As the leaves begin to shimmer from summer’s bright green foliage to fall’s reds, oranges and yellows, Central Park is NYC’s escape from the endless concrete jungle into a glimpse of nature. There is so much more to do than admire the trees, monuments, playgrounds and explore the last grass before winter drives them away.
Forest bathing at the Ramble (Mid-Park at 73rd-79th Streets) is a way to enjoy the atmosphere of nature and avoid the honking for a while. The art of shinrin-yoku originated in Japan in the 1980s to help workers break away from the general sentiments of urban living. The Ramble is one of the few fully wooded areas in Central Park, making it an ideal place to connect with yourself and reflect.
If lush forests aren’t a favorite, check out the autumn blooms at the Conservatory Garden (East Side, 104th-106th Streets) and celebrates his 85th birthday in autumn. Surviving only through fall, Korean chrysanthemums come in a vibrant palette of pink, orange, and yellow.
Capture the scene at Bow Bridge (Mid Park on 74th Street). One of the most iconic spots in Central Park, this bridge is a spectacular place to observe the beauty of the changing leaves. To say goodbye to the weed before winter drives it away, visit East Meadow (East Side at 97th through 100th Streets). Taking a picnic or soaking up the heat before the chilly weather sets in is a great way to unwind.
For families with children, the park offers 21 playgrounds, including the Billy Johnson Playground (East side at 67th Street). The playground features a 45-foot granite slide as well as mini versions of Central Park locations.
History buffs can view the newly unveiled Monument to the Pioneers of Women’s Rights in all its bronze glory (Mid Park at 68th Street). The statue highlights 3 incredible women – Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth and Susan B. Anthony.
Almost all of the above activities have the option of an accompanying, self-guided tour of the area or monument. General Conservancy Guide Tours are also a great option, offering self-guided tours, both in-person and virtual tours, and weekly online hikes. Some tours available include Picture Perfect Central Park, which covers the most famous locations, Urban Sanctuary and Flying South for Winter, which focuses on bird watching, and Discovery Walks for Families, which focuses on Central Park’s ecology. There are over 210 species of migratory birds in the park in the fall, so be sure to check out the birds before winter hits.
Many of these tours begin at the Dairy Visitor Center and Gift Shop (Mid Park on 65th Street)a great place to get the upper hand when shopping for Christmas gifts.
As a reminder to protect NYC’s beautiful and finite trees, Central Park says not to climb trees, etch or damage bark, and avoid picking leaves. For more updates on events and happenings, follow @CentralParkNYC on social media. For park closure notifications and schedule updates, visit centralparknyc.org.