NEW SERIES UPDATE: Starting a new series where I share one of my favorite places in New York City each month. Over the next few months, I’m going to put together guides for my favorite neighborhoods, and tips for what to see on weekend visits during each season in the city. Until then though, I’ll be starting to highlight a few of the things that make this city so great to live in (and visit).
Next up: Visiting New York City’s parks in autumn.
It’s no secret fall is my favorite time of the year in New York. And, living in Harlem, I’ve got easy access to Central Park, Morningside Park and Riverside Park. When I lived in Brooklyn, Prospect Park was one of my favorite places to be during this season.
Surrounded by a concrete jungle, Central Park is an oasis residents and visitors alike appreciate. Located in the center of Manhattan, the park takes up six percent of the entire island and is the most visited urban park in the US.
Fall is a great time to visit the park- the foliage is breathtaking and crisp weather makes walking or biking any of the park’s trails truly enjoyable.
If you’re short on time, I’d recommend staying to the lower loop (1.6 miles in distance). If you’ve got a bike though and want to see more of the park, doing the full loop (~6 miles) can be a fun way to spend a morning or afternoon, but one caution- parts of the upper loop are hilly so be prepared to climb steep inclines.
Some of my favorite things to check-out in Central Park:
- The Alice in Wonderland statue
- The Mall- lined with American elms, the walkway was originally intended for carriages traveling to the Bethesda Terrace. When the leaves start changing late October/early November, the Mall is truly stunning
- Bethesda Fountain- One of the most well known fountains in the world, the angel on top represents peace, health and purity
- Bow Bridge- The cast iron bridge is one of the park’s most iconic spots, a great place for a photo opp
- The Loeb Boathouse– Not just a great place for dining, you can also enjoy a relaxing gondola ride or sit on the shore and take in the lake’s scenery
- Tavern on the Green– A beautiful place for lunch or dinner, I enjoy coming here in the early fall and sipping a cider at the outdoor bar
- Conservatory Gardens– These are located in the upper loop on the east side, but definitely worth checking out if you’re nearby. The gardens are divided into three smaller gardens, each with a distinct style: Italian, French, and English. They’re gorgeous, well-maintained and usually not as crowded as other parts of the park
If you want to check out another one of NYC’s parks, I enjoy Riverside Park for running, biking or walking along the Hudson; Inwood Hill Park for hiking; Prospect Park for its beautiful trails and Sunday farmer’s market; and Astoria Park in Queens with its city skyline views.