Though it’s not quite as big as Central Park, Brooklyn’s Prospect Park feels grander and greener largely thanks to patches of native forest that are older than the city itself. A plaque marking a key Revolutionary War site on the 3.5-mile running and biking loop also keep this bucolic cite in context. You can keep the history lesson going by seeking out the vaulted arches that were once lined with Gustavino tiles, slated to be restored in the coming years. The Prospect Park Alliance has already completed several other astonishing refurbishments at the south end of the park, including a new ice/roller rink, paddle boats that bring you closer to the lake’s population of coi fish and turtles, and wacky bicycle hires at the newly dubbed Lefrak Center.
Bordering on the neighborhoods of Park Slope, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Prospect Park South, and Windsor Terrace, this is also one of the city’s homiest parks. Bring-your-own-barbecue outings are allowed in designated areas, and the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! summer concert series is mostly free and always packed.