Anyone looking for the best things to do during their vacation in New York will have plenty of options to choose from. Central Park is on most tourists’ wish list, but Prospect Park in Brooklyn should also be a destination for anyone hoping to see the best of the Big Apple. In fact, Prospect Park has become my favorite park in NYC. Here are just a few reasons why.
Prospect Park’s Nature Destinations
While taking in nature certainly isn’t the only thing to do in Prospect Park, it just so happens to be my favorite. Anyone who loves just being surrounded by serene natural beauty should check out the Prospect Park Ravine. It’s in the heart of the park and serves as Brooklyn’s only forest. It even offers a waterfall within the big city.
Animal lovers will also get a kick out of the Prospect Park Zoo. There are sea lions, dingoes and even adorable red pandas. The diverse ecosystem of the park also allows visitors to watch chipmunks, migratory birds and a host of other animals in “the wild.” The freshwater wetlands and glacial kettle ponds offer the best opportunities for this.
Best Free Events in New York City
There are innumerable free events in New York City, but Prospect Park undoubtedly offers some of the best. The Bandshell, for instance, is an outdoor venue where residents and tourists alike enjoy concerts during the summer. Just in 2017, in fact, I saw Andrew Bird, Chronixx and Lisa Loeb. Some events ask for donations, but you can sit down on a blanket outside of the paid area and still enjoy the show for free.
I was also excited when I realized that the Prospect Park Bandshell hosts occasional free movies, such as “Selma” and “Labyrinth.” The northern end of the park also provides a weekly farmer’s market on Saturdays, and the Breeze Hill area is the stage for Smorgasburg Prospect Park, an amazing outdoor food market that takes place every Sunday.
Relaxing in Prospect Park
The Prospect Park Ravine certainly offers a relaxing atmosphere, but everyone gets tired of walking at some point. Fortunately, the park was built with this in mind, so there’s a ton of places to take a minute and rest your feet. The Long Meadow, for instance, offers one of the largest uninterrupted stretches of park in the country. The southern end provides the most shade, but it’s fun to sit down for a picnic or just stare at the clouds anywhere.
Of course, most people get hungry with all this enjoyment. For those who aren’t around for Smorgasburg, there are still plenty of options. There are seasonal concessions, but anyone who explores a decent size of the park will find tacos, cafes, dumplings and even some of New York’s best donuts.
Things to Know About Prospect Park
There are also a few things every visitor should know about visiting Prospect Park. First and foremost, motor vehicles are no longer allowed within its limits. To be honest, though, they really interfered with the serene “away from the city” vibe most people go for anyway. A bike ride around the park, however, is still exciting.
It’s also worth noting that there are plenty of other events, such as various volunteer days or Art in the Parks, an evening art walk. Also, watch out! I’ve seen the Impractical Jokers film around the area, so be prepared for some hilarity at any moment.
Visit Prospect Park
Soon-to-be visitors seeking the best things to do in New York should make sure to include Prospect Park on their to-do list. While it doesn’t offer the hustle and bustle the rest of New York City is known for, it may just be the little break you need.