Summer Bucket List: 57 Family-Friendly Things to Do in the City and Beyond

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Summer Bucket List: 57 Family-Friendly Things to Do in the City and Beyond

Summer is here, and there is nothing more we enjoy doing than exploring our city and beyond. Whether it is jumping on the subway for a day trip or hopping in the car for a road trip to one of NY’s many surrounding neighbors, there is a lot New York has to offer. 

So this summer, visit one of the city’s incredible parks, take in a movie under the stars, head to an amusement park, or do anything on our list for this Ultimate Summer Bucket List is for the entire family!

Looking to take a fun vacation away from the city? Check out Explore St. Lucia at The Landings Resort & Spa

  1. ​​ Visit the Bronx Zoo on a Wednesday for FREE admission; reserve your tickets (up to 4!) online
  2. Take a Fourth of July Fireworks Cruise, go Whale Watching, visit Sandy Hook beach, check out a Jersey Shore beach bar – The Sandbox, and plan a weekend getaway to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, and more on the Seastreak (seastreak.com)
  3. Take in the view and fun, and park at Domino Park 
  4. While at Domino, eat the world-famous Roberta’s Pizza
  5. Mark this one on the calendar for NYC Pride March “Unapologetically Us,” is June 26th; see you there!

    Urban Air Adventure
  6. Head to your nearest Urban Air Active for play, next-level trampoline park, cool summer birthdays for ultimate kid joy
  7. Midway rides, petting zoos, carnival treats, and more await at the annual Duchess Fair on August 23-28. Kids under 11 are always free!
  8. Take a dip in one of the many Free Outdoor NYC Parks Pools
  9. Pack up the car for a family fun day and head to Adventureland Amusement Park in Long Island to ride the jaw-dropping coaster Fireball, plus Bumper Cars, the Wave Swing, the Turbulence Coaster, and more
  10. Go fly a kite at Central Park

    WildPlay Jones Beach
  11. Head to the new outdoor adventure at WildPlay Jones Beach (between fields 4 and 5), where you’ll find ziplines, high ropes courses, and freefall jumps. Take in the view of New York City while you soar down a 700-ft, high-speed zipline (for ages 5 and up)
  12. Tour the Grand Central Terminal. Check out the oak leaves and acorn architectural details, the zodiac ceiling in the main concourse, and the famed glass clock 
  13. Head to New Jersey to American Dream for the DreamWorks Water Park, Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park, LEGOLAND Discovery Center, Angry Bird mini-golf shopping, delicious dining options, and more 
  14. Explore the Hudson River via kayak
  15. Stroll the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden at Brooklyn Botanic Garden with its scenic wooden bridges, stone lanterns, a viewing pavilion and more
  16. Plan an outdoor day trip to New Hampshire’s East Hill Farm for comfy accommodations, home-cooked food, boating, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, water swimming, crafts, campfires and more
  17. Spend the day at the Long Island Aquarium to view one of the largest all-living coral displays in the Western Hemisphere, plus a 120,000-gallon shark habitat, sea lions, touch tanks and more
  18. Enjoy weekly concerts, food, movie nights and kids programming at Backyard at Hudson Yards
  19. Spend the day at Coney Island on the beach, ride the Wonderwheel, walk the boardwalk and eat a Nathan’s hotdog!
  20. Check out the gorgeous views, sit for a picnic at the new Pier 57 rooftop (the largest in NYC!) at the Hudson River Park
  21. Hop on a quick ferry ride to Governor’s Island, camp out at the Collective Retreats, and explore the Island – don’t forget to visit Slide Hill!
  22. Ride the iconic Prospect Park’s Carousel, located at the Children’s Corner, where your kids will love all the magical rides
  23. Visit the world’s tallest indoor ropes course at Palisades Climb Adventure. Little ones (ages 2 to 7) can ride Sky Tykes, a ropes course just for kids 
  24. Take the kids (5 years and up) to the Astor Place Theatre and laugh at the Blue Men and their crazy shenanigans. 
  25. Visit the iconic Flagship New York Public Library to check out books and  the Beaux-Arts architecture building
  26. Head over to the other island here in NYC and spend the day exploring the Little Island at Pier 55
  27. Take a family road trip to New City and check out the New City Bowling & Batting Cages. Kids will love the full-service snack bar, lounge pool table, and more
  28. The American Natural Museum is ALWAYS a good idea. Be sure to check out their new Sharks exhibit. 
  29. Visit the New York Aquarium this summer (for free admission, go after 3 pm on Wednesdays -reserved tickets required)

    Playland
  30. Pack up the kids and head to Rye, NY  to spend the day at Playland, the iconic amusement park, the Playland Pool and Beach and The Boardwalk at Playland Lake
  31. Take on NYC’s only jet-powered speed boat attraction The Beast at West 42nd St. and 12th Avenue
  32. Head to 32nd Street and 6th Avenue to satisfy your sweet tooth at the fun and interactive Candytopia 
  33. Visit the magical world of Harry Potter at 935 Broadway; remember to go online to sign up via the virtual queue 
  34. Head to Brooklyn Bridge Park for a delish Lobster Roll at Luke’s Lobster
  35. For a fun day trip (50 miles north of NYC), check out Museum Village and experience what life was like in the 1800s 
  36. Hop on the Staten Island Ferry (it’s free), get a gorgeous view of the Statue of Liberty, then spend the afternoon shopping at Empire Outlets
  37. Ride the Roosevelt Island Tramway. Once there, visit Blackwell House (free), the sixth oldest farmhouse in NYC. Four Freedoms State Park and The Lighthouse
  38. Pack up the beach bag and head to (an hour car ride or an hour and a half subway ride) NY’s surfer destination Rockaway Beach 
  39. Munch on the world-famous Banana Pudding at Magnolia Bakery
  40. Escape the heat and head over to the Palisades Center in West Nyack, NY. Watch a movie, do some shopping, go bowling and eat delicious food!
  41. Bring the kids to any of the free outdoor movies offered around the city, such as the Intrepid Museum Summer Movie Series, the Bryant Park Film Festival, and Movies Under the Stars at NYC Parks
  42. Head to the 86th floor and the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building 
  43. History buffs will want to visit The Orangetown Historical Museum and Archives, where you’ll find children’s crafts, storytime and yoga 
  44. Broadway is back! Check out shows like Beetlejuice, Aladdin and more
  45. The Madison Theatre at Molloy College in Long Island will be showcasing In The Heights & Xanadu in June, and in July you can see All Shook Up, and in August watch Freda Payne as the titular role in Ella, First Lady of Song 
  46. Looking for some excitement? Head to the Alley Pond Park Adventure Course on Sundays for a free program for families with children ages eight and older, where you’ll test your skills and mettle with obstacles like the Human Swingshot, Wild Woosey, Zip Line, Climbing Wall, and more. 
  47. Hop aboard RiseNY and virtually glide over NYC’s skyline and landmarks while suspended 30 feet in the air!
  48. Head to Rockaway Beach with the family and learn to surf at New York Surf School 
  49. Head to L&B Spumoni Gardens in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, for a slice of their famous Sicilian-style pizza and some refreshing spumoni ice cream for dessert.
  50. Stop by the annual Our Lady of Mount Carmel Feast of the Giglio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for rides, games, and classic Italian treats this July
  51. Head to Downtown Manhattan to visit the new Battery Playscape, an eco-inspired playground featuring twisty slides, tree houses, a puppet theater and more
  52. Visit the New York Aquarium to see Spineless, the popular “bizarre but breathtaking” invertebrates exhibit
  53. There is nothing like seeing the Yankees or Mets play America’s favorite pastime in their home stadiums, no matter who you root for 
  54. Skate your way to summer fun at The Roll-A-Rama at JFK airport, the Roller Rink at the Standard Plaza, United Skates at Atlas Park, and more
  55. Make your way to Splish Splash Water Park for a day of water rides for the whole family, including a special section for the little ones 
  56. Catch a flick at Midtown’s Rooftop Cinema Club 
  57. Work on your golf swing at Monster Mini Golf (Westchester and Rockland), an indoor facility with an 18-hole glow-in-the-dark mini-golf course, full arcade, two lanes of mini bowling, and more