As winter brings cold winds and shorter days, it makes sense that this is the season when friends and families gather to create their own lasting memories. Celebrating Thanksgiving in New York City can be especially magical, and we at the Central Park Conservancy want to help you make lasting memories that will perpetuate gratitude, wonder, and togetherness all year round. This holiday, we invite you to make Central Park a part of your Thanksgiving celebration.
From a revitalizing stroll through autumnal woodlands to a spin around Wollman Rink, there are many ways to start a new tradition with the people you’re most grateful for this holiday season.
Discover Central Park on our Official Tours & Discovery Walks
Central Park is worth a visit just to relax in its beautiful landscapes. But the Park’s 843 acres are also a celebration of history, culture, natural science, and art. From corner to corner, it’s filled with fascinating facts and secrets.
The best way to learn about the Park’s rich history is to take a tour. During Thanksgiving weekend, join us for our PARK-itecture Discovery Walk, which takes families on an immersive exploration of the architecture and landscapes of Central Park. Or check out our Heart of the Park tour to learn about all the scenic, sculptural, and architectural elements the Park as to offer. Visit our event calendar for a full listing of programs throughout the holiday weekend.
Discover Central Park on your own
There are countless scenic routes to take through the Park. From north to south, the Park’s cascading landscapes invite you to wander. Why not do it at your own pace? If you’re curious where to start (or where to end), our self-guided walks are a great resource. To help you enjoy the diversity of Central Park’s 18,000 trees during the latter days of fall foliage, we recommend checking out our Tree Walks.
Visit The Pilgrim (and the Park’s other statues)
If you have ever spent time sledding in the Park during winter or wandering among its cherry blossoms in spring, you've probably spotted The Pilgrim on top of Pilgrim Hill. But what do you know about him? One of the most acclaimed works of art in Central Park, The Pilgrim was sculpted by John Quincy Adams Ward, who also created the Park’s Indian Hunter, William Shakespeare, and 7th Regiment Memorial sculptures. The statue depicts one of the pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. The inscription on the pedestal reads, "To commemorate the Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers on Plymouth Rock: December 21, 1620."
The Pilgrim is also a short walk away from some other famous Central Park statues. Alice in Wonderland and Hans Christian Andersen, two of the Park’s much beloved “climbing friendly” statues, are just down the hill at Conservatory Water.
Explore the woodlands
If you couldn’t get out of the City for Thanksgiving (but would have liked to), there’s no better place to escape the bustling metropolis than in one of the Park’s three woodlands: the Ramble, the North Woods, and the Hallett Nature Sanctuary.
These areas were expressly designed for city dwellers in need of a natural retreat—specifically, those who can’t drop everything for a weekend trip to the Adirondacks. Getting lost along the trails of any one of Central Park’s picturesque woodland sanctuaries offers a refreshing respite for the body and mind—something that anyone can be thankful for! (Visit the Hallett Nature Sanctuary while you still can. This area closes for the winter on November 30.)
Take a spin around Wollman Rink
Ice skating is a long standing and beloved tradition in Central Park. For the first century of the Park’s existence, visitors skated on the frozen surface of the Lake and Pond. But since Wollman Rink opened in 1950, its cheerful ambiance and iconic views have made this venue an ideal setting for everyone’s favorite winter pastime.
Have a pick-up game at the North Meadow Recreation Center
After a day of eating, there is nothing more satisfying than getting out and getting active! Central Park is the perfect destination for a sporty Thanksgiving weekend tradition. Thanks to the North Meadow Recreation Center, families and friends can borrow free field day kits, complete with everything you need to play basketball, handball, or jump rope. (Please check our website for open hours and availability. The Recreation Center is closed on Thanksgiving Day.)
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Tags: Conservancy Staff / Park Design / Monuments / History
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