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The 9 Best Places to Tour in Central Park Plus a Hidden Gem

When you come to New York City, you absolutely must visit Central Park while you’re here. Central Park is one of the city’s most iconic locations and there are plenty of reasons why. We put together a list of some of the best places to tour in Central Park so you get an idea of how to get the most memorable experience during your visit whether you book a pedicab tour of Central Park with us or choose to go the self-guided route.

1. Tavern on the Green

Address: 67th Street & Central Park West, New York City, NY 10023

“Tavern on the Green has proudly served locals, presidents, royalty, artists, actors, and first-time visitors since 1934.”

You may have seen Tavern on the Green featured in the Ghostbusters or Wall Street movies. Tavern on the Green is an iconic restaurant that started off as a sheepfold, an enclosure that housed sheep—yes, sheep— until 1934. Since then it’s been restored and reopened several times and now serves American food in an elegant setting and features courtyard and garden seating areas. Celebrities have been spotted dining at this award-winning restaurant and it maintains very positive reviews from those that dine here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Tavern on the Green expensive?

Plan to spend $14+ on starters and appetizers and $20+ on main dishes.

Does Tavern on the Green have a dress code?

Yes, Tavern on the Green has a dress code. The dress code is smart casual. They don’t allow athletic/running/jogging attire or men with sleeveless shirts in their main restaurant but they are permitted at the Tavern To Go Outdoor Seating Area.

2. Bethesda Terrace and Fountain

Address: 72 Terrace Dr, New York, NY 10021

Right at the heart of the beautiful Bethesda Terrace, you’ll find the iconic Angel of the Waters fountain standing proud and tall, overlooking visitors. Two grand staircases that compose an upper and lower level allow people a scenic route to Central Park Mall and the Naumburg Bandshell. In 1868 the Bethesda Terrace Fountain sculpture was created by Emma Stebbins and made history as the first time a woman received a public art commission in New York City. Be sure to take a look at the gallery to get a good look at the beautiful landscape and architecture, though, there’s nothing quite like visiting Bethesda Terrace and Fountain for yourself!

Frequently Asked Questions

What months does the fountain run?

The fountain doesn’t run based on a season, instead it runs based on the weather. The best way to find out if the fountain will run is contacting Central Park Conservancy.

Is there a way to get to the fountain without a lot of walking?

Yes, there are entrances to the park at West 72nd Street and Central Park West and East 72nd Street and Fifth Ave. Terrace Drive is an extension of 72nd Street and connects the two entrances. The Bethesda Terrace and Fountain are on the north side of Terrace Drive, midway between the east and west entrances, about one and a half blocks from either entrance. The West 72nd Street entrance is right across the street from the B and C subway station. This makes it easy to take a taxi to either entrance. You can also book a pedicab tour to Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, we may even be able to pick you up directly from your hotel!

Do you need to book in advance to visit Bethesda Terrace and Fountain?

If you’re interested in booking a tour of Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, we suggest you book ahead of time to secure the date and time you prefer. Have questions about booking a tour? Contact us and we’ll answer your questions and help you reserve your tour.

What are the closest hotels to Bethesda Terrace?

Some of the closest hotels to Bethesda Terrace and Fountain are:

  • (0.73 mi) The Sherry-Netherland Hotel

  • (0.72 mi) 1 Hotel Central Park

  • (0.69 mi) Hotel Beacon

  • (0.64 mi) The Pierre, a Taj Hotel, New York

  • (0.69 mi) Loews Regency New York

What restaurants are near Bethesda Terrace?

These are some of the closest restaurants to Bethesda Terrace and Fountain:

  • (0.39 mi) Bemelmans Bar

  • (0.35 mi) Laduree

  • (0.45 mi) Lady M Cake Boutique

  • (0.43 mi) The Leopard at des Artistes

  • (0.42 mi) Sant Ambroeus

You view more surrounding restaurants and read reviews from real customers here.

3. Dakota Building

Address: 1 W 72nd St, New York, NY 10023

The Dakota Building is New York’s most famous apartment building. If you’ve never heard of The Dakota, you’re probably wondering why we would recommend travelers to Central Park to visit an apartment building but we promise we have plenty of great reasons. The Dakota is filled with a long history of mystery and even humorous exclusivity that has attracted the attention of thousands since it was erected in the late 19th century. Is it haunted? Seems so. Should you visit? Absolutely.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Dakota Building

How can I reserve a room in the Dakota Building?

The Dakota is a residential building and doesn’t function like a hotel. However, there are several hotels closeby that you can book during your stay in Central Park. Scroll down below to see our list of the closest hotels.

Which celebrities live in the Dakota Building?

Celebrities that currently live in the Dakota Building include Yoko Ono, Roberta Flack, and Maury Povich and his wife Connie Chung. You can read more about current residents here.

How many apartments are in the Dakota?

Originally, The Dakota Building had 65 apartments, but space on the tenth floor was converted into more apartments making the total number of units 94.

Do you need to book in advance to visit the Dakota Building?

We recommend that you book in advance to secure your spot at one of our pedicab tours to the Dakota Building. See our tour information here.

What hotels are near the Dakota Building?

These hotels are near the Dakota:

  • (0.39 mi) Hotel Beacon

  • (0.69 mi) The Mark

  • (0.58 mi) Trump International Hotel and Tower New York

  • (0.64 mi) Mandarin Oriental, New York

  • (0.65 mi) The West Townhouse

What restaurants are near the Dakota Building?

Restaurants near The Dakota:

  • (0.26 mi) The Leopard at des Artistes

  • (0.21 mi) Magnolia Bakery

  • (0.21 mi) Pappardella

  • (0.29 mi) Tavern on the Green

  • (0.15 mi) Ella Social

What else is near the Dakota Building?

Some attractions near The Dakota:

  • (0.34 mi) American Museum of Natural History

  • (0.37 mi) Beacon Theatre

  • (0.32 mi) Bethesda Fountain

  • (0.23 mi) New-York Historical Society Museum & Library

  • (0.36 mi) Hayden Planetarium

4. Bow Bridge

Address: Bow Bridge, New York, NY 10024

Interested in visiting one of the most iconic bridges in the world? This long and low 87-foot cast iron bridge connects The Ramble and Cherry Hill in Central Park. It’s classical Greek design offers a romantic and intimate setting for visitors and gives a breathtaking view of the park and Manhattan.

Bow Bridge Reviews

Great photo opportunity “The Bow Bridge offers fantastic views of Central Park. It is a great photo opportunity but it will be busy!”

Romantic “Romantic scenery, beautiful view on Bethesda Terrace, breath-taking landscape of Manhattan - ideal place for photo and for making a proposal.”

Amazing views “The bridge commands some amazing views of the lake… it is a cast iron bridge… it is painted light in colour and is generally full of people… it has been a part of many movies…”

Frequently Asked Questions About Bow Bridge

Do you need to book in advance to visit Bow Bridge?

For guided tours of Bow Bridge, we recommend booking ahead of time to secure your spot. Learn more about our guided pedicab tours of Bow Bridge and book here.

What is there to eat near Bow Bridge?

There are several great restaurants to choose from near Bow Bridge:

  • (0.20 mi) Momofuku Noodle Bar

  • (0.15 mi) Loi Estiatorio

  • (0.20 mi) Per Se

  • (0.13 mi) Marea

  • (0.19 mi) Angela’s Sandwich Shop

You can see a list of more restaurants near Bow Bridge here.

5. Central Park Zoo

Address: East 64th Street, New York, NY 10021

Don’t pass up on the opportunity to encounter over 130 different species of animals from around the world, right here at the Central Park Zoo.

Central Park Zoo Reviews

For penguins and Sea Lion lovers

“I took my daughter to this wonderful Zoo which house various kind of wild animals, sea creature and birds from around the world. It is worth visiting..”

Cute Place

“A lovely zoo to visit is not big one but cute and welcoming, well worth to visit at any time.”


Visited the Zoo on the last morning of our holiday. We were there just after it opened so it wasn't too busy. We really wanted to see the bears and snow leopards and were not disappointed. We were also lucky to be able to speak to one of the keepers which was great to be able to learn more about the animals.

Fantastic zoo!

Even though is on the small side you can enjoy encounters with sea lions, pengiuns, grizzly bears and snow leopards. My favourite experience though is the tropical zone, where you can walk among parrots, peacocks and lemurs. Fun for kids of all ages 2-99. There is an additional children zoo close by, where kids can feed sheep, goats and ducks. Hurry up and visit this place. Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions About Central Park Zoo

How much time should we plan to spend at Central Park Zoo?

You should plan to spend 2-4 hours at the zoo.

When does Central Park Zoo open?

Central Park Zoo opens daily at 10:00 a.m. and closes at 4:30 p.m.

Is it comfortable to visit Central Park Zoo during the winter?

There are some indoor exhibits at Central Park Zoo but plan to be outside most of the time.

How much are tickets for entry in Central Park Zoo?

General Admission which includes entry to the Main Zoo and the Tisch Children's Zoo:

  • Adults (13 & older) - $12 Seniors

  • (65 & older) - $9

  • Children (3-12) - $7

  • Children 2 and under - Free

Central Park Zoo also offers a package deal that includes admission to the main zoo, children’s zoo and the 4D theater. These are the current online prices, expect to pay more in-person:

  • Adults - $16.20 online

  • Seniors - $13.50 online

  • Children - $11.70 online

  • Children 2 and under - Free

6. The Hidden Gem: Conservatory Garden

Address: 1233 5th Ave, New York, NY 10029

Conservatory Garden is one of Central Park’s hidden gems. It’s a lush, 6-acre garden filled with beautiful flowers, trees, shrubs and wildlife. The garden is divided into three parts: the north garden, the central garden, and the south garden. You’ll find the Three Dancing Maidens fountain at the north garden, a mass of beautiful violets at the central garden, and bronze statues of the boy and girl from The Secret Garden book. Conservatory Garden is the only formal garden in Central Park.

Conservatory Garden Reviews

Beautiful gardens

“Three BEAUTIFUL gardens composes the landscapes: French, English, and Italian. European gardens are extremely beautiful landscaping and greenery. These Conservatory Gardens makes the perfect background for wedding photography and other professional photo shoots as I was planning on having my wedding to be photographed here.”

A place to relax for 30 minutes

“What a great place to relax after say a visit to the Museum of the City of New York. It's a little oasis at the north east of Central Park. The gardeners have created a beautiful series of gardens with ponds, sculptures, plants, flowers and shrubs, clearly designed to provide colour all the year round. If I worked nearby I'd be taking my lunch to relax here.”

Makes one forget the city madness

“Such a quiet and peaceful place to relax. So many varieties of flowers and plants. Certainly a great place to retreat if the city gets to be too much.”

Frequently Asked Questions About Conservatory Garden

Is it free to visit the Conservatory Garden?

Yes, it is free to enter the Conservatory Garden.

Can I still see the flowers in the autumn and winter months at the Conservatory Garden?

Yes, there are beautiful blooms on display throughout the entire year at the Conservatory Garden so it doesn’t matter what month you come to visit.

How long should I plan to be at the Conservatory Garden?

We recommend you give yourself about 30 minutes to an hour.

7. Loeb Boathouse

“Undeniably one of the most romantic spots in the city, the relaxed formality of Lakeside dining infuses a beautiful breeziness into an elegant dining experience.”

Address: Park Drive North, E 72nd St, New York, NY 10021

What better place to enjoy a conversation and a meal than right on the lake? Loeb Boathouse offers fine dining American cuisine with indoor and outdoor seating and even boat rentals. Grab a drink, some food and take a boat ride right in the middle of Central Park!

Loeb Boathouse Reviews

Classic and iconic

“Nice views of the park and the lake with decent food, friendly and efficient service, also a nice walk to get to the boathouse.”

The perfect spot

“One of my favorite ways to spend a sunny afternoon. The key is to order at the counter (prices are MUCH more affordable vs getting table service inside) and bring your food/drink to the outside bar patio. The perfect spot to people watch and enjoy the juxtaposition of skyscrapers and nature.”

Go here!

“Stopped with friends for drinks and a snack. It is beautiful. It has that old bar from the movies feel yet has a fast food counter and great outside seating. The staff is warm and friendly at the bar but fast food countenance at the counter. The drinks were great and the food was really good. There is stuff on the menu you don't normally see at a fast food counter. Don't miss an afternoon in the sun next to the pond with friends.”

Frequently Asked Questions About Loeb Boathouse

Where did Loeb Boathouse get its name?

Loeb Boathouse was named after Carl and Adeline Loeb, a married couple that quickly acquired wealth and decided to give back as philanthropists. They donated $305,000 to the constructing of the boathouse. Unfortunately, Adeline passed away a few months before the opening of the boathouse that then became known as Loeb Boathouse.

Is there a dress code at Loeb Boathouse?

There is an expectation of smart casual wear.

What’s the best way to get to Loeb Boathouse?

There are several ways to get to Loeb Boathouse and the best will depend on your attire and where you are coming from. You can easily walk from 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue for example. Another option is to book a guided pedicab tour which includes Loeb Boathouse on the itinerary.

Do you have to make a reservation at Loeb Boathouse?

Loeb Boathouse does accept reservations, however, it isn’t required. Though, the Express cafe doesn’t have views of the lake.

How do you rent or reserve a boat at Loeb Boathouse?

As long as the weather allows, Loeb Boathouse offers a fleet of 100 rowboats for rent from 10 a.m. til sundown. Boats are $15/hr + $4/15 mins, cash only and can hold up to four people. Loeb Boathouse provides life jackets. Prior reservations aren’t required. Classic Venetian gondola tours on the lake are also available.

8. Belvedere Castle

Address: Mid-Park at 79th Street

“Fittingly, “belvedere” translates to “beautiful view” in Italian; originally built without doors or windows, Belvedere Castle was intended to be a viewing platform.”

Designed in 1865, Belvedere Castle rests on top of Vista Rock, the second-highest natural elevation in Central Park. If you’d like to experience one of the very best views of the city and Central Park, visit Belvedere Castle. You can even see Delacorte Theater, The Great Lawn, Turtle Pond, The Ramble and more from its balconies.

Belvedere Castle Reviews

Nice view

“Nice view on the turtle pound, a relaxing place with some artists playing music."

One of my favorite spots in Central Park

“This one of my favorite spots in Central Park. Such a well-designed structure with good views everywhere you look. They've done an amazing job restoring it and there's a little gift shop here too.”

Nice spot to stop and relax

“Situated deep inside Central Park, it's a nice spot to stop by and relax. Good history background and its absolutely free to visit. There's a gift shop where you can buy yourself souvenirs. I recommend going to the top where you get a view of the central park. The top is not wheelchair accessible and the stairway is really narrow, only one person a time so when it's fully packed it gets excessively difficult to ascend or descend the stairway. There are staff on site who help monitor and manage the stairway traffic and offer any general assistance. A photogenic place and very touristic.”

Nice views

“The elevation of this historic building allows for panoramic views of Central Park and the modest skyline of the Upper East/West side. Grab a park map by the castle entrance to appreciate what’s on view. Free admission.”

Incredible views

“Beautiful building that offers incredible views for free. Was relatively empty on a weekday. Building inside is climate controlled and you can warm up inside on a cold day. Great photo ops await at the top. Avoid if you have trouble with narrow staircases or enclosed areas.”

Frequently Asked Questions About Belvedere Castle

Can you go inside Belvedere Castle?

Yes, you can go inside Belvedere Castle and it’s free!

When was Belvedere Castle built?

Belvedere Castle was designed in 1865, built in 1867-1869 and opened in 1872.

9. The Mall

The Mall was originally designed for transporting passengers with horse and carriage so people rarely walked through it. Now, The Mall is a walkway that runs right in the middle of Central Park and leads right to Bethesda Terrace and Fountain. The Mall serves as a meeting place, a “Literary Walk” with memorial statues, and even a place for street performers to show off their talents.

The Mall Reviews

Great walk

“The Mall is the main walk down the park to get to Bethesda Fountain. During our visit we saw many different acts and artists including a great dance group, a puppeteer dancing to R&B and a incredibly talented young sketch artist.”

Fantastic feeling

“So many famous films had made was a fantastic feeling to take a long walk on the same "stage" :) There is a specially atmosphare in the middle of central park!, take a walk!”

Great place to mingle and stay for a while

“Take a stroll through The Mall. There you'll encounter various works of Art. Stop maybe and have someone draw your portrait. Must visit for the summer.”

Lights on close to sunset “Such a cool walkway. We went in the middle of week during late afternoon near sunset. Lights came on. Nice walk. Really enjoyed the sax player playing christmas music. The built in benches were awesome. But there was seating all along the walkway. It was one our our highlights of our trip. Just so cool to visit.”

You can learn more about The Mall right here.

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