Nice Park in NYC Discovering the Green Oasis 2023

Certainly, New York City is known for its towering skyscrapers and dazzling city lights, but it also boasts an impressive array of parks beyond the iconic Central Park. Several of these lesser-known NYC parks remain relatively undiscovered by tourists.

In the Big Apple, even small patches of greenery can achieve official status. Throughout the city, you’ll find tiny triangles of grass designated as official city parks. New Yorkers treasure the natural elements they have, leading to a plethora of delightful park spaces hidden within the urban jungle.

While Central Park is renowned worldwide as one of the most famous urban parks, other charming and historic parks deserve recognition. Spread across New York City’s boroughs, these parks act as an extended backyard for residents and a secret escape for savvy travelers who know where to look.

Here are exceptional parks in NYC to explore when you’re seeking some outdoor enjoyment.

Pretty parks in NYC

Discover the Serene Beauty of “Prospect Park” in NYC

Prospect Park in NYC

Conceived by the same visionary duo behind Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted, and Calvert Vaux, Prospect Park serves as Brooklyn’s counterpart to the more renowned park.

In designing Prospect Park, Olmsted, and Vaux were granted a second opportunity to create their dream park. Unconstrained by Manhattan’s grid system, they were able to fashion a more organic space, resulting in a landscape that appears less artificial and boasts more natural vegetation.

Nevertheless, they didn’t forgo their artistic flair, opting to include a majestic, formal entrance at Grand Army Plaza. Although Prospect Park in Brooklyn is expansive, it’s possible to explore it entirely in a single visit with comfortable walking shoes.

Be sure not to miss these key attractions:

  • Lefferts Historic House, an 18th-century farmhouse exhibiting period artifacts
  • Prospect Park Zoo, home to approximately 400 animals
  • Prospect Park Lake, Brooklyn’s sole lake
  • LeFrak Center at Lakeside, offers skating, biking, boating, and more
  • Long Meadow, spanning 90 acres for exploration and relaxation
  • Audubon Center, showcasing wildlife and conservation exhibits
  • Litchfield Villa, a private 19th-century Italianate mansion
  • For those seeking a more sophisticated experience, The Picnic House within the park serves as a special event and wedding venue.

Uncover the Hidden Gems of “Washington Square Park”

Situated in the vibrant Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park is renowned for its majestic arch and as a prime location for observing people.

Uncover the Hidden Gems of “Washington Square Park”

Though its layout is straightforward, it takes merely 15 minutes to walk from one end of the park to the other. Many visitors prefer to unwind on a bench, amid the greenery, or at the edge of the stunning fountain.

Speaking of the fountain, it is a popular spot for children and pets, serving as a refreshing oasis during summer. However, the park has a somewhat somber past. It was once an extensive burial ground for impoverished individuals and unidentified victims of various epidemics that plagued the city, notably yellow fever.

Despite its history, don’t let that deter you from visiting – the park’s past imbues it with depth and personality. It is a topic of interest on our Greenwich Village tour, where you can uncover all the secrets of this fascinating neighborhood.

Experience the Magic of “The High Line”

Experience the Magic of "The High Line"

New York’s inaugural elevated park, the High Line, has quickly become a popular attraction, drawing an increasing number of visitors annually (except in 2020 due to COVID).

Built upon the remains of the West Side Elevated Freight Railroad, the High Line skillfully blends the old and new, offering New Yorkers an innovative and captivating outdoor experience – and it has certainly delivered!

This chic park boasts spectacular vistas, over 210 plant species, shallow pools, lounge chairs, art installations, food vendors, shopping options, and numerous historical points of interest.

What sets the High Line apart is its goal to provide a fresh perspective on the city, rather than simply offering an escape from it. This unique park is featured in several of our tours and is the primary focus of our High Line and Chelsea Walking Tour, where we delve into everything there is to know about the park and the distinctive neighborhood that surrounds it.

You can also read:“Find Your Oasis in Brooklyn: Discovering Prospect Park’s Hidden Treasures”

Escape the Bustle of the City at “Battery Park”

Escape the Bustle of the City at “Battery Park”

With its roots tracing back to the 1850s when it housed Castle Garden, the world’s earliest immigrant depot, Battery Park has played an essential role in New York City’s history. Even before Ellis Island’s establishment, millions of immigrants passed through Battery Park, sowing the seeds that would eventually shape America into the nation of immigrants we know today.

The park’s fantastic views of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty make it a delightful spot to stroll around. Our Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Tour, which commences in Battery Park, covers much of the history associated with these sites.

Take a Stroll Through the Oasis of “Brooklyn Bridge Park”

Brooklyn Bridge Park is one of New York’s most contemporary creations, breathing life into a formerly dull stretch of Brooklyn’s waterfront and transforming it into a delightful space buzzing with energy. Undoubtedly, the highlight is the breathtaking view of Manhattan that accompanies visitors as they explore the various zones and unique attractions.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

This vast 80-acre park boasts Jane’s Carousel, a beautifully restored 1920s merry-go-round, as well as sports fields, playgrounds, basketball courts, and skating rinks. During the summer months, visitors can enjoy outdoor movies, free kayaking, and literary readings.

The area is still expanding and changing, with ongoing construction adding even more excitement for both new and returning visitors to Brooklyn.

Get Lost in the Vastness of Flushing Meadows “Corona Park”

Although it’s the furthest destination on the list, Flushing Meadows Corona Park is worth the trek. The park’s standout feature is the imposing Unisphere, a remnant of the 1964 World’s Fair that took place there.

Get Lost in the Vastness of Flushing Meadows “Corona Park”

In addition to the Unisphere, the park is also home to the Queens Botanical Garden, Citi Field, the New York Hall of Science, and the Queens Zoo, ensuring there’s always plenty to see and do regardless of the season. Even though it takes an hour on the subway to reach Flushing Meadows, the sights and experiences you’ll encounter here make the journey well worth it.

Find Peace in the Natural Wonders of Inwood Hill Park

Inwood Hill Park, the site of Manhattan’s only remaining forest, offers visitors a sense of being on the edge of the world. As I stroll among the trees and bushes, I forget I’m still in the midst of a bustling city.

Wonders of Inwood Hill Park

The park is aptly named, as it is very hilly, situated on a ridge that towers 200 feet above the Hudson River. Its historical significance is not to be overlooked either, having once been the location of one of Manhattan’s last remaining farms. Wealthy New Yorkers have used it for years as a country retreat to escape the city’s chaos.

Guide tip: While visiting Inwood Hill Park, take some time to explore Fort Tryon Park, one of our top picks for fall in New York. Conveniently located next door, Fort Tryon Park boasts lush gardens and the stunning Met Cloisters, which are part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Embark on a Journey to Pelham Bay Park

Pelham Bay, located in the Bronx’s farthest reaches, is New York City’s largest public park, spanning an impressive 2,772 acres – more than three times the size of Central Park. With miles of hiking trails and bridle paths, exploring the entire area takes hours.

Pelham Bay Park

The park was once teeming with deer, turtles, and sturgeon, which drew in the large Siwanoy Native American population that once inhabited the area. Rich in history and greenery, Pelham Bay Park is certainly worth the journey on the 6 train to get there.

Among the park’s many highlights are Orchard Beach, two golf courses, the Bartow-Pell Mansion, and a stunning shoreline that stretches out into the Long Island Sound.

A conclusion of these great parks in NYC

Naturally, this rundown of New York City’s parks is far from comprehensive. The city is home to so many verdant spots that are worth discovering. Ask any of our guides what their favorite park is, and chances are they’ll each give you a different answer. Parks are personal in that way, despite being open to the public.

If you’re a park enthusiast, we’d be thrilled to take you on a tour of the High Line, Washington Square Park, or Battery Park. Alternatively, feel free to share your favorite NYC park with us on Facebook. We love hearing from both New York aficionados and locals about what they believe makes this city truly remarkable.

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