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10 Things to Do in Central Park Other Than Hire Horse-Drawn Carriages

Written by Nedelle Torrisi | March 5, 2014

Central Park is a vast landscape with so many interesting and fun things to offer tourists and locals alike. Here is a quick guide to help you navigate this magical place, eschewing the horse-drawn carriage, of course!

1. Chess: The best part about playing a game in Central Park is that you don’t even have to bring your own! The Chess and Checkers House will provide you with chess, checkers, dominoes, and backgammon. How generous!

2. Bird watching: Robert DeCandido, Ph.D., also known as “Birding Bob,” has led bird-watching tours around Central Park for more than 20 years. His schedule is posted on his site. Or you can just grab your binoculars and do it yourself. Either way, don’t feed the ducks!

3. Ice skating: How classic is ice skating in Central Park?! It’s the best. The Wollman Rink is open seven days a week, and you can enter the park at 59th and Sixth avenues or 59th and Fifth avenues to get there.

4. Attend a concert: When the weather gets warm, the Summer Stage gets going, with big musical acts. But year round, Central Park offers fun events and tours, and most of them are free!

5. Eat food: Vegan treats inside Central Park include candied nuts sold by street vendors, vegan ice cream at Le Pain Quotidien (located in the Mineral Springs Pavilion near Sheep Meadow), and Maoz Vegetarian Restaurant, just inside the park at Fifth and 106th avenues.

6. Climb a tree: There are more than 21,500 trees in Central Park, and you can peruse this tree database to help you identify the species you are climbing. Be safe! (Alternate activity: tree watching.)

7. Ride a bike or row a boat: Bike rentals are readily available, and with just a few clicks at this site, you’ll have transportation and exercise in one activity! Rowing a boat is also a blast and surprisingly affordable, and it has the added benefit of being very romantic.

8. Whistle with a blade of grass: In the center of Central Park, running from 79th to 85th streets, lies the 55-acre lawn named, appropriately, the Great Lawn. I’m sure that the lawn won’t mind if you pick a couple of its blades! Here’s a tutorial, in case you don’t have this special skill yet.

9. Walk a dog: Did you know there’s a dog park in Central Park? It’s at 1740 Stevenson Blvd. If you’re visiting the Big Apple without your dog, borrow a friend’s! You know, that friend who is working long days in order to afford Manhattan rent!

10. Commune with the turtles: Turtle Pond is located at the base of Belvedere Castle, and it holds five types of turtles. It is quieter than most areas of Central Park—good for sunbathing or reading. Just don’t practice number eight here!

And there you go—10 fun and cruelty-free activities that you can do in Central Park!

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