Our Ultimate Summer Fun Guide To New York City’s Best Warm Weather Activities

Astoria Pool, Photo by D. Avila


Dubbed “The Best Public Pool in NYC” by New York Daily News, the Olympic-standard Astoria Pool in Astoria Park is a surefire way to stay cool during the hottest days of summer. Twice serving as the site of the Olympic diving trials, the city’s biggest man-made swimming area has a mushroom fountain kids will love, as well as some pretty great panoramic views of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. nycgovparks.org

Next up is McCarren Park Pool. Renovated in 2012, this massive 37,571-square-ft pool in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, brings in the crowds due to its expansive poolside space, which allows plenty of room for families to soak in the sun. nycgovparks.org

Situated in the Lower East Side in Hamilton Fish Park, Hamilton Fish Pool also tops the list as one of New York City’s biggest public swimming facilities. Named after a 19th Century politician who hailed from the neighborhood, the area includes two separate pools for diving and wading. nycgovparks.org

Although much newer than many of the city’s other public pools, the Floating Pool is notable in its own right. Perched on a large barge located in the Bronx beside Barretto Point Park, this unusual seven-lane pool is among the first of its kind, making it an especially cool place to swim. nycgovparks.org


An ocean-side neighborhood in Brooklyn that also happens to be right next door to Coney Island, Brighton Beach is a popular summer hotspot for locals. Nicknamed “Little Odessa,” in reference to the Ukrainian city many of the neighborhood’s residents hail from, Brighton Beach is a great place to visit to immerse yourself in Eastern European culture. End a relaxing day at the shore by checking out any of the nearby shops and Ukranian restaurants. nycgovparks.org

Located on Brooklyn’s southern tip along Oriental Boulevard, Manhattan Beach is a popular summertime destination for residents all over the city. This small, quiet beach is surrounded by playgrounds, two baseball diamonds, and tennis, basketball, and handball courts, making it the perfect getaway spot for those looking for a more relaxed and family-friendly beach day atmosphere. nycgovparks.org

It’s easy to understand why the beach at Jacob Riis Park in Queens has been dubbed “The People’s Beach.” This historical summertime destination is known for its mile-long stretch of sandy shoreline, boardwalks, and landscaped walkways, as well as its restored Art Deco bathhouse that hosts numerous ranger-led programs during the summer months. Families will also enjoy taking advantage of the nearby Pitch and Putt Golf Course, basketball courts, and concession stands. nycgovparks.org

Jones Beach, located in Wantagh, Long Island, is the perfect place for families looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a day-long getaway. Situated on Long Island’s south shore, the world famous state park is made up of 6.5 miles of sandy white beach and attracts millions of visitors each year. Visitors can take a stroll along the boardwalk, learn about nature at the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center, play miniature golf, and fish to their heart’s content during their day at this summer staple. parks.ny.gov


An eclectic mix of wildly fun street and field sports, the Come Out and Play Festival is back this July along with its popular Family Day mini-festival on Governors Island. Kids can explore a multitude of activities centered on an overarching theme and play various sports that are a creative combination of traditional and modern. In past years, visitors have enjoyed partaking in unique games like “Ultimate Quadball” and “Sesame Street Boxheads.” comeoutandplay.org

On Saturday, July 15, the Waterfront Alliance will host their 10th annual City of Water Day, where families can celebrate summer along the waterfront with all sorts of fun, water-themed events, games, and activities. Highlights include live music, boat tours, and several food vendors. The festival takes place at two main locations: Governors Island and Maxwell Place Park. waterfrontalliance.org

Enjoy some great music and good food during the family-friendly Pleasantville Music Festival in Pleasantville, New York on July 8. From internationally known headliners, to smaller, local acts, to entertaining activities for kids, this festival, happening just 35 miles outside of NYC, has something for rock music lovers of all ages. pleasantvillemusicfestival.com

Do you and your kids love dressing up and dancing? If so, then don’t miss the 12th year of Michael Arenella’s Jazz Age Lawn Party August 26-27 on Governor’s Island. Travel back in time while participating in a Charleston contest, learning some classic dance moves, and eating sophisticated 1920’s food. events12.com/newyork

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Attend the 29th Annual Contemporary Art Education Exhibition at BRIC House through June 18 to view the artistic works of students in grades K-12 from over 30 public schools. These select students have participated in the Brooklyn Information and Culture organization’s residency programs that bring contemporary artists and their techniques to classrooms. bricartsmedia.org

It’s never too early to expose kids to the arts, and the 22nd annual Lincoln Center Festival is a great way to experience a whole world of different cultures and crafts. From July 10-30, enjoy opera, music, dance, and theater performed from “contemporary artistic viewpoints.” This year, the lineup will have a broader theme focused on bridging international gaps and will feature plays from Syrian and Israeli playwrights. lincolncenterfestival.org

Harlem Week, a month-long celebration of local culture and history, is back this year from July 30-August 26. To highlight all that makes Harlem the unique, diverse, and historic neighborhood it is, this festival offers dozens of events and performances throughout the month, including fashion shows, film tributes, and concerts. There’s even a special two-day children’s festival that will feature a parade, arts and crafts, games, and various educational exhibits. harlemweek.com

Celebrate Father’s Day this year at the annual Egg Rolls, Egg Creams, and Empanadas Festival at the Museum at Eldridge Street. Featuring samplings of Jewish, Chinese, and Puerto Rican food, music, and art, this free cross-cultural celebration offers plenty of fun and educational events and activities for the whole family, including Chinese opera, mah jongg, Hebrew and Chinese scribal arts, and Puerto Rican mask and lace making. eldridgestreet.org

On June 25, celebrate Pride Week with a Pride March down 5th Avenue beginning at noon. This historic parade, now in its 48th year, is held in cities across the globe and attracts hundreds of thousands of viewers annually. Following the parade, be sure to also check out the PrideFest Fair on Hudson Street. nycpride.org/events

Attend the 27th annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival August 12-13 to watch 170 dragon-boat teams compete on Meadows Lake at Flushing Meadows Park in Queens. Be sure to take a break from spectating to also enjoy traditional Chinese music, dance, martial arts, folk art, and food. hkdbf-ny.org

Prospect Park, Photo by Virginia Freire


Prospect Park, home to Brooklyn’s only forest, attracts nearly 8 million visitors each year. Constructed by the same two gentlemen behind the design and creation of Manhattan’s iconic Central Park, this special 526-acre spot of New York City nature is known for its expansive wetlands and lush foliage. Offering up plenty for families to do, visitors can enjoy the park’s zoo, band shell, carousel, splash pad at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside, and several athletic and recreational facilities, as well as the nation’s first urban-area Audubon Center. prospectpark.org

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is an expansive native flora garden located near Prospect Park that consists of plants found in and around the greater New York City area. The garden also hosts a variety of plant habitats, including native woodlands and pine barrens, making it the perfect place to stop and smell the flowers. bbg.com

As the longest waterfront park in the United States, Hudson River Park on the Upper West Side serves a variety of public needs. Whether visitors are looking for an educational nature experience or to simply soak up the sun, this public park has something for everyone. With space for jogging, playing games, boating, or just taking in the water’s view, this is the perfect place to spend those lazy summer days. hudsonriverpark.org

The High Line has been one of Manhattan’s most talked-about attractions since it first opened in 2009. The 1.4 mile outdoor walkway is actually a stretch of old railroad that winds its way through Midtown Manhattan, allowing visitors to experience the beautiful gardens and various unique features along the way. thehighline.org


Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Al Oerter Recreation Center in Flushing, Queens, anyone interested can test their skills in Jianzi, a traditional Chinese sport that requires players to keep a heavily-weighted birdie off the ground for as long as possible. You can use any part of your body—except your hands. nycgovparks.org/highlights

Roll into summer by learning some groovy new skating moves! On Saturdays, kick off the weekend with some skate aerobics classes in Sunset Park, then challenge your kids and show off what you’ve learned during Friday night’s roller skating parties at the Brownsville Recreation Center in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Youth and teen skate night takes places every Friday from 5-8pm. nycgovparks.org/highlights

Can’t make it to a real river but still want to experience one of the most fun sports outdoor waters have to offer? Indoor kayaking at the Gertrude Ederle Recreation Center on the Upper West Side might just be the next best thing. Every Saturday, kids ages 6-13 can learn basic paddling and safety skills while having a blast boating around the center’s indoor pool. nycgovparks.org/highlights

If your child has a knack for knot tying and a love of adventuring, then be sure to sign them up for Urban Adventures Training at Lost Battalion Hall Recreation Center in Rego Park, Queens. Every Tuesday and Thursday, kids will learn basic knot-tying and mountaineering techniques while strengthening their team building skills during numerous indoor climbing and ropes course challenges. nycgovparks.org/highlights

An award-winning program that has served the community for over 25 years, double dutch at the Sorrentino Recreation Center in Far Rockaway, Queens is the perfect opportunity for kids, tweens, and teens to learn and compete in the classic schoolyard activity. Classes and team practices take place on Tuesdays and Saturdays at varying times depending on age group. nycgovparks.org/highlights


No summer would be complete without the frozen treat, and New York City has some of the best offerings around when it comes to top-notch ice cream. The popular (and Instagram-friendly) bakery known as Milk Bar, with locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, offers countless insanely fun baked treats and many unique soft serve and milkshake flavors, including Cereal Milk, Crunchy Cereal, Chocolate Chip Passion Fruit Cake, Birthday Cake, and more. milkbarstore.com

Ample Hills Creamery, named after a line in the Walt Whitman poem “Crossing the Brooklyn Ferry,” prides themselves on making their ice cream the old-fashioned way—slow-churned and by hand. Opened in Brooklyn in 2011, there are locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens which offer new spins on classic favorites and customers can choose from flavors like Salted Crack Caramel, Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, Snap Mallow Pop!, Sweet As Honey, and Chocolate Milk and Cookies. amplehills.com

For anyone looking for something more basic, Brooklyn Bell’s The Local ice cream shop in Crown Heights is a small mom and pop company that takes things back to simpler times by serving ice cream “like your grandma would make, but better.” This place specializes in classic flavors like Mixed Chocolate, White Vanilla, Roasted Strawberry, and Maple Butter Pecan. brooklynbell.com

Since they first began selling their ice cream out of a curbside truck in 2008, Van Leeuwen Classic and Vegan Artisan Ice Cream has strived to bring back the art of traditional ice cream making. Having since expanded to multiple permanent locations in both Brooklyn and Manhattan, this ice cream shop makes all of its flavors from simple, classic ingredients meant to celebrate artisan producers and farmers worldwide. vanleeuwenicecream.com