Central Park is a must-see for anyone visiting the five boroughs, no matter the time of year. The 843-acre destination is Manhattan’s most famous park, full of trees, gardens, rolling meadows, arches, sculptures, statues and vistas. Here are some highlights.
Bethesda Terrace and Fountain: Featured in countless films and television series, this bustling meeting place is the heart of Central Park. The two-story terrace, which overlooks the Lake and southern sections of the Ramble, features intricate carvings that represent both the times of day and the four seasons. At the center sits Bethesda Fountain—also known as the Angel of the Waters—a biblical allusion and also a celebration of the water system that first brought water to New York City in 1842.
Strawberry Fields: Home to the Imagine Mosaic, this 2.5-acre landscaped section of the park was named after the Beatles song “Strawberry Fields Forever” and was unveiled on October 9, 1985, on what would have been John Lennon's 45th birthday. Strawberry Fields is situated across from the Dakota, where Lennon lived from 1973 until his death outside that very building in 1980. Throughout the year fans leave dedications and floral tributes in honor of the late Beatle.
Belvedere Castle: The castle sits atop Vista Rock—one of the highest natural elevations inside the park—and provides great views of the Delacorte Theater, Turtle Pond and the Ramble. The gothic structure also doubles as a weather station.
The Lake: Take a ride out on a gondola or a rented boat or just peer out onto the expansive body of water at the Loeb Boathouse.
The Ramble: Another main attraction, the Ramble comprises 36 acres of lush woodlands and wild flora. Go for a stroll along one of its many paths.
The North Woods: Situated at the northwest corner of the park, this area is home to a waterfall, streams, verdant paths and birds, making it a favorite spot for bird-watchers.
Conservatory Garden: The Vanderbilt Gate, which was once the entrance to the Vanderbilt Mansion down at Fifth Avenue and 58th Street, is the elegant passage to this six-acre garden in the park's northeast corner. There are three sections: the north garden (home to the Three Dancing Maidens fountain), the central garden (cherished for its abundance of violets) and the south garden (known for its bronze statue of boy and girl characters from The Secret Garden).