Central Park in the Spring

Spring in Central Park

I love Central Park in any season, but spring in Central Park is truly a magical time of year to visit.   The park is bursting with life and color after New York’s dark and grey winter, and I try to spend at least a couple of hours every weekend in Central Park in the springtime. 

My favorite part of Central Park in the spring is the cherry blossoms. These take over the landscape with their pink and white flowers, and New Yorkers flock to Central Park to catch them as they bloom, which unfortunately is for a very short time.

In this article I am sharing some of my favorite things to do in Central Park in the spring, and the best places to catch the cherry blossoms in Central Park if you are lucky enough to catch them.

Central Park in the Spring

Springtime is one of the most spectacular seasons in Central Park, especially as it follows a typically grey winter. As the weather warms up, the park comes alive with colorful blooms and lush greenery, you can hear the birds chirping at any time of day, and even the turtles find rocks to sunbathe on.

Blooming Trees

One of the most striking features of Central Park spring is the variety and sheer volume of  trees that burst into bloom to welcome the change in weather. These range from magnolias to dogwoods to redbuds, at the base of which are tulips and daffodils and other colorful flowers, making the landscape an endless splash of color. Some of the best places to see blooming trees in the park include the Conservatory Garden, the Ramble, and the Great Lawn.

Cherry Blossoms in Central Park

Cherry blossoms are a symbol of spring all over the city, and the ones in Central Park are just an iconic symbol of spring. Visitors flock to catch these at full bloom, and it is advisable to visit early if you would like to get pictures without too many people in them! The park has a variety of cherry trees, including Yoshinos, Kwanzans, and Higans. Central Park actually offers tours of cherry blossoms in the spring.

Best Time to See Cherry Blossoms in Central Park

The best time to see cherry blossoms in Central Park is usually between early to mid-April and early May, but the exact timing of the cherry blossom bloom varies from year to year based on the weather. The Central Park Conservancy offers a Cherry Blossom Tracker that provides real-time updates on the location of the cherry blossoms and where they have peaked in the park.

Where to Find Cherry Blossoms in Central Park

Cherry blossoms can be spotted all over Central Park, but they are more spectacular in some areas. These are some of my favorites.

Conservatory Garden

The Conservatory Garden is located on the east side of the park between 104th and 106th Streets, and cherry blossoms can be found in its three three distinct sections – the North Garden features white and pink cherry blossoms, while the South Garden has a variety of flowering trees, including cherry blossoms, and the Central Garden has a mix of formal and informal plantings, including cherry blossom trees that bloom in mid to late April.

Bethesda Terrace

Bethesda Terrace, located in the middle of the park at 72nd Street, comes alive with cherry blossoms and magnolias, which make for a picture perfect setting with the Bethesda Fountain and the lake.

Pilgrim Hill

Pilgrim Hill, located on the east side of the park between 72nd and 74th Streets, has cherry blossoms surrounding it in all directions when they are in full bloom. It is absolutely stunning to experience, though it is tough to get a picture without a lot of people in the background.

Cherry Hill

Cherry Hill, located on the west side of the park between 72nd and 75th Streets, is a great setting for cherry blossoms with Bow Bridge and the lake in the background.

Cleopatra’s Needle

Cleopatra’s Needle, an ancient Egyptian obelisk located on the east side of the park at 81st Street, is surrounded by cherry blossom trees that bloom in the spring, with daffodils all around. I have so many great photographs of this during cherry blossom season from over the years. If you visit, take a moment to notice the crabs that are below the obelisk.

The Reservoir Loop

The Reservoir Loop, a 1.6-mile running and walking path around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, is one of my favorite spots to see cherry blossoms with a backdrop of the reservoir and the city skyline.  It is interesting to note that the cherry blossoms on the west side of the reservoir bloom first.

Shakespeare’s Garden

Shakespeare’s Garden, located on the west side of the park between 79th and 80th Streets, is a small garden dedicated to Shakespeare. The garden only has plants that are mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays, including cherry blossom trees that bloom in the spring.  You should go all the way to the very top around the back as there is a whispering bench that not many people know about.


One of my favorite things about visiting Central Park is the live music that can be found all over the park. Here are a couple of my favorite spots where I always catch live music –

Bethesda Terrace

There is always live music in Bethesda Terrace, and I have often stumbled upon a fashion or a wedding photoshoot going on here as well.

Jazz by the Lake

The pavilion by the lake on the West side in the 70s almost always has live jazz, which is such an idyllic setting for live music.

Strawberry Fields

If you are a John Lennon or a Beatles fan, the Imagine mosaic at Strawberry Fields always has their music being played any time of year.


One of the lessor known facts about Central Park is that it is a major destination for birdwatching.  Spring turns Central Park into a birdwatchers paradise as many species pass through during their migration through May and early June, including warblers.  The park is home to many birds including the northern cardinal, and the gray catbird and barn swallow can be found there during migration.

Central Park Zoo

The Central Park Zoo is a popular attraction, especially for kids, year-round, but it’s especially fun to visit in the spring.  The zoo is home to a surprisingly large variety of animals, including snow leopards, bears and sea lions, and it is a real thrill to experience these up close.  The snow leopards can be hard to spot, but I got really lucky one time with it walking close to where I could see it very clearly.  There is also a Tisch Children’s Zoo which gives children the ability to get up close and personal with goats, sheep, and other farm animals.

It is really fun to visit during feeding times, especially for the sea lions, as they put up a great show by performing tricks for their meals.

How Can I Get Around Central Park During Spring?

Central Park is a large park, spanning over 840 acres, with no cars allowed inside. Walking is the best way by far to experience it, though biking, pedicabs  and horse carriage rides are an option along specified paths.

If you are interested in biking, there are options to rent bikes by the hour or day outside the park.

If you’re looking for a more leisurely way to explore Central Park, pedicabs and horse carriage ride are available along specified routes, and the drivers are knowledgable guides.  I highly recommend that you finalize the price before taking a ride as I have friends that got sticker shock at the end of their rides.

You must plan for the walking with comfortable shoes. Central Park has water fountains all over, so you can plan to carry your bottle to refill at these as an option.


Central Park is a must visit at any time of year, but especially so in the spring when it springs to life, pun intended. The cherry blosoms are absolutely spectacular, and the park offers live music, birdwatching and other activities suitable for people of all ages. I hope you get the opportunity to experince Central Park in the spring.

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Hi, I'm Hanit Gyani, a full time professional by day and a blogger by night and weekend. Welcome to my blog, aka my passion project, Gotta Love New York.

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