You don’t have to go far to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, you don’t even have to leave midtown! Take your lunch break at one of the many tables in Bryant Park or take a catnap on the expansive lawn. You don’t even have to leave the park to enjoy food and drinks from venues like Wafels and Dinges and Breads Bakery, and with their jam-packed schedule of events there’s always something exciting going on including free yoga classes and outdoor summer movies.
If you find yourself wandering through New York City’s Financial District with time to spare, stop by Battery Park for a waterside picnic. With beautiful views and landscaping it’s the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a nice sea breeze. Don’t leave without seeing the SeaGlass Carousel, where you can take a ride on board beautifully designed fiberglass fish through an underwater atmosphere created with LED lighting.
SOCRATES SCULPTURE PARK
This Astoria park is dedicated to providing artists with an outdoor space to create large-scale sculptures and installations, making this spot a beautiful green space and an art museum all in one! Along with the art and sweeping waterfront views, there’s always something fun going on for adults and children alike including free yoga, sculpture workshops, and kayaking!
FORT TRYON PARK
Getting off the A train at 190th Street you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into a different world, such is the grandeur of the massive Fort Tryon Park. Featuring majestic views of the Hudson River, it’s the perfect place to wander through nature and pull out the old picnic blanket. Plan a full afternoon in the area so you also have time to explore the Cloisters, a beautiful museum dedicated to the art, architecture and gardens of medieval Europe.
Some old abandoned railroad tracks in Chelsea transformed into a riverside promenade, the High Line is a fantastic place to take a stroll, go for a jog, or enjoy the view of the impressive architecture in the Meatpacking District. Grab a cup of coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee, a slice of pizza from Artichoke, or a bite from the nearby Chelsea Market and enjoy the self-seeded landscape as you walk, many of the plants originally grew on the deserted High Line tracks.
Take a short train ride into Brooklyn to visit this massive park that makes you forget completely that you’re even in a big booming city! Home to the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and an outpost of the beloved Smorgasburg food market on Sundays, there is always something exciting going on in Prospect Park. Or you can choose to relax, take a bike ride and get lost on the many paths winding through this sprawling space.
WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK
Nestled in the heart of the Village, look for the famous square arch to find this historic park. A longtime gathering place for artists and the starting point of many political movements, Washington Square Park is still an ideal place to go listen to music, catch a quick-paced master chess game, or people watch.
Seek haven from the craziness of Manhattan on this neighboring island that’s just a short ferry ride away! Full of waterfront paths, athletic fields, and gardens, it’s the perfect place to pack a picnic and escape to for a relaxing day trip. Check their schedule of events online and go when you can enjoy an outdoor movie night, yoga in the park, or a wetland walking tour.
BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK
Featuring some of the most stunning views of Manhattan you’ll find anywhere, Brooklyn Bridge Park provides the perfect backdrop for a picturesque picnic. Walk to Brooklyn Bridge to get there as an added bonus then enjoy the playgrounds, food, athletic fields, picnic areas, and occasional performances that await you.
Last but certainly not least there’s Central Park. Right in the middle of it all, a romantic symbol of this great city, no trip to NYC is complete without stopping here and it’s a wonderful spot, for New Yorkers and tourists alike, to picnic in. There’s no right or wrong place to unroll your picnic blanket here, but popular spots include Sheep’s Meadow, Cherry Hill, and the Great Lawn.