50 Things To Do With Your Kids This Summer in New York City

Summer is life, and we want to make those sweet moments with our kiddos count (as well as filling those looooong ten weeks!). Living in NYC makes that easy. Whether you will be taking a vacation or staying in the city, there are countless opportunities for summer fun. Check out 50 things to do with your kids this summer right in our own backyard!

  1. Zip line the day away at the Bronx Zoo Treetop Adventure Climb & Zipline. Climb through obstacle courses and zip line over a river!
  2. Grab your roller skates (or rent a pair) and head down to Pier 2 Roller Rink at Brooklyn Bridge Park for daily roller skating, lively music, and special events throughout the summer.
  3. Take a break from the scorching summer heat by cooling of at the newly renovated Chelsea Waterside Play Area, which features a one-of-a-kind, Robinia wood pipefish and limestone cattle head sculptures alongside the sprinklers.

    Kids love the sprinklers at Chelsea Waterside Park! Photo by Hudson River Park.
  4. No summer is complete without a visit (or 10) to Coney Island! Enjoy the beach and the rides in Luna Park, walk along the 1,000-foot long Steeplechase Park Pier and get amazing views of the ocean.
  5. Bring your music lover to enjoy an outdoor concert at Central Park Summerstage or Prospect Park Bandshell, including The National,  Father John Misty, the Met Opera Recital Series, and the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival.
  6. Make and fly a kite, code an app, and learn about slime at STEM Kids NYC on Governor’s Island in ongoing weekend sessions.
  7. Cool off at the American Museum of Natural History and catch one last viewing of Unseen Oceans. This exhibit shows you the secret world of the ocean and its mysterious animals that inhabit it, and it closes August 18th.

    Families check out the Unseen Oceans exhibit! Photo by American Museum of Natural History.
  8. Walk, explore, and learn about the natural world in the drop-off program, Science in the Woods at Alley Pond Park. Or walk through Little Bay Park and search for small animal life using nets in Science in the Bay.
  9. Pack a blanket and treat your kids to a movie under the city stars at various NYC parks. Popular screenings include Bohemian Rhapsody at Bushwick Inlet Park and Aquaman at Willowbrook Park in Staten Island.

    Outdoor movies are a NYC classic! Photo by NYC Parks.
  10. No experience necessary to plan an adventure in the NYC waters and do some kayaking and canoeing for free at the LIC Community Boathouse.
  11. Discover your Chinese Zodiac sign and make a puppet in Zodiac Shadow Puppets at Socrates Sculpture Park.
  12. Hop on one of 14 animals at the Bryant Park Carousel and enjoy some French Cabaret tunes while riding around under a beautiful leafy awning of London Place trees.
  13. Learn about science and do some bird watching at Central Park’s Belvedere Castle. Discovery kits, telescopes, and microscopes are on hand to deepen the experience.

    Visit this iconic castle this summer with your family!
  14. Take in a gorgeous view on the East River while settling down for a picnic in Astoria Park. Have supper on a blanket in the grass or take in a bench view and then let the kids frolic in Charybdis Playground, or take a stroll to the nearby skate park.
  15. Show your Brooklyn pride at the Macy’s Annual Fourth of July fireworks show back again in the borough this year, with three times the pyrotechnics that will span the entire Brooklyn Bridge.

    This colorful and elaborate fireworks show is sure to impress. Photo by Macy’s.
  16. Go horseback riding with Kensington Stables right in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park along a 3.5-mile path and see all the sights of the park. Pony rides available outside the barns for the younger crowd.
  17. Enjoy 18 holes of mini-golf at Flushing Meadows alongside some spectacular landscaping, including streams and waterfalls. As an added bonus, the course is fully lit for night play.
  18. Bounce up and down in the largest bounce house in the world (we’re not kidding-it holds the Guinness World Record!) when it comes to Aviator Sports in July. The 20,000 square foot trampoline park also has an obstacle course, basketball courts, and a huge ball pit.

    big bounce
    Don’t miss out on the world’s largest bounce house!
  19. Young chefs or food aficionados can relish in Smorgasburg, where a plethora of tasty treats from 100 restaurants are served up every Saturday in East River State Park in Williamsburg and Sunday in Prospect Park. Smaller versions can be found at World Trade Center on Fridays and Hudson Yards on Tues-Wed.
  20.  Glide down New York City’s longest slide at Slide Hill at Governor’s Island. One of the four slides measures 57-feet and is a winding path of squealing fun and amazing views.
  21. Spend a day a Victorian Gardens amusement park and enjoy bumper cars, magic shows, a mini roller coaster, slide and more right in Central Park.
  22. Delight in a bevy of animals and attractions at the Queens Zoo! Check out bison and deer on the animal trail, visit the aviary to see exotic birds, and witness the sea lion pool up close and personal.

    There are lots of cool & cute animals to check out at Queen’s Zoo! Photo by Queens Zoo.
  23. Cool down from the sweltering heat with water inflatables, bounce houses, face painting, snacks and lots of fun water play at the Water Festival at Seaside Playground in Far Rockaway.
  24. Get captivated by Shakespeare in the Park in the 1,800 seat Delacorte Theater and check out the Disney songs and Broadway shows for kids on Labor Day weekend.
  25. Board the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum on one designated night each month on free Fridays and check out performances, film screenings, exhibits, and take a stroll along the flight deck.
  26. Take a dip in any (or all!) of the NYC pools in every borough. It’s always free!

    Families spend the day at Red Hook Pool. Photo by NYC Parks.
  27. Bring the family (and your sleeping bags!) outside for the night and sleep under the stars at Free Family Camping with the Urban Park Rangers.
  28. Climb your way to the top … of the Observatory Deck at the Empire State Building and see the city from a whole new view!
  29. Build a spaceship and launch in to space in “3-2-1 Blast Off!” at the Lego Store at Rockefeller Center throughout June.
  30. Take in a good old-fashioned baseball game and watch the Brooklyn Cyclones play under the lights of Steeplechase Park at MCU Park.
  31. Check out lion dance performances, Chinese crafts and children’s activities at the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

    The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival is an exciting, must-do event in the summer! Photo by The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York, Inc.
  32. Watch the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest and spend the Fourth of July day at the beach.
  33. Bike, roller blade or just stroll down the Summer Streets when 7 miles of city streets are closed to cars for three Saturdays in August and catch musical performances, a water slide, and a climbing wall along the way.
  34. Visit the Jim Henson Exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image and see how Henson created his treasured characters up close and personal, and get a peek at some favorite puppets!
  35. Celebrate Harlem Week with a film screening, dance party, an auto show and many other festivities, including a 5K run.
  36. Build a big sandcastle, climb ropes, or splash in a wading pool at Imagination Playground at the South Street Seaport.

    Imagination Playground is a popular destination for summer creativity! Photo by Daniel Avila.
  37. Enjoy an art farm, chess, bubble garden, yoga story time, and musical performances at Citi Summer in the Square.
  38. Take an NYC ferry ride and see the city from the water’s view along various routes: East River, Rockaway, South Brooklyn, Astoria, Staten Island, and more.
  39. Make your way to the fascinating Hudson Yards public landmark, temporarily known as Vessel, and delight in this architectural feat.

    Hudson Yards is the place to be this summer- especially with this intricate vessel!
  40. Rent a bike at Wheel Fun Rentals in Marine Park and do laps around the park in a chopper, quad sport, tandem bike, or surrey.
  41. Keep your Math skills sharp and avoid summer brain drain by playing Math focused games at MoMath National Museum of Mathematics.
  42. Volunteer to help dogs and care for them at an animal rescue shelter.
  43. Learn about rare birds, go bird watching, and enjoy nature programs at the Audubon Center.
  44. Be part of the International Coastal Cleanup in the Rockaways and help reduce trash along the city shores.
  45. Invent your own plant and enjoy hands-on science experiments in the children’s adventure garden at the New York Botanical Garden.

    The beautiful gardens at New York Botanical Garden are a sight to see. Photo by Joseph DeSciose.
  46. Don’t just take your child to see a Broadway show, let them become part of one in Pip’s Island, a creative interactive, performance art experience where the children are immersed in the adventure.
  47. Who needs horses when you can hop aboard a SeaGlass Carousel in Battery Park City and see what it’s like to gracefully float in water?
  48. Get moving and learn how to dance or watch a musical performance in Let’s Dance at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.

    Dance it out this summer with Let’s Dance! Photo by Children’s Museum of Manhattan.
  49. Chill out with a delicious frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity 3, or indulge in a “Can’t Say No Sundae”.
  50. Sing and dance to Suzi Shelton, Justin Roberts and the Not –it’s at Madison Square Kids Concerts.

Danielle Sullivan is a writer and mom of three living in New York City. Follow her on Instagram @Deewrite.