washington square park new york city

We are excited to welcome the warm weather back to New York City this spring. While winter comes alive with numerous holiday markets and romantically snowy days, this time of year breathes fresh life into the city. There are few better places to enjoy the spring in NYC than at one of its many timeless and beloved parks. And while Central Park gets all the attention, there are several beautiful parks further downtown that we love too. Here are the best parks in Lower Manhattan.

Tompkins Square Park

Located in Alphabet City, Tompkins Square Park is a quintessential, storied Manhattan park. The ten-acre square is a regular meeting place for dog owners, street performers, and local pedestrians. Sit at one of its benches and enjoy a coffee and bagel from one of the many nearby cafes.

Besides just sitting and people-watching, you can also bring your kids to Tompkins Square Park to enjoy the playground. There are basketball and handball courts as well. This is also a favorite spot for outdoor chess matches, held daily at the park’s tables. Tompkins Square Park also is home to a number of annual events like the drag festival Wigstock, the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, and a dog costume contest around Halloween.

Washington Square Park

The famous archway at Washington Square Park is an iconic symbol Greenwich Village. At the center of the park is a large, round fountain where children can be found splashing around during the hot summer months. In the 1960s, local creatives like Jackson Pollock, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan converged here. Today, it’s a meeting ground for NYU students, chess players, workers, tourists, and many more.

We recommend any first-time visitors of Manhattan and the Duane Street Hotel take some time to walk over to Washington Square Park, which will take an enjoyable half-hour. Along the way, you can grab a slice at Joe’s—a Greenwich Village institution—or a sweet treat from the popular and acclaimed Dominique Ansel Bakery. At the park, take some time to enjoy your bite, have a selfie in front of the arch, and maybe try your hand at a game of chess against a local master.

Battery Park

Located at the bottom of the island of Manhattan, Battery Park is one of New York City’s most underrated parks, often seen as simply the point of departure for ferries to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island or Staten Island.

The waterfront park is home to a number of excellent attractions including beautiful perennial gardens, an ocean-themed carousel, and sweeping harbor views. It’s an easy walk from the Duane Street Hotel, and a great jumping off point for exploring the rest of Lower Manhattan.

Columbus Park

Columbus Park has been through several different iterations, but has long been one of the more popular outdoor hangouts in Manhattan’s Chinatown neighborhood. The park has formerly been named Mulberry Bend Park, Five Points Park, and Paradise Park. This is a great place to post up with authentic, just-made dumplings and watch a game of pickup soccer or early-morning Tai Chi exercises.

Columbus Park also has its own collection of basketball courts and playgrounds, making it a great place to get a free workout, or take the kids to play in Lower Manhattan. We recommend checking it out on a walking tour of the Lower East Side, Chinatown, and Little Italy—three incomparable neighborhoods that bleed into one another with world-class restaurants, and craft bars, and top-notch parks.

Hudson River Parkway

Hudson River Parkway is just north of Battery Park, and an easy walk from the Duane Street Hotel. The long-running Lower Manhattan Park offers so much to be enjoyed by travelers of all kinds. Consisting of 550 acres of riverside property, it offers incredible views of the Hudson, and serves as one of the most scenic places to take a run or bike ride in New York City.

Along the Hudson River Parkway, find a range of activities including mini golf, carousel rides walking tours, kayak and boat excursions, trapeze lessons, and so much more.

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