Central Park is a New York City icon. This world-famous green space welcomes over 40 million visitors each year.
If you are interested in photography, head to Central Park, widely regarded as one of the most photogenic spots in NYC.
This post includes six must-see Central Park photography locations organized into a self-guided walking tour to include on your New York City itinerary.
You can enjoy all four seasons in Central Park. You’ll find pretty pink cherry blossoms in Spring, emerald green grass in Summer, radiant fall foliage in Autumn and white snow-capped trees at Christmas and the New Year.
There is so much to see in this wonderful, but quite large, park. You can explore it on your own though we do not recommend that you try to see the entire park in one day.
If you want to make the most of a specific amount of time, you can join one of our pay-what-you-like walking tours. We offer:
- 2-hour tour of the Lower Section of Central Park
- 2-hour tour of the Middle Section of Central Park
1. The Mall
The Mall and Literary Walk is a perfectly straight tunnel-like walkway flanked by benches, statues and thick-set American Elm trees.
This 40-foot wide and quarter-mile-long grand promenade is the equivalent of six city locks and connects Olmsted Flower Bed with Bethesda Terrace.
The Mall has appeared in many movies, including Kramer vs. Kramer, Big Daddy and Maid in Manhattan.
2. Bethesda Terrace and Fountain
Descend the stone steps at the end of The Mall and walk underneath a triple-arched entranceway into the stunning Bethesda Terrace Arcade.
An orange glow illuminates the arcade lined with majestic columns and a spectacular tile ceiling made up of 15,876 individual encaustic tiles.
These tiles originate from the mid-1860s and the Arcade is the only known example of a Minton tile suspended ceiling, making this a very rare and very photogenic locale.
When you exit the arcade onto Bethesda Terrace, pause inside the central arch to photograph Bethesda Fountain.
This is where you will find lots of professional photographers.
Dozens of films and TV shows have featured scenes on the terrace and near the fountain. Woody Allen has filmed scenes from several movies here, including Annie Hall.
Other well-known movies shot here include the classic Christmas movies Home Alone 2 and Elf, John Wick and One Fine Day.
Television series like Sex and the City and Law and Order have episodes with scenes here.
3. Bow Bridge
Leave Bethesda Fountain from the northwest and walk for two minutes until you reach the elegant Bow Bridge.
You have two great spots to take pictures. On the south side, you can frame Bow Bridge against a backdrop of trees. On the north side, you can use the upper Manhattan skyline as a background.
Expect to share this popular photography spot with dozens of others lining the banks of The Lake.
Bow Bridge appears in a whole host of movies and tv shows, including Spiderman 3, Night at the Museum, Glee and Doctor Who.
4. Wagner Cove
Stick to the south side of Bow Bridge and head west along The Lake until you reach Wagner Cove and its quaint wooden rustic shelter with two benches.
Wagner Cove is a desirable wedding spot for locals, but it is less known among tourists which makes it a Central Park hidden gem.
Better still, there’s a wonderful view overlooking Wagner Cove from the Daniel Webster statue farther along The Lake.
Just a two-minute walk to the northwest from the Wagner Cove viewpoint is Strawberry Fields named after The Beatles’ song and in honor of John Lennon, who lived just outside the park in the Dakota Building.
Look for the John Lennon memorial, a black and white tiled mosaic with the word IMAGINE.
Here’s a tip on how to get the best photograph of the memorial plaque.
Mount your camera on a tripod with a lens you can adjust the focal length. Set a long shutter speed of one to two seconds and slowly zoom out as the frame is exposed.
Now the word “Imagine” and its surrounding pattern appear as though you’re looking through a kaleidoscope.
6. The Ramble
From the Imagine plaque, head north on the path that runs parallel to the Bridle Path where you might spot some horse-drawn carriages!
Walk about seven minutes until you reach Oak Bridge. Cross the bridge and enter one of the most beloved areas in Central Park called The Ramble.
This area is a labyrinth of narrow twisting paths and ornate stone arches, all of which are incredibly photogenic. Wander in The Ramble before heading back to Bow Bridge, Bethesda Terrace and the Mall.
You can also leave The Ramble and head northeast to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the best museums in the world!
Are you interested in seeing more iconic photo spots from across New York?
Where Are Those Morgans’ popular guide to the best photography locations in NYC covers every famous landmark, neighborhood and hidden gem in the city.
Written by Mark and Kristen from Where Are Those Morgans