Romantic Central Park in New York
Central Park is a beautiful park to explore, featuring classical sculptures, groomed pathways, secluded coves, lakes, and great views of the New York City skyline. There is an abundance of playful things to do, from riding the Central Park Carousel to cheering on model boats racing at Conservatory Water and watching polar bears at the Central Park Zoo. A romantic carriage ride through the park is also a New York City classic.
During the warmer months, go on a romantic gondola ride on the Lake and top it off with a lunch at the Central Park Boathouse overlooking the Lake and the New York City skyline. After lunch, stroll around Bethesda Terrace and down the Mall which is lined with huge trees providing plenty of shade. Often there is a musician providing ambiance music.
If you are looking for privacy and seclusion, take a walk across Bow Bridge and through the Ramble, looking out for rare birds and ducks. At the northern end of the Lake, the path opens up to some of the best views of the City. In the winter, rent skates at the scenic Wollman Rink and glide across white ice accompanies by music. Romantic hotels near the park include the Plaza, Dream New York and The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park on the south end, and The Mark and Carlyle Hotel towards the northern end of the park. Read our New York City travel tips.
1. Bethesda Terrace
Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed Bethesda Terrace as a gathering place in Central Park. Located at mid-Park at 72nd Street, Bethesda Terrace sits at the north end of the Mall. Bethesda Terrace offers beautiful views of the Lake and the Central Park Boathouse. It features the Bethesda Fountain, one of the most photographed sites in Central Park. Visitors stand on Bethesda's Upper Terrace which overlooks the Lake, row boats gliding across it, and the shoreline of the Ramble. A stone stairwell descends from Bethesda's Upper Terrace to the Fountain.
Angel of the Waters Fountain at Bethesda Terrace was placed in the Park in 1873. Today the fountain is one of the favorite places in Central Park for wedding pictures and romantic walks. The fountain features bronze figures in the middle, surrounded by a blue stone lower basin. Sculptor Emma Stebbins who created the fountain was the first woman to receive a sculptural commission in New York City. The Central Park Conservancy installed two banner poles bearing gonfalons by the edge of the Lake at Bethesda Terracein 1987.
2. Belvedere Castle
Belvedere Castle is a magical castle offering some of the best views of the Park. Take a walk along the edge of the Nearby Turtle pond where you can see many species of birds.
3. Cherry Hill
Located West of Bethesda Terrace mid-Park at 72nd Street, Cherry Hill offers beautiful views of the Lake and the Ramble. On a warm day, visitors watch row boats and a Venetian gondola glide across the Lake. A path next to the Lake leads from Cherry Hill to the romantic Bow Bridge and on to Bethesda Terrace. Cherry Hill Fountain on the hill is surrounded by wooden benches, a perfect spot to read a book on a sunny spring day. Stone steps lead from Cherry Hill to the secluded rustic Wagner Coveon the Lake.
4. The Dene
The Dene is a landscaped area of Central Park stretching from the 66th Street to the 72nd Street on the East Side. It features rolling hills, benches, flowers and trees. There is a rustic wood structure perched on top of giant boulders, surrounded with trees and flowers. In the summer, visitors can rest in the shade provided by the structure and admire views of the New York City skyline.
The Dene is also home to the East Green meadow which is beautiful and romantic in the spring with blooming Kwanzan cherry trees, crabapples and magnolias. The Dene is bordered by the Central Park Zoo in the south and Conservatory Water to the north.
5. Bow Bridge
Bow Bridge is one of the most romantic spots in Central Park, overlooking the Lake and the New York City skyline. The bridge is located west of Bethesda Terrace connecting Cherry Hill and the Ramble, at mid-Park at 74th St. The 60-foot-long cast iron bridge was designed in 1862 by Calvert Vaux, Frederick Law Olmsted's partner. Nearby, visitors can dine at the Central Park Boathouse and enjoy a romantic walk through the Ramble.
6. Romantic Carriage Ride
Available to visitors year-round, horse-drawn carriages can be found lined up along Central Park South in front of the Plaza Hotel.
7. Wagner Cove in Central Park
Wagner Cove is a small wooden structure hidden in one of the coves of the Lake. If you are exploring Central Park, stop at Wagner Cove for a romantic chat surrounded by ducks, birds and flowers. The cove is a memorial to the late New York City mayor Robert Wagner. Wooden shelters used to be landing sites for rowboats crossing the lake, picking up and dropping off passengers at one of six shelters around the Lake.
8. The Ladies Pavilion
The Ladies Pavilion at Hernshead is a romantic Victorian vintage structure overlooking the Lake at West Side between 75th and 76th Streets. The Ladies Pavilion was at first used as a bus shelter in Columbus Circle, but was moved to the Park in the early 1900s. It features Victorian ornamental details and a bench where visitors can rest in the shade the Pavilion provides. A visit to the Ladies Pavilion will give you a sense of stepping back in time. In the spring, the area around Hernshead is famous for its blooming flowers.
9. The Mall
Stretching from 66th to 72nd Streets mid-Park is the 40-foot wide Mall flanked by quadruple rows of American elms which create a living ceiling high over the walkway. In the summer, the Mall is a cool shady area where visitors can escape the heat of New York City. In the fall, yellow and gold leaves create a magical display of color all the way down to the southern end of the Mall, culminating at the charming Bethesda Terrace. The southern end of the Mall is known as the Literary Walk which features statues of famous literary figures.
10. Sheep Meadow
Sheep Meadow is one of the favorite spots for families, sunbathers, picnickers, kite flyers, and other visitors who come to admire the New York City skyline. Sheep Meadow was until 1934 just what its name implies - a meadow for a flock of sheep who slept, accompanied by their shepherd. The 15-acre Sheep Meadow is located at West side/mid-Park from 66th to 69th Streets and is open from May to mid-October dawn to dusk in fair weather.
11. Tavern on the Green
Tavern on the Green, located in Central Park at West 67th Street across from Sheep Meadow, used to be a restaurant for over 80 years. In 2010, it became a Visitor Center and gift shop. Take a romantic walk past this historic landmark and stop in for some sightseeing ideas.
12. The Pond
Located in the southeast corner of Central Park, the Pond is a calm and romantic getaway from the fast pace of New York City. The picturesque Gapstow Bridge, covered with plants, provides scenic views of the Pond, the Plaza Hotel and other Central Park South buildings. The Central Park Conservancy completed a reconstruction of the Pond, as well as the paths and the flower beds that surround it. They also added a new island habitat for birds and turtles, and a waterfall. To the north of the Pond lies Wollman Rink which offers ice skating, the Central Park Visitor Center and the Central Park Zoo.