Bravo! You’ve completed the TCS New York City Marathon. And if you’re lucky enough to have a few carefree days left in the Big Apple, there’s no better time—with fall colors and moderate temps—to visit some of the city’s favorite parks. Plus, your recovering legs will thank you for a leisurely stroll to get the blood flowing.
Here are five free park events this week that will get you walking, hiking–or in one case, skating–off your marathon soreness.
- Central Park Tour: Heart of the Park: Monday, November 11, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. This free east-to-west tour passes some of the park’s most famous landmarks, including Conservatory Water, Loeb Boathouse, Bethesda Terrace, Bow Bridge, Cherry Hill, the lake and Strawberry Fields. It begins in front of the Samuel F. B. Morse statue (inside the Park at 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue) and ends at 72nd Street and Central Park West. Warning, marathon runners: the tour involves some stairs.
- Morning Fitness at Fort Tryon Park: Tuesday, November 7, 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. (Also held Thursday at 7:30 a.m. and Saturday at 8:30 a.m.) Breathe in the autumn air and take in the view during this free, one-hour session of walking, stretching and strengthening exercises. Suitable for all levels. Meet at Cabrini Boulevard and Fort Washington Avenue in Manhattan.
- SkateFest: Tuesday, November 7, 1 – 3 p.m. For marathon spectators—or runners who recover quickly—learn to skate with the pros during an afternoon of ice skate lessons at Bryant Park’s Rink at Bank of America Winter Village. The lessons are free, taught by folks from US Figure Skating. All ages and skill levels welcome, but spots are limited. Walk-up registration begins at the rink 45 minutes prior to the 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. sessions. Skate rentals are available.
- NYRR Open Run: Brooklyn Bridge Park: Tuesday, November 7, 7 – 8 p.m. Of course you’re not ready to race again yet, but if you’re up for a couple-mile light jog or walk, join this weekly, volunteer-led, free running initiative. Participants are encouraged to arrive 15 minutes before the start of the run and to leave their valuables at home – bag check is not provided. Open to all ages, experience levels, walkers, strollers and dogs. Meet on the south side of Fornino on Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
- Evening Group Hike at the Greenbelt Nature Center: Wednesday, November, 6 – 9 p.m. Take a walk on the city’s wild side—and explore a less-visited borough–on this free weekly evening hike. The hike covers four or five miles, has some small climbs and is moderately paced. Bring water, snacks and a headlamp (a smartphone flashlight will do in a pinch) now that it’s getting dark earlier. Meet at the Greenbelt Nature Center on Staten Island, 700 Rockland Avenue at Brielle Avenue.
A bit of trivia: Across the five boroughs, New York City has more than 1,700 parks, playgrounds and recreation facilities. The largest is 2,765-acre Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx. Central Park is about one-third that size.