The best place to have a picnic in New York City’s Central Park is Sheep Meadow.
I’ll show you why this is the best spot in Central Park for a picnic, and I’ll tell you exactly where you can get the best seats with a mix of sunshine and shade.
Fun fact: It is NOT called Sheeps Meadow or Sheep’s Meadow. The name is singular: Sheep Meadow. Yes, there were actual sheep that used the meadow in the early 1900s. More history on Wikipedia.
Location of Sheep Meadow
This picture from the Central Park Conservancy shows Sheep Meadow from the air.
I’ve added arrows pointing to the best picnic spot:
View looking south, showing the green yard of Sheep Meadow.
It’s an outdated image (note the modern skyline, or lack thereof!) but the park is exactly the same.
Why you should listen to my Central Park advice
I’ve lived in New York City for over 12 years.
Here’s a recent picture of me hosting a picnic in Sheep Meadow:
I have hosted dozens of picnics in Central Park. Birthday parties, lunch gatherings, even a book club meeting.
I’ve even filmed videos about picnics on my YouTube channel.
Because I have hosted dozens and dozens of picnics in Central Park, I think you should take my advice: Have your picnic in Sheep Meadow.
Why This Is The Best Picnic Location in Central Park
The grass beneath the trees on the far East side of Sheep Meadow may be shaded better, but it results in a very dirty, rocky ground. The grass where I have indicated with the red arrows is a lush, fluffy base perfect for picnics.
Prime people watching
From this spot, you have nearly a perfect 180 degree view of the theater that becomes Sheep Meadow. See people playing frisbee, throwing footballs, sunbathing, and more.
Consistent shade throughout the day
Perhaps the most important aspect of a picnic is how much shade you will have at different times of the day. A good picnic spot in Central Park will allow you and your friends or family the option for both sun and shade.
Where is Sheep Meadow?
Sheep Meadow is located on the west side of Central Park.
The closest cross street is West 67th Street and Central Park West.
If you’re in a taxi and need a specific location, you could say: “Tavern On the Green, near West 67th Street and Central Park West.”
Here is exactly where I like to host my picnics in Central Park:
Directions to Meet
This is the image that I send my friends to help them find my picnic in Central Park. It shows approximately where to look for me, as well as the bathrooms, café, and entrance locations.
Edited image to help guests find us, with my own captions.
Update July 2019: My preferred bathrooms are now at Tavern On the Green. The lines here are shorter than at the café on the map.
Park Image from June 2019
I took this picture at a recent picnic in June 2019. It is taken near West Drive in Central Park looking towards Sheep Meadow.
Sheep Meadow, with the recent skyline additions along Central Park South
Picnic Ingredients: Bring This Stuff
Here’s a list of things to bring to your picnic in Sheep Meadow.
First, watch this video that I made:
Now be sure to pack these things:
- Good friends
- Suntan lotion
- Cowboy hat
- Seltzer water
- Watermelon or other fresh fruits
I made this page to help people have a great picnic with family or friends. There’s nothing for sale here and no sponsored links. I’m a member of the Central Park Conservancy’s Young Members group (called Greensward Circle) and I really do love Central Park.
If you found this helpful, or if you have any corrections or suggestions, leave me a comment below or send me an email.