A New Dog Owner’s Guide to Central Park

Have you recently welcomed a dog into your life? There are a few rules in place to help everyone enjoy their time and stay safe in Central Park.

Have you recently welcomed a dog into your life? You’re in luck! Central Park is equally loved by its two- and four-legged visitors. There are a few rules to help everyone enjoy their time and stay safe in the Park. But don’t worry, it’s nothing more complicated than “Sit, stay, fetch!”

Why are these regulations in place? The Conservancy staff works tirelessly to support flourishing Park plant life and wildlife, and we’re dedicated to protecting essential ecosystems found in the Park’s garden beds, root zones around trees, and lawns from heavy foot (and paw) traffic.

We appreciate your thoughtfulness and consideration as we work together to keep Central Park a safe space for all species—our human and canine visitors, as well as the wildlife and plant life that live here.


Off-leash hours are from 6:00 am–9:00 am and 9:00 pm–1:00 am. Dogs must be leashed from 9:00 am–9:00 pm daily.

Please note: Even during off-leash hours, dogs must always be leashed in these locations:

The Only Places Your Pup Isn’t Allowed

While there are plenty of places in the Park (it’s an abundant 843 acres, after all) that are fair game for fetch, the following locations are always off limits to dogs for the safety of our visitors, wildlife, and landscapes.

Other Ways to be a Good Boy (or Girl)

The following are City-wide dog rules and regulations, outlined by NYC Parks. Thank you for helping us care for our 843-acre backyard!

  • Dogs must always be under the control of their owner.
  • Dogs must have a NYC license tag and valid rabies tag.
  • Dogs must not dig, chase, or harm wildlife; damage Park property; or interfere with other Park users.
  • Always clean up after your dog, including dog hair that you brush off in the Park.
  • Please respect signs, fences, and red flags that may indicate temporary closure due to restoration, maintenance, or weather conditions.
  • These rules are part of the NYC legal code; dog owners may be fined for any violation.

In the event that you happen upon a lost dog or your dog goes missing, please contact the Animal Care Centers of NYC.

We need your input to improve the safety of Central Park’s Drives and make them more user-friendly. Take the survey, and your feedback and ideas will be used to recommend innovative design and policy solutions.

A person in a yellow hat walks their dog at the Gilder Run
PDF Guide

Dog Owner's Guide

All New Yorkers love Central Park—including the four-legged ones! Download our Dog Owner’s Guide to Central Park.

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