When it comes to taking photos in New York City, Central Park is an absolute dream for photographers – all year round.
The park’s 843 acres feature picturesque bridges, beautiful architecture, lakes, and streams, that will serve as perfect backdrops for your photos.
There is so much to see in Central Park, so to make it easier for you, I am sharing ten of the best spots in Central Park for photography.
If you’d like to see Central Park from above, here’s the popular NYC Helicopter Tour that soars over the park, and the rest of the city’s highlights:
Or hop aboard one of Central Park’s Pedicab guided tours.
Or discover Central Park by bike with this affordable bicycle rental.
Or explore Central Park with a small group on this walking tour.
Best Central Park Photo Locations
As someone who has done dozens of photoshoots in Central Park over the years, I have a pretty good understanding of the best photo spots at the park.
First up on my list of Central Park photo spots is Bethesda Terrace.
1. Bethesda Terrace
Bethesda Terrace is located in the heart of Central Park. It is flanked by two grand stairways that lead down to a beautiful fountain. You likely remember this spot from Home Alone 2, The Avengers, Enchanted, One Fine Day, and Mr. Deeds.
The Mintons’ encaustic tiles, the New Brunswick sandstone, and the arches take my breath away! Taking photos at this location can be a bit challenging because of how busy it gets. I recommend arriving as early as possible, right after sunrise.
How to get there: Entry to the Terrace is by way of the drive at 72nd Street.
2. The Gapstow Bridge
Everyone loves this location because it highlights The Plaza Hotel, New York City’s skyline, and the park all in one shot!
How to get there: Enter the park via E 62nd Street.
3. Bow Bridge
This Victorian-era bridge spans 60 feet across Central Park Lake and connects Cherry Hill and the Ramble. The graceful arc-shaped bridge provided a backdrop for Spiderman 3, Manhattan, Night At The Museum, Autumn in New York, Uptown Girls, The Way We Were, and Keeping the Faith.
This is the most romantic bridge in Central Park, and a popular location for proposals and engagement/wedding photos, so keep that in mind.
How to get there: Enter by 72nd Street, the bridge is a 3-min. walk from Bethesda Terrace.
4. The Bethesda Fountain
Next up on my list of Central Park photo spots is Bethesda Fountain.
The “Angel of the Waters” neoclassical sculpture is one of the main attractions at Bethesda Terrace.
The statue was designed by Emma Stebbins in 1868, and it measures twenty-six feet high by ninety-six feet wide.
How to get there: Find the statue mid-park at 72nd Street.
5. The Lake Viewing Area
At this location, you will get a scenic view of the lake, The San Remo Building, and Manhattan’s East Side.
While this location is pretty hidden, it is totally worth it for a stunning Central Park Instagram shot. Hundreds of proposals take place in this exact spot every year.
How to get there: The easiest way to find this location is to stay to the left after crossing the bow bridge, and then a dirt path will lead you to this spot.
6. Belvedere Castle
Belvedere Castle is a miniature castle located atop the huge rock outcrop known as Vista Rock, the second-highest natural point in Central Park.
Construction of the castle was completed in 1872, and it originally had no windows or doors, as it was intended as an open-air lookout tower.
In 1919 the U.S. Weather Bureau converted the building into a weather station, adding windows and doors, and creating offices inside the structure.
In 1983 the Central Park Conservancy renovated the building and reopened it as a visitor center
How to get there: Belvedere Castle is just off of the 79th Street Transverse near the Turtle Pond in Central Park.
7 Great Lawn
This is a 55-acre area that is one of the most well-known lawns in the world. Many choose this spot for a picnic, sunbathe, play recreational sports, or simply enjoy the scenery.
How to get there: Mid-Park between 79th and 85th.
8 Bridle Path
The Bridle Path is 4.2 miles long and consists mainly of a softer dirt and gravel surface. The path is highly visited during April and May, also known as cherry blossom season.
If you will be visiting New York City during April or May, see my guide to finding the best cherry blossoms in Central Park.
9 The Reservoir
The Reservoir spans 106 acres and at 40 feet deep holds more than one billion gallons of water. At this spot, you will also find a super-popular jogging track.
How to get there: 86th to 96th Streets.
10 The Mall & Literary Walk
This is Central Park’s only formal promenade, a wide straight path lined by stands of American elms. It’s a gorgeous area and where we did our engagement photos many years ago.
The southern section is known as “Literary Walk” because it is surrounded by statues of Shakespeare, Robert Burns & other well-known literary writers.
How to get there: Mid-Park at 66th.
Best Time To Take Pictures in Central Park
Because Central Park is one of the most visited spots in New York City, I suggest you arrive at sunrise to avoid the crows.
The photos that I shared on today’s guide were taken by us right after sunrise, or in the early morning.
I hope this list helps you capture beautiful photos during your visit to Central Park!
Central Park Photography Map for Your Visit:
See Central Park from above on this Helicopter Tour.
Popular Things To Do in New York City
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN NYC
New York City offers some of the best hotels in the world, and these are ten of the best. Click on any hotel below to check the rates:
- The Plaza Hotel
- Baccarat Hotel
- The Whitby Hotel
- Casa Cipriani
- Lowell Hotel
- The Peninsula
- Lotte New York Palace
- The Bowery Hotel
- The Langham, Fifth Avenue
- Times Square EDITION New York
Tours recommended in this post:
NEW YORK CITY
Looking for coffee shops? See my list of 10 coffee shops to visit in NYC.
Visiting The MET? Here is the best guide to The MET.
Want to go to the Opera? Here is a list of the best operas to see.
Traveling on a budget? Here are the very best things to see in NYC for free.
Here to see the cherry blossoms? Where to find the best cherry blossoms in NYC.