This post is part of a series on The Ultimate Pet Friendly Road Trip, our 10-month, 15,000-mile tour of the top pet friendly attraction in each of the lower 48 states.
A green gem lies in the middle of Manhattan, a respite from the chaos of the city, where locals and tourists alike connect with nature and feed their soul – it’s call Central Park. Stretching 2.5 miles from 59th street to 110th, and a half mile from Central Park West to 5th Avenue, this lush oasis covers a remarkable 843 acres in one of the most valuable real estate markets in the country. There’s something for everyone here … from the fine gardens of the conservatory to fishing in Harlem Meer. And for dogs, it’s an absolute dream.
Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, Central Park is the third most visited attraction IN THE WORLD – there’s so much to see and do here, you could never cover it all in a day. The Central Park Conservancy offers guided tours of the park focusing on particular areas, or highlighting certain features, and also suggests self-guided tours if you’d rather set your own pace. We prefer to treat Central Park like a gift to be unwrapped … wandering without a plan, being surprised and delighted by whichever sites we happen upon.
Central Park Drive, which loops through the park, is car-free north of 72nd Street. South of 72nd the road is open to vehicular traffic only during certain hours and never on weekends. Walkers, runners, bikers, rollerbladers, rickshaws, and horses and carriages are the most common sources of traffic in the park. However, the four crosstown roads that pass through the park at 66th, 72nd, 86th, and 96th are open to vehicles, so stay alert.
Dogs are welcome throughout most of the park, and you’ll no doubt see many during your visit! Keep in mind that dogs must be leashed from 9am to 9pm, but are allowed off-leash from 6am to 9am and from 9pm to 1am.
Rules for Dogs in Central Park
- Dogs must be leashed from 9am to 9pm, but are allowed off-leash from 6am to 9am and from 9pm to 1am
- Dogs must be under the control of their owner at all times
- Dogs must have a license tag and valid rabies tag
- Dogs must not dig, chase or harm wildlife, damage Park property, or interfere with other Park users
- Always clean up after your dog, including dog hair that you brush off in the Park
- Please respect signs, fences, and red flags that may indicate temporary closures due to restoration, maintenance, or weather conditions. Even during off-leash hours, dogs must always be on-leash in the following areas:
- All Lawns posted as 9am areas
- Arthur Ross Pinetum
- The Bridle Path
- Cedar Hill
- Children’s Glade (Great Hill area)
- Conservatory Garden
- East Green
- East Meadow Oval
- Kerbs Boathouse Plaza
- The North Woods and The Ravine
- The Ramble
- Shakespeare Garden
- Strawberry Fields
- Turtle Pond Lawn
Dogs are not allowed in the following areas:
- All Ballfields and Recreational Courts
- All Playgrounds
- All Sand Volleyball Courts
- All Water Bodies, Streams, and Ornamental Fountains
- Elm Islands at the Mall
- Great Lawn Oval
- Lilac Walk
- Reservoir Running Track
- Sheep Meadow
On this trip, we deposited the car at West 72nd Street and made our way into Central Park near Strawberry Fields. It was a gorgeous Sunday and the park was busy, so we tracked to the north, where it tends to be less congested. Information kiosks are scattered throughout the park, so you can pick up maps marking points of interest, restrooms, restaurants, and trails, or get directions if you get turned around.
With the variety of options, what you choose to do may depend on your mood. You can watch the boats at Loeb Boathouse, enjoy people watching at one of the many fountains, go on a scavenger hunt of the park’s 36 bridges – no two of which are alike, or stroll a wooded path and listen to the birds chirping in The Ramble.
You might happen upon a ball game, find a quiet retreat under the oaks, or sniff out the park’s many sculptures and art installations.
We happened to be there at the perfect time to admire the Spring bloom at the Conservatory Gardens!
One thing is for certain … you will not go hungry. Since New York passed the law allowing dogs in the outdoor seating areas of restaurants, finding a fantastic place to eat with your pup in the city has been a cinch. Even the restaurants we saw in Central Park had pups on the patios!
Visiting these attractions with Ty and Buster is a dream come true. We’ll be blogging about each one as we go along, so fasten your seatbelt and stay tuned!
The Ultimate Pet Friendly Road Trip wouldn’t be possible without the support of our wonderful sponsors: Winnebago, 2 Hounds Design, Alcott, goDog®, PetGuide.com, Red Roof Inns, Sleepypod, The Bark, PetHub, RVPetSafety.com, and The Honest Kitchen. Please be sure to visit their websites and social media pages and thank them for their participation!
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