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Top 10 Tourist Attractions of New York City’s Central Park

With around 40 million visitors annually, the Central Park of New York City is the most-visited attraction in the USA! The park presently spans over 843 acres and is the ‘green lung’ of the city. Central Park was opened to the public in 1857 and has since featured in numerous movies and TV shows. It has gone through several renovations over the decades. Presently, it is very beautifully landscaped with walkways, ponds, flowering trees, fountains, gardens, as well as a zoo. It is also sprinkled with many beautiful statues and sculptures. There are several visitor attractions inside the Central Park. Here is our pick of the top 10.


  1. Conservatory Garden
Burnett Fountain in the Conservatory Garden

The Conservatory Garden is the only formal garden inside the Central Park. It is on the north eastern part of the park, right across the street from the Museum of the City of New York. The Vanderbilt Gate leads into the garden from the Museum Mile stretch of the Fifth Avenue.  The garden covers 6 acres and has 3 distinct sections after its extensive renovation in the 1980s. The central section has a symmetrical lawn bordered by European yew. To the left is the Burnett Fountain with the water lily pool. To the right is the Untermyer Fountain.


  1. Wollman Rink
Wollman Rink

Wollman Rink is the popular ice skating rink located at the southern end of the park, just west of the Central Park Zoo. The rink was opened in 1949. It is named after the Wollman family, which funded the project. The ice skating rink is usually open between October and April and used for other events in the summer months. The Victoria Gardens amusement park is located within this rink complex. It is a very popular attraction in the park and has been featured in several movies including Home Alone 2 and Serendipity.


  1. Diana Ross Playground
Diana Ross Playground

The Diana Ross Playground is located on the central western border of Central Park, directly across from 81st Street. It is named after the legendary singer Diana Ross. The singer was supposed to give 2 concerts to fund the project, but natural calamities made the concerts unprofitable. Diana Ross chipped in with her personal resources to fund the project, which was opened to the public in the late 1980s. The playground is equipped with swings, slides, rope bridges, and other fun rides, and has been dubbed as one of the best children playgrounds in the city.


  1. Tavern on the Green
Tavern on the Green

Tavern on the Green is an American cuisine restaurant located on the south western side of Central Park, along 65th Street. Due to the large number of visitors to the park, the restaurant attracts nearly half a million customers every year, earning a revenue of 38 million dollars. This makes it the second-highest-grossing independent restaurant in the whole of the US, following the Tao Restaurant at The Venetian Las Vegas, which earns 68 million dollars. The restaurant was established in 1934 and is an ideal place to grab a bite when visiting the park.


  1. Belvedere Castle
Belvedere Castle

The Belvedere Castle is actually a decorative piece of architecture inside the Central Park. It is a stone ‘castle’ that was built in 1869 in a fusion of Gothic and Renaissance styles of architecture. The Belvedere Castle has an observation deck and some exhibit rooms. It also serves as the official weather station of the Central Park. The castle had fallen into disrepair and was renovated to its former glory in the 1980s. The turret of this castle is the highest point of Central Park. The castle offers excellent sweeping views of the park. It has featured in several popular movies like Hannah and her Sisters, Stepmom, and The Smurfs.


  1. Central Park Mall
Central Park Mall

No, it is not a shopping center inside the Central Park. The Mall is actually a straight long pathway lined with large trees, ideal for a casual stroll in the park. It leads to the Literary Walk, which is a pathway lined with statues of literary giants from across the globe like Shakespeare, Sir Walter Scott, and Robert Burns, to name a few. On one end of the Mall is the Naumburg Bandshell, which is an outdoor venue for concerts.


  1. Central Park Carousel
Central Park Carousel

The Central Park Carousel is one of the largest carousels in the US and a prominent attraction of the Central Park. It is located in the south central part of the park, in line with 65th Street. The official name of the carousel is Michael Friedsam Memorial Carousel and it is the 4th carousel that has been erected on the same site. The first one was set up in 1871 and the present one in the 1950s. It was extensively restored in the 1990s. The highlight of the carousel are its hand-carved wooden horses. The carousel is presently maintained by the Trump Organization, owned by Donald Trump, the 45th US President.


  1. Central Park Zoo
Aerial view of the Central Park Zoo

There is a small zoo tucked away in the southeastern side of the Central Park. The zoo covers an area of about 6.5 acres. Interestingly, this zoo had opened as a menagerie in 1864 making it the oldest zoo of New York City. It was transformed to its present status in 1934, thus earning the name 1934 Zoo or Central Park Zoo. The zoo replaced the cages with a more natural environment for the animals. Central Park Zoo has about 100 different species of animals, from the tropics as well as Arctic region. It also has a 4D theater within its complex.


  1. Strawberry Fields
Strawberry Fields

Strawberry Fields is a memorial dedicated to the slain singer John Lennon. He was shot dead in front of Dakota Apartments right across the street from the north west part of the park, on 72nd Street. The memorial was dedicated on October 9, 1985, which would have been the 45th birthday of the singer. It gets its name from the Beatles song ‘Strawberries Fields Forever’ which was penned by Lennon. The memorial is a round artwork of mosaic with the word Imagine in the middle, in reference to the biggest hit written by the Lennon. Strawberry Fields memorial was a gift from the city of Naples in Italy.


  1. Bethesda Terrace and Fountain
Bethesda Terrace and Fountain

The Bethesda Terrace is located in the south central part of Central Park, on the southern shore of The Lake. The Bethesda Fountain is at the center of the terrace. It is a popular hangout place of the park. The Bethesda Terrace stands between the Mall and the Naumburg Bandshell – a popular outdoor concert venue in the park. Two grand Spanish-styled staircases connect the terrace to the Mall. The fountain was completed in 1864 and has an 8-foot bronze statue of a female winged angel. The terrace and the fountain has been featured in several movies including The Avengers and Stuart Little 2.

Originally posted 2017-08-21 13:02:46.

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