Summer in New York City with Kids

Summer in the city can be one of the most fun and exhilarating times for kids. School is OUT, which can be a bit of a scheduling challenge for working moms and dads, but if you can swing it, the activities are endless (and all are available on the weekends, too). From art colonies at the Children’s Museum of Art to must-see public parks and everything in between, I’ve compiled a list of fun things to do in New York City with kids this summer!

Governors Island

Historic Governors Island opens every year from May to October for fun activities and art installations. They have a 50,000 square-foot junkyard playground for kids to go absolutely bananas. There is a zip line and wall climb with views of the Statue of Liberty (as well as a beer garden for mom and dad). An Audubon group and summer camp is also located on site. Getting there via the ferry is a lot of fun for the kids, too. Ferry routes start May 1 and run frequently from Manhattan’s South Street Seaport and Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Hudson River Park Pier 25

Families will find great little parks for the kids all along the Hudson River, but Pier 25 in particular has many fun things, from mini golf to beach volleyball. There is a playground with swings, climbing structures, sprinklers and water activities, refreshments and plenty of waterfront seating and tables. Plus, it always seems to be at least five degrees cooler here than in the rest of the city, since it is located on a long pier and gets a cool breeze from the river…as well as unobstructed views of the waterfront.

Madison Square Park

Madison Square Park has plenty of interesting installations and hosts fun events. Many of the events involve eating, like the Big Apple Barbecue and Mad. Sq. Eats. But this park also has plenty of fun Kids’ activities, in its seven acres of greenery, trails and outdoor space to explore, such as the Police Officer Moira Ann Smith Playground.

Ferry to Rockaway Beach {Its new!}

There is a new ferry route to Rockaway Beach! No more driving and parking nightmares or subway confusion…you can ride the ferry to Rockaway Beach for the day. Enjoy the sand and surf then hit one of the many amazing shops and restaurants nearby before heading back home. The ferry launches from Pier 11 near the South Street Seaport.

Central Park

Another historic and iconic space in New York is Central Park. I grew up in New York and have lived in Manhattan since I was 22, and I still haven’t fully discovered every little treasure that Central Park has to offer. It is an incredible and exciting place to visit…you can take walking tours (there are 36 acres of winding trails), ride bikes, hang out in Sheep Meadow, enjoy boat rides on the lake, visit the Alice in Wonderland Statue, ride the carousel, go fishing at the Meer and hit all the little hidden and spectacular playgrounds…and let’s not forget THE ZOO! Central Park is worth a visit—make that many visits with your kids this summer.

Sprinklers at the Museum of Natural History

Ok, this may not be a top secret anymore but did you know there are sprinklers on the roof of the Museum of Natural History? The museum has so many amazing features…you can make a day of it. Visit the Theodore Roosevelt Park, hit a few exhibits and then splash in the water before heading home.

Cool Mess

Brought to you by the Burger Heaven family…Cool Mess ice cream shop lets you make your own ice cream. Yes, really! They also serve food and other sweet treats like milkshakes, gelato, and sundaes. Their products not baked in-house are sourced from local bakeries and creameries. What is more fun that eating ice cream? Making it!

Dumbo and Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn Bridge Park is a must-see destination for the kids. There is a lovely public pool, carousel…plus you can walk across the Brooklyn Bridge with the kiddos before hitting the park. Dumbo also has great shops and restaurants. If you’re feeling adventurous you can make your way to Pier 6 Playground for the day.

Bronx Zoo

Summer in the wild is always fun. The kids love watching the giraffes and tigers and gorillas. It is definitely a destination to check off the list. And the nearby botanical garden is magical.


This was an article written by Twist contributor and New York City mom of three Brianne Manz.

This is a guest post from a fellow Twist Traveler! We invite guest authors to post travel stories on the Twist Blog monthly. If you are interested in sharing your travel story with us, please email us at [email protected]

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