What Are The Top 10 Parks In New York City?


New York City’s parks are not just pretty places to relax, but they also serve as cultural hubs that make the city unique. They provide a beautiful environment for people to spend time with their loved ones and offer various activities such as sports and music concerts.

These parks are an important part of New York’s culture, showcasing its diverse history. Constructed during the urbanization period of the 19th century, they play a vital role in the city’s economy and social life. If you’re passionate about capturing the essence of these vibrant spaces, you can consider hiring NYC photographers to document the cultural richness of the city’s parks. So, with that in mind, let’s explore the top 10 parks in New York City.

Central Park

an image of a lake, central park

Central Park started as a project by the New York City government back in 1853, and has since grown into one of the most famous parks not only in NYC but all across the globe. The state bought 750 acres of land and construction of the park commenced in 1858 – lasting for around 15 years, with visitors granted access to the park in stages.

However, the park’s condition deteriorated significantly after its completion due to poor maintenance. It was in complete decline by 1970, but a non-profit organization Central Park Conservancy took over the task of restoring and preserving the park’s beauty in 1980. They have been successfully carrying out this job ever since.

Unique Features And Attractions In The Park

  • The Great Lawn
  • The North Woods
  • The Reservoir Running Track

Famous Landmarks And Notable Events

Famous Landmarks

  1. The Central Park Zoo
  2. Cherry Hill
  3. Bethesda Fountain and Terrace 

Notable Events

Throughout the years, Central Park has been a venue for numerous unforgettable concerts featuring renowned musicians like the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and Diana Ross, among others. The Delacorte Theatre in the park has also been hosting the “Shakespeare in the Park” festival every year since 1962, which features free performances of Shakespeare’s plays.

Prospect Park

an image of Friends Cemetery

Prospect Park, a vast urban park situated in Brooklyn, was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. It spans 526 acres, making it the second-largest park in the city. The park’s construction began in 1866 and took several years to complete.

The park was officially opened to the public on October 19, 1867. In the 1970s, the park began a period of renewal, which included the restoration of several historic features and the construction of new facilities. It is now operated by the New York City Department of Parks.

Unique Features and Attractions of the Park  

  • Watercourse
  • The Ravine
  • Prospect Park Carousel

Famous landmarks And Notable Events

Famous Landmarks

  1. Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch
  2. LeFrak Centre at Lakeside
  3. The Boathouse

Notable Events

Prospect Park has hosted many notable events over the years. The Bandshell, for instance, has been home to the “Celebrate Brooklyn!”, performing Arts Festival since 1979. Meanwhile, the Prospect Park Track Club and Women’s Softball League have been organizing events in the park since the early 1970s.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn Bridge Park is a public park located on the waterfront of the East River in the borough of Brooklyn. The park covers an area of 85 acres and is operated by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, a not-for-profit entity that was created by the New York State Legislature in 2002.

Construction of the park began in 2008, and the first sections of the park were opened to the public in 2010. Since then, the park has continued to expand, with new sections and facilities opening regularly.

In addition to exploring the Top 10 parks in New York City, there are also other parks that you may have fun visiting. To learn more about these parks, you may read Exploring Sunset Park – A Brooklyn Melting Pot with Manhattan Views.

Unique Features and Attractions Of The Park 

  • The Greenway
  • The Pier 2 Sports Fields
  • The Pop-Up Pool

Famous Landmarks And Notable Events Of the Park

Famous Landmarks

  1. The Brooklyn Bridge
  2. Brooklyn Heights Promenade
  3. Jane’s Carousel

Notable Events

Every September, the Brooklyn Americana Music Festival takes place here, featuring a diverse range of Americana, folk, and roots music from both local and national artists. Photoville – a free photography festival showcasing exhibitions, workshops, and events – also takes place during the same month. Visitors to Brooklyn Bridge Park can also enjoy Smorgasburg, a weekly summer food market held every Sunday, featuring over 100 local and regional food vendors.

Hudson River Park

Hudson River Park is a public park that stretches 4 and half miles along the Hudson River in New York City. The park covers an area of 550 acres and is operated by the Hudson River Park Trust, a public benefit corporation established in 1998.

Construction of the park began in 1999, and the first sections of the park were opened to the public in 2003. Many new features and facilities have been added to it since its opening and the park still continues to grow and improve.

Unique Features And Attractions Of The Park 

  • Chelsea Waterside Play Area
  • The River
  • Tribeca section

Famous Landmarks And Notable Events Of the Park

Famous Landmarks

  1. Intrepid Museum
  2. Pier 84
  3. Chelsea Piers

Notable Events

Hudson River Dance Festival is an annual event held by Hudson River Park Friends and the Joyce Theater Foundation in cooperation with SHS Foundation. Taking place in the lawn of Pier 63, the festival celebrates the vibrant and diverse styles of New York City.

RiverRocks Concert series is also an annual summer concert series of Hudson River Park that takes place at Pier 84. The series features a lineup of free concerts from popular artists and bands.

The High Line

The High Line is a public park on the west side of Manhattan in NYC, built on a former elevated railway line. The park is operated by Friends of the High Line, a non-profit organization that was founded in 1999 by local residents to advocate for the preservation and conversion of the railway line into a public park. The park’s design was led by James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and construction began in 2006. The first section of the park opened to the public in 2009.

Unique Features And Attractions Of The Park

  • Naturalized plantings
  • Rolling lounges for river views
  • Concrete walkways with embedded plantings

Famous Landmarks and Notable Events Of the Park  

Famous Landmarks

  1. The Gansevoort Street Entrance
  2. The Chelsea Market Passage
  3. The Rail Yards Section

Notable Events

The High Line Festival in 2007 was a multi-disciplinary arts event showcasing music, film, and visual arts. In 2003, the High Line Design Competition was held to choose the park’s design team. The High Line Open Studios is an annual event here that allows visitors to explore the workspaces of artists and designers in the surrounding neighbourhood.

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was created for the 1939 New York World’s Fair and later redesigned for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. The park was designed by landscape architects Gilmore D. Clarke and Robert Moses, who was the chairman of the World’s Fair Corporation. After the 1939 fair, the site was turned over to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation for use as a public park.

Unique Features And Attraction Of The Park 

  • Art installations
  • Meadow Lake
  • The New York State Pavilion

Famous Landmarks And Notable Events

Famous Landmarks

  1. The Queens Museum
  2. The New York Hall of Science
  3. Queens Theatre in the Park

Notable Events

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park hosted two World’s Fairs and has been featured in various TV shows and movies, including “The King of Queens” and the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Stark Expo.

Battery Park

Battery Park is a public park located at the southern tip of Manhattan, New York City. Covering an area of 25 acres, the park dates back to the 17th century when it served as a military fortification to protect the city from naval attacks.

The park gets its name from the artillery batteries that were once stationed there. In the early 19th century, the area was filled in with a landfill and turned into a public park. The park underwent several redesigns in the 20th century, with notable renovations taking place in the 1930s and 1980s.

Unique Features And Attractions Of The Park 

  • The Battery Bosque
  • SeaGlass Carousel
  • The Battery Oval Lawn

Famous Landmarks And Notable Events Of That Park

Famous Landmarks 

  1. The Statue of Liberty
  2. Castle Clinton National Monument
  3. The Sphere

Notable Events

The park played a role in World War I and II, serving as a recruiting station. Castle Garden, located within the park, hosted memorable performances in the 1850s by renowned artists like Jenny Lind and Lola Montez. In honor of Linda, a famous Swedish singer, an American Linden tree was planted in Castle Garden in 1995.

Riverside Park

Riverside Park is a public park located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City. The park covers an area of 330 acres and runs along the Hudson River from 72nd to 158th Street.

The park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted’s sons,  The idea for the park was first proposed in the mid-19th century, but it wasn’t until the late 1870s that construction began. In 1980, the park was designated a National Historic Landmark, recognizing its historic and cultural significance.

Unique Features And Attraction Of The Park

  • The 79th Street Boat Basin
  • The Hippo Playground
  • The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument Plaza
  • The Bike and Walking Path

Famous Landmarks And Notable Events Of The Park

Famous Landmarks

  1. Grant’s Tomb
  2. Riverside Park Conservatory Garden
  3. The Joan of Arc Memorial

Notable Events

Riverside Park is a vibrant destination in New York City, offering many notable events and activities throughout the year. During the summer, visitors can enjoy Summer on the Hudson, a popular program with free events and activities for all ages.

Kayaking enthusiasts can take advantage of a kayak launch at 148th Street and a free rental program at 72nd Street in the spring and summer. Tennis lovers can also play on the ten public red-clay tennis courts operated by the Riverside Clay Tennis Association near 96th Street.

Washington Square Park

Located in Greenwich Village, Lower Manhattan, Washington Square Park was originally a marshland and served as a public place where public gatherings and military drills were held.  It was later designated as a public square in 1832. The park was expanded and redesigned in the late 19th century by several renowned architects and landscapers, including Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, and now covers an area of almost 10 acres.

Unique Features And Attractions Of The Park 

  • Children’s play areas
  • The Dog Run
  • Flower beds

Famous Landmarks And Notable Events Of That Park

Famous Landmarks 

  1. The Washington Square Arch
  2. The Central Fountain
  3. The Garibaldi Statue

Notable Events

Washington Square Park has been the site of many notable events throughout its history. In the early 1900s, it was a popular location for labor rallies and socialist demonstrations. During the 1950s and 60s, the park became a hub for the Beat Generation, with writers like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg gathering there. In 1958, musician Buddy Holly, who lived nearby in Greenwich Village, spent time in the park listening to people play and helping guitarists with musical chords.


New York City’s parks are an essential part of the city’s fabric, offering a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of urban life, providing space for outdoor recreation and relaxation, and serving as hubs for community events and gatherings. From Central Park to Washington Square park, there is no shortage of green spaces to explore and enjoy in the city. So take advantage of all that the city’s parks have to offer and make some unforgettable memories!

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