Measuring 26 feet high and 96 feet wide, the Bethesda Fountain is one of the largest water features in New York City. It is the centerpiece of the Bethesda Terrace, an area designed by Frederick Law Olmsted to function as the heart of the park. The top tier of the fountain holds the Angel of the Waters, a sculpture designed by artist Emma Stebbins—and the only statue commissioned especially for the park. The fountain commemorates the opening of the Croton Aqueduct, which brought fresh running water to the city for the first time in the 1840s.
Relax by the fountain and do some people watching, or visit during a bike, pedicab, horse and carriage, or walking tour of the park.
Things to Know Before You Go
The upper part of the terrace, above the Arcade, offers overhead views of the fountain.
The main part of the terrace is wheelchair accessible.
Restrooms near the fountain are open during daylight hours March through early November.
How to Get There
The Bethesda Fountain is in the lower third of Central Park. The closest park entrance is at East 72nd Street. To reach the fountain via subway, take the A, B, or C train to 72nd St. and Central Park West, and walk half-way across the park.
When to Get There
Central Park is open daily all year round. The Bethesda Fountain is most popular on warm days, when visitors gather on the surrounding terrace, and in the fall, when it is surrounded by stunning foliage.
Visit Strawberry Fields
A short walk west of Bethesda Terrace you’ll find Strawberry Fields, a memorial dedicated to the musician and activist John Lennon. Visit the garden—which sits just steps from where Lennon was shot outside his apartment building on Central Park West—to enjoy a moment of quiet contemplation, commune with other Beatles fans, and see the memorial’s famous Imagine mosaic.
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- Strawberry Fields (John Lennon Memorial)
- New York City Fifth Avenue
- Frick Collection
- The Dakota Apartments
- Belvedere Castle
- The Met Breuer
- New-York Historical Society Museum and Library
- Central Park
- Central Park Zoo
- Wollman Rink
- Hayden Planetarium
- American Museum of Natural History
- Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)
- FAO Schwarz
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