There’s one park in New York City that gets all the attention. But here’s a tip for you, you’ll find the best one in Brooklyn! In fact, its designers used Central Park as a first draft and claimed Prospect Park fully realized their original vision. With almost 600 acres, there is no shortage of sights, spaces and activities. Here are some of the best ways to spend your time there:
- Grand Army Plaza is the main entrance to Prospect Park. This is as Parisian as it gets in Brooklyn. The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch dates back to the 1800’s and is dedicated to “the defenders of our union” during the Civil War. This architectural masterpiece is the site of a weekly greenmarket (Saturdays from 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM).
- For only $8 you can see everything from baboons to sea lions to pallas’s cats at the Prospect Park Zoo. Unlike other park activities that are more suited to the summer months, it’s open everyday of the year.
- BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! is one of the city’s longest running, outdoor festivals. It was created back in 1979 in an effort to support the local performing arts scene and to encourage park attendance after years of neglect. The best news is that all of the shows are FREE! (Full disclosure: there are a select number of benefit concerts which will cost you). For more information check out their site here.
- For the most beautiful people throwing frisbees and the happiest dogs running off leash (before 9 AM), find Long Meadow. At nearly a mile long, it is the longest stretch of unbroken meadow in a U.S. metropolitan park. Sunbathe, pack a picnic, fly a kite and enjoy all that grass (a sight for sore eyes accustomed to the urban jungle)!
- If you’re traveling with little ones in tow, they will love the Carousel. Carved in 1912, erected in Coney Island in 1915 and opened in Prospect Park in 1952, this amusement has been around for quite some time. Its 50+ majestic horses glide alongside a lion, giraffe, deer and two dragon-pulled chariots. You can find it in the Children’s Corner of the park, near the Lefferts Historic House and the zoo. Visit the carousel in August and kids get to ride free every Thursday. Members also ride free, and for the rest of us each go is only $2!
- If you haven’t had your full dose of nature, head to The Ravine, Brooklyn’s one and only forest. It has 150 acres of woodlands and waterways.
Prospect Park is also a great place for your typical park activities. Play basketball or netball. Choose from over a dozen fields to play baseball on. Rent a pedal boat or kayak for an afternoon on the Lake. Borrow a horse from nearby Kensington Stables. Go for a run or walk. Ice skate or roller skate, depending on the time of year. Organize a volleyball match on the Parade Ground.
No matter what season it is or what your level of physical activity is, do not miss this urban oasis. There’s good reason why it is so beloved amongst the inhabitants of NYC’s largest borough!
Featured Photo Credit: Joan Elliott