Prospect Park

Top choice park in Brooklyn: Park Slope, Gowanus & Sunset Park

The designers of the 585-acre Prospect Park – Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux – considered this an improvement on their other New York project, Central Park. Opened in 1867, Brooklyn's lovely, faux-natural greenspace has many of the same features, with a long meadow to the west (filled with dog-walkers, sportspeople or barbecuers, depending on the season), hilly woodlands, and a lovely lake and boathouse on the east side. The neoclassical arches, sculptures and columns at the major entrances were later additions.

Many visitors come to bike, run, stroll, walk their dogs or just lounge around. The park has a zoo, an ice-skating rink (which becomes a water-play area for kids in the warm months, when boats are also available for hire). There are are also free concerts at the Prospect Park Bandshell (near the entrance at 9th St and Prospect Park W) and a year-round farmers market is held on Saturdays at the Grand Army Plaza entrance.