Parks and Outdoor Recreation on the UWS

If you’re new to navigating Upper West Side living, then you might be feeling a little bit overwhelmed. They don’t call New York the “city that never sleeps” because it moves at a slow pace. But there are still plenty of places to find some peace and quiet without leaving the neighborhood; you just need to know where to look. Check out our guide on things to do near the Upper West Side, NY, for some insight into local parks and other green spaces.

Visit National Icons

Sometimes locals avoid high-profile attractions, opting for hidden gems instead. That’s not the case when it comes to Central Park. This sprawling urban green space is widely considered the United States’ very first public park, having been established back in 1853. Today, 843-acre Central Park still offers plenty of space for outdoor recreation and relaxation. Bring a blanket and read in the sunshine, check out the famous Alice in Wonderland fountain or Balto statue, or visit with critters at the Central Park Zoo.

See Trees and Concerts

Theodore Roosevelt Park may not boast the same acreage as Central Park, but it’s tucked away right in the Upper West Side. As the outdoor part of the American Museum of Natural History, Theodore Roosevelt Park is always meticulously maintained. It’s named to honor a president who got his start in politics as the New York City Police Commissioner and Governor of New York State.

Nearby at Damrosch Park, you can enjoy a show in the fresh air courtesy of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The park’s central hub is the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim bandshell, which can welcome up to 3,000 guests at a time.

Play with Your Pooch

As part of Riverside Park, the 87th Street Dog Run offers some much-needed playspace to the pooches of New York City. The park is as much a community as it is a place where your pups can enjoy some fresh air and exercise with new friends. Come by to mingle with the early-morning crowd before work or meet up with new pals as the sun just begins to dip below the horizon after dinner.

Bring the Kids Along

Kids need exercise just as much as your pets, and just because you live in the city doesn’t mean they have to get it indoors like most adults do. New York is rife with opportunities for outdoor exercise for your little ones, and there are a few fun options right in the Upper West Side.

Tecumseh Playground is one of these options. It’s named for a Civil War general, but there’s nothing heavy (or antiquated) about the play equipment. Let your youngster run around the ramps and zoom down the slides at Tecumseh Playground or, on a hot day, splash and play in geysers that erupt right out of the cement. Not far away at Riverside Park’s Dinosaur Playground, playground equipment includes the standard stuff plus two enormous fiberglass dinosaurs.

Whether you’re looking to enjoy the sun, give your animal some exercise, or entertain your kids, there are plenty of outdoor things to do in the Upper West Side.

Photo Credit: Lower Central Park Shot 5 by David Shankbone | CC BY-SA 3.0

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