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How Long Does It Take to Walk Central Park

Updated: April 17, 2024

In this post, we tell you how long it takes to walk Central Park. But, of course, it depends on what you mean.

We include the amount of time for several different routes so that you can see the options available to you.

As local walking tour guides, who lead daily walks of the park but also spend our free time here, we are experts on Central Park.

And, in our opinion, if you are attempting to explore the entirety of Central Park in one day, a bicycle is a must, as the park is simply too large to walk and enjoy.

If you would like to see everything, we recommend splitting your viewing into two trips or just choosing one portion to see (either the middle or lower).

And, in the video below, Katie, a tour guide with us, Free Tours by Foot, takes you on a virtual tour of the lower half of the park.

Check out our in-depth post on things to do in Central Park as well as our guided Central Park tours.


The perimeter of Central Park is six miles. The park covers 843 acres (341 hectares).

It is as long as 2.5 miles (4 km) from 59th Street to 110th Street and is 0.5 miles or (0.8 km) wide between 5th Avenue and Central Park West.

Central Park Perimeter

Depending on how you choose to visit the park, the amount of time you need can vary greatly.

Walking in 1 Direction from Bottom to Top (1 hour)

Although Central Park is 2.5 miles (4 km) long, the paths through it do meander a bit and the total amount of distance you will walk is more like 3 miles (5 km). 

Walk Central Park from Top to Bottom

This assumes that you are not sightseeing.

You will need to double that if you do make a round trip, walking up along the eastern side of the park and back down on the western side.

Our self-guided tour of Central Park covers about 5 miles (8 km), so the amount of time depends on your own pace. 

You can also download a PDF version of our Central Park Self-Guided Tour.

It might be best to choose to visit either the lower section of the park or the middle section. Consider joining one of our guided tours listed just below.

A Quick Taste of Central Park (20-30 minutes)

If you would like to get just a taste of the park, enter the park at 59th Street and 5th Avenue. Stick to the path on East Side Drive. 

Central Park Walking Tours

In just 20 minutes, you can see Central Park Pond, the iconic Gapstow Bridge, and the Central Park Zoo.

You can exit the park by making a right on 65th Street which runs through the park.

Walk Crosstown Across the Park (10 minutes)

If you wanted to simply get from one side of the park to the other, it would take you approximately 10 minutes.

Central Park Traverse Road

The quickest way to get crosstown through the park is by taking one of the traverse roads that allow vehicles.

These are 65th, 79th, 86th, and 97th streets. 

Consider joining our popular NYC Travel Tips Facebook group, where our local tour guides answer your questions about Central Park and New York in general.

The group is made up of locals, like our guides, expats, regular visitors, and newbies, all asking questions and sharing tips.


About The Author

Courtney Shapiro

Courtney is a lifelong New Yorker in love with the city’s history, culture and food. She's a world travel as well and enjoys sharing her travel expertise with others. She joined Free Tours by Foot in 2011, first as a guide and then as a writer. She still leads tours on a part-time basis. READ MORE...
Updated: April 17th, 2024
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