NYC Parks 2024: Top 10 from 1700 Parks in New York

Nov 6, 2023


  • 1. Prospect Park
  • 2. Central Park
  • 3. Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  • 4. Bronx Zoo
  • 5. Hudson River Park
  • 6. The High Line
  • 7. Flushing Meadows Corona Park
  • 8. Central Park Zoo
  • 9. Brooklyn Bridge Park
  • 10. Queens Botanical Garden
  • 11. Battery Park
  • 12. Washington Square Park
  • 13. Bryant Park
  • Show More

While New York is a sprawling concrete, asphalt and metal jungle, little patches of greenery are well-maintained by its residence for their touch with nature. Surprisingly there are over 1700 parks in New York spread throughout its five boroughs. Although Central Park is their most iconic one, there a number of others that offer just as much solace with a lesser crowd. The residents of the city take whatever little space they can find to turn it into a park and hence you see little spaces throughout the city with an official city park title. Green spaces the city are few and park between hence highly treasured by the locals and the tourists especially as the weather gets warmer. While some of these are iconic, the rest are hidden away in the boroughs and being the backyard for the many residents. So whether you’re looking for the perfect picnic place, a place for a jog, or a getaway from the teeming masses for a few hours, there are some of the best parks in New York.

Located in the heart of Brooklyn, 585-acre Prospect Park is one of the most popular parks in New York which gets over 8 million visitors every year. Planned by the designers of the famous Central Park, Prospect Park offers a great number of activities throughout the year for visitors. It is famous for its running paths, playgrounds, ball fields and luxuriously large green spaces which include forest areas, wetlands and a lot of trees. While you may want to simply stroll through the fields and the green, there are a number of activities to engage in as well including fishing, riding horses, renting a pedal boat or taking a foraging or walking tour. Some of its attractions include the Prospect Park Zoo, Grand Army Plaza, LeFrank Center, Boathouse and Auduboon Center.

To get to the park you can take a number of subway lines including F at Prospect Park and Fort Hamilton Parkway Stations, 2/3 at Grand Army Plaza, Q at Prospect Park and Parkside Ave stations, S at Prospect Park and B at Prospect Park. The park is open from 5 am to 1 am.

NYC Parks 2024: Top 10 from 1700 Parks in New York

Probably the most famous park in New York, Central Park has been the backdrop of countless movies so there’s a good chance you would have already seen parts of this park. Spread across 843 acres, it occupies six percent of the total land area of Manhattan Island! What makes it one of the most beloved parks in New York is that it features playgrounds, meadows, scenic hills, ball fields, skating rinks and other popular attractions including the Central Park Zoo, Belvedere Castle, Strawberry Fields and more. Whether you’re a local of a tourist, there’s plenty to do at the park such as bike riding, ice skating, rollerblading, boat rides or even long strolls along its walking paths or meadows.

Due to the park’s enormous size, it’s advisable to pick up a map at the visitor center with all the attractions and routes printed on it. You can take the A, B, C, D, N, R, Q Trains along with 1,2,3 Trains that all stop at various stations around the park. If you’re arriving by bus, The M10, M20, M1, M2, M3, and M4 all have bus-stops around the park. The park is open from 6am to 1am.

NYC Parks 2024: Top 10 from 1700 Parks in New York

Unless you’ve researched it, it’s easy to miss the Brooklyn Botanical Garden as it’s often overshadowed by its more famous New York Botanical Garden. However, ask the locals and they will tell you that is this is the spot to be if you’re an enthusiast of various types of flora. This garden is spread across 52 acres and is adjacent to Prospect Park. Founded in 1910, it features a native flora garden, a herb garden, and even a Japanese pond garden. This beloved destination to the locals and the visitors is the psychic equivalent of a relaxing massage with its diverse range of flora that comes to full bloom in spring making it an incredible sight. The Yellow Magnolia Cafe at the garden serves a range of vegetable-focused cuisine and is open from 11 am to 5 pm from Tuesdays through Sundays. The Visitor gift shop has some great collection of apparel, books, garden equipment, and souvenirs.

Mondays are off and the timings are usually from 10 am to 4:30 pm to visit the garden. The fee is $15(adults) $8 for seniors and students, and free for children below 12. To get there take the subway 2/3 to Eastern Parkway, B/Q to Prospect Park and the Metro-North Railroad has a stop right outside.

NYC Parks 2024: Top 10 from 1700 Parks in New York

The Bronx Zoo of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York’s premier destination for visitors to learn about the diversity of the animal kingdom. This 265-acre facility is home to over 5000 species of animals that are housed in a recreation of their natural habitat for visitors to see. The park is open year-round and is visited by millions every year. The park features themed exhibits such as the one entirely dedicated to Madagascar and a monorail ride to Wild Asia which goes across 38 acres of animal exhibits featuring elephants, deer, Mongolian wild horses, antelopes, and tigers. The zoo is too massive to be explored in one day, therefore, plan your trip accordingly to visit specific exhibits you’re most interested in.

The park is generally open from 10 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday between April to October, 10 am to 4:30 pm every between November to March. To get there take the Metro-North Harlem Line to Fordham then the BxM11 bus. Fees: $30.55 (adults) $21.55 (children 3-12).

NYC Parks 2024: Top 10 from 1700 Parks in New York

Spreading across 500 acres this is one of the best parks in New York for visitors to engage in a variety of interesting and fun-filled activities. The park stretches from Battery Park all the way to West 59th Street in Midtown. The Hudson River Park offers a chance to engage in activities such as mini-golf, carousel rides, kayaking and take walking tours to learn all about the neighborhood. Visitors often enjoy the jogging and biking paths, relaxing on the waterfront beaches and enjoying free entertainment throughout summers in the form of live music and film screening. There are also a number of tables for picnics along with the way and snack stands when you get hungry. For children, there are play areas and public lawns and even dog parks to have a good time on their outings. One of the top favorites is the Carousel at Pier 62 in Chelsea. To get to the park take the buses M12, M20, M55, M8 and subway 1, C, E.

The High Line is a new favorite among New Yorkers and tourists alike for being one of a kind. This abandoned railway line from 1980 was converted to a 1.4-mile-long strip of the park in 2009 with a walking path, wild plants and outdoor artwork being displayed on it making it one of the unique parks in New York. Being 30 ft above the ground gives the visitors a totally different perspective of the New York skyline. The High Line stretches from the Hudson Yards to the north edge of Chelsea and is a perfect park for walking tours, watching the sunrise and sunset and just absorbing the vibe of the neighborhood around. On the way there a number of places to stop over and admire the view of the city or even grab a bite to eat. Intermittently along the park’s entire length, you will come across pieces of contemporary art on display that change over a period of months. To get to the High Line, you can take the 1 or C train. Get off at 23rd street and walk up to 10th avenue.

NYC Parks 2024: Top 10 from 1700 Parks in New York

The Flushing Meadows Corona Park is among the largest parks in New York standing at fourth place. It’s one of the best places to head to for outdoor activities in Queens and has something for everyone whether they’re sports fans, nature lovers, artists or tech geeks. The park features a number of green recreational places, playgrounds for soccer, baseball, cricket, skateboarding areas, dog runs, handball courts and more. Visiting this place it’s quite surprising to learn that it was once a swamp and an ash dump which has since been converted to this fantastic place for outdoor activity. Among its top attractions is the World’s Fair Site which was featured in the movie Men in Black, therefore if you’re a fan of the franchise this is definitely a place to head to for some photos! The park hosts thousands of picnickers on weekends and even features two lakes. It’s also a favorite spot for carnivals and festivals. The easiest way to get to the park is to take the #7 subway and follow the directions to the park.

The Central Park Zoo is one of the most iconic parks in New York having been featured in many blockbuster and children’s movies over the last fifty years. Although modest in size, the zoo is home to 150 species of animals from around the world. Its newest exhibit the Snow Leopard enclosure has gained tremendous popularity both with the locals and tourists. Also popular is the Rainforest Exhibit which features the flora and fauna of tropical rainforests around the world. If you’re traveling with children it’s a good idea to take a tour to learn deeply about all the exhibits.

The zoo is open from 10 am to 5 pm from April to November and from 10 am to 4:30 pm from November to April. To get there take the N, W and R subways to the 5th ave and take the 60th street to the zoo.

Tickets to the Total Experience are $13 (children 3-12), $18 (adults 13-64) and $15 senior (65)

NYC Parks 2024: Top 10 from 1700 Parks in New York

The Brooklyn Bridge Park which is on the East River adjacent to the Brooklyn Bridge is another popular hangout spot for the folks in the neighborhood with plenty of activities to engage in. It’s well-known for its spectacular views of the city sky line and the panoramic views of the New York Harbour along with the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, the Statue of Liberty and the boat traffic on the east river. The park is also a cultural and sports venue with events such as festivals, concerts, exercise classes, outdoor movies, games, kayaking and other activities that go on throughout the year. The airy and open space of the park offers plenty of photo opportunities and a great vibe, in general, to unwind on the shoreline. The cultural events are usually free and there is much to do in the park which won’t cost you anything. The park is open from 6 am to 1 am.

To get there, take the A/C train to High Street, 2/3 train to Clark Street or the F train to York street and follow the guidelines to get to the park.

NYC Parks 2024: Top 10 from 1700 Parks in New York

The Queens Botanical Garden is a sprawling 40-acre park in New York that flourishes with a wide range of seasonal plants. What’s interesting is that there are many small gardens that have plants that are significant to different cultures. The park’s popular attractions include a rose garden, a magnolia walk, a herb garden, a perennial garden and a stretch dedicated to bees. Since there are plants that bloom at different seasons, there’s always life here and the garden does a pretty good job of giving out the information on them all. The botanical garden is close to a number of Chinese restaurants and delis on Flushing, so this is where you need to head to grab something to eat.

It’s open from Tuesday through Sunday from 8 am to 4:30 pm from November to March. The admission fees are $6 (adults), $4 (students and seniors) and $ 2 (children over 4). To get there take the subway #7 to Flushing. Then take the bus Q44SBS or Q20A/B.

Tucked away in the bustling Financial District is this quiet green neighborhood that’s 92 acres out of which a third is reserved for parks and public spaces. Battery park is relatively new compared to the rest of the popular parks in New York as it was created in the 1980s as a lower Manhattan extension area. It’s a great getaway from the busy financial districts with its parks, upscale restaurants, shopping stores and a number of viewpoints where you get some spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty and the Jersey City Skyline across the river. Of the most popular tourist activities here include the ferry to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Shopping at Brookfield Palace and bike rides.

To get there take the 4/5 subway to Bowling Green Station or N, R to Reactor Street. The busses m55 downtown, M15 Downtown, M20 to South Ferry Downtown can be taken to battery park.

NYC Parks 2024: Top 10 from 1700 Parks in New York

At 9.75 acres, the Washington Square Park might be a bit on the smaller side but it’s a highly recognizable park in the city that’s popular with students, locals, and tourists. The park’s magnetic appeal comes from the scattered book-reading students, spontaneous musicians, the chess players, the playing kids all the same place having a great time. Two of its prominent features; the stately arch and its central fountain are recognizable from movies and media posts while being the epicenter of counterculture congregation for decades. The park is at the New York University’s campus and can be reached by the A/C/E, B/D/F trains to west 4th or Washington square.

NYC Parks 2024: Top 10 from 1700 Parks in New York

Bryant Park at the heart of Manhattan is a much-needed escape from the concrete jungle that surrounds the Times Square. Its design inspired French traditional style, the park is great to enjoy a stroll, play a board game with friends, just relax on the lawn, watch a free movie screening or even take a ride on the Le Carrousel. Entry to the park is free as it is maintained by the Bryant Park Corporation through private funding. It’s a popular place for special events such as the HBO/Bryant Park Summer movies from June to August and Holiday Shops in Bryant Park in November and December.

It’s not too hard to get to Bryant Park as it’s in the heart of the borough and together with the New York Public Library, occupies four city blocks. To get there use the B, D, F, and M train to go to 42nd Street / Bryant Park.

NYC Parks 2024: Top 10 from 1700 Parks in New York

The public parks in New York City are more than just places with landscaped gardens and well maintained urban forest areas. They are also bustling with activity of plenty of cultural significance and fun for any visitor at any time. The parks in New York must be on your itinerary on your next visit to the city as it is simply not possible to get a grasp of the cultural scene without visiting these places. When you book your flight tickets to New York, combine them with hotel reservations to get cheap deals and plan a great trip. As the city has so much to offer every season, it's always a great time to go. Book early and avail early bird offers to save big and plan the perfect trip.

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