When I first moved to Brooklyn I made a cozy neighborhood near Prospect Park my home. I’ve lived close by for almost fifteen years, and it’s a joy to tell you about the sweetness of this particular landmark location.
The lawn across the lake from the Boathouse in Prospect Park is a great vantage point for photos.
About Prospect Park
Let me tell you, this Brooklyn gem has quite a history. The park, which opened in 1867, was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the same dynamic duo behind Central Park in Manhattan. They wanted to create a space even better than Central Park, and many argue they succeeded.
You see, Olmsted and Vaux learned from their experience in Manhattan and incorporated even more picturesque vistas, meandering paths, and lush landscapes into Prospect Park. They wanted to create a true urban oasis where city dwellers could escape the hustle and bustle and enjoy nature’s beauty.
The park’s original design included several key features like the Long Meadow, a vast, open field that stretches nearly a mile. In addition, there is the Ravine, a serene, wooded area with a picturesque waterfall. They also included the lovely Prospect Park Lake, which is a popular spot for boating, bird-watching, and just taking in the stunning scenery.
Over the years, the park has evolved, and new attractions have been added. These attractions include the Prospect Park Zoo, the LeFrak Center at Lakeside, and the gorgeous Prospect Park Bandshell. This venue hosts concerts and other events. But, at the same time, the park has retained its original charm and continues to be a beloved destination for Brooklynites and visitors alike.
Do you know what’s really interesting? During World War I, the park even had a small piece of history right in its backyard! The U.S. Army used part of the park as a training ground. Thankfully, those days are long over, and now the park is a peaceful haven for all to enjoy.
So there you have it! Prospect Park is a true testament to Olmsted and Vaux’s vision and talent, and it has played a vital role in Brooklyn’s history for more than 150 years. It’s also been a sanctuary for myself and my family, especially in 2020. It was quite a special backyard for us to have when sheltering in place!
These steps in Prospect Park have been the backdrop to many an engagement session photo. It’s also where I photographed my oldest daughter’s prom photos!
The most popular Prospect Park photo locations:
Here are my top twenty favorite locations in Prospect Park for wedding, engagement, and portrait sessions:
The Boathouse (101 East Dr, Brooklyn, NY 11225)
The Boathouse is an architectural gem nestled in Prospect Park. With its stunning Beaux-Arts design and reflecting pool, this iconic location is a must for timeless and elegant photos. The beautifully landscaped surroundings and serene ambiance make it a popular choice for weddings and engagement sessions.
The Boathouse at night is especially stunning!
The Lullwater Bridge (East Dr, Brooklyn, NY 11225)
The Lullwater Bridge is a charming and picturesque spot in Prospect Park, offering idyllic views of the Lullwater and Boathouse. Rustic stone construction and elegant iron railings create a romantic setting for photo sessions. Lush greenery and calm waters provide a serene backdrop that beautifully complements the bridge’s timeless design. It’s also a classic location for family photos.
The Peristyle (96 Parkside Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11226)
Also known as the Grecian Shelter, the Peristyle is an elegant colonnade located in the southern part of Prospect Park. Its classical architecture, complete with ionic columns and a beautiful frieze, makes it a popular spot for photos. The surrounding landscaped grounds provide a lush and vibrant backdrop for your photo session.
The Camperdown Elm (near 101 East Dr, Brooklyn, NY 11225)
The Camperdown Elm is an unusual and historic tree located near the Boathouse. Its twisted, sprawling branches create an enchanting and almost otherworldly atmosphere, suitable for whimsical and artistic photos. This natural wonder has inspired poets like Marianne Moore and continues to captivate Prospect Park visitors.
The Picnic House (95 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, NY 11215)
The Picnic House is a charming and historic building located in Prospect Park. With its elegant brick facade and large windows overlooking the lush Long Meadow, it provides a beautiful setting for memorable photos. The surrounding open fields and picturesque trees create a beautiful backdrop for your photo session.
The Prospect Park Bandshell (62 West Dr, Brooklyn, NY 11225)
The Prospect Park Bandshell is a renowned outdoor music venue that hosts countless concerts and cultural events. Its striking modern design, with a sweeping canopy and bold geometric lines, provides a captivating and dynamic backdrop for photo sessions. The surrounding landscaped plaza and lush greenery add to the visual appeal of this iconic location.
I’ve seen countless concerts at the Bandshell and have fond memories of listening to Phoebe Bridgers on an unseasonably cool fall evening. It’s a truly special place that holds a special place in my heart.
The Carousel (95 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, NY 11215)
The Prospect Park Carousel is a charming and whimsical attraction that adds nostalgia and magic to your photo session. With its beautifully painted horses and intricate detailing, the carousel provides a playful and vibrant backdrop. It’s a popular spot for family photos and engagement sessions alike.
The LeFrak Center at Lakeside (171 East Dr, Brooklyn, NY 11225)
The LeFrak Center at Lakeside is a modern, multifunctional facility with striking architectural elements and beautiful lake views. Its sleek design, combined with the surrounding water and greenery, creates a visually appealing setting for contemporary and stylish photos. I especially love it in winter when you can ice skate there!
The Nethermead (near Center Dr, Brooklyn, NY 11225)
The Nethermead is a vast, open meadow located in the center of Prospect Park. Its expansive green space provides a versatile and picturesque backdrop for photo sessions, offering endless possibilities for creative compositions. The surrounding trees and lush landscaping create an atmosphere of tranquility and natural beauty.
As a Brooklyn resident, I’ve spent countless afternoons dreaming and reading under a blanket in the Nethermead. My kids have played here, and I’ve picnicked with friends here. It’s a special, dreamy spot!
The Nethermead is a great open green space perfect for wedding party photos.
The Vale of Cashmere (near East Dr & Ocean Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225)
The Vale of Cashmere is a hidden gem within Prospect Park, featuring an exquisite reflecting pool. The Vale of Cashmere is also a great spot for relaxing and soaking up the sunshine. It’s a dreamy private enclave perfect for a picnic, with plenty of trees and benches available. In the evening, it’s a beautiful place to watch the sunset.
The Oriental Pavilion (near 101 East Dr, Brooklyn, NY 11225)
The Oriental Pavilion is a beautiful and historic structure located near the Boathouse. Its intricate woodwork, vibrant colors, and unique architectural details make it a visually stunning backdrop for photo sessions. The surrounding gardens and water features provide a tranquil and picturesque setting that adds an exotic touch to your photos.
The Rose Garden (near 101 East Dr, Brooklyn, NY 11225)
The Rose Garden is a beautifully landscaped area in Prospect Park, featuring a variety of rose species and other flowering plants. Its manicured lawns, charming pathways, and decorative arches are one of the most colorful locations in the Park. It’s particularly popular during the spring and summer months when the flowers are in full bloom.
The Concert Grove (near 101 East Dr, Brooklyn, NY 11225)
The Concert Grove is a historic and picturesque area of Prospect Park that features striking statues, ornamental fountains, and vibrant flower beds. Its elegant design, combined with the surrounding greenery and waterfront views, is another great spot for engagement or family photos.
The Wellhouse (201 Wellhouse Dr, Brooklyn, NY 11218)
A charming and historic building, the Wellhouse is located near Prospect Park Lake. Its rustic stone facade, arched windows, and picturesque surroundings make it an ideal location for timeless and nostalgic photos. The nearby lake and lush greenery create a serene and peaceful atmosphere that beautifully complements the architecture.
The Zucker Natural Exploration Area (near East Dr, Brooklyn, NY 11225)
The Zucker Natural Exploration Area is an innovative and interactive space within Prospect Park that encourages play and exploration. It has natural, rustic elements, such as tree stumps and large boulders. It’s a popular spot for family photos, as it offers a fun and engaging environment for children.
The Dog Beach (near 101 East Dr, Brooklyn, NY 11225)
Dog Beach is a charming and lively area in Prospect Park where dogs can play and swim in the water. It has a sweet sandy shoreline, a rustic wooden fence, and picturesque lake views. It’s especially popular among pet owners who want to capture memorable moments with their furry friends.
The Grand Army Plaza (Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238)
The Grand Army Plaza is a stunning and historic entrance to Prospect Park. It features the impressive Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Arch, as well as a variety of statues and fountains. Its grand architecture and rich history provide a visually striking and dignified backdrop for your photo session. This is especially true when the fountains are on and the trees are in full bloom. Nearby green spaces and tree-lined paths add to the location’s appeal.
The Peninsula (near East Dr, Brooklyn, NY 11225)
The Peninsula is a serene and picturesque area within Prospect Park, offering scenic waterfront views and lush greenery. The surrounding trees, wetlands, and wooden bridges create a peaceful and idyllic setting that captures the essence of the park.
The Ravine (near East Dr, Brooklyn, NY 11225)
The Ravine is a beautiful and secluded area in Prospect Park, featuring a cascading waterfall, rustic stone bridges, and dense woodland. Meandering pathways and hidden nooks provide endless photo opportunities.
The Children’s Corner (95 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, NY 11215)
The Children’s Corner is a lively and family-friendly area in Prospect Park, located near the park’s Willink entrance at Flatbush Avenue and Empire Boulevard. Designed to provide a fun and engaging environment for children of all ages, this area offers a variety of attractions and activities. This makes it a popular destination for families.
Prospect Park has so many gorgeous open green spaces perfect for all types of photo sessions.
Tips for your Prospect Park photo session
Getting to the park
Getting to Prospect Park is pretty straightforward, whether you’re driving, cycling, or using public transportation. The park is located in the heart of Brooklyn, bordered by several neighborhoods like Park Slope, Prospect Heights, and Lefferts Gardens.
If you’re using the subway, there are several lines near the park. You can take the B, Q, and S lines to Prospect Park Station. You can also take the 2 and 5 lines to Sterling Street or Winthrop Street. You can also take the 3 line to Eastern Parkway-Brooklyn Museum, and the F and G lines to 15th Street-Prospect Park or Fort Hamilton Parkway. Each of these stops is within walking distance of different park entrances.
For those who prefer the bus, several lines serve the park as well, including the B41, B43, B45, B48, B67, and B69 routes. These buses have stops along the perimeter of the park, providing easy access to various areas within the park.
If you’d like to drive to Prospect Park, there are several parking options available. Street parking can be found along the streets surrounding the park. However, remember that spots can fill up quickly, especially on weekends and during events. Be sure to check the posted parking signs for restrictions.
There are also two paid parking lots within the park itself. One is located at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside (171 East Dr, Brooklyn, NY 11225), and the other is near the Prospect Park Zoo (450 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225). Both parking lots have a limited number of spaces and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Rates vary depending on your stay duration and the time of year.
Cyclists can easily access Prospect Park through the many bike lanes surrounding the park. There are also designated bike paths within the park itself. Bike racks can be found at several locations throughout the park for secure parking.
So, whether you’re driving, taking public transit, or biking, getting to Prospect Park and finding parking should be a breeze. Just be prepared to arrive early during peak times to secure a spot!
Prospect Park is a great spot for wedding family photos!
Prospect Park’s four seasons
Seasons are important to consider when booking your portrait session. Each one brings its own unique beauty and charm to this Brooklyn oasis. Let me take you on a short journey through the year, highlighting the blooms and picturesque spots you can expect during each season!
The springtime in Prospect Park is simply enchanting. This is when the park comes alive with color as flowers and trees bloom. Cherry blossoms, magnolias, and daffodils can be found throughout the park, creating a lovely pastel palette. Don’t miss the Japanese Garden near the Boathouse, where cherry blossoms create a dreamy canopy. The Rose Garden also shows off its blooms, with a wide variety of roses adding vibrant hues to the mix.
Summer: As the weather warms up, the park’s lush greenery takes center stage. The Long Meadow becomes a popular spot for picnics, sunbathing, and frisbee tossing. The roses in the Rose Garden are in full bloom, creating a kaleidoscope of color and sweet scents. The Lily Pool Terrace, near the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, is another must-see spot, with water lilies and lotuses floating on the water’s surface.
Fall: Prospect Park’s autumn is all about foliage. The park’s many trees, including oaks, maples, and ginkgos, put on a spectacular show with vibrant shades of red, orange, and gold. The Ravine is a lovely spot to enjoy fall colors. Its winding paths and cascading waterfall are framed by the warm hues of the season. The Nethermead, a wide-open space in the center of the park, is another great place to enjoy autumnal beauty.
Fall in Prospect Park is a dreamscape of gold and red – it is truly stunning.
Winter: Even in the colder months, Prospect Park charms. The park’s landscape transforms into a serene, snow-covered wonderland. The LeFrak Center at Lakeside offers ice skating and other winter activities, making it a popular destination during this season. The bare branches of the park’s trees, dusted with snow, create a striking contrast against the winter sky. And if you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the park after a fresh snowfall, the picturesque scene will take your breath away.
Prospect Park offers a diverse range of beauty throughout the year, with each season adding its own unique touches to the landscape. No matter when you visit, there’s always something to admire and enjoy in this beloved Brooklyn haven – you just have to decide which one appeals to you when booking your session!
Hotels near Prospect Park
Prospect Park is surrounded by several vibrant Brooklyn neighborhoods, each with its own distinct character and charm. Let me tell you a bit about these neighborhoods and some of the closest hotels to the park, including their addresses and unique features.
- Park Slope: Known for its quaint brownstones, tree-lined streets, and family-friendly atmosphere, Park Slope is a popular neighborhood bordering the west side of Prospect Park. It’s filled with trendy boutiques, restaurants, and cafes. One hotel option in the area is:
- Hotel Le Bleu (370 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215): This boutique hotel offers modern and stylish accommodations with floor-to-ceiling windows, providing stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. Hotel Le Bleu also offers complimentary breakfast and is just a short walk from the park. I’ve had family stay here in the past and they reported a pleasant experience.
- Prospect Heights: Located north of Prospect Park, Prospect Heights is a diverse neighborhood with historic brownstones and newly constructed developments. The neighborhood houses cultural institutions like the Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Nearby hotel options include:
- The Brooklyn (1199 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11216): This charming boutique hotel features contemporary rooms and suites with Brooklyn flair. The Brooklyn offers a fitness center, an on-site restaurant, and is close to several subway lines for easy access to Prospect Park and other attractions.
- Lefferts Gardens: Situated southeast of Prospect Park, Lefferts Gardens is a diverse and residential neighborhood with historic homes and apartment buildings. It offers easy access to the park and the Prospect Park Zoo. A hotel in the area is:
- Lefferts Manor Bed & Breakfast (80 Rutland Rd, Brooklyn, NY 11225): This cozy B&B is set in a historic 19th-century townhouse, offering a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Guests can enjoy a daily continental breakfast and the convenience of being just a short walk from the park.
- Windsor Terrace: Located southwest of Prospect Park, Windsor Terrace is a quiet, residential neighborhood with tree-lined streets and close-knit community vibes. This is the neighborhood I’ve called home since 2008. There aren’t any hotel options in this area, but one suggestion a bit further out is:
- Sleep Inn Brooklyn Coney Island (2586 Stillwell Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11223): Although a bit further from the park, this budget-friendly hotel offers clean and comfortable rooms with modern amenities. The hotel is near the F and G subway lines, providing easy access to Prospect Park and other Brooklyn attractions.
Each of these hotels offers a unique experience for visitors looking to stay near Prospect Park, catering to a variety of preferences and budgets. With easy access to the park and surrounding neighborhoods, these hotels provide an excellent base for exploring Brooklyn.
Places to eat near Prospect Park
Each neighborhood surrounding Prospect Park offers a fantastic selection of dining options, showcasing diverse cuisines to suit a variety of tastes. Here are some notable places to eat in each neighborhood.
- Park Slope:
- Al Di Là Trattoria (248 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215): This cozy Italian restaurant serves delicious Venetian cuisine, including homemade pasta dishes and perfectly cooked risottos. It’s a neighborhood favorite, so be prepared for a wait or make a reservation in advance.
- Talde (369 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215): Talde is a modern Asian-American restaurant helmed by Top Chef alum Dale Talde. The menu features creative and flavorful dishes inspired by Asian and American cuisines, such as Korean fried chicken and pretzel pork dumplings.
- Prospect Heights:
- Olmsted (659 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238): Named after Frederick Law Olmsted, one of Prospect Park’s designers, this farm-to-table restaurant offers a seasonal menu focusing on locally sourced ingredients. Creative dishes, paired with a cozy atmosphere, make it a popular dining destination in the neighborhood.
- Chuko (565 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238): This trendy ramen joint offers a variety of broths and toppings to choose from, along with small plates and appetizers. The casual atmosphere and delicious noodles make it the ideal spot for a comforting meal.
- Lefferts Gardens:
- Glou (406 Rogers Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225): Glou is a cozy wine bar and restaurant offering a curated selection of natural wines and a rotating menu of shareable plates. The dishes are influenced by Mediterranean and French flavors, making it the perfect spot for a relaxed evening with friends or a romantic date.
- MangoSeed (757 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11226): This Caribbean restaurant serves flavorful and hearty dishes like jerk chicken, oxtail, and curry goat. The vibrant atmosphere, friendly service, and delicious food make MangoSeed a neighborhood staple.
- Windsor Terrace:
- Krupa Grocery (231 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, NY 11215): This cafe and grocery store offers delicious breakfast and lunch options, with a focus on locally sourced ingredients. From creative sandwiches to hearty grain bowls, Krupa Grocery has something for everyone. I highly suggest ordering the lemon ricotta pancakes – they’re delicious!
- Le Paddock (1235 Prospect Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11218): This French bistro in Windsor Terrace serves classic French dishes with a modern twist. Enjoy coq au vin, steak frites, and escargot in a charming and rustic setting.
These are just a few examples of the diverse dining options you’ll find in Prospect Park neighborhoods. From casual cafes to upscale restaurants, there’s something to satisfy every palate, making these areas a true food lover’s paradise.
To summarize, I love Prospect Park.
Prospect Park is a beloved Brooklyn oasis that offers a wide array of experiences for visitors and locals alike.
Surrounded by vibrant neighborhoods like Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Lefferts Gardens, and Windsor Terrace, the park itself features stunning seasonal beauty, from springtime blooms to autumn foliage.
Within the park, you’ll find iconic photo-worthy spots, such as the Boathouse, the Rose Garden, and the Ravine.
Nearby hotels cater to various preferences and budgets, providing a convenient base for exploring the park and the surrounding areas.
Each neighborhood offers diverse dining options, with restaurants and cafes serving delicious cuisine.
With so much to see and do, Prospect Park and its neighboring areas truly capture Brooklyn’s charm and allure. It’s where I call home, and I hope you visit soon!