From the Mailbag: Visiting Central Park in the Winter

This time of year—with temperatures dropping and snow frequently in the forecast—we receive lots of questions about visiting Central Park. We’re here to help! Below are inquiries that Park lovers recently sent us via our Instagram Story.

Are the playgrounds open this time of year?

Yes, Central Park’s playgrounds are open year-round! Get our playground map to find all 21 of them.

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Central Park’s playgrounds—including Toll Family Playground, on the west side at 85th Street—are open year-round.

Occasionally there are times when playgrounds may be temporarily closed, especially in the winter. For instance, after a snowfall, we may close playgrounds until we’ve resolved all snow- and ice-related conditions, or in response to other weather-related events.

Our alerts and closures page also contains information on playgrounds that are closed for scheduled maintenance and restoration work.

What’s the best way to get around the Park?

With 843 acres, there is so much ground to cover! To get around, we suggest walking or bicycling. For starters, be sure to download our official map (if you’re looking for accessibility information—such as whether certain paths have a flat or steep slope, and where stairs are located—this map can help).

If you’re traveling by bicycle, our bike map shows you where bicycles are permitted to travel and has other handy information, including bike parking locations and the laws and rules designed to keep everyone safe.

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Even in the wintertime, you can explore Central Park by bicycling, walking, or traveling by public transportation.

Prefer using your MetroCard? You can travel just outside of the Park by subway or bus. The B and C trains run along Central Park West, with the A, D, and 1 trains also stopping at the southwest corner of the Park at Columbus Circle. The N, R, and W trains stop at the southeast corner of the Park at Grand Army Plaza. The 2 and 3 trains stop along Central Park North. The M1, M2, M3, and M4 buses run along Fifth Avenue, which is the east boundary of the Park, and the M10 bus covers Central Park West.

If you’re in a hurry to get from one side of the Park to the other, you can travel west to east (and vice versa) using public transportation—just take the M106, M96, M86, M79, M72, M66, or M5 bus. Visit the MTA website for more information.

How does the Conservancy clear the Park of snow?

Central Park is particularly beautiful during and after a snowfall, but snow requires a great deal of extra responsibility for Conservancy staff as we work to keep the Park accessible.

When we’re expecting snow, we bring in extra staff to help with shoveling, and prioritize the most traveled routes in the Park. Landscapes such as the Hallett Nature Sanctuary and the Dene Slope close until they are free of snow and ice. The bridle path and the Reservoir running track are not cleared of snow.

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When snow is in the forecast, we bring in extra staff to help with shoveling and prioritize the most traveled routes in Central Park.

Before coming to Central Park during a snowstorm or blizzard, check our Twitter or alerts and closures page for updates about the Park’s status. You can also follow NYC Parks on Twitter, visit the NYC Severe Weather page, and sign up for Notify NYC alerts to stay updated on any major weather news.

What can I do in the Park when it snows?

There is so much to do in Central Park when it snows! From cross-country skiing to sledding to seeing a show at the Swedish Cottage, we have you covered with lots of ideas. Just see our blog post on 20 ways to enjoy winter in the Park.

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Cedar Hill, on the east side from 76th to 79th Streets, is one of the most popular sledding destinations in Central Park.

Where are good spots for sledding?

What better way to enjoy fresh snow on the slopes of Central Park than with a sled? We recommend Pilgrim Hill and Cedar Hill for fun-filled sledding adventures. We open these two areas for sledding when there is at least six inches of snow cover on the ground and conditions permit.

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