The Ultimate Guide to Central Park

Why stay in Times Square when you can experience the real New York just a few subway stops away? Only 14 minutes from the Crossroads of the World, the Upper West Side packs rows of brownstones, world-class cultural institutions, and an eclectic streetscape between two of the city’s most famous parks: Central Park and Riverside Park. Stay with us at The Excelsior Hotel to uncover the best of the Upper West Side and Central Park.

Central Park

Step out of The Excelsior Hotel and reach the entrance to Central Park in less than two minutes. The city’s most famous park features 843 acres of meadows, tree-lined walkways, and European-style gardens.

Lincoln Center

The New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet, and The Metropolitan Opera House are all located in the modernist Lincoln Center complex. Don’t miss the architecture by Philip Johnson and murals by Marc Chagall.

10 Lincoln Center Plz., 212-875-5456,

American Museum of Natural History

Located directly across from The Excelsior Hotel, the American Museum of Natural History is an 1869 landmark. See more than 30 million artifacts from dinosaur skeletons to the cutting-edge planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth & Space.

Central Park West at 79 Street, 212-769-5100,

New-York Historical Society

Located in the Shadow of the American Museum of Natural History, the New-York Historical Society is the oldest museum in the city. Founded in 1804, it preserves historical artifacts like George Washington’s inauguration chair as well as contemporary pieces like a ceiling mural from Keith Haring’s 1986 Pop Shop above the admissions desk.

170 Central Park West, 212-873-3400,

Riverside Park

For most of the year, there’s no better place to be than Riverside Park. While the leafy green space stretches almost 100 city blocks along the Hudson River, the most popular spot is the West 79th Street Boat Basin Café

Conservatory Garden

Don’t miss the city’s only formal garden. Enter through the 1894 iron gates to find three separate gardens of French, English, and Italian styles, each with its own fountain.

402 5 Av., 212-310-6600

Strawberry Fields

The most visited spot in Central Park, Strawberry Fields is a peaceful grove dedicated to John Lennon of The Beatles fame. The area is directly across the street from the Dakota apartment building, where the singer lived and was fatally shot in 1980.

Great Lawn

Since 1931, the Great Lawn has been New York’s backyard. Stretching from 79th to 86th Streets, this vast expanse in the middle of Central Park is home to free outdoor concerts and a canopy of London plane trees.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

Take a walk or run around the 1.58-mile track that surrounds the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. The huge body of water is surrounded by stunning views of the Upper West Side, Upper East Side, and Midtown Manhattan.

Bethesda Terrace

Featured in countless movies, The Mall in Central Park ends at the arched walkways of Bethesda Terrace and the magnificent Bethesda Fountain.

Discover the best Upper West Side attractions when you book a stay at The Excelsior Hotel. Explore our neighborhood map or contact our concierge to learn about the best of New York.