Belvedere Castle

One of the most iconic features in Central Park, this miniature castle is located atop the huge rock outcrop known as Vista Rock, the second highest natural point in Central Park.

Designed by Central Park co-designer Calvert Vaux and architect Jacob Wrey Mould, the structure and adjacent terraces and pavilions were all called “the Belvedere,” which means “beautiful view” in Italian. The entire complex, completed in 1872, was designed as a place from which to enjoy views of the surrounding landscape; the building originally had no windows or doors, as it was intended as an open-air lookout tower. Constructed out of Manhattan schist, the building was also designed as a focal point in the landscape, drawing visitors to it. It appears as if it emerges from the dramatic Vista Rock on which it is perched.

The Belvedere still draws visitors to take in the sweeping views of Turtle Pond and Great Lawn to the north, the Ramble to the south, and the surrounding cityscape. The Castle also houses one of the Park's visitor centers and a gift shop. When the building is open, visitors can ascend to additional terraces for an even higher vantage point.

Like many of the Park structures, the use and purpose of the Belvedere Castle changed over time. In 1919 the U.S. Weather Bureau converted the building into a weather station, adding windows and doors, and creating offices inside the structure. When they moved out of the building in the 1960s, it fell into disrepair and became a target of vandalism.

The Park Needs Us

Central Park is New York City’s backyard—and it needs all who visit to get involved in its care. Find out how you can help keep it a vital public treasure and thriving habitat.

View with audio description

In 1983 the Central Park Conservancy renovated the building and reopened it as a visitor center, once again drawing attention to this exceptional building.

In 2019, we completed a comprehensive project to restore and modernize the building and terraces.

Temperature, wind, and rainfall are still measured at the Belvedere, though primarily now from equipment housed in a fenced-in area just to the south of the building.

The Castle seen from the far bank of Turtle Pond on a cloudless winter day.

Support the Park

The Conservancy restores, preserves, and maintains historic structures like Belvedere Castle. Funding for these crucial projects comes from donors like you.

Donate Now

Also in the area

Read more

  • Park History

    A ‘Beautiful View’: The History of the Belvedere

    When the Belvedere opened 150 years ago, it provided visitors with some of the most sweeping views of Central Park and the City beyond.

  • Park History

    See Newly Digitized Images of Winter in Central Park

    Snowy scenes from the 1980s and 1990s are some of the Central Park Conservancy's recently digitized images.

    Tags: Conservancy Staff / History

  • Restoration and Maintenance

    The Future Is Green: Geothermal Energy at the Belvedere

    As part of the recent restoration of the Belvedere, the Conservancy sought to solve the problem of heating and cooling the Castle in a sustainable way.

    Tags: Park Design

  • Restoration and Maintenance

    Always Improving: Restoring Central Park in 2019

    The Central Park Conservancy’s team of professionals work year-round to renovate, rebuild, and refresh every corner of the Park.

    Tags: Playgrounds

  • Park Information

    A Reflection of Nature Itself: The Different Landscapes of Central Park

    Central Park is made up of a variety of landscapes that are diverse, intricate, and interconnected—just like the communities of Park-lovers who enjoy them.

    Tags: Trees / Nature Lovers / Lawns / Landscapes

  • Things to See and Do

    Central Park’s Most Instagrammable Wintertime Spots, Part II

    With fewer crowds and a tranquility not found in other seasons, winter is an ideal time to photograph Central Park. Brave the cold and visit the Park this season—no filter needed.

    Tags: Tips for Visiting / Winter / Highlights

  • Health and Fitness

    Embracing Wellness Outdoors: 5 Benefits of Being in Nature

    As many Park visitors have experienced firsthand, natural outdoor spaces have a positive impact on our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. From the benefits of birdsong to the magic of movement, discover five fascinating ways time spent in Central Park can contribute to your overall wellbeing.

    Tags: Park Design / Nature Lovers / Plants and Trees / Landscapes