The ABCs of things to see in Central Park

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Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, Central Park opened to the public in 1858, and totals some 843 acres in the heart of Manhattan. There’s so many things to see in Central Park that surprise and entertain — a veritable alphabet of possibilities. Here’s an A to Z recap on this famous oasis of green amid New York City’s dense urban landscape:

A is for Alice in Wonderland

The park’s most popular statue is this tribute to Lewis Carroll’s famous heroine, joined by the Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit. This piece by Jose de Creeft is among dozens of pieces of public art located throughout the park. (East 75th Street near Fifth Avenue)


B is for Boathouse

One of the best places in Manhattan to sip a cocktail, the Loeb Boathouse includes a restaurant and bar, with tables on a beautiful outdoor terrace overlooking the lake. If the water invites, rent a rowboat and cast off for $15 an hour. (East 72nd Street and Park Drive North)


C is for Carousel

The park opened a merry-go-round on this site in 1871, with live horses walking an underground treadmill believed to have powered the original ride. The present carousel — consisting of 57 hand-carved horses — was built for Coney Island in 1908 and moved to the park in 1951. Grab some cotton candy and hop on; a ride will set you back just $3 (cash only). (65th Street at Center Drive)


D is for Duke Ellington

In 1997, the park installed a bronze statue of the late jazz great Duke Ellington, near the northeast corner of Central Park. Ellington is one of four African Americans memorialized in an area called “The Gateway to Harlem.” Others include Malcolm X, Adam Clayton Powell and Frederick Douglass. (East 110th Street and Fifth Avenue)

Things To See in Central Park: Fountains


F is for Fountains

They punctuate the park’s soundtrack with the soothing sounds of bubbling springs. Don’t miss the Angel of the Waters, at Bethesda Terrace in the heart of the park. The fountain’s statue, the work of Emma Stebbins, takes its name from an angel chronicled in the Gospel of St. John. (Mid-Park on the north side of 72nd Street)


H is for Harlem Meer

This beautifully restored meer (Dutch for lake) is the site of the Dana Discovery Center, a science education facility. At this end of the park, you’ll find a rugged expanse of waterfalls, cliffs, and all manner of bird species. (Inside the Park at 110th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues)


I is for Imagine

Yoko Ono gifted this monument in honor of her late husband, Beatles co-founder John Lennon. Inscribed with the title of one of Lennon’s most famous songs, The Imagine Mosaic anchors Strawberry Fields, a 2.5 acre reflective garden. (Central Park West between 71st and 74th Streets)


Q is for Quiet

The park features eight quiet zones, where music is prohibited without headphones and contemplation is encouraged. These spots include: Bethesda Terrace (72nd Street at the end of the mall), Sheep Meadow (between 66th and 71st Streets), East Green (between 69th and 72nd Streets) and Shakespeare Garden (on the west side between 79th and 80th Streets).

Things To See in Central Park: Skyline


S is for Skyline

From the park, you can appreciate the architectural splendor of the famous New York skyline. Try catching the views from the Great Lawn, a wide-open section of the park that affords a spectacular southern view of Manhattan. (Mid-Park from 79th to 85th Streets)


W is for Wollman Rink

New Yorkers have been lacing up their ice skates in Central Park since 1858, a romantic tradition immortalized in the popular 1970 melodrama Love Story. (Near 59th Street and Sixth Avenue)


Z is for Zoo

Home to everything from a snow leopard to a grizzly bear, this small-scale zoo is great to visit in the fall and winter months, when it’s less crowded and some animals are more active. Check the daily schedule for feeding times, an especially fun time to go. (Near 64th Street and Fifth Avenue)

Now that you know your ABC’s, it’s time to pack your bags. Discover IHG hotels in New York City and book our special rate today.

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