The Best Parks in NYC for a Picnic
Despite the concrete that marks every block in every borough, New York City has over a thousand parks within its borders that offer a grassy escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether you’re looking for a lunchtime picnic or to catch a movie under the stars, we’ve narrowed down a list of our picks for the best parks in the city to sprawl out and have a good time.
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1. Prospect Park
Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s answer to Central Park and, in fact, was designed and constructed by the team who brought Central Park to life – Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux. Prospect Park has some of the city’s best shady areas for relaxing, but marks a ton of activities to keep visitors entertained throughout the day. A walk through the park will bring you to a manmade wetland, world-famous zoo, ice rink, band shell and multiple athletic and recreational facilities. During the summer months, you’re likely to catch a movie with other visitors or a free concert at the Prospect Park Bandshell for the Celebrate Brooklyn! Series.
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2. McCarren Park
McCarren, another Brooklyn park on our list, is well loved by locals in the Williamsburg and Greenpoint neighborhoods. The park is a constant buzz of energy, with multiple athletic fields and a massive open-air Pool and Play center to cool off during the hotter months. The park is nearby dozens of incredible restaurants and bars, so be sure to grab a bite before heading over to grab a spot in the shade.
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3. Inwood Hill Park
Inwood Hill Park is famed for being one of the most beautiful parks within Manhattan itself. The park is one of the oldest in New York City and features dramatic caves, valleys and sweeping ridges as well as Manhattan’s last natural salt marsh. The park is one of the most diverse in terms of wildlife – in 2002, the Urban Park Rangers group launched a bald eagle release project within the park. Similar to East River State Park, Inwood Hill Park features a barbeque area and playgrounds for long, relaxing afternoons.
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4. Bryant Park
Once the choice for New York Fashion Week, Bryant Park now serves as the park of choice for the Midtown-Manhattan workers on lunch break. The lawn, which tends to open for the season in early May, is a beautiful, lush space that plays host to various activities throughout the year. Visitors can take a Tai Chi or meditation class, practice barefoot yoga with other yogis, and dine in the park with free blankets and lawn games on most Fridays in the summer. Live theater, dance and music events happen regularly within its borders.
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5. East River State Park
East River State Park boasts some of the loveliest views of those on this list. Its 7-acre length offers up tons of space to find the perfect view of Manhattan’s skyline for open-air dining. The park itself features a barbeque platform and children’s playground as well as picnic tables throughout the lawn for afternoon family gatherings. Be sure to plan a weekend visit – every Saturday throughout the summer the popup food festival Smorgasburg brings dozens of artisanal food trucks and vendors to the park.
For your tour of New York City’s best parks, book a reservation with Luxor to ensure a stress-free trip in one of our spectacular vehicles, including our 24-passenger Minibus.