Top 10 Locations to Visit on the West Side of Central Park

Central Park is beautiful in all seasons and weather. No matter how many times you walk through the Park, there is always something new to see and discover. As every New Yorker knows, there has been a lifelong battle of the west side vs the east side. This blog will take you through a walk of some of the highlights of what to see on the west side of Central Park, starting at Columbus Circle and working up to the North Woods.

1. Heckscher Ballfields, Playground, Carousel & The Dairy.

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Originally referred to as the children’s district, this area of the Park has evolved over the years. The area encompasses 30 acres of land. The area was created for children to play baseball, cricket and run around. The word play ground comes from a ground to play in. The Dairy at one point distributed fresh milk to children, now it is a visitors center. Heckscher Playground was the first and still the largest playground in Central Par, and was created in 1926.

2. Hallet Nature Sanctuary

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Hallett Nature Sanctuary is a four-acre nature preserve that is located just northwest of the Pond at 5th Avenue and Central Park South. Restored in the 1980’s, Hallett Nature Sanctuary was first declared a bird sanctuary in 1934, and has remained so ever since. There are in fact many different animal species in addition to the Santuary’s bird population, including raccoons, rabbits, and woodchucks. The Central Park Conservancy now hosts specific open hours in the Sanctuary. Visitors are not allowed in the Sanctuary by themselves.

3. Cherry Hill

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Overlooking the Lake lies the peaceful Cherry Hill, located at 72nd street. Though the Hill itself was named for the beautiful cherry blossom trees that bloom there during the springtime, the area is most noted for its 14-foot fountain. The Cherry Hill Fountain, first unveiled in 1860, was originally designed to function as a watering trough for horses. Though no horses drink from the Fountain today, they and their carriages still frequent the area, available for park-goers who wish to take a scenic drive in one of these old-fashioned vehicles.

4. Strawberry Fields (Imagine Mosaic)

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Located near Central Park West between 71st and 74th Streets, Strawberry Fields is a 2.5 acre area of Central Park that pays tribute to the late Beatle, John Lennon, singer, songwriter, musician and peace activist. Named after the title of the Beatles’ song “Strawberry Fields Forever,” the teardrop shaped region was re-landscaped. Strawberry bushes were planted, but unfortunately none were able to survive the NYC climate.

5. Wagner Cove

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Wagner Cove is one of Central Park’s lesser-known treasures. This small location on the edge of The Lake is punctuated by a rustic shelter with two wooden benches. Wagner Cove is home to trees and flowers and is adorned by mid-size slate-gray rocks. This secluded spot is ideal for a date, a relaxed lunch, or quiet contemplation. This oasis is just west of Cherry Hill and East of the 72nd Street and Central Park West entrance to the park. It is east of Strawberry Fields and the statues of Daniel Webster and the Falconer, as well as Bow Bridge.

6. The Lake & Bow Bridge

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No visit to Central Park is complete without taking a photo on or of the Bow Bridge. This bridge has appeared in dozens of movies, TV shows and magazines. It is not uncommon to come across a wedding or a proposal on this bridge. The bridge spans the Lake, that is home to the Central Park row boats. For anyone in search of an iconic New York moment, Bow Bridge and the row boats provide the making of a great one.

7. Shakespeare Garden, Swedish Cottage and Delacorte Theatre

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The Swedish Cottage, built in Sweden in 1875, was placed in Central Park in 1877 at the suggestion of Frederick Law Olmsted. It has had many purposes over the years, and is currently home to the Marionette Theater. The Cottage is located at the base of Shakespeare’s Garden on West 80th street off of Central Park West. The Garden covers four acres of plants that change according to season. Included among these are plants such as rosemary and pansies, alluded to by Ophelia in Hamlet, thistle, mentioned in the play Much Ado About Nothing, and even a white mulberry tree that is said to have grown from a graft of a tree planted by Shakespeare himself in 1602. The Garden is located near the Delacorte Theatre, the site of the annual “Shakespeare in the Park” series held in the summer.

8. The Pool and The Great Hill

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This Pool in Central Park is not a swimming area, but rather a man-made lake that was created by damming up a natural stream in the park. It is located in the northwest area of the park between W. 100th and 103rd St. and provides an area of solitude in the hustle and bustle of the city. The Great Hill is a perfect choice for picnicing in the heavily wooded, northern part of the park. Surrounded by elms, it is one of only a few areas in the park where you can enjoy your meal at a picnic table, and it also offers a public restroom. The area is located on the west side, between 103rd and 107th Streets. Enter at Central Park West and 106th St.

9. The Loch

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The Loch is part of the North Woods, and was included in the original plan for Central Park and was therefore created by Olmsted and Vaux. It is known as a great spot for bird watching, the Loch was intended to be a larger lake at the time of its construction, but has, over time, reverted back into a stream. Offering visitors a place of peace and tranquility in the busy Park, the Loch is bordered by Huddlestone Arch to the north and Glen Span Arch to the south. The Central Park Loch extends from 102nd to 106th Street.

10. The Ravine

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The Ravine, is part of a 90-acre woodland called the North Woods. It is bordered on either side by two rustic arches — Huddlestone and Glen Span. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the Ravine and the North Woods were designed to resemble the wilderness of the Adirondacks without leaving New York City.

Not included in this list is Sheep Meadow, Summit Rock, Arthur Ross Pinetum, Tennis Courts, Tennis Courts to name just a few.  Head to our website CentralPark.Com to learn more about about all the the things to see in Central Park.

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