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Central Park Walking Tours

Updated: August 11, 2023

This post lists and compares the best Central Park walking tours, including general history as well as themed tours. 

We at Free Tours by Foot offer two main Central Park walking tours. We also offer anytime, GPS-led audio tours. We recommend taking a look at our full calendar to see which tours are running when you will be in NYC.

Watch our 32-minute abridged version of our live guided tour.

NOTE: If you find that you can't make our scheduled tours, then please note that the New York Pass and the Explorer Pass include several Central Park tour options.  

Read our post on which tourist pass to buy


As the premiere walking tour company in NYC, it's no surprise that we offer several pay-what-you-like walking tours of Central Park.

Since 2010, we have led tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people through NYC's most famous greenspace.

Central Park Tour

Our tour guides are locals of Central Park. We know all of the nooks and crannies and are always showing them off to visitors.

You really can't find more experience than what you will find on one of our tours.

Our tours have no costs to book and are listed with (pay-what-you-wish) inside of the calendar and are also detailed below the calendar.  

And our reviews are as good as they get. Read them for yourself on Google, TripAdvisor, or any review platform that you trust.

We offer a seasonal and limited schedule of our Central Park walking tours, so we have also listed other for-fee walking tours available to you in the park.  

If you are interested in booking a private tour of Central Park, we have several affordable options available to you.

FREE TOURS BY FOOT (Lower Section)

Once described as the lungs of the city, Central Park brings a breath of fresh air to New York's crowded urban terrain.

What started out as the rocky and desolate northern fringes of a rapidly expanding city is today among the world's most famous and beloved public parks.

With over 843 acres (400 hectares) of meadows, hills, ball fields, and bodies of water, it's impossible not to find something to enjoy in Central Park.

Here's a sample from our GPS-led audio tour.

Join Free Tours by Foot as we stroll through the park and tell the epic story of New York's green oasis.

This Central Park tour explores the southern half of the park, wandering the winding pedestrian paths, passing a pond, rocky outcrops, bridges, open fields, and skyline views -- all great photo opportunities.

The tour also includes a stop in Strawberry Fields, a living tribute to John Lennon, and will end in front of the Dakota Hotel, where the great Beatles' life tragically ended.  

Sites we cover on the Central Park Walking Tours:

Tour information for Central Park Lower Section

Reservations: REQUIRED. Click here to reserve. Groups of 6 or more should visit our groups' page.

Where: The tour begins from the southwest corner of 59th St. and 5th Ave by the Pulitzer Fountain (Pomona - Roman goddess of purity) (map). The statue is located directly in front of the Plaza Hotel's main entrance.  The tour ends at 72nd St. and Central Park West.

Duration: Approximately 2 hours. Approximately 1 mile in length.

When: @9:45am Wednesdays and @9:45am Fridays (Fridays-early spring & late fall). Central Park Lower Section is also covered in the All in One Central Park tour @10am on Mondays and Fridays (late spring through early fall). More tours are available in the high season. Take this any day as an audio tourTours go out rain or shine. Dress appropriately for the weather.

If you can't make one of our tours, you might consider one of the New York tourist passes, which include free guided tours of Central Park or through Viator.

Cost: This tour is free to take, and you get to decide what, if anything, the tour was worth when it's done.  A name-your-own-price tour is a tour for anyone's budget.

Central Park Middle Section

This tour focuses on the middle of Central Park, starting in front of the beautiful American Museum of Natural History.

From there we will enter the park and explore, seeing everything from a castle to the wild-looking Ramble.  

See an Ancient Egyptian obelisk and the place where Stuart Little raced his sailboat in the E.B. White children’s classic.

Don’t forget to bring along your camera!  There will be many wonderful photo opportunities throughout.

Listen to a sample of this tour from our GPS-led audio tour

Sites We Cover on Our Middle Central Park Tours:

  • Central Park Walking tours American Museum of Natural History
  • The Swedish Cottage
  • Shakespeare Garden
  • Belvedere Castle
  • Turtle Pond
  • The Delacorte Theatre (Shakespeare in the Park)
  • The Great Lawn
  • Cleopatra’s Needle
  • The Ramble
  • The Lake
  • The Conservatory Waters
  • Bethesda Terrace
  • And more!!

Tour information for Central Park (Middle Section)

Reservations: REQUIRED. Click here to reserve. Groups of 6 or more should visit our group's page.

Where: The tour departs from the park entrance directly across the street from the American Museum of Natural History at the intersection of Central Park West, between 80th and 81st Streets (map). 

The tour ends at Bethesda Terrace, on the 72nd Street Traverse through Central Park.

Duration: Approximately 2 hours. Approximately 1 mile in length.

When: @9:45am Mondays (early spring & late fall). Central Park Middle Section is also covered in the All in One Central Park tour @10am on Mondays and Fridays (late spring through early fall). Take this any time, any day as a GPS-led audio tour - sample.

Cost: This tour is free to take, and you get to decide what, if anything, the tour was worth when it's done.

name-your-own-price tour is a tour for anyone's budget.


There are many companies offering walking tours of Central Park. However, many offer a limited schedule or only private tours.  

We have listed two additional highly rated companies that also offer regularly scheduled public tours, and we have ordered them at the lowest price per person.  

Most of these tours are included at no additional cost on one or more of the tourist discount passes available to you in NYC.  

Click the link to read our comparison post on these passes.

We have listed which pass(es) each tour is included in the tour descriptions below. 

Central Park Sightseeing

Central Park Sightseeing has an abundance of Central Park choices, whether by foot, bike, horse, or pedicab.

Their walking tour explores the history and landscape of Central Park while addressing the many filming locations of popular Hollywood productions.

Or explore more of Central Park by bike. Their bike tours are child-friendly, price includes the bike rental and helmet, with bike rentals for all ages.

If you want a more relaxing view of the park, you may want to consider their pedicab or horse and carriage options.

They also offer our readers 20% off on all of their tours with promo code FTBF.  See their full selection of Central Park tours here.  

Get 20% off the prices below with promo code FTBF.

Central Park Walking

Their walking tour (as with all of their tours) are included for free with the New York Pass and the Explorer Pass discount cards.

NOTE: As of December 2022, this tour is not currently available.

Reviews of Central Park Sightseeing

Central Park Sightseeing has a solid 4 out of 5 stars rating with almost 2,000 reviews.

Even though the company website states tours cap 25 people per group, a significant number of reviewers speak about much smaller group sizes.

Even if only one person purchases the tour, the company does not cancel for low attendance (which is a big plus!).

Reviewers say the walking pace of the tour is enjoyable, not too fast and not too slow. Late afternoon attendees suggest taking the 9 am tour before the day gets too hot or there are too many people in the park.

Reviewers find the tour guides knowledgeable, entertaining, and accommodating.

If English is your second language, you will want to inform Central Park Sightseeing so you can be matched with the best tour guide suited for you.

Central Park TV and Movie Sites

On Location Tours has a more narrowly focused itinerary. Although you will get Central Park history, this tour is for those with an interest in film.

The tours are led by actors and actresses, which adds to their authenticity.

Thousands of television shows and movies have been filmed in Central Park, so with a 2-hour-themed tour, you will get your money’s worth.

Some of the many filming locations covered are Home Alone 2, When Harry Met Sally, Taxi, Elf, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Serendipity, Crocodile Dundee, The Producers, just to name a few.  

On Location Tours offers a full range of movie and television tours of NYC.  

TIP: Our list of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles filming locations includes stops at and around Central Park. If you're interested in more of a self-guided outing, this could be a good option!


On Location Tours has a strong 4 out of 5 stars rating on TripAdvisor with over 2,000 reviews.

Reviewers find their tour guides very informative and enthusiastic, and the fact that they are actors themselves is seen as an advantage.

Reviewers feel that even if you are not a movie buff but you are traveling with one, there is enough trivia that everyone in your group will recognize some pop culture, along with enough history about the park itself to make it enjoyable for all.

Manhattan and Beyond

This company also offers a pretty good Central Park walking tour, and the advantage of this outing is that it is led by a former employee of the park!

Who better knows the history of this location and some of its most notable attractions?

While you're learning about Central Park, you'll see several essential attractions such as the Dairy, the Literary Walk, the Conservatory Water, the Alice in Wonderland Statue, Bethesda Terrace, and Strawberry Fields.

You'll also learn about a few of the more noteworthy films that were shot here and see some of the filming locations as well.


Manhattan and Beyond currently has an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars (read reviews here).

Most guests were happy they took the tour, some reporting they weren't confident they could have found every stop on this outing by themselves.

That's the thing about Central Park, it's over 800 acres in size, so it can be easy not only to get lost but also to find specific locations within the park.

Since this tour is led by a former employee of Central Park, you can rely on them to help you find your way around.

About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo,, and more.
Updated: August 11th, 2023
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