How To Spend An Entire Day In Central Park Without Getting Bored

Central Park is the heart of New York City and the very first public park built in the United States. The thing I love most about it is that even though it is one of the biggest attractions in the city, it doesn’t feel overwhelmingly touristy like some other places. It is a beautiful and peaceful place to visit where you are able to quietly relax and enjoy being outside while taking in the melting pot of diversity that is New York City. Everywhere you turn you see people from all over the world speaking different languages and exploring everything the park has to offer.

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I recently realized that there are so many places throughout Central Park that I’ve never ventured into. Stretching over more than 840 acres, it’s decorated with sculptures, monuments, and fountains that pay tribute to literary characters, famous explorers, and artists. Knowing that I have the park to visit whenever I want, I’ve gotten into the bad habit of entering through the same entrance and walking around the same areas over and over again. So I decided to spend the day walking the park from top to bottom to take note of my favorite locations. It can be an unexpectedly overwhelming place if you are unsure how to navigate your way around or what exactly it is you’re looking for.

Central Park New York

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Central Park never get’s boring

Here’s a list of a few of the best attractions to visit when taking a stroll through the heart of New York City:

The Loch
A series of cute waterfalls and bridges that make you forget that you’re in Manhattan and give you a feeling as if you’ve transported to an enchanted forest. Location: North West corner of the park, just above the W 103rd St. entrance.

Central Park

Belvedere Castle
A small, beautiful castle that makes you quickly notice the contrast between the park and the modern city surrounding it. A great spot for photos!
Location: 79th Street in the middle of the park – Between the Museum of Natural History (west side) and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (east side).

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Shakespeare Garden
One of the top spots for NYC weddings and a great place for photos. It’s best in the spring or summertime when the flowers are in bloom and contains interesting monuments from some of Shakespeare’s plays. Location: Right next to the Belvedere Castle. For more info check the official website.

The Boathouse
A great restaurant overlooking the lake. Spring for a lunch here if you’re feeling ~lavi$h~.Location: East side of the park, north of the 72nd st entrance.

The Boathouse Central Park

Alice in Wonderland Statue
Every kid’s favorite part of the park as it’s a large statue that’s easy to climb. This is also a good midway point in the park with a large seating area for you to rest your feet for awhile. Location: slightly West of the boathouse.

Alice in Wonderland statue Central Park

Bethesda Terrace & Fountain
A familiar spot as it is the filming location for many movies. It’s a great place to sit and people watch with many tourists and street performers visiting. The architecture is also great for photos! Location: Center of the park, 72nd street.

Bethesda Terrace Central Park
The impressive Bethesda Terrace

The Mall & Literary Walk
A row of American elm trees that line the parks wide pedestrian path. Perhaps one of the most photographed features of the park. There is also a statue of Christopher Columbus along with 4 other prominent writers. Location: A long path that leads from Bethesda Terrace down to the south end of the park, leading down toward the 59th street exit.

Central Park New York

Central Park’s designers had a simple goal: to create a place where city dwellers could go to forget the city. A combination escape hatch and exercise yard, Central Park is an urbanized Eden that gives both locals and tourists a different taste of one of the world’s greatest cities. Even though New York eventually grew much taller than the trees planted to hide it, the park is still a place to find peace and solace in an otherwise high-strung and, at times, overwhelming city. Without Central Park’s winding paths, tranquil lakes, ponds, and open meadows, New Yorkers (especially Manhattanites) might be a lot less sane.

Love,

Casey

*Casey is one of our guest bloggers from New York. She’s a 25 year old that grew up in Long Island NY. After graduating college, she moved into NYC and took a job in marketing. She and her large friend group of about 9 girls are all about trying out trendy restaurants and keeping busy with all this amazing city has to offer. She also has her own personal blog, Adolescent Adulthood. She will publish an article every start of the month.

Marina del Rey » The Hidden Gem of Los Angeles

When most people plan a visit to Los Angeles, they think of Hollywood and expect the fast pace of a big city: crowded sidewalks, bright lights, and busy restaurants and shops. And, it’s easy to see why so many are drawn to that exciting lifestyle, whether to live or just pass through. But, first timers to this vacation hot-spot without the guidance of a local resident might find that they come all the way to California and miss out on the most beautiful part of LA. Marina del Rey is nestled just south of Venice, California and is arguably Los Angeles’s best kept secret. A working marina and home to over 6,000 boats, it was finished in 1965 is the largest man-made marina in the United States. And, if you’re looking for a spot to sunbathe with half the crowd, the Marina del Rey Beach on the south side of the Venice Pier offers more untouched sands than you’ll find in Venice and Santa Monica.

If you’re lucky enough to spend some time exploring this area, here’s what you should plan to do:

1. Take a stroll around the beautiful, clean marina
Whether just stopping by or docked more permanently, the sailboats, powerboats, and yachts anchored in Marina del Rey are some of the most impressive on the west coast. If you have a free afternoon, head over to Fisherman’s Village and rent a small boat of your own to take out on the water and into the sunshine!

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2. Walk down Washington Boulevard toward the beach
Along this beachy street, you’ll find a mix of restaurants, bars, and boutique shops. Interested in some new swimwear? Want to pop into a yoga class? Or maybe you just want authentic Mexican tacos with a view. Either way, Washington Boulevard has it all (including some awesome opportunities for people-watching!)

3. Get a coffee from Cow’s End
A Marina del Rey/Venice must-visit, Cow’s End is a cool, beachy, privately-owned stop for coffee, juices, smoothies, and small breakfast or lunch bites. The cashiers and baristas are super-friendly locals, and if you look closely enough at the walls, you’ll see photos of what the area looked like more than 50 years ago (and the stashed “customer punch cards” belonging to the restaurant’s regulars so they can tally up points toward free drinks!) www.thecowsendcafe.com

‘Marina del Rey is a strong competitor for the area’s best hidden gem’

Cow's End Marina Del Rey

4. Wander north to Venice
One of the best parts about Marina del Rey is how close it is to so much of Los Angeles! Take a walk up the beach for a stroll along the famous Venice Boardwalk. It’s no surprise Venice Beach is the most visited beach in the United States; there you can find street performers, Muscle Beach, an always-busy skate park, and more restaurants serving fresh ceviche, fish tacos, and local beers and wines than you can count.

5. Relax with food and drinks at some of the best Happy Hours in town
While LA restaurants, particularly on the west side, offer too many Happy Hour specials to count, those in the marina come out on top. A local favorite is Killer Shrimp, with their signature cocktails (like “Pieces of Eight” and the “Westside”), spicy shrimp bowls, and a lobster mac and cheese that will keep you coming back for more. Then there are restaurant/bars like SALT (in Hotel Marina del Rey) and Beachside (in the Jamaica Bay Inn); these chic yet casual spots offer deals on food and drinks seven days a week! www.killershrimp.com

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killer-shrimp-mac-and-drink Marina Del Rey
Cocktails and Mac & Cheese at Killer Shrimp

View-Seeker Pro-Tips:
» When you’re ready for a bite to eat or something to quench your vacationer’s thirst, The Whaler on Washington Boulevard by the beach will provide both, along with a view of surfers and the pier!
» Headed a bit farther north? High rooftop restaurant, atop Hotel Erwin, gives you a bird’s-eye view of Venice’s local life.
» If you happen to make a new local friend who lives in one of the many Marina del Rey apartment buildings, like The Shores or Marina 41, be sure to head up to their roof for a view unlike any other in Los Angeles. From a high enough point in Marina del Rey, you can see the whole coastline (all the way up to Malibu!), as far east as Downtown LA, and even the famous Hollywood Sign!

One of the reasons Los Angeles is such a great vacation destination is because it has such a variety of neighborhoods for anyone’s personal taste. But, from Beverly Hills to Santa Monica, or Silverlake to Venice, Marina del Rey is a strong competitor for the area’s best hidden gem.

Love,

Shae

*Shae is our guest blogger from Los Angeles. An educator whose lust for experience influences her teaching, she travels with the desire to immerse herself in diverse cultures, seeking new adventure and inspiring others to engage with compassion and expand their world view. Follow Shae on Instagram! @seekvantage

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