The Metropolis: Must-Sees in Central Park

As the country’s most visited urban park, Central Park welcomes tens of millions of visitors from around the world every year. Open to the public in 1857, Central Park was designed by landscape architects and designers Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted—who earned the commission after winning a design competition.

Central Park is, quite literally, in the center of Manhattan: located between the Upper East and West sides and 59th and 110th Streets. It encompasses 843 acres of rich biodiversity, several bodies of water, hundreds of historical structures and statuary, dozens of bridges and archways, and hundreds of things to do and see—far too many to list here! 

You can explore Central Park for yourself during your next visit. From The Marmara Park Avenue, you can reach the south end, just two miles away, in about 20 minutes. Visiting the north end is a five-mile drive and will take about 30 minutes. Here are just a few areas to explore on your next visit to Central Park:

The Lake in Central Park

For over 150 years, The Lake in Central Park and surrounding areas have provided a serene and relaxing respite from the bustling city. Originally a wild swamp, the lake was excavated in 1857 and transformed into an 18-acre tranquil body of water—the second largest in the park. Here are just some of the sights and attractions on and around The Lake: 

The Loeb Boathouse

In 1872, Calvert and Vaux designed a modest boathouse on The Lake to accommodate the popular attraction of row boating, eventually being replaced by a newer building that fell into disrepair in the 1950s. In 1957, the current structure—The Loeb Boathouse—was opened to the public.

The Loeb Boathouse is a multi-functional compound featuring a boat rental facility, a landmark lakeside restaurant, a seasonal terrace bar, and an express café. Between 10 am and dusk, rowboats are available for rent at The Loeb Boathouse. Rowing along The Lake affords boaters a rare appreciation and view of Central Park’s natural splendor. Classic Venetian Gondola tours are offered when weather permits for a truly unique excursion.

The Ramble

Just a short walk from The Bethesda Terrace is The Ramble—a 38-acre “wild garden” conceived by Frederick Law Olmsted.

Visitors can enjoy nature up close and personal along The Ramble’s maze of walking trails and paths. Along with many woodland creatures, there are hundreds of bird species that live in The Ramble, making it a perfect spot for birdwatching. The Ramble’s trails are nestled among indigenous and exotic trees, bushes, and a man-made stream.

Belvedere Castle

This unique castle, built in 1872, features a Gothic and Romanesque design and stunning views of the park. Two balconies give visitors panoramic views of the park and city. The Delacorte Theater, Turtle Pond, Ramble, and Great Lawn can be seen. It was initially built as a fantasy structure with no real intended purpose. However, this changed when the National Weather Service started using the castle as the ideal place to measure wind and rainfall. 

Tavern On the Green

First opening its doors in 1934, Tavern On the Green was initially a sheepfold for the sheep that roamed the Sheep Meadow. Today, it is a New York City icon as one of the most popular restaurants. Despite opening and closing several times over the last few decades, it is a favorite among tourists and locals.  

Central Park Zoo

Nestled in Central Park is a zoo that some of the world’s most exotic animals call home. However, it got its start because New Yorkers were using the park to drop off unwanted animals. Located near 5th Avenue, the zoo has 130 species in various habitats and covers five acres.  


The original designers of Central Park did not want to include the carousel. However, it quickly became a favorite feature and has been a beloved part of the park since 1871. There have been four different models of carousels throughout the park’s history. The carousel that stands in the park today is one of the nation’s largest and is over 100 years old. It has 57 hand-carved horses and two decorative chariots.  

Dairy Visitor Center

As with most public parks nowadays, Central Park has a visitor center. Today, the center and gift shop are in the old dairy house. Initially, the Dairy was constructed to provide the children of New York with fresh milk. Constructed in 1870, you will find it at the park's southern end. 

Strawberry Fields 

One of Central Park's most visited areas is the living memorial to John Lennon, located in Central Park West between 71st and 74th Streets. The area is designed to be 2.5 acres of quiet zone with elm trees, flowers, shrubs, and rocks. There is also an iconic black and white mosaic with “Imagine” in the center honoring John Lennon from the Beatles. 

Bridges and Arches of Central Park

There are 36 bridges and arches throughout Central Park. Built mainly of stone, brick, various rocks, and cast iron, these beautiful and functional structures span the park's waterways and walking paths in grand style. They are some of the most beautiful and thus most photographed bridges and arches in Central Park. 

●    Bow Bridge
●    Gapstow Bridge
●    Terrace Bridge
●    Gothic Bridge
●    Huddlestone Arch
●    Greyshot Arch

Concert and Performance Spaces 

Naumburg Bandshell

The Naumburg Bandshell, constructed in 1862, is one of Central Park's original features. It was initially a pagoda and later renovated to its current clamshell design. During the warmer months, live concerts are held in the bandshell.  

Rumsey Playfield

Another concert and performance space in Central Park, the Rumsey Playfield, is located off 5th Avenue and 69th Street. It is home to the GMA Summer Concert Series and the SummerStage Festival.  

Statutes and Fountains of Central Park 

There are seven fountains and 141 statues and monuments located throughout Central Park. While there are too many to name here, these are some of the most well-known, loved, and visited. 

Pulitzer Fountain

This beautiful fountain proudly stands 22 feet high. It sits in the Grand Army Plaza at the southeastern end of the Central Park. The fountain features Paloma, the Roman goddess of abundance, cast in bronze.  

The Bethesda Terrace and Fountain

When Calvert and Vaux visualized this historic area along The Lake, nature was at the forefront. They wanted to create a public meeting place where nature could be fully appreciated and viewed.

The Bethesda Terrace is a magnificent two-story structure with an open-air promenade underneath, a band shell, and two grand staircases—one of which leads to the Bethesda Fountain designed by Jacob Wrey Mould. The terrace and fountain were constructed during the Civil War and are ornately designed and constructed with fabulous carvings, sculptures, and materials from around the world. Connecting the Central Park Lake and the Bethesda Fountain is the Bethesda Terrace Arcade. Designed by Jacob Wrey Mould, the Arcade features an open-air walkway. 

Alice in Wonderland

Head to the north end of Central Park, and you will find this whimsical statue. At 11 feet tall and made of bronze, it stands as a monument to Lewis Carroll. The statue features Alice in the center surrounded by the Mad Hatter, White Rabbit, and the rest of their friends. Unlike other statues, children are encouraged to climb on this one. You can see where years of small hands have polished the bronze to gleam in the sunlight.   


This ancient structure proudly stands in Central Park, but its origins are in ancient Egypt. It was commissioned by Pharaoh Thutmosis III around 1450 BC in celebration of his 3rd jubilee. Two obelisks were commissioned and constructed. One now stands in London, and the other in New York City. It is the oldest man-made structure in Central Park. It measures 71 feet tall and weighs over 200 tons. Supporting the obelisk are 900-pound bronze replicas of sea crabs.   

Meadows and Green Spaces 

Several grassy open spaces throughout Central Park are available for people to visit and use. Locals and visitors alike come to the park to hang out, picnic, or play casual sports. Throughout history, these green spaces have served as a gathering place. During the 60s and 70s, people gathered to protestant hold demonstrations. Today, outdoor festivals and concerts are held here. 

●    Great Lawn
●    North Meadow
●    East Meadow
●    Sheep Meadow

Wollman Rink and Victorian Gardens

Since 1949, the Wollman Rink has been a favorite destination in Central Park. During the fall and winter months, visitors can ice skate surrounded by Manhattan’s fabulous skyline—both day and night. The rink also offers a skating school and is available for party rentals and ice hockey. During the summer months, the area is transformed into Wollman Victorian Gardens Amusement Park with plenty of rides, attractions, food, and family fun.  

Staying at The Marmara Park Avenue

The Marmara Park Avenue offers the style, sophistication, hospitality, and world-class accommodations you expect from the Marmara brand—with abundant sunlight and space. Whether you need lodging for a night or an extended stay, The Marmara Park Avenue has everything you need and want, from elegantly-furnished rooms to in-room business facilities, to fully-equipped kitchens, to many guestroom balconies, Jacuzzi baths, and more. The Marmara Park Avenue even welcomes pets and can accommodate your every need. Located in the heart of Manhattan, The Marmara Park Avenue is not only a stone’s throw from Central Park and all its activities and sites. 

Book your stay at The Marmara Park Avenue and discover the natural beauty of Central Park

Explore New York City

Discover top attractions and see how close they are.