Biking in Central Park With Kids
Central Park has so many iconic attractions that my kids couldn’t wait to see. I knew that trying to walk to all of them would take all day, so I figured the easiest way to see Central Park was to bike ride through it. My family decided to rent bicycles on our recent trip to New York City and it was a blast! Here are tips for biking in Central Park with kids.
Where to Rent Bikes in Central Park
There are bike rental companies all around Central Park. Find a location close to your hotel so you can easily walk there. Most rental prices and companies are similar. I booked online before we arrived and enjoyed a substantial discount for an all day rental. We used Must See Central Park Bike Rentals. It was a short walk from New York Hilton Midtown.
Try the Bikes Out
Picking up the bikes was quick and easy. All sizes of bikes plus helmets, locks and maps are available. Children are required to wear helmets. Have everyone try out their bikes before leaving the bike rental shop. The bikes must be walked on the sidewalk until Central Park, so if someone does not like their bike, it is a walk back to exchange it. We had no trouble walking our bikes down the street and we quickly made it to the park.
Navigating Central Park
Before starting out on your ride, study the map. There are designated bike lanes and a particular direction that must be traveled. My family was headed to the American Museum of Natural History, so we chose what we wanted to look at along the way while making sure we were traveling in the correct direction. The paths can be busy with bikes, runners, pedicabs and carriages. There are also pedestrian crosswalks with stoplights where bikers must stop to let them pass. My kids picked up the flow of traffic quickly and we were able to enjoy the sites.
A Few More Tips for Biking in Central Park
After we rode to the museum, we stopped throughout Central Park. I used a helpful phone application with a map and details called Central Park NYC. It lists all of the attractions and has an awesome feature called “S.O.S.” The S.O.S. button can be hit at anytime and the app will display the closest bathrooms, water fountains and food. I have to admit that even with my keen sense of direction, we did take a few wrong turns. The GPS in the application helped us get back on track.
If you want to get a picnic lunch, there is a Whole Foods near Columbus circle or there are plenty of vendors throughout the park. Grab a bike and ride through Central Park!
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Know Before You Go
- Opt for walking tours instead of bus tours if you want to eliminate the issue of traffic – just make sure to pack comfortable shoes!
- If you bring your own ice skates, Bryant Park allows you to ice skate for free in the winter.
- The Bronx Zoo is pay-what-you-wish on Wednesdays.
- Utilize the New York Subway to travel like a local – it’s also a great way to avoid traffic!