Best Things To Do In Central Park – Holiday Edition!

As the most-visited attraction in the most-visited city in the western hemisphere, it’s easy to forget that Central Park was originally created as a place of serenity, tranquility, and relaxation. The vast majority of New York’s 65 million annual visitors come during the warmer months, when the park overflows with excitement and activity. For that reason, the winter is when it truly lives up to its full potential as a natural oasis, 843 acres of majestic, pastoral earth, living in direct contrast to its surroundings: the around-the-clock whirlwind of steel, glass, and humanity known as Manhattan. 

This is not at all to say winters in Central Park are dull. Still at the core of the Big Apple, the city’s signature buzz doesn’t end at the park’s borders. The winters are simply when the landscape’s peaceful beauty fuse best with the inspirational hustle and bustle New York is so famous for. Many have seen the tranquil images of a fresh snowfall over cobblestone bridges, hills, and frozen ponds. But not everyone knows about how much fun the park can be during the colder months. Below is a list of our favorite things to do this winter in Central Park:

  • Visit the Central Park Zoo. The winter sees reduced fares, and is the liveliest time for the sea lions, seals, and snow leopards. You can feed a penguin or head to the children’s zoo to see the only cow in Manhattan. The nearby Delacorte Clock plays holiday carols and features bronze statues of animals playing instruments
  • Go rock climbing. While scaling the boulders in the North Woods or Rat Rock near the park’s southern entrance, you’ll forget you’re in the middle of a big city and feel like you’re in an arctic tundra
  • Visit the Arthur Ross Pinetum, a four-acre arboretum with 17 varieties of winter trees, designed for New Yorkers of the 1800s to feel like they entered the center of an evergreen forest
  • Go cross-country skiing with skyline views. The most popular areas are the bridal path, Great Lawn, and Sheep Meadow. Skiis can be rented nearby at sporting goods stores such as REI and Paragon
  • Sign up for an Amazing Race-style Scavenger Hunt Adventure. With two route options and smartphone assistance, the park can transform into a giant, fun-filled, educational board game

  • Recreate scenes from classic Central Park wintertime movies: Elf’s snowball fight at Pinebank Arch, Home Alone’s Pigeon Lady scenes at Gapstow Bridge, Sheep Meadow or Tavern on the Green for Mr. Popper’s Penguins, and for the skating scenes in Serendipity or Love Story, you can go…
  • Ice skating: Choose Lasker Rink in the north for a more relaxing experience with views of the Harlem Meer and North Woods, or Wollman Rink in the south for more convenient access to midtown and dramatic views of the city skyline
  • Enjoy the music of Central Park without the big crowds. Whether it’s choral performances below Bethesda Terrace, Beatles sing-a-longs at Strawberry Fields, or one of the many buskers stationed throughout the park (the saxophonist near the Balto statue is exceptional), there is no shortage of sweet sounds.
  • Go birdwatching. The ramble is home to 275 varieties of migratory birds and winter is the perfect time for spotting Downy Woodpeckers, Song Sparrows, American Robins, and the incredibly rare Eastern Screech Owl. December 15th is New York’s annual Christmas bird count, while birdwatching tours happen throughout the week
  • Build a snowman. Build a whole snow family. Make snow angels. New Yorkers, especially on Sheep Meadow and the Great Lawn tend to get creative with their snow creations

  • Go shopping. Columbus Circle Holiday Village, The Dairy Visitor Center, and the vendors along 59thstreet are all popular options. For $10,000, you can buy a small piece of NYC real estate in the form of a park bench with a personalized plaque inscription
  • Go to the Winter Jam Festival in January, a free annual sports festival featuring snowboarding lessons, curling, ice bowling, dodgeball, a Doggie Snow Zone, and a heated reading room. Equipment is provided at no cost
  • Check out the brand new Landforms exhibit at the Charles A. Dana discovery center to learn about the park’s geological foundations, archaeological history, and how its rocky terrain shaped the outcomes of The Revolutionary War and the War of 1812
  • Attend the 23rd annual Holiday Lighting Festival on December 5th. This joyous event combines cookies, cocoa, Christmas carols, a cameo from Santa Claus, and a flotilla of trees on the Harlem Meer
  • See the city from the highest point of the park, Belvedere Castle. The winter months offer the clearest, unobstructed views of the West Side’s iconic Art Deco and Renaissance Revival apartments, the East Side’s stunning museum mile, the uptown and midtown skylines, along with the official weathervane for the city of New York
  • Enjoy a plethora of options for chowing down. The winter months offer a significantly more relaxed dining experience at Central Park institutions The Boathouse, Tavern on the Green, and The Met’s Dining Room. Inside the park, you’ll find a multitude of food carts offering everything from Belgian Waffles to Colombian Coffee. There are also countless restaurants alongside the park with breathtaking views
  • Beat the cold by staying active. The tennis courts, basketball courts, and bike lanes are open year round. Winter is the perfect time for discovering one of the many spectacular jogging loops in the park. There’s a reason the largest marathon in the world happens to end here. The New Years Eve 4k run through the park is legendary

Like any public park during any season of the year, fun and relaxation are the main priorities for its visitors. Central Park is no different. What makes it different is that it’s in the middle of a city with over 800 languages spoken on any given day, a world capital for culture, media, commerce, entertainment, research, art, and technology, the home of the United Nations, the birthplace of Rockefeller, Roosevelt, Remy Ma, and the rollercoaster. The city so nice, they named it twice. 

The point is that something as simple as sitting on a park bench and watching people pass by has a high likelihood of becoming magical. Some would call it the most beautiful park in the world. Few would disagree that it’s the most different from its surrounding environments. This is especially true in the winter, when the large crowds are replaced by snow-covered countryside, and it becomes again what its designers intended on creating: A patch of nature for New Yorkers to escape to, for serenity, tranquility, and relaxation. Plus, it’s fun!

 

Five Best Locations to Bike in New York City

Even New Yorkers who were born and raised in the concrete jungle will admit that sometimes they, too, feel like tourists in their own city. Every corner turned reveals endless possibilities — broadway-worthy street performers, five-star quality meals compacted into tiny food trucks, unique characters that you wouldn’t believe existed unless you saw them for yourself. Walking through New York is an adventure in itself. Now imagine how the possibilities multiply when a bike is involved! Many neighborhoods in New York are extremely bike-friendly, even having their own designated lanes. We compiled a list of some of the best biking spots in New York City that both expert riders and beginners could enjoy.

1.) Hudson River Greenway

We want to start off this list with the one, the only, Hudson River. This 11-mile bike route is one of the most popular biking destinations in New York and with good reason. The scenic landscape over the glistening river waters creates a spectacular juxtaposition alongside the iconic city skyscrapers. This location is greatly enjoyed and preferred by beginner riders since the entire trail has a designated bike path, meaning you will not ride on the street or encounter any cars along the way. The bike trail includes a two-lane path, allowing cyclers to ride back and forth as they please. A must-see along the Hudson River Greenway is Riverside Park, one of New York City’s most notable waterfront parks. This park is great for instagram-worthy photoshoots, soaking in the sun and taking in the magnificent view from all angles. We also encourage our travelers to visit the Intrepid Museum located right on the water of the Hudson River. This fascinating museum holds some of the most historically substantial American military and maritime artifacts and exhibitions.

2.) Battery Park

The entire 11-mile Hudson River Greenway bike route may be overwhelming to beginner travelers. It is nearly impossible to take in all of the attractions at once so, we recommend our travelers to split up the route over a two-day span. Battery Park is located at the southern tip of the Hudson River Greenway and offers its own day’s worth of adventure. There are many stops along the bike route that we highly recommend seeing such as the Highline, Statue of Liberty and the Wall Street bull!

3.) Central Park

Central Park is a no-brainer destination in New York City, on bike or foot. With a 6-mile perimeter around the park, there is plenty to see and do. Lay in the green lawn of Sheeps Meadow while taking in the breathtaking landscape of the surrounding city. A short trip away leads you to the remarkable architecture of the Bethesda Terrace which lies parallel to the Bethesda Fountain, a popular location for wedding shoots, graduation pictures and various movie scenes! Joining one of our Central Park Guided Bike Tours is a great way to learn about all of the famous landmarks hidden away in the tremendous park. You will be able to see all of the major sightseeing points in the park as well as other hidden gems, all led by one of our beloved local guides. 

Rent bikes at our Central Park Location!

4.) Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most popular biking routes we offer at Unlimited Biking. The must-see scenery overlooks the East River and the city landscape, making it a highlight spot for photos. The bridge connects Manhattan and Brooklyn so you can explore both boroughs in just a few hours. With a distance of a little over one mile, the Brooklyn Bridge bike route is perfect for beginners. After riding the Brooklyn Bridge, make sure to explore the neighborhood of Dumbo full of unique art galleries, delicious NYC style pizza, and incredible architecture.

Book a Guided Tour with Unlimited Biking at the Brooklyn Bridge!

5.) South Street Seaport

Last, but certainly not least, is the South Street Seaport district along the East River of lower Manhattan. The Seaport district is a buzzing hub that highlights New York City’s vast culture but also commemorates the area’s significant and fascinating history. Enjoy the sight of some of the oldest architecture in downtown Manhattan, an astonishing view of the Brooklyn Bridge and a leisurely ride along the bike lane on the boardwalk. As a central point for entertainment, shopping, and cuisine, South Street Seaport is definitely not a destination you want to miss!

Our locations:

56 W 56th Street New York, NY 10019

346 W 57th Street New York, NY 10019

Pier 78 455 12th Avenue New York, NY 10019

111 W. 110th Street New York, NY 10026

38 Park Row New York, NY 10038

Best Springtime Biking Spots in NYC!

Spring is a magical time in New York City. Layers are getting lighter, flowers are blooming, and New Yorkers are coming out of their cozy hibernation in their 400 square foot apartments! Truly a lovely sight. 

The best part about the weather getting warmer is the ability to explore the many beautiful parts of the city forgotten momentarily during the brutal winter. And what better way to quickly travel from borough to borough in this gorgeous weather? Biking, of course!

The possibilities are endless. In Central Park alone, our bike tour covers over 30 attractions! These must-see locations are certainly not limited to this list, but here are a few of our favorite spring destinations to see on bike in NYC.

Cherry Hill – Central Park

At the top of our list is Cherry Hill located in the southern region of Central Park. Cherry Hill is a beautiful picnic and lounge spot year-round, but people flock to see the freshly bloomed cherry blossoms in the Springtime. Just make sure to take your allergy medicine because the pollen is nothing to mess with!

Shakespeare Garden – Central Park

Another Central Park must-see in the Springtime is the Shakespeare Garden, tucked away in the south-central region of the park, not too far from Cherry Hill. We highly recommend visiting Shakespeare Garden this season while the flowers are in full bloom!

Hudson River Greenway

Whoever you may ask about where to bike in the city, Hudson River greenway is always at the top of the list. With two designated bike lanes, you can enjoy a leisurely ride along the water, enjoying an unbelievable Springtime view of the waters and city landscape.

South Street Seaport

South Street Seaport is a must-visit destination in the Springtime. With the cool breeze coming from the waters, the bustling energy from the boardwalk markets and a gorgeous view of the Brooklyn Bridge, you do not want to miss out on this location.

Brooklyn Bridge

You can tell we are really into scenic waterfront rides, but reasonably so! Brooklyn Bridge is a great biking destination for both tourists and residents. Crossing over to the Brooklyn side of the Bridge leads you to DUMBO, a fun and trendy neighborhood with lots to see and do including Springtime art galleries, food festivals, and a gorgeous view of Manhattan across the water.

Our locations:

56 W 56th Street New York, NY 10019

346 W 57th Street New York, NY 10019

Pier 78 455 12th Avenue New York, NY 10019

111 W. 110th Street New York, NY 10026

38 Park Row New York, NY 10038

110 South Street New York, NY 10038