Seven Must-Visit Central Park Attractions That Are Only Known to Locals

Todd Neikirk
Photo Credit: Cindy Ord / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Cindy Ord / Getty Images

Erupting like an oasis in the middle of one of the world’s largest cities, Central Park can take away the breath of even the most jaded New York resident. While millions of tourists visit the location each year, there are still areas that are mostly known only to locals – and it’s about time others learned about them!

Bank Rock Bay

View of Bank Rock Bay
Bank Rock Bay is one of Central Park’s most secluded and most beautiful spots. (Photo Credit: Wally Gobetz / Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Bank Rock Bay is located at the north end of the Lake and isn’t well known – that’s why locals love it so much. Viewed by many as an ideal bird watching zone, as it’s home to many native birds, the area is secluded enough to provide the perfect spot to read a book or have a picnic.

The Ramble Cave

Stone steps rising up a small hill
The Ramble Cave has been sealed off. (Photo Credit: Phil Whitehouse / Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0)

The Ramble is a special area in Central Park that was meant to be a refuge from the city. The heavily-wooded area features winding trails and beautiful nature views. A much lesser-known part is the Ramble Cave.

In the early days of the park, the nook was popular with tourists and teenagers who were up to no good. Due to the number of suicides and criminal acts that occurred there, it was sealed up in 1934.

Whispering Bench

Woman sitting on the Whispering Bench
A tourist spends time on Central Park’s Whispering Bench. (Photo Credit: Tom Williams / Roll Call / Getty Images)

The Whispering Bench is located in Central Park’s Shakespeare Garden, which is famed for the tender care given to it by the park’s gardening team. While officially known as the “Charles B. Stover Bench,” the popular tourist attraction got its nickname due to the way the circular design makes it easier to hear others.

Hallett Nature Sanctuary

Woman entering Hallett Nature Sanctuary
Hallett Nature Sanctuary offers an intimate experience. (Photo Credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP / Getty Images)

Tourists may have heard of the Hallett Nature Sanctuary, but they may not know it could once again be visited. The area closed after 80 years of operation when it became overgrown with wisteria, Norway maples and Japanese knotgrass. In 2016, however, the area was cleared, allowing for it to reopen.

The nature sanctuary gives visitors the opportunity to see a number of different bird species. Visits are limited, however, and should be planned in advance.

Secret Pet Christmas Tree

Man riding a bicycle while dressed as a Christmas tree.
There is a secret Christmas tree in Central Park to honor pets. (Photo Credit: Alexi Rosenfeld / Getty Images)

Central Park is an enormously special place for those who take their pets there. In the massive expanse lays a Christmas tree that exists solely to honor those furry friends who have passed. While it’s decorated each year during the holiday season, many won’t see the ornaments. Its location is kept secret and, out of respect, only those who have lost a pet know where it is.

Imagine Mosaic

Two roses laid on top of the Imagine Mosaic
The Imagine Mosaic in Central Park is dedicated to John Lennon. (Photo Credit: Evan Agostini / Liaison)

John Lennon was famously born and raised in Liverpool, England. After his time with the Beatles, Lennon made New York City his home, and it was there that he was shot to death in December of 1980.

When he was shot, Lennon was living at the Dakota, an apartment building incredibly close to Central Park. There’s a mosaic in his honor at the 72nd Street entrance of the park, which fans flock to each year.

Ladies Pavilion

People standing in the Ladies Pavilion
Central Park’s Ladies Pavilion once overlooked a female-only skating rink. (Photo Credit: Joe Corrigan / WireImage / Getty Images for Stellar Productions)

When Central Park was first built, the world was a much different place. While many New Yorkers enjoyed ice skating, women were often bothered by men while partaking in the activity. As a result, the Park Commission opened a rink specifically for women.

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The area now known as Ladies Pavillion once overlooked that skating rink. While today it’s known for cute engagement pictures, it has a much more interesting history.


Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey-based politics, entertainment and history writer. His work has been featured in,, and He enjoys sports, politics, comic books, and anything that has to do with history.

When he is not sitting in front of a laptop, Todd enjoys soaking up everything the Jersey Shore has to offer with his wife, two sons and American Foxhound, Wally.