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The Best Parks in NYC

August 15, 2016 - by Chelsey Grasso
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New York City may be the concrete jungle, but it also has some of the most treasured and wondrous parks in the country. These seven parks listed below are the city’s most iconic, and they range from Brooklyn expanses to midtown jewels. No matter if you’re a nature-lover or prefer to be have your foliage mixed with skyscrapers and subway entrances, there’s a park here that will make you feel right at home. They say it’s impossible to get New Yorkers out of the city, and with parks like these, we’re not a bit surprised.

Best of NYC Parks: Central Park (Upper West Side & Upper East Side)

bethesda fountain central park

Image: John Cunniff/Flickr

Central Park provides 843 acres of natural bliss smack dab in the middle of Upper Manhattan. Being the most visited urban park in the world, you can bet that there’s much to be explored. Central Park Zoo, The Mall, The Pond, Sheep Meadow, Bethesda Terrace (above), Strawberry Fields, The Lake, The Ramble, Belvedere Castle, and The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir are only some of the many sights to see when making your way through. 212-310-6600, centralparknyc.org

Best of NYC Parks: Bryant Park (Midtown West)

 Bryant Park

Image: Dan DeLuca/Flickr

Coming in at just under 10 acres, Bryant Park can be found between Fifth and Sixth Avenues and 40th and 42nd Street. Located in the heart of the city, this park is home to an iconic ice skating rink during the winter months and a lush, green lawn during the spring, summer, and fall. A dedicated game area in the park is open for visitors to indulge in a game of chess or backgammon while enjoying the city views. 212-768-4242, bryantpark.org

Best of NYC Parks: Brooklyn Bridge Park (Brooklyn)

 Brooklyn Bridge Park

Image: John Cunniff/Flickr

Though it’s located in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Bridge Park is a must for everyone who wants to take in an iconic view of Manhattan. This park sits on the East River with 85 activity-filled acres resting directly across from the Financial District. Take a ride on Jane’s Carousel, get in a game of basketball on Pier 2, or cool yourself off in The Water Lab while taking in the sights of this beloved park. 718-222-9939, brooklynbridgepark.org

Best of NYC Parks: Washington Square Park (Greenwich Village)

 Washington Square Park

Image: Doc Searls/Flickr

This 9.75 acre park is perhaps New York’s most famous following Central Park. Nestled in the middle of Greenwich Village, NYU students flock to this park during the academic year, as do talented street performers and jazz musicians. A central hub of cultural activity in the city, it’s impossible not to enjoy the park where the Washington Square Arch and central fountain have become unofficial NYC landmarks. nycgovparks.org

Best of NYC Parks: Union Square Park (Union Square)

Union Square Park  

Image: David Robert Bliwas/Flickr

Union Square Park takes up 9 acres in one of New York City’s busiest areas, making it a packed and popular location for artists, businessmen, and tourists alike. The Union Square Greenmarket is one of the best farmer’s markets in the city, and the Union Square Holiday Market makes for superb Christmas shopping come the cooler months. nycgovparks.org

Best of NYC Parks: Prospect Park (Brooklyn)

 Prospect Park

Image: perke/Flickr

Prospect Park’s 526 acres were designed by the same man who drafted Central Park, so you can expect to see some similar layouts. This park is the biggest in Brooklyn and has become the go-to place for New Yorkers who want to avoid Central Park’s heavy foot traffic during warm spring, summer, and fall weekends. A carousel and Prospect Park Zoo are both also located within the park’s boundaries. 718-965-8951, prospectpark.org

Best of NYC Parks: Madison Square Park (Flatiron)

 Madison Square Park

Image: Matthew Hurst/Flickr

Head over to Madison Square Park on any weekday afternoon to find it packed with businessmen and businesswomen enjoying their lunch while gazing at a perfect view of the Empire State Building. A great place to snack, this park is home to a Shake Shack and Madison Square Eats during the spring and fall seasons. 212-520-7600, madisonsquarepark.org

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