This 15-acre lawn is one of the most popular destinations in the south end of the Park and ideal for relaxing, sunbathing, reading, and picnicking, as well as marveling at the contrast between the verdant Park and the towering skyline of Manhattan.
Sheep Meadow and other Park meadows were designed to give visitors a taste of a pastoral landscape, an idealized country landscape that was open and expansive. A flock of sheep grazed there, hence the name Sheep Meadow, and kept the grass manicured. The sheep lived in a building known as the Sheep Fold, now home to the restaurant Tavern on the Green.
While the lawn may look natural, like the rest of Central Park it was completely constructed. The feat involved blasting large rock outcrops, leveling the land, adding several feet of soil, and planting trees and grass. The construction of Sheep Meadow ended up being one of the most expensive Park construction projects.
Originally the meadow was a landscape to look at, not a place to walk or play, as designers believed that gazing at scenery would have beneficial effects on physical and mental well-being. By the 20th century, the rise in popularity of organized sports and changing ideas about recreation led to new uses of the meadow, including for athletic events and school programs.
Beginning in the mid-1960s, Sheep Meadow became well-known as a venue for large and prominent events, including concerts and political demonstrations. Decades of overuse coupled with lack of management took its toll, and by the 1970s the grass was completely eroded. One of the Central Park Conservancy’s first projects in the 1980s was the restoration of the meadow, which returned the lush expanse of lawn for the first time in decades.
Things you can do here
Ready for a snow day in Central Park?
Tags: Winter / Kids and Families / Health & Fitness
This self-guided tour is dedicated to Richard “Dick” Gilder, Jr., a visionary philanthropist who grew up playing in Central Park.
Central Park is home to lawns, benches, and picnic tables across its 843 acres, providing countless great picnic spots.
Tags: Kids and Families / Wildlife
Tags: Kids and Families
Tags: Health & Fitness
Visit the iconic landmarks and landscapes that make Central Park the world’s most famous park.
Tags: History / Art & Architecture
Arts & Entertainment
New Yorkers and visitors alike often regard Central Park as one of the City’s most romantic destinations. We’ve put together a guide to the Park’s most magical places to bring your beloved.
Also in the area
In honor of Memorial Day and the many veterans who have served our country, we take a special look at the Park’s monuments that commemorate their service.
Tags: Park Design / Monuments
About the Conservancy
As we experience one of the busiest years in Central Park history, let’s work together to tend to the Park we need, and that in turn, needs us. Read this checklist before your next visit and help us keep the Park healthy this summer and for seasons to come.
Tags: Families / Summer / Conservancy Staff / Flowers / Tips for Visiting / Trees / Nature Lovers / Park Experts / First-Time Visitors
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
What do glaciers, cow manure, and the Revolutionary War all have in common? They were all crucial in shaping the area that later became Central Park! Learn more about the pre-Park’s history with these 10 fun facts, drawn from Conservancy Historian Emerita Sara Cedar Miller’s new book.
Central Park has a long and storied history with the LGBTQ+ community.
Tags: Conservancy Staff / Monuments
Things to See and Do
Tags: Tips for Visiting / Winter
Plants and Trees
Florence Williams talks about the profound effect nature has on our mental health and sense of belonging.
Tags: Nature Lovers
Things to See and Do
Learn insider tips on when, where, and how to get the best snapshots in New York City’s backyard.
Tags: First-Time Visitors
Central Park has a storied history as a concert venue, welcoming musicians of all genres to its iconic lawns. Large or small, under clear or cloudy skies, music-making has been an essential part of the Park from the beginning.
Tags: History / Art Lovers