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How Safe Is Central Park in NYC?

Updated: December 27, 2022
 By Courtney

This post answers a frequent question from tourists, “How safe is Central Park?”

Below we tell you what parts of Central Park are safe during the day and night and also areas to avoid at night. 

Is Central Park Safe?

Every year over 40 million people visit Central Park. It is one of the must-sees on a trip to New York City. (It's also a wonderful location for NYC photography!)

Locals love Central Park as it is an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of life in NYC. 

Sheep Meadow in Central Park

With so many people and things to do, Central Park is very safe during the daytime. 

However, it is a very large park and it is easy, even for New Yorkers, to get lost. 

There are a few densely wooded areas in the park, like the North Woods and The Ramble (pictured below).

The Ramble in Central Park

The Ramble and North Woods are safe during the day, but perhaps a little less so than the wide-open spaces like the Sheep Meadow, the Great Lawn or Belvedere Terrace

It’s a good idea to stay in areas where you see at least a few other people, especially if you are traveling solo. 

Be sure to have a map so you don’t stray into desolate areas. Here is a downloadable map from the Central Park Conservatory. 

You can also find other maps from our post on things to do in Central Park.

If you would like to explore the park with us, we offer pay-what-you-like guided walking tours of Central Park, including the lower, and middle sections of the park.

We also offer an anytime, GPS-led audio tour.

Is Central Park Safe At Night?

Central Park closes between 1:00 am and 6:00 am and is off-limits to the public. 

Even though you can go there until 1:00 a.m., it's best not to. You should probably end your visit after dark, and certainly by 9 pm. 

Always avoid densely wooded areas at night, especially The Ramble, referred to above.

Both day and night, the northern section of the park above the Reservoir (96th Street) has fewer popular spots to see areas and is not as busy as below the Reservoir. 

Steer clear of the North Woods (pictured below) at night, a wooded area located on the Northwest corner of the park.

North Woods in Central Park

Note that if you are attending a special event at night, like SummerStage concerts or Shakespeare in the Park, you have nothing to worry about. 

Just don’t overstay your nighttime visit and head out of the park along well-lit paths and with others leaving the park.

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About The Author


Courtney is a lifelong New Yorker fascinated with the city’s history, culture and cuisine. She loves exploring the world, as well as sharing her travel expertise with others. She joined the Free Tours by Foot team in 2011, first as a guide and then as a writer. She has a law degree, a teaching degree and a worn-out passport. Her motto is “Have backpack, will travel”.
Updated: December 27th, 2022
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