Central Park, Manhattan’s 840-acre urban sanctuary, is arguably best enjoyed in the warmer months (we're better sunbathers than ice skaters). The park, spanning from 59th to 110th streets, is home to playgrounds, stages, swings, meadows, courts, ponds, boats, and much, much more. But don't let that optionality overwhelm. Ahead, five of our all-time favorite park adventures for the spring and summer months.
It wouldn’t be New York if there wasn’t a theatrical component to Central Park’s offerings. Every summer, a world-renowned troupe of actors delivers killer performances of a few of Shakespeare’s best works. On the docket this summer is Taming of the Shrew, which starts May 26th, followed by Troilus and Cressida in mid-July. And did we mention tickets are free? You'll have to show up early to claim yours—bring some snacks, coffees, and friends for the line and make a day out of it.
Grilling in the Park
Central Park only allows BBQ-ing three times a year: Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day. But on those three days, it’s a total free-for-all. If your holiday plans find you staying put in the city, we’d advise that you grab your pack and head to Central Park to capitalize on this rare occasion.
Every August, the park hosts a series of themed film-screening parties just north of Sheep’s Meadow. Last year, the festival took place in late August and featured five major movies from the year 1980. The festival is free, and all films are open-captioned for optimal enjoyment.
Once or twice a summer, Smorgasburg brings its epic food festival across the bridge and into Manhattan. Exact details for 2016 are still TBD, but last year’s food fest was in late July from 5 to 9 pm. Smorgasburg is always packed, so mentally prepare yourself for some crowds. But the food (especially the fries from Pomme Frites), is so worth it.
The Hallett Sanctuary, a four-acre oasis on the lower east side of the park, was founded by NYC’s Park Commissioner in the 1930’s. What once served as a bird sanctuary in the mid-20th century is now a well-preserved respite, brimming with soothing flora and fauna. This well-protected area offers open visit times 3-5 hours a day from April-August for interested park-goers.