New York City: 10 Things to Do

1. Central Park

Central Park Mitchell Funk / Getty Images
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Give yourself a gentle introduction to the city by exploring its beloved, natural gem. Though Central Park may not exactly be free of tourists, there are ways to avoid the herds.

Designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted, Central Park is home to 843 acres of verdant views, vibrant flora and hidden histories. The best way to see it all? By bicycle. For an early morning jaunt, head to the park anytime after 6 a.m. You can rent a bike for two hours and go solo for $20, or you can book a two-hour expedition through Central Park Bike Tours, which takes off at 9 a.m. and costs about $47 per person. With well-marked routes of 6.1, 5.2 or 1.7 miles, you can take your time cycling through the hilly terrain, stopping to see the model sailboats at the Conservatory Water, the Alice in Wonderland sculpture, Belvedere Castle atop Vista Rock, or the Bow Bridge — one of the park's most photographed locations. Completed in 1862, the Bow Bridge's cast-iron arch stretches 60 ft. over the lake, connecting Cherry Hill and the Ramble.

While you pedal along, it's more than likely you'll hear a guitar strumming in the distance. Follow the music and pay homage at the Imagine Mosaic, a tribute to sometime New York resident John Lennon, in the park's Strawberry Fields. Following your bike ride, treat yourself to Sarabeth's Central Park South, where you can gorge on a range of quirky specialties, including lemon-ricotta pancakes and pumpkin waffles.

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