecca in winter.
Photo by: iStock

Riverside Park North is home to one of the greatest sledding hills in Manhattan. To get there, enter the park at 116th Street and follow the sound of shrieks and cheers to the ornamental fountain erected by the Woman’s Health Protective Association in 1910. Descend the sweeping staircase on either side of the fountain, get on your sled or snowboard, and look out below!

Some 4 miles long and with three distinct levels, including the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway along the shore, Riverside Park is an exuberance of landscapes, activities, views, and destination playgrounds. The original park, developed between 1872 and 1910 by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, stretched from 125th to 72nd streets, and we divide this at 100th Street (see Trip 19 for the southern section). The northern- and southernmost parts of the park, from 125th to 158th streets and from 72nd to 59th streets, are covered under the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway North and South.

At street level along Riverside Drive, Riverside Park North is a wide, shady promenade that features small but thoughtfully designed “tot lots” every few blocks between 119th and 105th streets. (The ones at 116th and 105th streets have equipment for older children.) A great stone wall lines the promenade to the west, and behind that is a hillside of mature trees, verdant undergrowth, and a maintained dirt path that takes you deep within.

Entrances with paved paths leading to the middle level are at 120th, 116th, 115th, and 103rd streets. Between 112th and 101st streets, the mid-level promenade overlooks basketball courts, a skate park, baseball diamonds, and soccer fields. Beyond that lies the Hudson River. You can cross the Henry Hudson Parkway to reach the Greenway at 125th and 100th streets.

Remember: During spring and fall, the ground surrounding the walking paths can remain wet for days following rain.

Plan B:

Head to Riverside Park South for bigger destination playgrounds, or to the General Grant National Memorial to enjoy an uncrowded plaza and another great playground.


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