A Perfect Day in Central Park: Central Park Route With the Main Attractions

10:09 am  |  16.08.2021

In New York’s largest park, countless sights, activities, and paths are waiting to be discovered by you. Cross the romantic Gapstow Bridge, row a boat on Central Park Lake, relax with the locals on the Great Lawn, and sip a cocktail over the treetops of the park. We have put together a route and program for your perfect day in Central Park.

From 5 Avenue Station to the Balto Statue

View of Manhattan from behind the Gapstow Bridge in autumn

Have you slipped into your most comfortable running shoes or borrowed a bike? Then your day in Central Park can start now. It starts at the 5 Avenue subway station on the southeast corner of the park. The N R W lines will get you here directly, otherwise, 57 Street Station on the F M lines and 59 Street – Lexington Avenue on the 4 5 6 lines are nearby.

From the edge of the Grand Army Plaza, you now enter Central Park on East Drive. Keep left along the bank of The Pond and follow the ducks to Gapstow Bridge. The old stone bridge offers one of the best views of the Manhattan skyline from the park. So here you should definitely have your cameras ready.

You can cross the bridge or continue along the bank to the Wollman Rink. You have to go ice skating there in winter! Then it goes further north over the large crossroad 65th Street Transverse. Then go on the East Drive to the Balto statue.

The bronze statue of the heroic husky Balto recalls the amazing story of when diphtheria broke out in Nome, Alaska in 1925. Balto led a team of around 20 sled dogs through the most extreme winter conditions for nearly 1,000 miles from Anchorage to Nome, where they brought the rescuing antidote.

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From Balto to the Bethesda Fountain

The famous Bethesda Fountain in Central Park

Immediately after the famous dog, none other than Christopher Columbus, William Shakespeare, and three other statues of honorable writers are waiting for you on the Literary Walk and The Mall. Even without these celebrities, the impressive tree-lined avenue is a worthwhile sight. Over the widest pedestrian path in the park, some of the largest and last American elms in North America form a gigantic canopy of leaves, behind which even the tallest skyscrapers in the city disappear. Often you can also listen to jazz musicians or meet other artists here.

We love to go for a walk under the golden canopy of leaves. It’s wonderful especially in autumn, when the colors of the Indian summer are at their strongest.

At the end of the mall, you will then reach Bethesda Terrace and immediately behind it the Bethesda Fountain. Bethesda Terrace is one of Central Park’s major architectural landmarks. First, go straight down the stairs and then lookup. The impressive ceiling of Bethesda Arcade was made from over 15,000 tiles from the famous Minton Tile Company of England. This is the only place in the world where those tiles have been used for a ceiling.

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Outside again you will reach the famous Bethesda Fountain with the Angel of the Waters statue in the center of Bethesda Terrace. You probably already know this romantic sight from numerous Hollywood films and series. The fountain is one of the most popular attractions in the park.

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From the Bethesda Fountain to Cleopatra’s Needle

The romantic Bow Bridge

It continues romantically to the next popular Central Park highlight, the Bow Bridge. Behind the Bethesda Fountain just keep to the left along the shore of The Lake, then you can’t miss the beautiful bridge.

Then cross the Bow Bridge and at the other end keep right along the bank towards the Loeb Boathouse.

Alternatively, you can continue along the bank before crossing and make a detour past Cherry Hill and the Daniel Webster Monument to the John Lennon Monument Strawberry Fields and then come back to Bow Bridge.

When you’ve found your way to the Loeb Boathouse, you can try to get to one of the coveted tables in the Lakeside Restaurant or grab lunch in the adjacent Express Café.

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After the boathouse, continue to Conservatory Water. To do this, you first cross East Drive and follow the path on the other side to the Hans Christian Andersen Monument. Together with the not-so-ugly duckling, the writer looks directly at Conservatory Water, where children let their remote-controlled boats race over the water. Borrow model boats on the opposite bank, watch the colorful bustle on the water in peace.

Then just follow the little path behind the statue straight ahead, under the Glade Arch, over the 79th Street Transverse, and then slightly left along with the Metropolitan Museum of Art until you can see Cleopatra’s needle from afar. You certainly did not expect to come across an Egyptian obelisk in the middle of the park in New York. Cleopatra’s needle was actually used in 1450 BC. Commissioned by an Egyptian pharaoh and finally given away to the USA by the Egyptian government in 1880.

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From the Obelisk to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir with the Upper East Side skyline

Strengthened and rested, you continue to Turtle Pond, where turtles really have their home. On the other side of the lake, Belvedere Castle is already enthroned, which you can either look at from here or explore it up close afterward. The choice is yours!

Right next to the pond you will also find the Delacorte Theater, where Shakespeare in the Park takes place in summer, the dreamy Shakespeare Garden, and the cozy Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater. Theater fans and romantics will get their money’s worth here and will definitely want to spend a little more time.

The Great Lawn is like the belly button of Central Park – that means you’ve explored about half of the park by now!

Before your legs protest, let’s quickly head north to the largest body of water in the park, the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.

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