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Belvedere CastleThe Highlights
Belvedere Castle: Central Park's Best Views in a Regal Setting
Belvedere Castle is a Gothic-inspired creation complete with a single turret, two wooden balconies, and two pavilions. "Belvedere" translates to "beautiful view" in Italian, which is fitting since the castle rests on Vista Rock and overlooks the old reservoir (now the Great Lawn) to the north and the Mall to the south. The castle has had many uses over the decades, but today, it's a visitor center and nature observatory that's well worth a stop while you're biking through Central Park.
History of Belvedere Castle
NYC architects Calvert Vaux, an Englishman who moved to America in the 1850s, and Frederick Law Olmsted, often called "the founder of American landscape architecture," designed and built the castle in 1867. Designed as a Victorian statement piece for visitors, the castle had empty window frames and doorways when first built.
Belvedere Castle in Central Park, New York City, turned functional in 1919 when the U.S. Weather Bureau converted it to the official Central Park weather observatory, adding windows and doors and changing the turret's shape to accommodate meteorological instruments. In the 1960s, the Weather Bureau removed the lab and offices and replaced them with automated instruments. In 1983, the Central Park Conservancy restored the castle to its original design and opened it as one of the park's five visitor centers.
Why Visit Belvedere Castle in Central Park?
Central Park's best vantage points are found here, and the observation deck and exhibit rooms welcome tourists to learn from displays full of telescopes, microscopes, and skeletons. The displays also encourage children to learn about natural observation and the scientific method. Because Belvedere Castle has become one of NYC's most popular bird-watching sites, another exhibit includes a plywood tree filled with papier-mâché models of birds often seen in Central Park. Free family and community programs at the castle include birding and astronomy lessons, stargazing opportunities, and story times.
Where Is Belvedere Castle Located in Central Park?
Belvedere Castle is just off of the 79th Street Transverse near the Turtle Pond in Central Park.
How to Get to Belvedere Castle
Central Park visitors will find it easiest to get to Belvedere Castle by bike or on foot, since it's in the center of the park. The closest subway stop is at 81st Street: Museum of Natural History Station on the A, B, and C lines.
See Central Park's Top Attractions by Bike
Ready to see Belvedere Castle and other great sights in Central Park? It's simple with Bike Rental Central Park! You can tour the park with an experienced guide, or if you'd rather go off on your own, you can rent a bike and chart your own course through the park. Either way, you'll get a safe, comfortable, well-maintained bike to use, plus a helmet and lock. Whether you're looking to explore Belvedere Castle in Central Park, New York City at night, or attractions in Harlem, Bike Rental Central Park can help you experience the city your way on two wheels. Book online with us today for the best price!