The 5 Best Picnic Spots on the Upper West Side

  Last modified on April 5th, 2021

Life’s a picnic, ain’t it? So why not celebrate it with some outdoor eating? That’s right, the parks on the Upper West Side were made for more than just strolling through. If you pack a basket, a blanket, and know the right place to spread out, they can also be the perfect setting for a spring or summer picnic with a good friend or two (or twelve). Read our list below for a roundup of the Upper West Side’s very best picnic spots.

The Great Lawn (Central Park)

Way back when, this grassy, sunny, oasis was just a reservoir. So aren’t we lucky it eventually got filled in, and now serves as one of the best picnic spots not just on the Upper West Side, but possibly in the whole city? The Great Lawn is full of picnics on nice spring and summer days, so come early, snag your spot, and be nice to your neighbors!

The Great Lawn Central Park

photo by CTS Now


Sheep Meadow (Central Park)

Once a public place for sheep to graze, the namesake barnyard friends of this 15-acre picnic spot in Central Park are long gone, but we suppose that could change if your picnic basket contains a few shawarma pitas (save us some Baba ganoush!). Now, sheep’s meadow serves as a favored spot for picnics, suntanning, frisbee games, and all kinds of warm weather fun!

Sheep Meadow Central Park

photo by Heath Brandon


The Great Hill (Central Park)

This wooded part of Central Park, uphill from the West 100s, is more quiet and secluded than the park’s other entries on this list, meaning you and your party can really spread out and have fun. What’s more, this is one of the few parts of Central Park with picnic tables, so leave the gingham blanket at home and enjoy not sitting criss-cross applesauce!


West Side Community Garden

One of the neighborhood’s prettiest public spaces, the West Side Community Garden blooms from spring through fall, and is especially vibrant right around tulip seasons! But when the weather gets perfect for dining al fresco, snag a bench in this cozy amphitheater-style space and share a meal with a friend or two while the flowers dance in the warm breeze.


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Riverside Park Promenade

With just a little finagling (hint: take one of the paths that leads under a bridge), you can pass beneath the West Side Highway which runs parallel with Riverside Park and find yourself right on the Hudson River waterfront. There’s a popular running and biking path here, but also quite a few sunny stretches of grass, and you’ll enjoy watching sailboats pass as you lay out a blanket and chow down.


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Now that you’ve secured some good locations, check out our list of places to buy food for the perfect picnic!

And remember, you will get in trouble if you’re caught drinking in a public park in NYC. So have fun however you want, but save the red solo cups for a block party!

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