Central Park aerial view, Manhattan, New York; Park is surrounded by skyscraper

The most famous public green in the world, Central Park is in a league of its own. Its expansive 843-acre layout is home to countless attractions and can seem overwhelming at first. But with a little help, this urban oasis will seem like your own backyard. Here’s your guide to conquering Central Park.

Get Bronze on the Great Lawn

Smack dab in the middle of the park is the Great Lawn. 55 acres of open green space offers unparalleled reprieve from the bustling city streets. The perfect spot to throw down a blanket and soak in the sun, the lawn also showcases one of the most unique views in the city—with Midtown’s towers sprouting from the dense treeline.  

The Great Lawn. New York, NY.

Ace the Clay Courts

On the northern end of the park, just above the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, is New York City’s largest collection of public tennis courts. The Central Park Tennis Center is home to 26 clay courts, open from 6:30am to 8:00pm between April and November. Don’t worry about lugging your racquet all the way Uptown—the on-site pro shop has a wide range of racquet rentals for your hitting pleasure.

The Central Park Tennis Center. New York, NY. (212) 316-0800

Lunch with a View

You’ve seen the romantic rowboats floating across The Lake at Central Park, but you might not know that the boathouse doubles as a restaurant. Nautically-themed dishes like braised tuna and seared scallops or a classic American cheeseburger with fries, along with an unparalleled ambiance, await at The Loeb Boathouse.

The Loeb Boathouse. E 72nd St, New York, NY. (212) 517-2233

Walk the Mall

Who could pass up the opportunity to walk beneath the legendary American Elm arborway? Wooden benches line the walk beneath thick serpentine branches that create a tunnel-like path through the heart of Central Park. Start at the grandiose Minton Tile ceiling under the Bethesda Terrace by the Lake and head due south along the quarter-mile straightaway. Bring your camera—there’s a reason the Mall is one of the most photographed places in NYC.

The Mall in Central Park. New York, NY. (212) 310-6600

Conquer the Castle

On 79th Street, at the southern tip of Turtle Pond stands Belvedere Castle. Built in 1869, the gothic stone structure’s elevated platform looks out upon the Great Lawn and the Upper East Side. “Belvedere” is Italian for “beautiful view,” which is exactly what you’ll find here.

Belvedere Castle. 79th St, New York, NY. (212) 772-0288