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In this post, we tell you how long it takes to walk Central Park.

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

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

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


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 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. 


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

We also offer bike tours!

We recommend taking a look at our full calendar to see which tours are running when you will be in NYC.

You might want to look into taking a Central Park Movie Tour or a Horse and Carriage Tour of Central Park.

We also offer anytime, GPS-led audio tours.

New York Walking Tours


We offer two different GPS-enabled audio tours of Central Park -- the Lower section and the Middle section.

Each tour offers an offline option to view the map and hear the audio of each walk so that you don't need to have GPS maps running with the app, thus saving your battery!

Here is how it works:

  1. Download our free NYC walking tour app on (iTunes) or (Android).
  2. Download any audio tour ($2.99).
  3. Enjoy the tour(s).

Lower Section of Central Park

Some of the sites you will see in the Lower Section are the Central Park Zoo, Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, the Sheep Meadow, and Strawberry Fields.

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

Middle Section of Central Park

This tour takes you to see the Great Lawn, Cleopatra’s Needle, the Ramble, the Lake, and much more.

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


Podcast Episode: Listen to tour guides Lori and Katherine discuss Central Park on an episode of our NYC Travel Tips podcast.

This podcast offers bite-sized audio clips with tips on how to plan your trip to NYC. You can get our podcasts on Apple, Google, or wherever you get your podcasts.


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: May 22nd, 2023
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