Did you feel that? Summer just kicked into high gear! That means fun, family-friendly festivals and events right until the school bell rings. These happenings — many of which are free — will give your sunny season a little extra shine this year, while also making sure the kids are cashed by the end of the day. So get out there and get busy!
photo: via American Tap Dance Foundation Facebook page
Tap City 2016: July 9-16
Fred Astaire’s legendary Puttin’ On the Ritz might not mean much to the younger crowd, but your kids might want to don a top hat and tails after this week-long celebration of tap dancing. The festival features classes and events for people of all ages and culminates with “Tap it Out” on July 15th. The free, outdoor event features hundreds of people of all skill levels literally tapping it out together in unison; this year’s massive show will take place in Foley Square at 111 Worth St. at 6 and 6:30 p.m.
July 9- 16, locations and cost vary per event; “Tap it Out” is free
photo: Michael Williams via Flickr
City of Water Day: July 16
Living in the concrete jungle, it can be easy to forget that we’re surrounded by water! The Waterfront Alliance holds its ninth annual City of Water Day, a family-oriented celebration of the New York and New Jersey waterfront on July 16. The event is this region’s biggest harbor festival, inspiring thousands of people to come to the water for a day of wet and wild fun. Activities include free boat tours on vessels ranging from tall ships to tugboats; free rowing, kayaking and paddle-boarding; a Waterfront Activity Fair, and Disney Children’s Activities. The day will also include the Con Edison Cardboard Kayak Race, which is just what it sounds like — a race of kayaks made out of cardboard. City of Water Day has expanded its celebration from Governors Island, New York and Maxwell Place Park, Hoboken, New Jersey to dozens of In Your Neighborhood locations around New York Harbor.
July 16, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Location: Governors Island, N.Y.; Maxwell Place Park, Hoboken, N.J.; check website for “In Your Neighborhood” locations around New York Harbor
photo: via fiaf Facebook page
Bastille Day on 60th Street: July 10
Did you know “bastille” in French translates to “fortress” in English? Get exposed to a little piece of France by joining Bastille Day on 60th Street, a celebration that commemorates France’s Independence Day (July 14, 1789) and France’s historic friendship with the United States. “Visit” France without crossing the ocean by sampling French delicacies such as crêpes, éclairs, and macarons, as well as a broad selection of wines, cheeses, beers, and cocktails at tastings at FIAF. Live performances include Can-Can dancing, fencing demonstrations, a French puppet show and the Hungry March Band. Additional free activities include French classes, face painting, arts & crafts and mime performances.
July 10, Noon-5 p.m.
Location: 60th St., from Fifth Ave. to Lexington Ave.
photo: Come Out & Play
Come Out & Play Field Day and Family Day: July 9
Let’s play ball — and a whole lot more! This free city-wide festival turns the city into one giant playground, with new types of interactive, public games and playful experiences. Taking place over two days, the fest kicks off on July 8 with an evening dedicated to street games and play in DUMBO (more for adults and older kids), with a full second day devoted to field and kid-and family-friendly games on Governors Island.
Jul. 9, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Location: Governors Island
photo: Baldwin Saintlius via Flickr
Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival: August 6 & 7
A New York tradition going on 26 years, this free, family-friendly event features 200 + teams racing colorful and fierce-looking dragon boats for cash prizes. In addition to the fun on the water, the festival also includes a parade, traditional music and dance, arts and crafts and food to much on as you cheer on your favorite team.
August 6 & 7, times TBD (dates are tentative; check website to confirm)
Location: Flushing Meadows Park
photo: via Harlem Week Facebook page
NYC Children’s Festival: August 20 & 21
Part of the annual Harlem Week (which counter to its name, holds fun events all month long) the free NYC Children’s Festival invites families with kids ages five to 12 to come enjoy two packed days of summer fun. Expect parades, live music, storytelling, hip hop, tap and step dance performances, arts & crafts, face-painting, double dutch competitions, sports activities, dance lessons, superhero fun and more. Plus: free health screenings and sports clinics!
Aug. 20, Noon- 5 p.m., Aug. 21, Noon-6 p.m.
Location: 135th St. (bet. Malcolm X & Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvds.)
photo: via Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day Facebook page
Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day: August 27
Late August means back-to-school is just around the corner. If you’re looking for a last hurrah at the end of summer, check out Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day. The jam-packed event features a ticketed stadium show and concert inside Arthur Ashe Stadium preceded by a free Grounds Festival at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. (It seems all future teen superstars play this gig; past headliners of the concert include Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande and Fifth Harmony. Tickets are going fast! ) The free fest includes interactive games, music, and tennis activities for all ages. Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day benefits the National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network, which was established by Arthur Ashe, Charlie Pasarell and Sheridan Snyder in 1969 with the mission of developing the character of young people through tennis and education.
Aug. 27, 9.30 a.m.-3 p.m
Grounds Festival is free, tickets for the stadium show vary based on seating
Location: Arthur Ashe Stadium, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Flushing, NY
What NYC Summer fest does your family hit every year? Tell us in the comments!
— Meredith Levine