Central Park is a sprawling urban park nestled in the middle of Manhattan, New York.
The 843-acre (3.41 sq. km) patch of nature includes a lake and serves as The Big Apple’s beautiful little backyard, breathing some much-needed fresh oxygen into the city’s air.
The cherished asset is one of New York City’s biggest attractions, attracting visitors from far and wide who come here for the myriad attractions on offer – Central Park Zoo, Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, Belvedere Castle, Strawberry Fields and more.
The huge park has served as a filming spot for countless TV shows and movie scenes numbering in the hundreds. Certainly, its scenic meadows, hills, ball fields, skating rinks, restaurants, playgrounds, and other assets has something to do with it.
Central Park attracts 35 million visitors annually on average, making it the most visited urban park in the United States, with World Travelers rating it as one of the world’s best parks.
Due to its vastness and the number of things to do, the best way to experience Central Park is with a tour.
Check out these 15 best Central Park tours that are a definite must-try whenever you’re visiting this National Historic Landmark.
1. American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History is the world’s most interactive natural history museum. The fact that it boasts over 32 million specimens means you’ll require ample time to see at least a fraction of the collection.
That’s what this tour gives you: a full day’s worth of exploration with the advantage of skipping the long lines.
The General Admission Ticket grants access to all 45 Museum Halls housing the permanent exhibits, and the Rose Center for Earth and Space too.
The Super Saver Ticket adds to this offering admission into the Hayden Planetarium Space Show, the IMAX Theater Film, and all special exhibits at one low price.
2. Save up to 50% at 80+ Attractions & Tours with the NYC Explorer Pass
New York City is laden with star attractions that have made it one of the most visited destinations in world tourism.
This tour gives you the golden opportunity to see the best of them, with a selection of over 80 museums, attractions, and tours.
It allows you to shave off 50% in admission fees compared to regular admission, with exclusive extras to boot.
Choose from a roster that includes the Empire State Building, 9/11 Museum & Memorial, The Top of the Rock Observatory, Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Ferry, Central Park Walking Tour and NYC’s other famous attractions.
You are provided with ample room to decide on your destination and are allowed up to 30 days to make your visits following the card’s first use.
3. Central Park Bike Tours
Bike tours are one of the best ways to explore Central Park.
They give you a whole day to immerse yourself in the park’s beautiful surrounds and you are at liberty to go on an exploration of Manhattan and its neighborhoods.
The rentals are flexible enough to suit your schedule – 1 hour, 2 hours, 24 hours…whatever your preference.
The bike tours are child-friendly, with a range of options to suit different styles – mountain bikes, hybrids, comfort, and tandem bikes. Baby trailers and baby seats are also offered.
In addition to a top-of-the-line Cannondale bike, you will also get a helmet, basket, chain-lock and illustrative map of NYC, with free recommendations on attractions, routes, and eateries.
4. Central Park Walking Tour
Go on a 2.5-hour walking excursion of Central Park and burn a ton of calories in the process.
The guided tour takes you through the park’s major highlights, including Strawberry Fields, Delacorte Clock, the Alice in Wonderland Statue and Bethesda Terrace.
The walks are conducted at a comfortable pace for everyone, making sure to also pass through Central Park’s lesser-known spots.
Your guide will narrate how the park – the brainchild of two landscape architects (Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux) – came to be, as you wander along it’s many walking trails.
It’s a wonderful way to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city for a few hours.
5. Central Park Pedicab Tours
A pedicab tour is a fun way to explore Central Park and combines the best features of walking and biking – you will cover more ground without the hassle of biking by yourself.
A licensed pedicab driver takes you around various sights and attractions in this urban masterpiece, affording you time to soak in some of the famous attractions.
Expect to see the filming spots for Home Alone 2 and Serendipity, as well as the Dakota Building which John Lennon used to call home. Your guide will also point out to the slew of celebrity pads lining the park.
This tour lasts between 45 minutes and 3 hours, depending on how long you want to explore.
6. Ultimate Central Park Picnic Experience
NYC is dotted with spectacular sights; one of its most picturesque landscapes is Central Park.
This sophisticated experience is an exclusive, leisurely adventure tailored for two. Guests can expect New York City’s finest in terms of views and delicacies.
There are two picnic lunches to select from which will have you savoring locally-sourced delectable delights – luscious cheeses, succulent meats, crudités, and fresh fruit. An upgrade also gets you a sparkling beverage.
The lavish two-hour adventure is enjoyed in the most scenic sections of Central Park, with cozy pillows and blankets to indulge you the more.
It’s the cat’s meow.
7. 2.5-Hour Sunset Walking Tour
The beauty of Central Park really springs to life as the sun goes down, making for a spectacular experience characterized by winding paths, sprawling meadows, and gleaming waters.
This leisurely stroll will take you past famous landmarks, including Bow Bridge, Bethesda Fountain, Belvedere Castle, Strawberry Fields and more.
A stop by the Central Park Zoo is a must, as is a walk in the serene wooded area christened The Ramble.
This is a small group tour that offers a more personalized experience. You will be accompanied by a guide who will detail all there is to know about Central Park and the history of New York City.
8. Central Park Night Time Photo Tour
NYC is called “the city that never sleeps,” and a tour of the city at night will give you a snapshot of The Big Apple that will live long in the memory.
Sure, the gleaming lights and splendid panoramic views of the city make for striking views, but to get a totally different perspective of New York City, try a nature walk at nightfall.
It’s a dreamy, photogenic experience accentuated by singing cicadas, lit-up fireflies and swooping bats.
Your guide will be a trained photographer who is sure to impart great tips of the trade. Just don’t forget to bring your camera as this is a key component of this two-hour tour.
9. Private Walking Tour of Central Park
What’s better than a walking tour of Central Park?
A private walking tour!
The tour, which starts and ends with a hotel pickup and drop-off, is bound to be an insightful three hours of your life because – guess what? – it will be just you, your guide and your camera; the latter ideally with Wi-Fi capability because hotspots are peppered around the park.
The private walking tour of Central Park passes through the park’s major selling points, including Strawberry Fields, Belvedere Castle, Bethesda Fountain, and Central Park Zoo.
10. Electric Bike Tour of Central Park & Waterfront Greenway
Electric bikes are all the rage these days, so grab one and enjoy the convenience of sightseeing around Central Park with less pedaling.
This has been dubbed the first electric bike tour in NYC. It comes with a guide who will give you the scoop on the famous inhabitants residing along Central Park and 5th Avenue.
Ride along the traffic-free Hudson River Greenway as you soak in the beauty of the waters with the lovely Manhattan skyline serving as a backdrop.
The 3.5- to 4-hour bike jaunt takes you to various points of interest in Central Park – the Met, Belvedere Castle, Bethesda Fountain and many more.
11. Central Park Photography Tour
A professional photographer doubles as a guide to take you on a two-and-a-half-hour saunter through the scenic trails of Central Park as he dishes up a lesson in Photography 101.
In addition to picking up a few snapping tricks, you’ll learn about the history and architecture of Central Park, see famous locations that have inspired music and movies through the years, and happen across famous landmarks.
12. Central Park Ice Skating at Wollman Rink and Dessert at Planet Hollywood
Tie up your skates and enjoy an ice skating session at the Wollman Rink, one of the most popular activities amongst New Yorkers and tourists alike.
The iconic rink has been a regular in many Hollywood films and is a perfect way to enjoy a good time with family, friends or that special someone.
Your admission ticket guarantees entry and ice skate rental.
When you’re done, head over to Planet Hollywood in Times Square and spoil yourself with an energy-boosting New York cheesecake.
13. Bike Rental Central Park
A bike rental is a fantastic way to discover what this verdant oasis in the heart of Manhattan has to offer.
This famous New York City attraction is a tranquil tract of land lined with trees that give way to bike trails guiding you through the park’s lakes, meadows, and famous attractions such as the Central Park Zoo.
You can opt for a 2-hour, 4-hour or full-day rental, with a selection of bicycles to choose from: mountain bikes, hybrids and so on. Tandem bikes are also available, as are baby seats and baby trailers.
You will be provided with a map, helmet and chain lock.
14. Small-Group Central Park Bike Tour
If you are doing Central Park in a group, be it family or friends, then one of the most fun-filled activities you can engage in is to embark on a small group bike tour.
This affordable tour lasts approximately two hours; sufficient time to patrol the park’s scenic places. The excursion is sure to unravel a number of hidden gems and landmarks as you glide along the six-mile (9.6km) route.
Learn the history of the park while you are at it, as you take a break from the incessant hum of The Big Apple in favor of nature and wildlife.
15. Central Park Movie Sites Walking Tour
The 843 acres of Central Park has served as an inspiration for many filmmakers and TV writers, with statues, greenery, bridges, and more acting as a backdrop for many a tale based in New York City.
As a matter of fact, scenes from over 300 movies spanning from as far back as 1908 have been shot here, from Romeo and Juliet to Home Alone 2, The Avengers, Kramer vs. Kramer, Love Story, just to mention but a few.
Expect to come across the mall featured in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Loeb Boathouse from When Harry Met Sally and Sex and The City, among many other recognizable scenes.
This two-hour walking tour is the perfect tonic for the movie buff.