38 Fun Things to Do With Your Family This Summer in New York City

by NYCgo.com Staff

You’re in New York City—or at least planning to be here—with your kids, so things are off to a good start. Need ideas for what to do next? We’ve got options for entertaining, educational, outdoorsy and adventurous fun that you can only find in NYC. Read on, take part and thank us later.

Special Events

1. Kayak for free on the East River. Or the Hudson. Numerous piers and landings in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens offer the activity. Daily, all summer long

Pioneer schooner. Photo: Gabriel Ellison Scowcroft

2.Sign up for a sail on the historic Pioneer schooner online or at the South Street Seaport Museum. The 1885 boat docks at Pier 16. May–September, Wednesday­–Sunday (mostly)

"Jackie Robinson at bat" (1949), by Frank Bauman. Courtesy, Museum of the City of New York

3. Pay homage to a different kind of pioneer at the Museum of the City of New York’s Jackie Robinson exhibit. Through September 15

4. Tour the land of the lost on the Bronx Zoo’s Dinosaur Safari, a woodsy wagon ride populated by animatronic dinosaurs. Through November 3

T. rex: The Ultimate Predator. Courtesy, American Museum of Natural History

5. Then do it again (this time inside) at the T. rex exhibition, courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History. Through August 9, 2020

Smorgasburg. Photo: Scott J Lynch

6. Eat street food at any of Smorgasburg’s three outdoor locations. Through October: Fridays, North Wing of the Oculus; Saturdays, East River State Park; Sundays, Prospect Park’s Breeze Hill

7. Ride the tram to Figment’s free art fair on Roosevelt Island. June 1–2


Above and Beyond. Courtesy, New York Hall of Science

8. Take flight at the New York Hall of Science with the Above and Beyond exhibit. A party on July 20 (and plenty of other summer occasions) commemorates 1969’s Apollo 11 mission. June 1–September 8

9. Let your voice be heard—even if it’s still changing (all ages welcome)—during karaoke nights at Summer on the Hudson. Plenty of other options exist for the season-long festival. June 7, July 5, August 2 and September 6

10. Travel to a simpler time at the New York Transit Museum’s Bus Festival. June 9

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo: Kate Glicksberg

11. See free art—and make some yourselves—on Fifth Avenue at the Museum Mile Festival. June 11

12. Find something wild among Maurice Sendak’s opera and ballet designs at the Morgan Library. June 14–October 6 (closed Mondays)

Egg Rolls, Egg Creams and Empanadas Festival. Photo: James and Karla Murray

13. Taste cultural traditions on the Lower East Side at Egg Rolls, Egg Creams and Empanadas. June 16

14. Lend your family’s ears to park performances of the Bard. The ones in Carroll Park (June), in Clinton Cove (June 21, July 19, August 16 and September 13) and those produced across the City by Hip to Hip Theatre Company (July 24–August 25) are the most kid-friendly.

15. Hear strange sounds in all sorts of obscure city corners for Make Music New York. June 21


16. Catch Coco on the Hudson at Family Movie Night. It’s an official event in this year’s WorldPride celebration. June 21

17. Watch an international soccer doubleheader at the Gold Cup (June 24). or see English Premier League powerhouse Liverpool take on Sporting CP at Yankee Stadium (July 24).

Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. Photo: Julienne Schaer

18. Be astounded by speed-eating theatrics and expanding stomachs at the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. July 4

Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks. Photo: Julienne Schaer

19. Spark joy at the sight of fireworks, whether brought to you by Macy’s (July 4) or the Staten Island Yankees at the conclusion of each home game (June 15 and 22; July 3, 19, 20 and 26; August 2, 3, 16, 21, 23, 24 and 30).

Hudson RiverFlicks. Photo: Max Guliani

20. Bring the brood to Pier 46 for screenings of Hudson RiverFlicks. A number of last year’s top kid hits will be shown. July 12–August 23 (Fridays)

21. Get so promotional at a Brooklyn Cyclones game. Seinfeld Night (with Fusilli Jerry figurine), Marvel Superhero Night (with Spider-Man bobblehead) and Mo Willems Day (free Pigeon cap) are all good choices. July 13, July 14 and August 10, respectively.

Intrepid Summer Movie Night. Courtesy, Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum

22. View a space movie near a space shuttle when First Man plays on the deck of the Intrepid. You only get so many chances to make an aircraft carrier your movie theater. July 19

23. Tune in to the “power” theme at the Rubin Museum’s summer block party. July 21


24. Witness a series of Native American dance competitions at the Queens County Farm Museum. July 26–28

25. Celebrate Oaxacan music and folklore at Socrates Sculpture Park’s Guelaguetza Festival. July 28

26. Dance to the sounds of St. Vincent (the island, not the guitarist) as the Garifuna Collective does a SummerStage performance in Crotona Park. August 2

Summer Streets. Photo: Alexander Thompson

27. Bike, boulder and bop along the open road of Park Avenue during Manhattan’s Summer Streets. Did last year’s event also have a zip line and water slide? Indeed. August 3, 10 and 17.

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival. Photo: Julienne Schaer

28. Applaud the paddlers, and their colorful vessels, at the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival. August 3–4

Ailey II. Photo: Kyle Froman

29. Keep good company when the Ailey II troupe dances at Celebrate Brooklyn. August 8

30. Ace the test at Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, a warm-up for tennis’ US Open. (It’s also fun to take the family to a daytime match during the tournament.) Arthur Ashe Day: August 24; US Open: August 26–September 8

31. Witness wheels—or, possibly, wheel—in motion at the Unicycle Festival on Governors Island August 29–September 1.


Brooklyn Bridge. Photo: Brittany Petronella

Everyday Classics

32. Walk the length of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Staten Island Ferry. Photo: Matthew Penrod

33. Board a ferry for a free ride to Staten Island or Governors Island.

The Cyclone. Photo: Julienne Schaer

34. Scream yourself silly for 2 minutes on the Coney Island Cyclone.

The Unisphere. Photo: Kate Glicksberg

35. Meet the monuments of Queens' Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

New York Botanical Garden. Photo: Tagger Yancey IV

36. Roam the lush grounds of the New York Botanical Garden.

The High Line. Photo: Brittany Petronella

37. Amble along above the buildings of Chelsea on the High Line.

Jacob Riis Beach. Photo: Ryan Struck

38. Splash around at one of NYC’s public beaches. Jacob Riis Park, Manhattan Beach and Orchard Beach are a few of our favorites. May 25–September 2