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12 Best Picnic Spots in New York City

Addison Aloian | April 2, 2021 | Food & Drink Lifestyle

NYC picnic spots

New York City is magical in spring and summer. When the sun is shining and the weather is perfect, you've got to go for a picnic.

All five of the boroughs have beautiful parks perfect for lounging with drinks and snacks, whether they’re well-known or hidden gems. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite spots to have a picnic in New York City, from the iconic Central Park to Prospect Park and even Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.

Shady, by the water, fully in the sun – this list has it all. Grab a towel, some sunscreen, your favorite snacks and enjoy.

See also: The 8 Best Bagels in NYC, According to Foodie Magician

Central Park

Midtown to Upper Manhattan / Website

Central Park is perhaps the most famous park in New York and a Manhattanite’s favorite spot to find peace. In all four seasons, Central Park offers gorgeous natural immersion, soaking up the sights of green lawns, trees and several lakes. Whether you want to sit by the water and enjoy your snacks or watch a soccer game nearby, Central Park is the spot.

The Battery

Financial District, Manhattan / Website

Right on the water, the Battery is one of the most peaceful spots in Manhattan's downtown Financial District. Take a leisurely stroll, soak in the sunshine and feel the cool breeze on your face. Plus, there's a ton of space to set up your picnic and enjoy the day.

Washington Square Park

Greenwich Village, Manhattan / Website

Washington Square Park is the perfect combination of lively and inspirational. Welcoming all walks of life, it’s a great place to people-watch while listening to the musicians play. Admire the infamous arch and munch on some yummy snacks.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Downtown Brooklyn / Website

If you live in Brooklyn or need a peaceful day outside of Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge Park is the perfect spot. Enjoy a great view of the skyline while walking along the water. See what’s happening on Pier 1, or even get some beach time in at Pier 4.

Union Square Park

Union Square, Manhattan / Website

Union Square is an iconic open space with so many great spots for a picnic. Kids can run around the playground while adults catch some reading time in one of several grassy areas and cute benches. Bring some good food, and get some good people-watching in, too.

Prospect Park

Prospect Heights, Brooklyn / Website

Another peaceful Brooklyn hang out, Prospect Park has everything it takes to be the dream picnic location: a lake, paved walking paths and beautiful architecture. Whether you want to bike to this gorgeous spot, read a book under a tree or go for a run pre-picnic, this place has it all.

See also: The 10 Best Bakeries in NYC

Astoria Park

Astoria, Brooklyn / Website

Right on the East River, Astoria Park is a 60-acre green space with playgrounds, a skate park, a running track and more. The park is nearby the Robert F. Kennedy and Hell Gate Bridges, so there are gorgeous views all around to make your meal and your IG posts extra delicious.

Madison Square Park

Flatiron District, Manhattan / Website

Madison Square Park is a friendly spot marking the transition between downtown and midtown Manhattan. Sandwiched between Broadway, Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue, this hang out offers plenty of greenery and a couple of restaurants, in case you want to grab-and-go your snacks. We also like the statues which remind us of New York's history.

Clove Lakes Park

Sunnyside, Staten Island / Website

To our Staten Island friends, we see you. Within the neighborhood of Sunnyside lies Clove Lakes Park, a peaceful park with gorgeous nature, lakes and walking trails. The perfect spot to get away from city life, you’ll forget you’re still in one of the boroughs.

Marsha P. Johnson State Park

Greenpoint, Brooklyn / Website

Recently renamed in honor of the iconic American gay liberation activist, Marsha P. Johnson State Park nods to the importance of the Stonewall riots in 1969. This park has a gorgeous beach area as well as greenery and, of course, a panoramic view of the Manhattan skyline. What more could you want for a picnic?

Governors Island

Governors Island / Website

Make no mistake – although it belongs to the borough of Manhattan, Governors Island is its own personality away from the big city. Spanning 172 acres, the island offers plenty of greenery and majestic views of each borough. You might have a tough time picking a place to settle, but with shade, sun and water, there isn't a bad spot on the whole isle.

Van Cortlandt Park

The Bronx / Website

Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about the Bronx. Van Cortlandt Park has plenty of open space and paved walk ways for those who want to get their steps in pre- or post-picnic. This spot feels like a total nature escape, but it's not very far from the city. Bring a towel, snacks and sunscreen, and enjoy your day.

Photography by: Ben Duchac/Unsplash