All Tours, Public Tours

Central Park Tour – Manhattan’s Man-Made Masterpiece

Central Park Lake and Upper West Side Skyline

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Tour type: Public Tour

Tour Summary:

Central Park is best explored on foot, but not all NY sightseeing tours are created equal. Join our popular and highly-rated walking tour of Central Park and together we will explore its winding paths, spectacular highlights and hidden gems, while discussing some very interesting social, architectural, and otherwise weird facts about its construction, design, and famous landmarks. We will also talk about the Imagine Memorial for John Lennon in Strawberry Fields, the role of the Central Park Conservancy, and the importance of the landmark Dakota Apartments to the development of the Upper West Side, among other interesting topics.

Walking Tour Highlights:

• Escape NY’s concrete jungle and get lost in America’s first and most visited city park
• Tour some of the most famous Central Park landscapes and features, including The Mall, Bethesda Terrace, The Lake, Strawberry Fields, Imagine Memorial, The Great Lawn, and much more
• Learn about some of Central Park’s secrets and discover hidden gems like the Ladies’ Pavilion, Belvedere Castle, and Shakespeare Garden
• Enjoy Central Park’s incredible beauty while learning about its history and design
The Winter balustrade in Bethesda Terrace

Basic Tour Info:

Length and Distance: About 3.5 hours; 3 miles on foot (5 kilometers)
Cost: $45 for adults, $25 for kids 12 and under
• Schedule: Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday at 10am (with some exceptions)
Size: Maximum group size is 12 adults
Language: Our tours are currently offered only in English
Break: There will be 1 bathroom break
Private Option: This tour is also offered privately
Location: Starts near Fifth Avenue and Central Park South (you will receive detailed info after booking), ends in the Park near the Museum of Natural History and Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Lake in Central Park Overlooking Central Park West

Bus and private van tours will drop you off and give you 10 minutes to “see Central Park”, while other companies will rush you through a few main parts en route to other places. Our goal is to focus on Central Park.  We will concentrate on the southern half, walk at a comfortable pace, discover some of the park’s highlights and hidden marvels, while stopping along the way to admire the views, rest our feet, take photos, and, of course, learn a lot about this incredible work of art, the people behind it, including its two designers — Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux — and the history of the city which surrounds it.

In short, you will walk away with not only a better appreciation and understanding of Central Park but New York City and its development as well.

The CityRover Promise:

  • An interactive, informative, and fun tour, with memorable stories and great photo opportunities
  • No more than 12 adults, no flags, no microphones, no memorized scripts, no canned jokes, no notes
  • An engaging, knowledgeable and licensed CityRover guide

Inside Bethesda Arcade in Central Park

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Tour type: Public Tour

Recent Reviews For This Tour:

“Very Interesting Walking Tour – a highlight of our trip” Reviewed May 29, 2014 on TripAdvisor

“Max is very knowledgeable & enthusiastic. He is professional & friendly – you couldn’t get a better guide. His walking tour of Central Park provided fascinating insights into the development of the park & of the city. We had walked in the park ourselves previously but had missed so many things. The tour was excellent value for money, we were guided for the whole time with no time out. The group was small so you could ask questions. A lovely touch at the beginning was the mini waffles which Max bought for us all. If our trip had been longer we would have taken more tours. If we return to New York we will definitely do others with Max’s company & are recommending him to all our friends.”

“A great walk with a perfect guide!” Reviewed May 10, 2014 on TripAdvisor

“We had our Central Park tour on Wednesday 7th May. From the outset dealing with Max was easy and he was always prompt to reply to our questions. The tour was great in that it was just enough walking without being too much at one time and the information given was interesting and insightful. Max obviously loves his city and this is reflected in the type of tour guide he is. He was pleasant to listen to and patient with our many questions.

We took 2 of our children aged 16 & 11 and they really enjoyed it too. This tour would be suitable for a range of people however, being Australian we really enjoyed Max’s Brooklyn sense of humour (which is probably very similar to ours).

It was definitely worth the money. Thanks CityRover Walks NY.”

“Second tour with Max, fantastic” Reviewed May 4, 2014 on TripAdvisor

“Went on the Central Park tour with Max. It was fantastic. As you walk and learn you get a very clear sense that Max really loves his city. That passion translates into a very informative and entertaining tour. He seeks to show things that most others would not even know about. I will definitely do another tour with Max next time I’m in NYC.”

“Central Park” Reviewed May 1, 2014 on TripAdvisor

“Excellent tour and great having a small group. It is very evident that the guide cares about the park and it’s history as well as it’s future. Helpful, personable. There is a reason they are #1 on Trip Advisor. Money well spent.”

Additional Tour Info:

How strenuous is this walk? This walk covers about 3 miles on foot in a little over 3 hours.  Assuming the benches in the Park are not wet, there will also be plenty of opportunities to sit down (while your guide tells you interesting stories).  However, this tour does involve several short walks uphill and a few staircases to climb and descend.  If you feel that this may be too strenuous for your age, level of fitness, or state of health, then please consider joining another CityRover tour.

What About Kids? Our public tours may not be appropriate for young children, as they involve a lot of walking and cover topics geared to adults.  Further, some of our tours reference adult content some parents may deem inappropriate for children.  On this particular tour, references may be made to murder, crime, and drugs.   That said, there are 2 “child” tickets available for each public tour for children aged 12 and under.

Meeting Point: Detailed meeting point instructions will be emailed to you once your reservation has been processed.  Please note that the tour usually ends either near the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the American Museum of Natural History (not at the starting point), so we recommend using public transportation to get to the meeting point (vs. driving and parking).

Stops: There will be at least 1 restroom break during our walk.  Each participant will also be offered a complimentary bottle of water on the walk and a small snack along the way.  A meal prior to the tour is recommended.

Are gratuities included? Guide gratuities are not included in the tour price, so if you enjoy your tour, tips are very much appreciated.

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Tour type: Public Tour

Parting Words:

The days of joggers looking over their shoulders and women clutching their purses are very much in the past, even though crime shows still occasionally film murder scenes in the park. These days, nearly 40 million annual visitors step in through Central Park’s symbolic gates, stroll along its winding paths, row boats on the Lake, ice skate on Wollman Rink, walk their dogs, push their kids on swings, play catch on the Great Lawn, or simply unwind in the shade on a rustic bench. Exploring the park today, one would be hard-pressed to find any trash or graffiti, or see a single police officer by day. Couples and bird-lovers get lost in the Ramble without stepping on used needles or going around homeless squatters. Tourists carry expensive cameras without a second thought. And it’s easy to take the park’s current state for granted. But it wasn’t always this clean and safe.

In the mid-1970s, New York City was on the brink of bankruptcy, garbage piled up everywhere, crime was rampant. Middle-class families were fleeing to the suburbs in record numbers. And Central Park, once considered America’s great work of landscaped art, became a place to be avoided and the butt of late-night jokes on television. But thanks to a grass-roots effort by a few civic-minded New Yorkers, Central Park has been not only brought back to life but is arguably at its most beautiful.

So we hope you will join us on this tour to learn more about its transformation.

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