10 Easy Adventures with Kids in NYC This Summer

Initially, New York City may seem overwhelming. Especially if you’re new to the city and also when trying to find ways to entertain kiddos. But luckily, there are plenty of exciting and free activities to keep your family entertained all summer! From sprawling parks to stunning views of the city skyline, street art walks, and animal kingdoms, there’s no shortage of adventures to be had. So grab your sunscreen, pack a picnic, and get ready for some family-friendly fun in the city that never sleeps.

Here are 10 ideas to get you started:

  1. Explore the Wonder That is Central Park

With 843 acres of lush greenery, Central Park is a haven for family-friendly outdoor activities. Check out the many playgrounds, rent a paddleboat at the lake, or take a dip in one of the park’s public pools. Don’t forget to visit the Central Park Zoo and the Conservatory Garden for a unique experience.

Photo by Ramaz Bluashvili on Pexels.com

2. Take a Sky-High Walk Along The High Line

The High Line is a one-of-a-kind park that offers elevated views of the city and plenty of green space to explore. Be sure to check out the various art installations and free events happening throughout the summer, including a teen New York nostalgia event, stargazing nights, and family-friendly tours.

Photo by Mike Tschappat

3. Pack the Car or Hop on the Subway to the Beach

New York City’s beaches are a great way to escape the heat and enjoy some family time in the sand and surf. Whether you head to Jacob Riis Park or Fort Tilden, the Rockaways, or Coney Island, it’s an adventure that the whole fam will remember. In addition to swimming and sunbathing, Coney Island offers Luna Park amusement park rides and games, while Rockaway Beach has a surf school (and summer camp) and bike rentals.

4. Hit one of the City’s Parks for Outdoor Concerts & Movies

Many spots throughout the city offer free concerts and movies during the summer months. Whether you’re in midtown’s Bryant Park, up in Washington Heights, or even Brooklyn Bridge Park (and many more), you can grab a blanket, pack a picnic, and enjoy an evening under the stars while listening to live music or watching a family-friendly movie.

Photo Credit: Time Out

5. Take a Tour of the Library & Explore the Children’s Section

Not only is admission free, but the New York Public Library also offers free tours that are perfect for families with kids of all ages. Marvel at the stunning architecture of this historic building while learning about the library’s rich history and the many resources it offers to visitors. And don’t miss the children’s section, where little ones can discover new books and attend storytime events. Be sure to visit the Rose Main Reading Room, a breathtakingly beautiful space that’s sure to impress even the youngest members of your family.

Photo Credit: NY Public Library

6. Take an Animal Kingdom Adventure to the Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo is a standout attraction in NYC, and visitors can pay what they wish every Wednesday, making it an affordable option for families. Kids will enjoy the exhibits and activities like the Children’s Zoo and daily sea lion feedings. The zoo also promotes wildlife conservation and sustainable living, making it a fun and educational family outing.

Photo Credit: Bronx Zoo

7. Surround Yourself with Nature at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

On Tuesdays, families can take advantage of free admission to the garden and spend the day discovering the natural wonders that await them. Kids will love getting their hands dirty with interactive plant workshops and learning about the importance of preserving the environment on nature walks led by knowledgeable guides. With so much to explore and discover, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a must-visit destination for families looking for a fun and educational day out in the heart of New York City.

Photo Credit: BBG.com

8. Spot the Murals on a Neighborhood Street Art Walk

Embark on a unique adventure with your family by taking a self-guided tour through neighborhoods such as Bushwick or the Lower East Side to discover some of the city’s most iconic street art. Marvel at the vibrant colors and intricate designs of the murals and graffiti that adorn buildings and walls, and let the creativity and imagination of your children run wild as they soak up the art around them. This is a perfect way to introduce kids to the world of urban art and to spark their interest in different forms of expression.

Photo Credit: Your Brooklyn Guide

9. Admire the Views From The Staten Island Ferry

You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy a fun and kid-friendly activity. The Staten Island Ferry is a great option, offering stunning views of the city skyline and the Statue of Liberty, all for free. Whether it’s a daytime ride to watch the harbor activity or a nighttime ride to witness the city lights, the ferry is a unique way to take in the city’s beauty.

10. Hit the Streets for one of the City’s Seasonal Street Fairs

NYC has a plethora of family-friendly activities to offer, but few can match the excitement and charm of its street fairs. These colorful and vibrant events are a great way to explore the unique character of different neighborhoods and immerse yourself in the city’s diverse culture. Parents will love the chance to stroll through the lively crowds with their kids, sampling tasty food, browsing through handmade crafts, and listening to live music from local artists.

Photo Credit:TrippSavvy

Author: Sarah McLellan Mee

Sarah is originally from Bundaberg, Australia and moved to NYC at 17 (over 22 years ago). Initially she worked as a dancer and singer on Broadway (42nd Street, Queen's We Will Rock You) and then toured around the world in a critically-acclaimed rock band. Transitioning from performance, she moved into the digital media world—mainly focused on clients in the travel and food space. Sarah has worked as an editor, agency social media strategist, VP of Marketing for a major restaurant group, and as branded content editor for Bon Appétit magazine and other publications at Condé Nast. Sarah lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn with her husband Chaz and their one-year-old daughter, Alula.

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