While New York City’s most famous park has always been Central Park, it’s important not to overlook its Brooklyn counterpart, Prospect Park. Created in the mid 1800s, Prospect Park’s rich history and untamed beauty make it a great alternative to its more crowded Manhattan cousin. Here’s what to do in Brooklyn’s crown jewel.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Renowned for its specialty gardens housing plant species from around the world, Brooklyn Botanic Garden has occupied the northeast corner of Prospect Park since it was founded in 1910. One of the garden’s most popular features is its Japanese cherry trees. Gifted to the BBG after World War I by the Japanese government, the month-long blooming each spring is one of the most beautiful sights NYC has to offer.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden. 990 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. (718) 623-7200

Boating on the Lake

Created 150 years ago, the lake at Prospect Park is not only the largest lake in Brooklyn, it’s the only lake in Brooklyn. Take advantage and get on the water, where paddle boat rentals are available from 11am until sunset every day.

LeFrak Center at Lakeside. 171 East Dr, Brooklyn, NY. (718) 462-0010

Smorgasburg

Continuing to expand from its ever-popular Williamsburg hangout, Smorgasburg now operates in Prospect Park. Every Sunday from April until October the city’s tastiest and most innovative local vendors open their food tents to the public from 11am to 6pm.

Smorgasburg Prospect Park. Prospect Park – Breeze Hill, Brooklyn, NY

Skating in the Park

No matter the season you can always skate at Prospect Park. During the winter the 32,000 square foot skating surface is frozen over for ice skating. But the best time to skate is during the summer months when the ice melts and the space is overtaken by inline skaters. And if you want to expand your horizons even more the park also offers a skateable 3.5 mile loop around Park Drive.

LeFrak Center at Lakeside. 171 East Dr, Brooklyn, NY. (718) 462-0010

Horseback Riding at Kensington Stables

Featuring a scenic 3.5 mile bridle path, Kensington Stables offers one of your only chances to hop on a saddle in NYC. Ringing in at an affordable $42 a person for an hour’s ride, it’s a great introduction to horseback riding for beginners.

Kensington Stables. 51 Caton Pl, Brooklyn, NY. (718) 972-4588