There is something magical about finding a place in Central Park where you can look all around you and not see any buildings poking above the treetops. It’s as if you’ve found a portal in the middle of the country’s biggest city. Such spots are surprisingly rare because of how narrow Central Park is and the height of its surrounding buildings, but they can definitely be found. We’ve listed seven of our favorites below. If you know of any others, feel free to add them to the interactive map above or leave a comment on the post!
1. The Loch
Just below the Pool is a charming little manmade waterfall that flows into the Loch, which winds its way northward through a ravine. The Lochs course presents multiple opportunities for building-less spots because of its low elevation and overhead vegetation. Apparently we weren’t the only ones who enjoyed the scenery; you can make out a man painting the landscape on the far right of the above panorama.
2. Conservatory Garden
Despite the proximity to Fifth Avenue, the Conservatory Garden feels extremely secluded. The gardens sink below the surrounding landscape, and rows of leafy trees provide a canopy that hides nearby buildings from sight. The densely planted English-style garden on its southern end offers the most cover from the nearby street.
3. North Woods
Only a few minutes walk from the Conservatory Garden’s manicured lawns, the North Woods are a tangled mass of old trees that encroach onto its meandering paths. The woods really make you feel transported to a different place and time. We even met a man searching through the vegetation for a stick that would make a good fishing pole. Now where else in NYC would you see that?
4. Great Hill
This spot was in a small clearing just south of the meadow known as the Great Hill, one of the highest points in the park at a towering 135 feet above sea level.
5. Great Lawn
South of the 85th St. Transverse our search became a little more difficult. This spot, just east of the Great Lawn and close to the Pinetum, required a bit of maneuvering before the West Side’s taller buildings were totally obscured. Still counts though!
6. Shakespeare Garden
Shakespeare Garden, close to Delacorte Theater, is a tiny flower patch that looks and smells amazing. The garden really feels like a hidden gem, and the fact that no buildings can be seen on the horizon make it even more awesome. (Yes, we know the top of the Swedish Cottage is visible, but it felt like part of the scenery so an exception was made.)
7. The Ramble
The Ramble is really the only place in the southern half of Central Park where building-less spots are plentiful. The 36 acres of untamed wilderness, intersected by a tangle of paths, dips down to the edge of the Lake. We took this photo in Tupelo Meadow, one of the only large clearings in the area. The Ramble has a lot of cool secrets hidden in it’s wilderness. Make sure to check out the Ramble Cave (#4 on the Untapped list of top 10 Central Park secrets).
As we ventured closer to the southern end of Central Park, the Midtown skyscrapers became impossible to hide from. If you want to find your own spot hidden away from the city, our recommendation is to look above 65th Street.