Let me start by clearing up a major myth about New York City: a lack of greenspace. Yes, Manhattan is well-known for world-class theater, excellent restaurants, and museums like the Met. But there are also many beautiful walkways and parks that serve as mini-escapes from the city—and which you should definitely make time to see while visiting the concrete jungle. Here are some of my favorite walks in New York City.
Walks in New York City
A Guest Post by The Active Voyager
Walk in Central Park
Central Park is a must-visit for a reason. Designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Central Park has over 800 acres of grass, trees, ponds, and trails right in the center of the city. To this day, it amazes me that someone had the foresight to create such a sanctuary from busy city life.
What to do: Take the subway to 72nd street (this park entrance is less crowded than the one at 59th). After you enter the park, walk north towards the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. The bridle path around the reservoir is filled with runners, walkers, and the occasional horse. Just south of the reservoir is The Great Lawn, where you can catch a pickup baseball game or find a spot for a picnic, and beautiful Belvedere Castle which overlooks Turtle pond.
While you’re in the area: Check out the Museum of Natural History located at 79th Street. If you’re visiting in the summer, try to get tickets to see Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater. You’ll have to stand in line for a few hours (be sure to get there early) but tickets are free.
Walk the Hudson River Greenway to Battery Park Esplanade
Hudson River Greenway to Battery Park Esplanade is located on the southwest tip of Manhattan. This is one of my favorite places to walk because of the amazing views you get of the Hudson River, New Jersey skyline across the water, and, further down, Lady Liberty in the distance.
What to do: Take the subway to 14th street to enter the Hudson River Greenway. As you follow the path south, it will eventually turn into the Battery Park Esplanade. End at Battery Park, where you can pick up the subway from the South Ferry terminal back uptown.
While you’re in the area: Take the Staten Island Ferry for a great view of the Statue of Liberty. The whole trip (out and back) takes an hour. The best part? It’s free.
Walk around Fort Tyron Park
Fort Tyron Park is less well-known than some of the other parks in Manhattan, which means it is generally less busy and more peaceful. Fort Tyron Park has some amazing plants and flowers in Heather Garden, as well as some lookouts of the Hudson River and George Washington Bridge in the distance.
What to do: Take the subway to 190th street (or take a cab for a quicker ride). Do a loop around Fort Tyron Park ending at Inspiration Point.
While you’re in the area: Make it a day trip and visit the Met Cloisters, a wonderful medieval art museum located in a building that looks like a monastery, tucked away from the city. I love the central courtyard with its beautiful garden.
Walk around Riverside Park in New York City
Riverside Park is a waterfront public park on the Upper West Side located between Riverside Drive and the Hudson River Parkway. This is where you’ll find most locals on summer mornings—playing soccer, walking their dogs, or out for a jog.
What to do: Take the subway to 110th St. Get a bagel from Absolute Bagels (whole wheat everything with scallion schmear is a classic), and walk with it into Riverside Park. Grab a park bench, enjoy your bagel, and then meander down to 72nd street, where you can catch the subway elsewhere in the city.
While you’re in the area: Check out Columbia University’s campus at 116th Street. Unlike some of the other colleges in the city, Columbia has contained space with a quad and private pathways that make for a good stroll.
Walks in New York City: The High Line
The High Line has become a top tourist destination since it opened in 2009. About a mile and a half long, The High Line was created on a former New York Central Railroad. It’s worth doing if you can go at an off-peak time (avoid mid-day on summer weekends.) The park is well-maintained, beautifully landscaped, and there is something uniquely interesting about wandering between buildings three stories above ground.
What to do: Take the subway to 34th street. Pick up the High Line at 30th Street and walk south to the other end at Gansevoort Street.
While you’re in the area: Grab lunch at Chelsea Market, which houses dozens of eateries. You can also visit the Whitney Museum of American Art. Both are close to the 14th Street entrance to the High Line.
There you have it! I hope these five walks convince you that there are many places you can go inside Manhattan to escape the city. You can find out how to incorporate some of these walks into your trip to New York City with this three-day New York City itinerary. After you walk your way around the city, indulge in some delicious food: check out Roaming Nanny’s New York City Food Tour With Like A Local Tours post for inspiration.
You can find The Active Voyager hiking, walking, and running all over the world at https://www.theactivevoyager.com/ and on Instagram @theactivevoyager.