Best New York City Parks – Gray Line Tours

Central Park

New York City is without doubt the most popular and well known city in the world.

But when most people think of New York City, images of bright lights and its numerous towering buildings often come to mind. Mayor Bloomberg recently confirmed  that New York City is now the number one tourist destination in the US.

New York City offers well over 29,000 acres of park space, making heading outdoors and enjoying the summer sun an easy vacation activity for the whole family.

To celebrate the upcoming summer and NYC’s emerald empire, Gray Line New York, with their iconic red double-decker buses, is highlighting its top picks for the city’s most family-friendly parks and playgrounds. Some of them you may not even know or have heard anything about.

* Diana Ross Playground: The kids will love visiting this Central Park playground, located near 81st Street and Central Park West, for outdoor fun and sun. With tire swings, tube slides, a gigantic wooden playscape, and even a mushroom water feature, there is non-stop fun to be had at this Manhattan playground. Visit Central Park with Gray Line New York’s Uptown Loop tour.

* Arthur Ross Pinetum Playground: Everyone can enjoy a bit of the outdoors at this city playground, also located in Central Park, northwest of the Great Lawn at 85th Street. Little tikes can have fun  with the bucket swings, while older kids can climb and swing on the playground’s bars and traditional swings. The whole family can enjoy a fun outdoor lunch in the playground’s vast picnic area, set under a beautiful pine tree canopy. Hop on/hop off at Arthur Ross Pinetum Playground with Gray Line New York’s Uptown Loop tour.

* Lenox Avenue Playground: Also located in Central Park, at 110th Street and Lenox Avenue, this newly renovated playground boasts  tons of fun for kids of all ages. With its timber climbing structures, tire swings, and even a water feature, there is no need to worry about shortage of entertainment here. Visit Lenox Avenue Playground with Gray Line New York’s Uptown Loop tour.

* Heckscher Playground: What better way to celebrate summer than by taking in an all-American baseball game? With its open fields that host several baseball and softball games throughout the season, Heckscher Playground is the perfect spot for the whole family to take in a game or two together. Located at 61st Street and 7th Avenue, you can visit this Central Park playground with Gray Line New York’s Uptown Loop tour.

* Bryant Park: Centrally located in midtown Manhattan, Bryant Park is a must for outdoor family activities. Visit the park’s gardens, treat the kids to a ride on the carousel here, or even take in a family-friendly movie with the park’s summer movie series. Visit Bryant Park with Gray Line New York’s Downtown Loop tour.

* Madison Square Park: With its outdoor festivals and kid-friendly play areas, Madison Square Park is one not to be missed on your family trip to NYC. Every year, this park salutes the kids in our lives with their Spring Kids Fest and Madison Square Kids entertainment series, featuring child-friendly performers, live music, storytelling and more. This is also a great spot for parents and older kids to enjoy, with the historical architecture and monuments located in and around the grounds, and relaxing rest areas. Visit Madison Square Park with Gray Line New York’s Downtown Loop tour.

* Booker T. Washington Playground: Complete with swings, slides and open spaces, this Riverside Park playground is a great outdoor spot for the kids. Located at 108th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues, you can visit with Gray Line New York’s Uptown Loop tour.

* Martin Luther King Playground: This playground is another great place for kid’s to soak up some summer sun. In addition to all the traditional playground must-haves, this spot also offers basketball courts, handball courts, spray showers for water fun, and volleyball courts. Located at 114th Street and Lenox Avenue, you can visit this playground with Gray Line New York’s Uptown Loop tour.

* Riverside Park: Stretching from 72nd Street to 158th Street along the Hudson River, Riverside Park is a fantastic place for the whole  family to enjoy a serene landscape and spectacular views of the Hudson River. And be sure not to miss the park’s recreational facilities, including sports fields, a skate park and the public marina at 79th Street. Visit Riverside Park with Gray Line New York’s Uptown Loop tour.

* Battery Park: Head to lower Manhattan to visit one of the most recognized spots in the city, Battery Park. Once operating as the  world’s first immigrant depot, this outdoor space is full of New York and American history that the whole family can appreciate. After you hop off your Gray Line New York bus, hop on one of the ferries that will take you to see the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island. If water cruising is not of interest, stay on dry land and take a stroll through the park’s many gardens or have some play time at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Playground. Visit Battery Park with Gray Line New York’s Downtown Loop tour.

Tickets to all of Gray Line New York’s tours can be purchased at their visitor center at 777 8th Avenue. Enjoy special ticket rates when you purchase online at