Several of the most magical walks in New York begin at Cedar Hill in Central Park, a wonderful place for sitting on a bench and reading or talking with a companion and watching the world stroll by. The Central Park Conservancy has a free mobile app with a helpful map feature.
1st Walk: Cedar Hill to Bethesda Fountain to Bow Bridge
Enter park at 79th & 5th
At first fork turn left and walk with Cedar Hill to your right.
Bear right at the fork and staying on the path hugging Cedar Hill and continue to Central Park Drive.
Cross Central Park Drive and walk toward Bethesda Terrace with the Boathouse on your right.
Walk around Bethesda Fountain with the lake on your right and take the first path toward Bow Bridge.
From Bow Bridge look west to see the twin towered buildings on Central Park West both from 1929, the San Remo hearkening to the past and the Majestic trumpeting the future.
2nd Walk: Bethesda Terrace to The Mall to Plaza Hotel
Retrace your steps to Bethesda Terrace and ascend the great staircase crossing the street toward the Mall.
Cross the street and descend the path with the Chess House on your right to the Wollman Rink.
Walk east along the path with the rink on your right and then south to the Pond.
Exit the park by ascending the stairs to Grand Army Plaza with the Plaza Hotel across the street.
3rd Walk: Bow Bridge to The Ramble to the Boathouse
Walk across Bow Bridge and enter the Ramble by walking up one of the sets of wooden steps on your right. The nature sanctuary has a bit of a notorious reputation but feels perfectly safe during the day but you’ll want to exit before dusk. The Ramble is a lovely labyrinth with all the usual dangers and delights.
Stay alert to be safe, but also to see the wonders of nature in the city. I once saw a squirrel vigorously digging in the snow. Finally he pulled out a Big Slice of Pizza and carried it up a tree for a hearty winter snack! The slice was twice the size of the piece toted down the stairs of the subway by the notorious YouTube Pizza Rat. The Ramble is also a sanctuary for many magnificently colorful species of birds from all over the world including Cardinals, Warblers, and Buntings.
Wander about the Ramble as much as you want but maintain a general clockwise orientation and eventually you’ll find the path exiting down the hill of the Ramble with the Boathouse to your right.
4th Walk: Bow Bridge to Bethesda Terrace to Strawberry Fields
Retrace your steps to Bethesda Fountain and ascend the stairs of the great Terrace.
At the top of the Bethesda Terrace staircase turn right and make your way to Strawberry Fields, the shrine to John Lennon.
Find a seat on one of the circle of benches graciously arranged around the Imagine mosaic. The Dakota apartment building is across the street on Central Park West.
5th Walk: Central Park by Night — Circle the Great Lawn
Enter park at 79th and 5th.
Stay right and walk up the path with Cedar Hill on your left.
Cross Central Park Drive and regain path walking past statue of Polish leader toward Great lawn.
Circle path surrounding Great Lawn noting Turtle Pond, Belvedere Castle and skyline from north side of the lawn. (Restrooms just past the pond at Delaorte Theatre.
Retrace steps walking back to Cedar Hill and exiting park at 79th Street.