Central Park (North)
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:110th Street (Central Park North) at Frawley Circle, Manhattan, NY
Hours:6 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily
Fee: Free

centralparknyc.org; 212-310-6600 or call 311

Bathrooms: Charles A. Dana Discovery Center; near Conservatory Gardens; near Great Hill; North Meadow Recreation Center
Water/Snacks: Drinking fountains throughout park during summer; vendors throughout park

USGS Central Park; centralparknyc.org/maps

Paved roads and several ornamental bridges lead pedestrians and bicyclists over stunning natural and manicured hilltops and around two beautiful lakes.

Central Park North
Photo by: Cheryl and William de Jong-Lambert

Central Park’s northern reaches feature a great portion of rugged—but accessible— terrain. The area, which stretches between the park’s east–west walls from 110th to 97th streets, is studded with rock outcroppings that can be traversed via a network of paved and dirt paths.

The Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, located in the northeast corner, offers free educational and family programs throughout the year. From April through October, poles and bait are provided for free catch-and-release fishing at the Harlem Meer. The tree-lined meer is also the perfect place to spot waterfowl and turtles. The hilltop remains of Fort Clinton, a fortification built during the War of 1812, are located on the meer’s southern bank, providing panoramic views to the north.

The Lasker Rink and Pool, west of the meer, is a landmark destination in summer and winter. From July 1 through Labor Day, it is the only public swimming pool in Central Park, and admission is free. From October to March, it converts into an ice-skating rink (small admission fee; skates available to rent). Strollers are not permitted.

To feel a world apart from the nation’s largest city, take an easy hike or ride through the North Woods—also called Manhattan’s Adirondack Mountains— which feature the picturesque Loch. Originally designed as a lake by the nineteenth-century landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the Loch is now a stream with several waterfalls and pools. The shady, rocky banks make for cooler picnic spots on summer days.

The Conservatory Garden, along Fifth Avenue, is another destination that transports visitors in time and place. This well-manicured, 6-acre oasis features French, Italian, and English curatorial styles and a broad array of flowers and flowering trees and shrubs. It is a quiet zone with no bikes permitted and is open from 8 A.M. to dusk.

Destination playgrounds are inside park walls along Central Park’s north, west, and east sections.

Remember: If you plan to swim, come prepared per city pool regulations

Plan B:

For more wonderful walks, great playgrounds, and stunning landscapes,
continue south to the west or east areas of the park.


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