You do not need to be a child to play in the snow. Play is primal and essential for even adults, and the residents of New York City are so aware of this fact.
Now, we're guessing you've heard that this past weekend, Storm Jonas came and went, leaving 26.8 inches of snow behind.
What do we think when we hear '26.8 inches of snow'? Yeah, you guessed right: lots and lots of playing.
We're talking sledding, snow angels, snowball fights, cross country skiing, even snowshoeing. Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to hook yourself up to a Jeep to snowboard in NYC.
Also helpful to note is that NYC Parks hosts snow days, which are some of the most fun days in the city at some of the city's most beautiful snow places. The Parks Department provides sleds, snowman building contests, snow angel contests, friendly snowball fights, and complimentary hot chocolate.
If there's snow on the ground, visit this page to find out if it's an NYC Parks snow day. Then, get ready to play.
That said, read on to find out the absolute most excellent places to play in the snow in NYC.
1. Central Park
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Obviously, Central Park is riddled with excellent sledding hills. It's also got plenty of excellent paths perfect for cross-country skiing.
The best spots for cross-country skiing in Central Park the Great Lawn, and Sheep Meadow. Cross-country skiing is only allowed when the snow is at least six inches deep.
If you do take to Central Park for skiing, you won't be alone. You'll be chased by dogs, whiz past the delighted yells of sledding children, and you'll get to gasp at some of the most stunning views around.
If you came to Central Park to sled, get to 68th Street and check out Pilgrim Hill. It gets crowded, but that's just because it's thrilling.
For a less-steep but still fun Central Park sledding hill, check out Cedar Hill at 77th Street. It's less crowded, and less intense, but still a blast.
2. Inwood Hill Park
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Do you want an incredible sledding experience, without tons of crowds blocking your path?
Then Inwood Hill Park is for you. It's probably both the best place to sled in Manhattan, while also maintaining the title of least mobbed sledding spot.
Not enough people know about this snowy wonder. We know we're probably blowing it by writing about Inwood Hill Park, but really, you need to check it out. It's playing in the snow paradise. It's snowmen and snow angel heaven.
Do yourself a favor and come to Inwood Hill Park to play in the snow.
3. Morningside Park
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Want a thrilling sledding experience? Then definitely make out to the hills at Morningside Park.
Probably the main reason for Morningside Park's snow-playing excellence are its variety of hills. It's got excellent inclines at 100th Street, 113th Street, and 122nd Street.
Even better is that the hills get hit hard by all variety of NYC sledders, so if you come later in the afternoon, the hill will be well plowed and you'll race down even faster.
Don't want such a harrowing sledding experience? Get to Morningside Park earlier in the day. The snow will be fluffier and provide traction between you and the bottom of the hill.
4. Prospect Park
prospect_park What's your favorite #sledding spot in #ProspectPark? Photo: Joseph O. Holmes #snow #play #winter
If Prospect Park is your park, make sure to get to the hills in Long Meadow. It's the Parks Department's official Brooklyn snow day site, but you don't have to wait until it's a snow day to plop yourself on a sled and whip down those hills.
Plus, Prospect Park has not one, but two excellent ice skating rinks. So if you get tired of sledding, snowboarding, and building snow-women (see what we did there?) you can check out the ice skating scene.
It's also helpful to note that Prospect Park's Picnic House passes out free hot chocolate on snowy days, which is a great way to warm up after a strenuous day of playing.
All-in-all, Prospect Park is 526 acres of natural bliss. It's got tons of trees, the bulk of Brooklyn's remaining indigenous forest, and tons of space to have a blast playing in the snow.,
5. Fort Greene Park
claudiaillustration End of a beautiful day before it all turns to grey slush. #fortgreenepark #sledding
NYC Parks offers free sleds, snowball fights, snow angel contests, and free hot chocolate at Fort Greene Park near the monument on NYC snow days.
They've also got NYC's only evening snow day with glow in the dark features on NYC's snow days from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Fort Greene is also an excellent place to journey to for sledding, because they've got four giant hills between Myrtle and Dekalb Avenues.
Don't be so intimidated. Yes, they've got the daredevil hill variety, but they've also got some pretty mellow hills if you don't want to fear for your life while you're rushing down on your sled.
6. Riverside Park
nyc_morgan Taking full advantage of all this snow ❄️ #riversidepark
Riverside Park is an excellent spot in NYC to shred some snow cross-country skiing.
"It's like having Vermont in New York City," said Patricia Body, who cross-country skies in Riverside Park near 108th Street. "It's a way to find the country in the city. You're skiing along in the park at dusk and it's like a winter wonderland."
They've also got some really stunning Hudson River views if you carry your sled, snowboard, or skis to the Hippo Playground at 91st Street. Watch out for the trees scattered on the side of the park's hills, though.
There's also a tamer sledding hill at 103rd Street, and a way exhilarating, way steep hill at 105th Street, which is strictly for daredevils only. We mean it.
You'll probably feel like your sled is going to careen into the West Side Highway, but the city leaves hay bales at the bottom of the hill to keep that from actually happening.
7. Juniper Valley Park
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Get to Juniper Valley Park during NYC's Parks Department snow days at 78th Street and Juniper Valley North for free sledding, contests, and hot chocolate from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The hills at Juniper Valley Park are short and fast. They're steep enough that you'll get that stomach-dropping thrill, but short lived enough that you won't be wondering whether you'll survive this sled ride.
Luckily, the hills at the park funnel right into the park's open space, so while you're rocketing down the hill you won't have to worry about cars or trees.
It does tend to get pretty mobbed on snowy days at Juniper Valley Park, but that can enhance your experience. Nothing can improve a mood on a snowy day like yelping kids and happy puppies, right?
8. Saint Nicholas Park
danielcfletcher Sledding after #blizzard2016 #jonas #jobrosnow #saintnicholaspark
The hill at 135th Street in Saint Nicholas Park is definitely an NYC sledding hotspot.
Saint Nicholas Park is a spacious natural haven nestled at the intersection of Saint Nicholas Avenue and 127th Street.
It's got small, gentle sloping hills. If you want to casually skim the top of the snow while you gently slide down on your sled, in other words, if you're a beginner, Saint Nicholas Park might be right for you.
If that's not your scene, there's also a pretty enormous hill in the park, too, which provides a phenomenal sledding experience. Don't hit it until you're ready for a real breathtaking ride.
When you are ready, though, get ready for the thrill of your life. That's right: the most extreme thrill of your whole life.
Check out 8 Prettiest Places to Enjoy Snow in NYC.[Feature Image Courtesy City Guide NY]