Picnics, frisbee, movies, fitness classes, hiking, and concerts: all can be found throughout the many NYC parks in the summertime. An amazing alternative to lying on the floor in front of your AC unit, parks provide an outdoor area in the city that allows you to escape the sticky heat of the concrete and buildings without actually having to leave the city. In fact, each park serves as a great place to zen out and makes a great addition to your NYC Summer Bucket List.
Lucky for you, Bedly picks the best locations in the city for their units, and that means you’ll be near the best parks in the city with non-stop outdoor fun all summer long. So once you’ve moved into your fully furnished Bedly unit, checked every item off your moving checklist, and have personalized your apartment, take yourself on a walk and explore your new neighborhood. You’re bound to come across one of these parks, and those not within walking distance are just a subway ride away!
Central Park hosts an amazing variety of summer festivities, not to mention acres upon acres of grass to lay out and read your book in, woods to wander through, and so many Instagrammable photo ops. It’s also one of the best places to bird watch in the United States!
Different events and organized activities are held daily. The New York City Philharmonic performs yearly on the Great Lawn and this year that’s June 13th at 8 pm. It’s free, so you’ll want to be sure to arrive at early with your park blanket, cheese board, and (hidden) box of wine. Shakespeare in the Park is a favorite among New Yorkers as well. Line up outside the Delacorte theater nice and early to claim your free ticket. The Central Park Zoo and Marionette Theater are popular for the kiddos (or the young adult…no judgment), and there are countless organized walks, runs, yoga classes, and more. For a complete list of events, check out their event page.
Thought of as the Brooklyn equivalent to Manhattan’s Central Park, Prospect Park is slightly smaller, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in activities. In fact, it hosts many of the same events as Central Park and has a charm of its own. Find free outdoor movies, the New York City Philharmonic, outdoor concerts, fitness classes, walking tours, canoeing, and more. There’s even a roller rink in the summer, too, so all of your roller-derby girl dreams can come true! For a complete list of events, check out their event page.
Pelham Bay Park
Pelham Bay Park is the largest NYC park, clocking in at over 2,000 acres. Located in the Bronx, the park houses two golf courses, hiking trails, soccer and baseball fields, and Orchard Beach. Yes, a beach! And well worth the trip. Events include bird watching, sunset hikes, and a literary book club hosted at the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum, a historic mansion that also resides in the park.
Small but mighty, Bryant Park never disappoints. Located behind the NY Public Library on 42nd St, you can find all sorts of various events held all summer long. Pay $13 for your ticket to the All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival June 1-3, or attend Broadway In The Park, which brings glimpses of Broadway to the public every week with performances (usually a musical number) from different shows. Events also include Tai Chi, movies, dance parties, knitting classes, and Shakespeare!
Inwood Hill Park
Inwood Hill Park is the largest remaining forest land in Manhattan, and arguably the best place to go to escape the island without actually leaving it. Preserved forest land covers nearly 200 acres, complete with hiking and biking trails. The park hosts free events all summer long, like yoga, meditation, trail hikes, West African dance, and sign language classes.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
For breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline, particularly at sunset, head to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Stretching along the East River, you can stroll along the pathway, take a ride on Jane’s Carousel, or simply sit on a bench whilst the Brooklyn Bridge lights up in front of you. Summer events include kayaking, The Brooklyn Americana Music Festival: Unplugged, retro dance, free fitness classes, and more!
Washington Square Park
Made famous for its iconic arch (that’s actually a smaller tribute to Paris’s Arc du Triomphe), according to the NYC Parks website, Washington Square Park is “A gathering spot for avant-garde artists”. You’ll also recognize it from movies and T.V. (Broad City and When Harry Met Sally are just two of a long list of shows that filmed at the park). NYU students can be found studying and playing hacky sack, street performers line the pathways playing jazz, children splash about in the fountain, and you’re likely to see your elderly neighbor sitting in the shade and working on her knitting. In the summertime, the park offers free yoga and free historical tours, although the best part of this park, in particular, is the people watching.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
This Queens park is especially unique. Flushing Meadows was the site of the New York World’s Fair both times the state hosted! It also contains the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (the current venue for the US Open tennis tournament), Citi Field, the New York Hall of Science, the Queens Museum of Art, the Queens Theatre in the Park, the Queens Zoo, and the New York State Pavilion. I would say it’s worth a visit for those reasons alone! Not convinced? You can also take a boating course, a historical walking tour regarding the World’s Fair, attend the Queensboro Dance Festival, or just go and explore the largest park in Queens! You’re sure to be surprised by something.
There are over 1,700 parks in New York City, and this list only touches on eight of them. Each one, though, is different, and that’s because of the people of NYC. The communities surrounding these parks are what give them character, so find YOUR local park and discover what makes it so special.