Parks to Unwind & Destress in New York City


Truth be told, living in New York City is not always all it’s cracked up to be. Yes, it has art, culture, and job opportunities that everyone wants to get their hands on. However, there’s also often heavy traffic, cramped public transportation, and a higher cost of living in urban areas. It’s no wonder that New York is one of the most stressed out cities in the entire nation – top six in fact.

New York City is and always will be a concrete jungle but that doesn’t mean we don’t have small pockets of green spaces to allow you to unwind and relax in. You don’t have to be a devout yogi in order to relax; you can simply take a few moments to yourself in a safe and quiet space. There are quite a few parks big and small to help bring a balance to the city-scape.

Paley Park

Paley Park is proof that even smaller spaces bring great benefits to one’s mental well-being. This pocket-sized park in Midtown Manhattan has been around for over five decades and is beloved by many New Yorkers. Its main feature is an artificial waterfall that mimics the sound of the real thing. A study from the University of Sussex indicates that listening to sounds of nature is extremely relaxing and perfect for stress relief. Paley Park can be the perfect place to read a book as nature sounds also enhance attention.

Bryant Park

The New York Public Library front lawn is called Bryant Park. The London plane trees and green field make for a very relaxing atmosphere, ideal for unrolling your mat and practicing yoga. In fact, Time Out noted how Bryant Park hosts free outdoor yoga classes as of last year. Once summertime rolls around they are still on every Tuesday morning and Thursday evening and continue to attract hordes of yogis looking to take their practice outdoors. Yoga is a highly meditative activity practiced by millions all over the world. Not only is it effective for unwinding, but it also helps improve fitness and your immune system. By practicing yoga outdoors you’ll also get some much needed Vitamin D to keep your bones strong and your blood flow healthy.

Flushing Meadows

Even if you don’t consider yourself athletic, participating or just watching sports can be a very effective distraction. Head over to Flushing Meadows, home of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. There are several courts to accommodate guests of all ages. If you don’t play tennis, why not watch some of the best players in the world in action instead? USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center hosts the US Open, which starts in late August. Last year’s event was won by 21-year-old underdog Naomi Osaka, who represents Japan, surprising everyone by defeating superstar Serena Williams. Despite her loss, Serena Williams is still one of tennis’ highest earners after winning 23 Grand Slam titles during her career. The upcoming tournament is anticipated to be her redemption and being witness to that can be a very effective— and exciting— way to unwind.

The High Line

What was once an abandoned railway track is now one of Manhattan’s famous parks. The High Line is a 1.45-mile long park with professional landscaping and plenty of benches to rest on. What sets this park apart from many is the presence of contemporary art. Relaxing and viewing public art can be calming and might even encourage you to create your own masterpiece.

Jessica Tiare Bowen
Jessica Tiare Bowen lives in the juicy Big Apple with her adorable pink-nosed chihuahua, Gillman. He's the inspiration for her first published children's book, "Park Avenue Pound Puppy." The book is the combined result of her two greatest passions: pooches and penning stories.

Her passions include art, urban hikes through Manhattan, drinking coffee with 3 creams and 6 sugars, making extremely detailed itineraries and traveling to far away places, singing along to Broadway shows, Netflix movie nights, discovering incredible treasures at Goodwill and thrift stores, and listening to stories from little people under 7 and big people over 70.

She started her career as New York City Teaching Fellow, teaching elementary school and theater arts at a special education school in the South Bronx for 6 years. She is now a Special Education School Improvement Specialist working in public schools throughout New York City. She is the Editor-In-Chief of the online New York City travel magazine, Used York City. The magazine focuses on finding the best of New used by New Yorkers. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and an ASPCA Ambassador.
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