As a resident of New York City, I love nothing more than spending my Sundays outdoors in one of the city’s Olmstead Parks. Not only are they beautiful and well-maintained, but they also provide the perfect setting for a relaxing picnic with friends and family. One of my favorite things about these parks is the ongoing effort to preserve the vision of their designer, Frederick Law Olmstead. It’s inspiring to know that these green spaces will continue to be a beloved part of the city for generations to come.
Sundays are for picnics — in NYC’s Olmstead Parks
As the weather warms up and the sun comes out, there’s nothing better than spending a Sunday afternoon in one of New York City’s Olmstead Parks. These beautiful green spaces, designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead in the 19th century, offer a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. And what better way to enjoy them than with a picnic?
Central Park is probably the most famous of the Olmstead Parks, and for good reason. This sprawling green oasis covers over 800 acres in the heart of Manhattan and offers endless opportunities for picnicking. Whether you want to spread out on the Great Lawn or find a secluded spot on the edge of the lake, Central Park has something for everyone.
One great spot for a picnic in Central Park is Sheep Meadow. This wide-open grassy area is the perfect place to lay out a blanket and enjoy a relaxing afternoon with friends or family. With stunning views of the city skyline in the distance, Sheep Meadow is also a great spot for taking photos.
Another popular picnic spot in Central Park is the Bethesda Fountain. This beautiful marble structure overlooks the lake and is surrounded by lush greenery and blooming flowers. Pack a basket of your favorite snacks and settle in for a picturesque afternoon in the park.
Located in Brooklyn, Prospect Park is another beautifully designed Olmstead Park that’s perfect for picnicking. With over 500 acres to explore, there’s no shortage of amazing picnic spots in this park. Here are just a few of our favorites:
The Long Meadow: This expansive green space stretches for over a mile and offers plenty of room for picnicking, frisbee, and other outdoor activities. There’s also a stunning view of the park’s Boathouse and the surrounding trees.
The Picnic House Lawn: This grassy area is located near the Picnic House, a charming building that’s perfect for hosting events. With plenty of shade and a lovely view of the surrounding trees, the Picnic House Lawn is a great place to relax on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
The Boathouse: Located on the edge of the lake, the Boathouse is a great spot for a waterfront picnic. There are plenty of benches and tables available, as well as space to lay out a blanket.
Van Cortlandt Park
Located in the Bronx, Van Cortlandt Park is one of the city’s largest parks and a great place to escape from the noise and crowds of the city. There are plenty of picnic tables and benches scattered throughout the park, as well as some great spots for spreading out a blanket.
One of the best places for a picnic in Van Cortlandt Park is the Parade Grounds. This open grassy area is perfect for a game of frisbee or soccer before settling in for a picnic lunch. There are also plenty of shaded areas around the perimeter of the field, which are great for a relaxing afternoon nap.
Another great spot for a picnic in Van Cortlandt Park is the lake. There are plenty of benches and tables available, as well as a lovely view of the water. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even rent a rowboat and take a paddle around the lake before settling in for a picnic lunch.
No matter which Olmstead Park you choose, one thing is clear: Sundays are for picnics. These beautiful green spaces offer the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, and there’s no better way to enjoy them than with a basket of your favorite snacks and some good company. So next time the sun is shining on a Sunday afternoon, grab a blanket and head to one of NYC’s Olmstead Parks for a day of relaxation and fun.