prospect park brooklyn people walking

Let Manhattan keep Central Park and its crowds. Brooklyn has Prospect Park, our less-famous, equally gorgeous oasis, just a 20-minute bike ride from NU Hotel (learn more about our bike program here!). A hub for culture, performance, retreat into nature, and history, this 500+ acre space has so much to celebrate. In anticipation of the warmer months upon us, we are breaking down ten things we love about Prospect Park as a part of our Brooklyn Blooming series. (PLUS: While you’re in the neighborhood, don’t miss the new Frida Kahlo exhibition at the nearby Brooklyn Museum! The borough’s world-class museum is exhibiting the iconic artist’s works, alongside some of her wardrobe. NU Hotel is a proud partner. Learn more here!)

The History

Prospect Park first opened in 1867, and continues to flourish and attract countless visitors year after year. Famed landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed Prospect Park after they finished their work on Central Park. You’ll notice similar design details, such as arched bridges, gorgeous boathouses, and gracefully curving pathways – all signature elements of Olmsted and Vaux projects.

Grand Army Plaza

Many people enter Prospect Park through the awe-inspiring Grand Army Plaza. A towering archway, dedicated to Union soldiers from the Civil War, stands at the plaza and serves as an entryway into the northern corner of Prospect Park. Every Saturday, the elliptical plaza is home to Brooklyn’s best farmers market as well.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Adjacent to Prospect Park is the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, a plant-lover’s paradise. The 52-acre space exhibits a variety of worldly flora including cherry blossom trees. It’s also home to events throughout the year, wedding celebrations, and more.

Prospect Park Bandshell

The Prospect Park Bandshell is an outdoor music venue located in the park, and it plays host to some of the best live music in New York City every year. It’s home to BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn, an annual series of free concerts that draw the biggest names in modern and classic music.

Prospect Park Zoo

Located on the east side of Prospect Park, the Prospect Park Zoo is one of the best zoos in the city, housing nearly 1000 animals representing nearly 200 different species. This is one of the best places to bring kids in Brooklyn.

The Prospect Park Carousel

Right near the Prospect Park Zoo, this carousel is a treasure of New York City, and an utterly classic place to bring the young ones for a ride. The vintage carousel has an ornate ceiling that spirals its hundreds of lightbulbs fluttering over the golden poles, and ponies frozen in mid-stride as they glide through the summer months.

Prospect Park Lake

If the city heat and bustle is getting to you, there are few better retreats than Prospect Park Lake. Surrounded by trees and with plenty of lakefront spots to post up with a friend, it’s quite scenic.

The Boathouse

One of the most beautiful buildings in all of New York City is the Prospect Park Boathouse. The Beaux Arts structure, built in 1905, is a gorgeous spot for photo-ops, and also houses an interpretive center for the Audubon Society.

The Long Meadow

If you’re planning a picnic, or simply an afternoon under the sun, head to Prospect’s Long Meadow. The expansive run of manicured fields is a favorite hangout for Brooklyners to play volleyball, frisbee, throw al fresco parties, and relax.

Prospect Park Ravine

The Prospect Park Ravine is a must-see sight for first-time visitors to the borough of Brooklyn, and Prospect Park itself. Home to Brooklyn’s only remaining old-growth forest, this lush destination is as excellent a spot as any to sit and enjoy a warm afternoon.

DISCOVER MORE OF BROOKLYN

There’s myriad activities to experience in Brooklyn. Discover NYC’s Best Borough with NU, and explore more on our Brooklyn blog.