When visiting Manhattan in New York City, taking a stroll in Central Park is a must. Especially during the summer months, it is amazingly beautiful in the center of city of skyscrapers. You can take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage, until they ban them, but we didn’t want to based upon reports we had heard about how the horses were treated. Until you actually see it from above, it is hard to believe how large Central Park actually is, which is over 843 acres. There are activities throughout the year, so it is worth checking out their official website before you come to New York to see what is happening when you are there.
In addition to special events and concerts, there is the Central Park Zoo and Belvedere Castle as well as a variety of statues located throughout the park. Renting a bike is a great way to get around and see even more of the park than just by walking its many paths. During the summer, there are many artists selling artwork or willing to paint your caricature if you have the time to sit for one. There are also ball parks and open spaces to toss a Frisbee or kick a soccer ball around. You can even rent a rowboat on the lake, which they have been doing for over 150 years, or take a ride on a gondola.
There are concession stands throughout the park as well, which is a great way to get an inexpensive meal, but there are restaurant choices as well. The most famous of which is probably Tavern on the Green, but we were warned that their reputation has fallen slightly in recent years. We enjoyed a Sunday brunch at the Loeb Boathouse, which has wonderful views of the lake and a delicious variety of food. If you are in the mood for some French food, there is Le Pain Quotidien, which features a variety of quiches, although we did not eat there.
Central Park is truly an oasis in the heart of Manhattan with so much to do that you can certainly spend a full day there. It is possible to get a walking tour of the park, which is a great way to learn more about the history of the park and see some its lesser known attractions.