With the warm weather, lush green lawns, and bustling atmosphere of summer—not to mention the news that Central Park’s drives are now car-free—it’s the perfect time to be active in the Park! Want to get moving in New York City’s backyard? We’ve got you covered.
Go boating on the Lake. Renting a row boat on Central Park’s second largest water body is a great way to spend a lazy afternoon in the Park. Boats can be rented at the Loeb Boathouse daily from April through October, weather permitting. Prefer if someone else does the work? Venetian gondola tours are also available. Visit the Loeb Boathouse website for more details.
Go for a run or a walk. Central Park offers a variety of loops and trails. There’s the world-famous Reservoir running track which offers some of the best views of New York City. There’s the loop—totaling just over six miles—and the bridle path, which offers a soft, dirt surface throughout the Park. Before hitting the pavement, be sure to download our official running map or view our magazine article on running in the Park.
Play tennis. The Central Park Tennis Center offers 30 courts and is open from April to November. Private and semi-private lessons are available. Keep an eye out for celebrities—Roger Federer dropped by last year to much fanfare.
Organize softball or baseball games. Central Park is home to 26 ballfields. Heckscher Ballfields, the Great Lawn, and the North Meadow are home to spring and summer softball games (the North Meadow is the only one also open to baseball). Don’t forget: use of any athletic field requires a permit from NYC Parks.
Go lawn bowling or play croquet. Two fields northwest of Sheep Meadow are used for lawn bowling and croquet—contact the Permit Office of the Parks Department for more information.
Play volleyball. Pickup volleyball games can be played year-round, and courts are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are two asphalt courts and two sand courts just east of Sheep Meadow, and two additional asphalt courts northeast of the Great Lawn. Don't forget to bring your own ball! For play on asphalt courts, you'll also need to bring your own net. Permits are required only for tournaments and special events.
Explore the Park by bike. There are many routes for bicyclists (see our official bicycling map) and you can rent bikes through BikeRent NYC, which operates at two locations on a seasonal basis. Rentals are on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit our bicycling page for more details.
Play basketball or handball. Basketball and handball courts are available at the North Meadow Recreation Center, with additional basketball courts northeast of the Great Lawn. Basketballs and handballs are free to borrow at the Recreation Center. No permit is required, and courts are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Want to enhance your skills? We also host a Youth Basketball Clinic and Youth Basketball Tournaments each year.
We highlight a few trailblazing, but little known, women who inspired or funded a variety of features in Central Park.
Park HistoryNow in its 49th year, the TCS New York City Marathon has always had a deep connection to Central Park.
Things to See and Do
We received curious inquiries on everything from the best places to take skyline photos to the history of the Minton tile ceiling in the Bethesda Terrace Arcade.
Tags: Tips for Visiting
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or an amateur wielding a phone, here are some of our favorite shutter-worthy spots in the winter.