Central Park is New York City’s crown jewel—a treasure for all seasons. It is a seasonal stage constantly being reset, filled anew with scenery and players. Spring’s riot of blooms. Summer’s sea of sunbathers splayed out on the grass, chess players moving kings and pawns across concrete boards. The quiet rustle of autumn, leaves falling in red and yellow and orange. And then, of course, the delicious stillness of winter, snow blanketing Central Park’s ponds and fields. It’s a must any time of the year, be it June or January—and it’s easily accessed from 6 Columbus Central Park, a SIXTY Hotel. Herewith, we select a few of our favorite things to do in and around Manhattan’s most verdant wonderland.
American Museum of Natural History
Some of the city’s most iconic cultural institutions line the park, the American Museum of Natural History included. Located on the west side, this sprawling complex is one of the best places in the world to explore the history of human cultures and the natural world. Its static collection, divided among the museum’s 45 permanent exhibition halls, is significant in and of itself. Equally impressive, though, is its programming, which has been known to feature talks from such modern luminaries as Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
Central Park West & 79th St, New York, NY 10024
Take to the ice while the storied buildings of Manhattan tower above. The Wollman Rink, open during the colder months, is a charming public rink located on the south side of Central Park. During the day, it’s a playground for friends and families. But it’s lovers who own the night, skating beneath the romantic glitter of the New York City skyline. No matter which camp you fall into, a cup of hot cocoa from the snack shack is a must.
830 5th Ave, New York, NY 10065
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (aka “The Met”) is an absolute must. The towering museum houses a wide range of astounding works, spanning from classical antiquity to the modern era. Its permanent collection includes some two-million-odd pieces. You could spend all day here rambling aimlessly, but—given its size—it’s wise to have a must-see list. Of note: the Greek and Roman Sculpture Court, the Vermeer Collection, and the Temple of Dendur. In summer, their Cantor Rooftop Garden Bar is the perfect place for a seasonal alfresco snack with Central Park views. All other times, our bet is on having a bite at the museum’s Petrie Court Café, which immerses you in the park all year round.
1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir
Central Park’s sizable reservoir, located between 86th and 96th Street, is nearly as beautiful as its namesake, former First Lady Jackie O. The man-made body of water takes up 106 acres, nearly an eighth of the park. All year round, you can walk (or jog) the 1.5-mile track. Our tip? Visit the Guggenheim Museum (another institution of note) and then walk across Fifth Avenue and into the park, where you’ll be placed smack in the middle of the reservoir itself.
5th Avenue, between 86th and 96th Street
Central Park Zoo
Take a break from the figurative beast that is New York City and peruse the literal sort at Central Park Zoo. The small but historic six-acre site—which first opened in the 1860s as a menagerie which included just one black bear cub and 72 white swans—is now home to animals of three different climates: tropic, temperate, and polar. Here, children young and old can catch exotic animals like snow leopards, grizzly bears, and penguins up close and personal (and without ever having to leave Manhattan.)
East 64th Street, New York, NY 10021
The Loeb Boathouse
All this exploring is sure to leave you hungry. The Loeb Boathouse, located in the middle of Central Park, is an upscale white tablecloth joint with a lakeside view. It’s most charming in the summer, when the green of the park reflects onto the water and people move about in boats. Despite being a tourist-friendly destination, the food here is much better than it needs to be.
Park Drive North, E 72nd St, New York, NY 10021