Bryant Park
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, NY
Hours:7 A.M. to 7 p.m., 10 p.m., or midnight, depending on the month and day
Fee: Free (in winter, ice skate rentals are $13)
Bathrooms: Near subway stop at 42nd Street; between Fifth and Sixth avenues
Water/Snacks: Upscale dining at Bryant Park Grill; casual dining at Bryant Park Café; four kiosks serving sandwiches, soups, salads, coffee, and ice cream

A legendary social spot among the area’s office workers, Bryant Park also holds many charms for children.

Bryant Park.
Photo by: iStock

Within a relatively small space—only 9 acres—Bryant Park manages to pack in two seasonal favorites: the summer film festival and outdoor ice skating in winter. Both are free and wildly popular. Year round, on any day with reasonable weather, the impeccably clean park is a mecca for Midtown Manhattan office workers who flock there to enjoy lunch on the lawn, on a bench, or at one of the quaint picnic tables.

The land here was designated a public space very early in the city’s history— in 1686—and so it has remained. Prior to that, it was wilderness.

To get a full sense of Bryant Park’s charm and loveliness, first walk the perimeter on the sidewalks. Start at the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, and walk south down Fifth to 40th Street. This will take you past the front of the behemoth-size central branch of the New York Public Library. Continue down 40th Street, turn right onto Sixth Avenue, and pass the grand entrance at Fountain Terrace. Turn right onto 42nd Street, and a little more than halfway up, enter the park. From here, wander the tree-lined gravel walkways around the lawn, or cross it at the center to take a spin on Le Carrousel, a recently installed treat for adults and children alike.

Remember: During winter, lockers at the skating rink are free, but bring a lock or buy one there. Skate rentals are $13, or you can bring your own. You can check larger bags and have your own skates sharpened (each for a fee). A ride on Le Carrousel is $2 per person.

Plan B:

Head down Fifth Avenue to Washington Square Park (Trip 26)—especially in summer when the fountain is flowing.


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