Prospect Park is Central Park’s little sister. Smack-dab in the center of South Brooklyn, the park is nearly as impressive as the bigger one in Manhattan. Yet, Prospect Park is less touristy and less busy. You can still get all of the Victorian charm that Central Park offers here–but without getting harassed by pedicab drivers every two minutes.
Why You Should Visit Prospect Park
Photographic: The ponds, boathouse, bridges, and meadows are all great spots for photo ops in the park. Head up to Grand Army Plaza to snag a photo with Brooklyn’s own Arc De Triomphe (actually it’s the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch).
Architectural: Head to Prospect Park to check out the boathouse, The Brooklyn Public Library, and the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch. The Lefferts House, one of the original Dutch farmhouses still sits in Prospect Park. Nearby Park Slope and Lefferts Gardens have beautiful examples of brownstones and wooden-frame structures.
Historic: Built in the late 1800s by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted, the park is Brooklyn’s response to Manhattan’s Central Park.
Kid Friendly: Kids love riding bikes, flying kites, and running around in the huge meadows. They also love the ice/rollerskating rink. The Audubon Center is also a great place for kids to learn about the park’s natural habitat. There’s also a smaller version of the Central Park Zoo here.
Musical: Free concerts are held here every weekend in the summer at the bandshell. Big-name acts perform in the bandshell as well.
Foodie: Smorgasburg, one of Brooklyn’s largest food festivals, takes place here every Sunday in the summer.
Sporty: Plenty of locals head here for a pick-up game of football, soccer, or baseball. The park also offers kayaking and rollerskating in the spring, summer, and fall, and ice skating in the winter.
Literary: The Brooklyn Public Library sits on the north edge of the park, near Grand Army Plaza.
Celebrity: Many celebrities have been moving to the west side of the park in Park Slope, so you’re sure to see a few here on weekends.
Cinematic: Movies and TV shows such as Broad City, The Americans, and As Good as it Gets were filmed in and around the park.
Outdoorsy: You can’t visit Prospect Park without going outdoors! The sister park to Central Park in Manhattan, Prospect offers 526 acres of wildlife.
Like a Local: If you want to live like a local, head to Prospect Park. It’s like Central Park. But less touristy.
How Much Does Prospect Park Cost?/Money Savers:
Prospect Park is free to visit! Some activities, such as rollerskating and ice skating, boating, music events, and food festivals, cost extra.
How Much Time Should I Spend at Prospect Park?/Time Savers:
If you’re worried about getting lost in the park, save time by walking the 3.5-mile loop around the park. But watch out for the cyclists! They often forget they’re not in the Tour de France.
Fly-By: 30 minutes
In-Depth: 90 minutes
Need to Know:
The park is pretty large, so make sure to keep an eye on Google Maps (or similar map app) if you don’t want to get lost. It’s also not a bad idea to take a tour of the park to save time.
Why You Should Skip:
If you’ve never been to New York City before and don’t really care about a super cool park in the middle of Brooklyn (that happens to be waaaaay cooler than one that begins with a “C” and ends with an “entral Park”.
When to Go to Prospect Park:
Prospect park rarely gets unbearably crowded, so anytime is a good time to go!
How to Get to Prospect Park:
Walking: I’d use Google Maps to get to the park on foot, since Brooklyn’s grid ain’t as cut and dry as Manhattan’s. Enter at Grand Army Plaza or Lincoln Road for easiest access to attractions. For the bandshell, enter at 11th Street & Prospect Park West.
Subway: Take the B, Q, or S trains to Prospect Park, and walk one block west to the park. Or, take the 2 or 3 to Grand Army Plaza.
Taxi/Car: Tell your driver to take you to Grand Army Plaza (make sure to specify in Brooklyn!), or give your driver one of the cross streets for the walking directions above.
Bus: Take the B16, B43, B58, or B42 to Lincoln Road. Or, Take the B41 to Grand Army Plaza. You could also take the B67 or B69 to 7 Ave/Garfield Place.
Related Attractions/Other Ways to See:
If you don’t give a pizza rat’s ass about a park in Brooklyn, I guess you could just go to the big one in Manhattan. They’re kinda similar, I guess.
Need more inspiration on how to focus only on what you love in NYC? Check out a full list of attractions.
Don’t forget to read a few articles on how to hack New York City, so you can see more, do more, and stress less!