Magazine

How to Be Active This Summer in Central Park

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.

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Featuring views of Bow Bridge, the Ramble, and Cherry Hill, boating on the Lake is a popular summer pastime in Central Park.

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.

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Central Park contains more than 50 miles of paths, including the bridle path, which offers a soft, dirt surface and stretches almost the entire length of 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.

North Meadow and the area known as Frisbee Hill are popular spots for playing ultimate Frisbee.

North Meadow is an expansive landscape with 12 fields for baseball and softball in the spring and summer, and soccer, ultimate Frisbee, and touch football in the fall. An area informally known as Frisbee hill, north of Sheep Meadow, is a popular spot for games.

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.

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All of Central Park’s drives—which are popular among bicyclists, runners, and walkers—are permanently off limits to public vehicular traffic.

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.