As the weather warms up and the sun shines on New York City, spending time outside is an amazing feeling after a long, cold winter. And there’s no better excuse to celebrate the seasonal change than with a picnic! Grab your picnic basket, make some sandwiches, pack a chilled bottle of wine and head to one of these underrated NYC picnic spots.
1. Near Belvedere Castle, Central Park
Picnic like a prince and princess in front of the Belvedere Castle in Central Park. It’s the perfect area to enjoy the sunshine with an expansive lawn set before the castle’s facade. Make sure to snap some pics because the backdrop is simply unbeatable!
Where: 79th St. Transverse, near Turtle Pond
2. Heather Garden, Fort Tyron Park
Nearly 10 minutes from the enthralling Cloisters, The Heather Garden has incredible flowers that create the perfect ambiance for a lovely picnic, such as jasmine and daffodils. Because of their gorgeous perennials you’ll also find a wide variety of butterflies, bees, and other wildlife.
Where: Center Path, enter near Broadway and Dongan Place
3. Friendship Garden, Harlem
In partnership with New York Restoration Project, the Broadway musical Wicked helped fund the renovation for this secret garden hidden in Harlem. It’s fabulous for catching up with friends, having a bite to eat, or just admiring the little slice of heaven that it is. You’re sure to find some peace and quiet here.
Where: 499 W. 150th St.
4. Van Cortlandt Park, The Bronx
Known for its wooded area and hiking trails, escape to this park in the Bronx with flowing streams and beautiful wildlife. You’ll truly feel one with nature.
Where: Broadway and Van Cortlandt Park S
5. Secret Garden at St. Luke in the Fields, West Village
This West Village secret is one of the city’s most beautiful, underrated gardens. Bring a book and your picnic blanket for a quaint afternoon perfect for some R&R away from the city’s madness as the quiet gardens even try to prohibit phone calls. Set up your picnic spot in a quiet grassy corner, or make use of their wrought iron tables and chairs.
Where: 487 Hudson St.
6. Long Meadow, Prospect Park
At almost a mile of open green space, Long Meadow is a favorite spot for many Prospect Park goers. Spread out and enjoy the west side of the park that runs all the way from Grand Army Plaza to Prospect Park Southwest.
Where: Enter Prospect Park at 9th St.
7. Madison Square Park
Not feeling like packing a picnic? No worries, place an order at the Madison Square Park ShakeShack and bring your burger and fries with you on the lawn space. Take in a spectacular view of the Flatiron building and busy yourself by people watching.
Where: 11 Madison Ave.
8. Riverside Park, UWS
Following the Hudson River, enjoy a waterfront picnic on the UWS that stretches across four miles! Lay your blanket down and take a nap while you soak up the sun.
Bonus: Check out our full guide to the Upper West Side.
Where: Upper West Side
9. Randall’s Island Park
The island known mostly as the location for Governor’s Ball additionally features gardens, athletic fields, and waterfront pathways at its park. Set up your picnic near the water’s edge and watch as boats pass by while taking in gorgeous views of New York Harbor, the downtown skyline, and the Statue of Liberty.
Where: 20 Randalls Island Park
10. Clove Lakes Park, Staten Island
If Clove Lakes Park’s gorgeous daffodils aren’t enough to get you onto the Staten Island Ferry, we’re sure its 300-year-old tulip tree will. Lay down on a sheet at this lush park near one of its lakes or ponds for the perfect picnic outing.
Where: 1150 Clove Rd.
11. Socrates Sculpture Park, Astoria
Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria is a gorgeous waterfront park with city skyline views and lots of places for picnicking. Sit on on of their many benches or lay a sheet out on the grass and check out the art exhibits that are on display there as well.
Bonus: Check out our full guide to Astoria.
Where: 32-01 Vernon Blvd.
12. Pier 2 Field at Brooklyn Bridge Park
Pier 2 Field at Brooklyn Bridge Park is a 6,300-square-foot area with some of the most gorgeous Manhattan skyline views. Here you’ll find a variety of trees and shrubs, tons of lawn area or granite seating to throw a sheet down on, and even a noise-reducing berm so your picnic is a peaceful one.
Where: Enter at Clark St.
13. Elevated Acre, Financial District
The Elevated Acre is one of the city’s most stunning but lesser known park and gardens. See if you can find the hidden escalator that will take you up to this rooftop park and enjoy a picnic with stunning views of the New York Harbor and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Where: 55 Water St.
14. Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island
Located in the middle of the East River between Manhattan and Queens, Roosevelt Island is often overlooked. This waterfront park has a big lawn outlined by trees framing views of the water. It’s definitely worth a trip for a peaceful picnic.
Where: 1 FDR Four Freedoms Park
15. Isham Park, Inwood
Isham Park is easy to overlook because of its location, but it’s the perfect location for a picnic. After eating be sure to head to Inwood Hill Park to see if you can find the area’s beloved harbor seal nicknamed “Sealy” that often hangs out on the rocks.
Where: Isham St.
Written by Justine Golata and Brianna Perry