nyc picnic spots

19 Stunning Spots For The Perfect NYC Picnic

Dale P.Bronx, Discover NYC, Explore Brooklyn, Food & Drink, Manhattan, Outdoors, Queens, Romance, Staten Island, Travel Tips Leave a Comment

By Jessie Festa & Dale Persons. This guide on where to picnic in New York City contains affiliate links to trusted parters!

Planning an NYC picnic? Then you’re in the right place!

If you’re looking to do as the locals do, enjoying a picnic is a must. When the weather is nice, New Yorkers love laying out a blanket, nibbling on cheese and crackers, and taking in the beautiful scenery that the city has to offer.

And if you want the absolute best setting for your al fresco afternoon, the following list of top NYC picnic spots can help.

Get Professional Photos Of Your NYC Picnic (& More!)

Looking to capture your special afternoon in photos and preserve your cherished memories? Or maybe you’d like to do a themed photoshoot that ends in a beautiful NYC picnic spot?

Our Professional Photoshoots can be customized however you’d like!

These shoots include a pre-shoot call to go over your goals so that you end up with exactly what you want. You can choose between a budget-friendly unedited shoot, or opt to have us edit the photos for you!

Visiting NYC and want to see the sights? We also offer private NYC photo tours! Part tour, part photoshoot, you’ll explore with a licensed guide who is also a photographer and will leave with gorgeous photos from the experience to keep!

couple in Brooklyn Bridge Park to have the perfect NYC picnic
Photoshoot guests in Brooklyn Bridge Park, one of the best picnic spots in NYC! Photo via NYC Photo Journeys.

Best Picnic Spots In Manhattan

Wondering where to have the perfect picnic in NYC? Manhattan, New York’s most popular borough, is home to some of the best picnic spots in New York City, such as:

1. Turtle Pond in Central Park

Picnics in Central Park are popular because there are so many options for beautiful spaces. It’s truly one of the best parks in NYC for a picnic.

That being said, the attraction’s most stunning location may just be Turtle Pond, which is also one of the best places to take pictures in Central Park.

Transport yourself to Europe at this romantic Central Park picnic spot, where from the small grassy lawn you have a front-row view of Belvedere Castle and its reflection on a tranquil pond.

The lawn is also adjacent to the larger Great Lawn if you need more space but still want the castle view. Plus, you’re conveniently just steps from food carts as well as a huge bathroom at the Delacorte Theater.

If you’re looking to have a memorable picnic in Central Park in NYC, Turtle Pond is highly recommended!

Couple on a Professional NYC Photoshoot posing in front of Turtle Pond and Belvedere Castle in Central Park. Photo via NYC Photo Journeys.

2. Carl Schurz Park

One of the most underrated NYC picnic spots is Carl Schurz Park.

Located on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, this tranquil and family-friendly park overlooking the East River offers plenty of grassy spots perfect for picnicking.

It’s also home to the lovely Gracie Mansion, the official residence of the Mayor of New York City.

3. Fort Tryon Park

One of the best parks for picnics in NYC is Fort Tryon Park in the Hudson Heights and Inwood neighborhoods in Manhattan.

Located away from the hustle and bustle, this park is a true oasis in New York City, offering serene views of the Hudson River and New Jersey Palisades.

Be sure to visit the medieval-inspired Met Cloisters after lunch.

Fort Tryon Park is the perfect uptown spot for an NYC picnic
Fort Tryon Park is the perfect uptown spot for a picnic. Photo: Terraxplorer/Getty Images via Canva Pro.

4. Four Freedoms State Park

Take the iconic red Roosevelt Island Tram over the East River to Four Freedoms State Park for a unique picnic spot.

This quiet, under-the-radar park on Roosevelt Island has plenty of green space and great views of Manhattan.

5. Governors Island

Take the ferry to Governors Island for a scenic picnic looking out toward the Lower Manhattan skyline.

From Picnic Point, you’ll also be able to take in a front-row view of the Statue of Liberty — which is so close you’ll feel like you can reach out and touch her. Here, you can also reserve a grill for $26 if you’d like to cook up a delicious picnic meal — which is also a fun idea for an NYC birthday party.

Bring a cooler and some picnic games and enjoy the stunning vistas.

Afterward, you can rent bikes to explore this car-free island — or, for some romance in NYC, stay overnight and go glamping under the stars.

Picnic Point NYC picnic spot with a Manhattan skyline view on Governors Island
Take the ferry to Governors Island for a unique picnic spot. Photo: Andreja Potocnik/Getty Images via Canva Pro.

6. Sheep Meadow in Central Park

Central Park is one of the best places to picnic in NYC. Along with Turtle Pond (mentioned above), another spot for a picnic in Central Park in New York is Sheep Meadow.

At the southern end of the park, this grassy 15-acre meadow is a picnicker’s paradise and you might even struggle to find a spot to put your blanket down on a nice summer day.

If you’re looking for a social and fun atmosphere, this NYC picnic spot is a great choice.

Want beautiful photos taken of you in scenic New York spots? Book one of our Private Photo Journeys, a walking tour that includes photos of your group to keep. Or for even more photos opt for a Professional NYC Photoshoot. Email [email protected] with inquiries.

7. Madison Square Park

Looking to have a picnic with a more urban vibe?

Although it’s small, Madison Square Park offers slightly more grassy space than other downtown parks like Union Square Park or Washington Square Park, making it a great picnic spot in the heart of Manhattan.

People have the perfect NYC picnic in  Madison Square Park in Manhattan
Picnic in the heart of Manhattan at Madison Square Park. Photo: Pawel Gaul/Getty Images Signature via Canva Pro.

Best Picnic Spots In Brooklyn

Another great place for picnics in NYC is Brooklyn. This New York City borough offers an abundance of green spaces for picnicking, like:

8. Brooklyn Bridge Park

If you’re looking to pair the perfect NYC picnic with the perfect skyline view or some stunning Brooklyn Bridge photos, nothing beats Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Located on the East River, you can put your blanket down on the waterfront lawn to take in a prime vista of the Brooklyn Bridge and One World Trade. If you choose the lawn right off Washington Street in DUMBO, you’ll be sitting in the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge for a very interesting perspective and one of the best free views in NYC.

If you don’t feel like packing a picnic basket, you can simply head into Time Out Market — located in the park — and order takeout from one of the dozens of top NYC restaurants inside.

By the way, this is one of the best places to take pictures in NYC, which is also why it’s a popular spot on our NYC photo tours and photoshoots.

woman posing in Brooklyn Bridge Park - one of the best picnic spots in NYC
Guest posing in Brooklyn Bridge Park on a Professional NYC Photoshoot. Photo via NYC Photo Journeys.

9. Long Meadow in Prospect Park

One of the best parks in NYC to have a picnic is Prospect Park. This is Brooklyn’s own version of Central Park, and the 526-acre green space is home to numerous attractions and many great picnic spots.

One of the best is the sprawling and grassy Long Meadow — which holds the title of “longest stretch of unbroken meadow in any US urban park” at almost a mile long.

10. McCarren Park

A beautiful green space easily accessible from the popular Williamsburg and Greenpoint neighborhoods of Brooklyn is McCarren Park. This vibrant park is one of the best places in Brooklyn for a picnic.

Make sure to check the park’s event calendar, as they frequently host outdoor movies, open sports sessions, and more.

Additionally, if you enjoy recreational activities, McCarren Park features fields and courts for kickball, soccer, baseball, bocce, handball, basketball, football, and tennis.

11. Coney Island

On a hot summer day, we suggest planning a beach picnic in NYC — preferably in Coney Island, known for its historic amusement park, sandy beaches, and lively boardwalk.

It’s also home to one of the best pizzerias in New York City, Totonno’s Pizzeria Napolitana, which has been serving up made-to-perfection pies since 1924.

After enjoying the sand, make sure to grab a slice and hop on a few rides. If you’re looking for fun NYC activities for couples, Deno’s Wonder Wheel is a must!

people having a beach picnic in NYC at Coney Island in Brookyln
The beach at Coney Island is a great summer picnic spot. Photo: galsafrafoto/Flickr.

12. Marsha P. Johnson State Park

Marsha P. Johnson State Park is a 7-acre waterfront park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn that offers stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. It’s the ideal spot to have a picnic on a sunny afternoon — especially for those who enjoy some history.

In fact, don’t be surprised if you find remnants of the site’s past as a 19th-century shipping dock, like old cobblestone streets and railroad tracks covered in native plants. Historic interpretive signs can help you appreciate the area’s past.

Best Picnic Spots In Queens

Queens has a number of parks with locations that make for the perfect picnic in NYC. Most notably, its waterfront parks offer great views of Manhattan to enjoy while you’re picnicking, some of which include:

13. Gantry Plaza State Park

Offering incredible views of the Manhattan skyline from Queens, Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City is one of NYC’s best picnic spots.

Formerly a dockyard in a manufacturing district, it’s now a family-friendly park perfect for having a picnic while gazing out toward the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building.

Gantry Plaza State Park is one of the best picnic spots in NYC thanks to the Manhattan skyline views
Gantry Plaza State Park offers sweeping views over Manhattan. Photo: Christian-Hernandez/Getty Images via Canva Pro.

14. Socrates Sculpture Park

Socrates Sculpture Park sits right on the East River and is home to large-scale sculptures and multimedia installations.

It also has plenty of green spaces, and picnicking is welcome for visitors.

Want beautiful photos taken of you in scenic New York spots? Book one of our Private Photo Journeys, a walking tour that includes photos of your group to keep. Or for even more photos opt for a Professional NYC Photoshoot. Email [email protected] with inquiries.

15. Astoria Park

Astoria Park, located in the shadow of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, is best known for its waterfront views and outdoor swimming pool.

It’s also the perfect spot for picnics on a summer day — especially around the 4th of July when it hosts an annual fireworks show.

Astoria Park is one of the best places to have a picnic in New York City thanks to the skyline views from Queens
Astoria Park is a relaxing place for a picnic in Queens. Photo: michaldziki/Getty Images via Canva Pro.

Best Picnic Spots In The Bronx

While many tourists skip The Bronx (unless they’re visiting Yankee Stadium), it’s well worth the trip to this New York City borough — especially as it offers some under-the-radar picnic spots. A few to check out include:

16. Wave Hill Public Garden & Cultural Center

Wave Hill Public Garden & Cultural Center is a tranquil oasis in the Riverdale neighborhood of The Bronx.

With beautiful gardens and expansive views over the Hudson River, it offers a scenic designated picnic spot for visitors.

17. Van Cortlandt Park

Spanning more than 1,000 acres in The Bronx, Van Cortlandt Park is a nature-filled sanctuary a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

It’s also one of the best places to picnic in NYC, with many walking paths and hiking trails leading to secluded picnic spots.

One of our personal favorites is the 1.5-mile John Muir Trail, which takes you through three ecologically distinct forests. Wandering through lovely tulip, oak, and hickory trees is a great way to work up an appetite for your picnic, too!

NYC picnic lawn in Van Cortlandt Park in The Bronx
Van Cortlandt Park is a sprawling natural space in the Bronx. Photo: James Blon/Getty Images via Canva Pro.

Best Picnic Spots In Staten Island

Finally, Staten Island has some hidden gem picnic spots. You can take the free Staten Island Ferry from Downtown Manhattan to reach many tranquil picnic spots, like:

18. Clove Lakes Park

One of the most underrated NYC picnic spots is Clove Lakes Park in Staten Island. This expansive park is home to three lakes, numerous woodlands, and plenty of grassy spots for picnicking on a sunny day — though we suggest the designated picnic area near the stone bridge at Clove Lake.

Fun fact: This park is one of New York City’s “Forever Wild” sites thanks to its valuable ecological assets, including a 300-year-old tulip tree that is definitely worth a visit. It’s believed to be the oldest tree on Staten Island.

Want beautiful photos taken of you in scenic New York spots? Book one of our Private Photo Journeys, a walking tour that includes photos of your group to keep. Or for even more photos opt for a Professional NYC Photoshoot. Email [email protected] with inquiries.

19. Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden

These beautiful gardens on Staten Island encourage picnicking on the grounds, and one of the most beautiful spots for a picnic is the Chinese Scholar’s Garden.

This tranquil garden is based on the Ming Dynasty gardens of the 14th through 17th centuries and will make you feel as if you’ve been transported to another time and place.

People having an NYC picnic at the Chinese Scholar's Garden on Staten Island
Transport yourself at the Chinese Scholar’s Garden. Photo: Laura271/Wikimedia Commons.

Picnic Catering In NYC

Now, if you’re looking to uplevel your picnic game or are looking for unique summer date ideas in New York, consider booking a picnic catering company like Pop Up Picnic NYC, Bohemian Picnics NYC, or Perfect Picnic NYC.

These NYC picnic companies offer luxury picnic packages with full service included: stylish setups, delicious food, Prosecco or Champagne, glassware, and more.

Depending on the occasion, you can also opt for different vibes, whether you’re looking for something chic, romantic, classic, or even to have a bohemian picnic in NYC with floor cushions, rugs, and accents.

Remember, too, that we can capture your picture-perfect picnic through gorgeous photography on a Professional NYC Photoshoot!

Tips For An Amazing NYC Picnic

To help you plan the best picnic in New York possible, here are some essential tips:

-Preserve the memory of your beautiful NYC picnic by booking a private photoshoot for before, during, and/or after your al fresco meal.

-Wondering where to picnic in NYC? Go somewhere with local events! You can check out park calendars to see if you can combine your NYC picnic with one of the many free outdoor events going on. Parks like Central Park, Bryant Park, Prospect Park, and Riverside Park are not only some of the best picnic spots in NYC, but they also host free movies, concerts, comedy shows, and more!

-You can also subscribe to local newsletters to keep up with what is going on in NYC, including in local parks. A few top newsletter options include The Skint, Secret NYC, Bucketlisters NYC, and Nonsense NYC. Bonus: If you’re looking for non-touristy things to do in NYC, these can also help with that!

-Elevate your outdoor meal with delicious food sourced from local artisan shops and restaurants. The Picnic Basket NYC is one option near the southern end of Central Park, while Bread N Wine serves up delicious sandwiches, soups, and salads near the northeast end of the park. There are many restaurants offering delicious picnic food in NYC — with some even offering picnic baskets — so do your research.

-Pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and plenty of water. In terms of a blanket, opt for one with a waterproof side in case the ground is damp.

two women enjoying a beautiful picnic in NYC
Women enjoying a beautiful picnic in NYC. Photo via Photo via Ketut Subiyanto/Pexels.

Where To Stay In New York City

Looking for places to stay that are also near some of the best picnic spots in NYC? There are so many great options. Check out:

Hotels near Central Park

Hotels near Prospect Park

Hotels near Brooklyn Bridge Park

Hotels near Van Cortlandt Park

Hotels near Gantry Plaza State Park

Best NYC Park Tours

Looking to add a tour to your NYC picnic outing? Check out these top-rated options:

Private NYC Photo Tour (in Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park & more!)

Central Park Highlights Bike Tour

Central Park Secrets & Highlights

Prospect Park Tour

Brooklyn Neighborhoods Small-Group Bike Tour (including Fort Greene Park and Prospect Park)

Click here for a full list of NYC tours.

Travel Insurance For NYC

When visiting New York City — or anywhere else in the world — it’s wise to get travel insurance.

One of the best travel medical insurance for travelers is SafetyWing as they’ve got a large network and offer both short-term and long-term coverage — including coverage if you’re traveling for months as well as limited coverage in your home country).

Additionally, SafetyWing is budget-friendly and offers $250,000 worth of coverage with just one low overall deductible of $250.

Click here to price out travel insurance for your trip in just a few clicks.

What NYC picnic spots would you add to this list?

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