New York Central park free walking tour

For my first full day in New York, and in the USA, I booked a free walking tour in Central Park, the main outdoor park in New York City, and an iconic landmark of the largest city in United States.

Things to do in NYC: Central Park walking tour

For my first full day in New York, and in the USA, I booked a free  walking tour   in Central Park, the main outdoor park in New York City, and an iconic landmark of the largest city in United States.

Free tour by foot New York City
Cheap flights and hotels New York City

Before going to Central park, for which starting time was 9:45, I managed to book a meeting with the director of a company for which I am creating online SAP lessons, MichaelManagement, which happens to live in New York.

Breakfast in New York City

We had a great productive breakfast at Parker&Quinn, advertised as NYCs best breakfast, close to Bryant park, which, I would learn later, is actually privately run.

New York: Find local activities

After my first breakfast in USA, a Greek yogurt, I had another surprise: food isn't as bad as I expected, and not as expensive as I initially thought.

Parker & Quinn - In Good Company

Finishing the breakfast, it was a good time to walk towards the Central park free  walking tour   meeting point, by going through the famous Rockfeller center.

Being in March, the ice rink was visible in the middle of the buildings, and I asked some passerby to take a picture of me in front of the building.

Rockefeller Center | NYC Landmark and Observation Deck

Central Park free walking tour

I then went on joining the Central Park free  walking tour   group, which met next to the Pulitzer fountain, right at the South-East corner of Central Park.

I was one of the last to arrive, and our guide, Garrett, was registering us as soon as we arrived. We were about 10 guests on that day, a few Europeans, and a few Americans.

First of all, being my first time ever seeing Central Park, it was far bigger than what I expected. This is often the case with pictures, things appear smaller than they are in reality, but it was even more visible there.

Actually, the guide started with that: he pointed us at a recently built building in the background, and asked us if we believed him if he would tell us that that building was more than twice as tall as a building next to us. We all answered that we do not believe him, and he promised us that he would prove us wrong later on.

Natural things in Central Park

We then went on visiting the park, and stopped next to a pond. First huge news from the guide, and there would be many of them. We are on a path walk, next to some grass, a pond, many trees, and a rock coming out of the ground.

He asks us: what do you think is natural around here? We answer... probably everything except the path walk, isn't it?! Well actually.. nothing is, except for the rocks.

Everything else, even if it doesn't seems like it, has been carefully planned over decades by urbanists. But, unlike other cities, and unlike French or British garden styles, Central Park in New York has been planned to escape from the industrial square street design.

New York Central park has actually been planned to show some randomness, and to be a place where you could escape from the pre formatted iron constructions.

And even the grass and trees are planned accordingly to reach that goal.

A great surprise, which actually makes a lot of sense, and proves that the Central Park's planners did an amazing job at what they were supposed to do, created a haven in one of the largest cities in the world.

Famous NYC Mandarin duck

We went on in the park visit, and among other amazing explanations about  New York City   history, and Central Park in particular, we stopped next to another pond, in which we got even more detailed explanations.

There is a mandarin duck that is actually the most famous guest in NYC. This duck, originating from Asia, could not normally survive by itself in local conditions, and is both a source of questions and ravishment for local people.

There are photographers waiting for that duck to come out of his hiding place in the open on Central Park whole day, which sounds incredible for us.

Well, it is a very pretty duck. However, on that day, we cannot see it. Only standard ducks are showing themselves. Not that disappointing however, as we never heard about it, and honestly... we are more interested in Central Park  walking tour   itself than in a random pretty duck.

#mandarinduck hashtag on Instagram • Photos and Videos
The Hot Duck That Won't Go Away - The New York Times
New York City's most famous resident these days, Mandarin Duck hanging out in Central Park on Friday afternoon
Where see the famous Mandarin duck in NYC beyond Central Park

Central Park free walking tour

We continue by walking on the only straight line in the park, an avenue in which statues of famous poets are on display.

At the end of that avenue, we reach a beautiful building, at the end of which a huge fountain is visible, and the guide's explanations are incredible.

We understand there the historical importance of wearing different type of clothes, and of casts in another time.

Our guide gives us amazing details, and for these reasons among others, if you are reading this, you should definitely book that tour as soon as possible.

We continue walking along the park, getting more explanations on Central Park, its history, its surroundings, and the famous people that lived in the buildings around.

NYC imagine mosaic

At some point, getting close to the end of the tour, we reach the place where John Lennon, the famous singer from the band The Beatles has been assassinated, right down the windows of his flat, where his wife, Yoko Ono, still lives up to this date.

The place is marked by a imagine mosaic, named after one of the artist's most famous song, in an area that is called strawberry fields.

After that, the tour ends, the guides hands us a pouch in which we can put some cash to pay as much as we want to, 20$ being actually even lower than what Garrett deserves, we part away, and I walk in direction of my hostel, the cheapest one in Manhattan and New York City, pretty close to Central Park.

Imagine - Central Park
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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key attractions and hidden gems that a free walking tour of Central Park might cover, and why is this a must-do in NYC?
A free walking tour of Central Park typically covers landmarks like Bethesda Terrace, The Mall, and Strawberry Fields. It's a must-do for its scenic beauty, historic significance, and the opportunity to explore one of the world's most famous urban parks.

Michel Pinson
About the author - Michel Pinson
Michel Pinson is a Travel enthusiast and Content Creator. Merging passion for education and exploration, he iscommitted to sharing knowledge and inspiring others through captivating educational content. Bringing the world closer together by empowering individuals with global expertise and a sense of wanderlust.

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