The Central Park Walking Tour provides an all-encompassing glimpse into both the past and present of Central Park. You’ll see some of the most famous areas and learn how the park is a historical and ecological chronicle of the New York City legacy.
Detailed Tour Itinerary
Tour Stop at Strawberry Fields
Strawberry Fields is a living memorial to the world-famous singer, songwriter and peace activist, John Lennon. During his career with the Beatles and in his solo work, Lennon's music gave hope and inspiration for world peace and his memory and mission lives on in Strawberry Fields.
This tranquil section of Central Park was named after one of Lennon's favorite songs, "Strawberry Fields Forever." Recorded in 1966, the song's title comes from an orphanage in Liverpool, England where Lennon used to go to play with the children. His aunt, who raised him, disapproved but he insisted it was, "nothing to get hung about." Hence, the song's famous lyric.
Tour Stop at Literary Walk
The lower end of the Mall is known informally as Literary Walk or Poets’ Walk, as four of the five statues memorialize poets and writers: William Shakespeare (1870), Robert Burns (ca. 1880), Sir Walter Scott (1871), and Fitz-Greene Halleck (1876); the fifth represents Christopher Columbus (1892).
Tour Stop at Bow Bridge
Today, Bow Bridge is one of New York's most romantic settings and a muse for photographers. Rising from the bridge are eight cast-iron urns, installed by Central Park Conservancy in 2008 as replicas of the originals that had disappeared by the early 1920s. A skilled team of Conservancy craftsmen used historic images and took cues from an urn thought to be an exact model of those that originally adorned the Bridge.
Tour Stop at Wollman Rink
Skating on Wollman Rink is a winter tradition for New Yorkers and tourists alike, so many people have tied up their skates for the very first time on this ice. Ice skating is a long-standing and beloved tradition here in Central Park — as old as the Park itself. Wollman Rink opened in 1950, a 33,000-square-foot venue built with a gift from Kate Wollman. With its romantic backdrop, Wollman Rink puts visitors beneath the magical New York City skyline by day, and its twinkling lights by night.
Tour Stop at Tavern on the Green
Established in 1934, when it replaced the sheepfold that had once housed the sheep of Sheep Meadow, Tavern on the Green has since become a New York City icon. The restaurant consisted of several rooms, including the well-known Crystal Room, which offered beautiful views of the adjacent garden. It was the second highest-grossing restaurant in the US owned by an independent party, having earned its revenue from over 500,000 visitors.
Tour Stop at Sheep Meadow
Sheep Meadow in Central Park, open from May to mid-October, often admits up to 30,000 people per day during the summer months. This expansive 15-acre field that is today used for sunbathing, kite flying, and relaxing summer picnics is known for its long and tumultuous history.
Tour Stop at Cherry Hill
A gentle slope overlooking the Lake with views to the Ramble, Cherry Hill offers a contemplative space perfect for picnicking, reading, and sunbathing. Named for the cherry trees that bloom across its landscape in the spring, Cherry Hill was originally intended as a scenic turnaround featuring a decorative watering trough for horse-drawn carriages. Its central ornamental displays a decorative finial and frosted glass lighting globes.
Tour Stop at Central Park Lake
The Central Park Lake, in conjunction with the Ramble, creates an essential part of the "Greensward" design plan created by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux when designing the initial features of what would become Central Park.
Tour Stop at Central Park Dairy
As one of the Conservancy's five visitor centers, Parkgoers can find information on Park events and programs at the Dairy. Park architect and designer Calvert Vaux originally created this charming Victorian cottage as a quiet retreat for children and their caregivers. In the nineteenth century, the Dairy became a source of fresh milk and snacks. Families came to drink milk and enjoy pastries and ices under the loggia and enjoy the cooling breezes coming from the nearby pond.
Tour Stop at Central Park Carousel
The famed Carousel, with its sweet calliope music and 57 magnificent horses, is the fourth to stand in Central Park since 1871. It is one of Central Park's most popular favorite attractions. The Brooklyn firm Stein & Goldstein crafted the piece in 1908, and it remains one of the largest carousels in the United States and finest examples of American folk art. In 1990, Central Park Conservancy restored the Carousel landscape and surrounding plaza. Each horse is also being restored.
Tour Stop at Bethesda Terrace
Bethesda Terrace is considered the heart of Central Park. In their original plan, Park designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux envisioned a sweeping Promenade (the Mall) that led to a grand terrace overlooking the Lake. The magnificent carvings represent the four seasons and, on the side facing the Mall, the times of day.
Tour Stop at The Pond
The Pond is one of Central Parks seven naturalistic water bodies. When Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed Central Park, they imagined an immediate reprieve from the City's streets. The Pond became a serene escape, just feet from Fifth Avenue.
Stops may change due to traffic, weather, maintenance, etc.