Summer is more than half over, but the fun is just beginning! There’s still time for the family to have some adventures, learn some new things, and make memories. Need ideas? We’ve got some! Presenting 43 things to help you and the kids squeeze every last drop of fun out of summer before the school bell rings!
NYC Summer Streets photo via Summer Streets Facebook page
- For three Saturdays in August, NYC turns into a massive block party. Stretching from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park along Park Ave (and connecting streets), NYC’s annual Summer Streets event features nearly 7 miles of fun for the whole family. Every activity is free and designed for people of any age to enjoy, including a number of kid-oriented events like a children’s fitness class, education about NYC, and more. The highlight of the event is the amazing zipline, which rises 30 feet into the air and extends 165 feet in length. There is no age requirement, but participants must weigh at least 50 lbs. (August 5, 12, and 19, 7 a.m.-1 p.m.)
- For more fun in the streets, visit Union Square. Every Thursday through August 10, Union Square will be home to Citi Summer in the Square. Join in on group fitness events, watch performances and listen to live music, or take part in many children’s activities including animal friends, books and storytime, kid’s yoga and fitness, surprise appearances by different Disney princesses, and a huge amount of other children’s events.
Thursdays through August 10, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
- Catch a movie under the stars (or at least the city lights) at one of the city’s many summer outdoor movie screenings. Watch Zootopia in Forest Park, Finding Dory in the Jane Bailey Memorial Garden, The Incredibles at the Bathgate Community Garden — or choose from many other locations this summer, many of which are screening family movies. Check the official NYC parks website for a full list of outdoor films playing for free near you.
- Experience NYC and Harlem at Harlem Week. At various times and locations throughout August, the Harlem Week event will present educational programs, fitness activities, and other cultural events.
Visit W. 135th St. Between Malcolm X Blvd and A.C. Powell Jr., Blvd on August 20 for a children’s festival full of arts and crafts, games, live music, and more.
Hong Kong Dragon Boat Race. photo: Baldwin Saintilus via Flickr
- Watch the traditional Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival as teams compete in water races in a day of free fun and culture. Kids can watch the intense race, eat traditional cuisine, and learn about dragons and Chinese culture through activities in the arts & crafts tent. Catch all the action August 12 & 13 in Flushing Meadows Park.
- Come for the tennis, stay for the big names: the Arthur Ashe Kid’s Day is a chance to celebrate the sport while getting star-struck. Take part in interactive games or just watch the pros do what they do best at this kid-oriented day-long event on August 26. Past guests and performances include Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Alec Baldwin, and even Michelle Obama.
- The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum will be hosting the 6th annual Space and Science Festival. Special events will include shows and interactive exhibits and educational events that will introduce audiences young and old to what NASA is working on, what goes into designing a Mars rover, and many other events sure to excite young stargazers. August 1 – 6.
- Celebrate the grand opening of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s rooftop terrace. The BCM will be launching the terrace with style, featuring a
Senegalese music and dance workshop, and storytime with Papa Sy. August 5 & 6.Jazz Age Lawn Party photo: Walter Wlodarczyk via Facebook
- Take a trip back in time with the annual Jazz Age Lawn Party. Have a picnic and dance to live 1920’s jazz music in this blast from the past located on Governor’s Island. Check out our guide for tips on making the Lawn Party a fun family event. (August 26 & 27)photo: New York City Center Facebook page
- Catch the family-friendly musical Really Rosie at City Center. A collaboration between Maurice Sendak and Carole King, the show is about a little girl in Brooklyn with a big imagination. Get there early to enjoy free, pre-performance activities like craft, a GIF photo booth, scavenger hunt and more. (August 2 -5)
- Catch the American Museum of Natural History’s ¡Cuba! before it leaves August 13.
Hindu Lamp Lighting Ceremony photo: Julienne Schaer, courtesy of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Convervency
- Light a lantern and watch it drift down the river to join hundreds of other flickering lights at the Hindu Lamp Light Ceremony in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The event lets participants decorate their own palm leaf lamp and take part in the ceremony which is a traditional way to thank the river and ask for her protection. Families can also listen to — and join in with — a traditional percussion performance led by Paulomm. (August 5)
- If you thought you missed the chance for summer camp, the Staten Island Children’s Museum has you covered. The museum is running week-long mini-camps for kids ages 4-8 all summer long. Each week focuses on a different theme, with varied topics that include cooking, gardening, STEM education, theater, and more.
- Browse summer art with installations and public art exhibits throughout the city. View our list for the hot art spots to visit.
The Cyclone at Coney Island’s Luna Park. Photo via Flickr.
- Thrill-seeking youngsters can get their fix at Coney Island’s Luna Park amusement park. The park is home to some iconic rides like the Cyclone roller coaster and the Wonder Wheel, but it also has a few new tricks like rides that integrate VR (recommended for kids over 12). Coney Island is also the only place you can (legally) watch fireworks, every Friday this August.photo: Green-wood Facebook page
- Commemorate the revolutionary war Battle of Brooklyn at Green-wood Cemetery with parades, canon fire, historical reenactments and horses. Bonus: it’s free! (August 27)
- Learn about nature at Queens park Alley Pond‘s camps, nature walks and animal-themed crafts. The nature conservation spot offers both mommy-and-me classes and drop-off programs. Some programs are already sold out, so don’t delay to sign up!photo: Summer on the Hudson Facebook page
- Join the festivities with fun and games at Summer on the Hudson. Kid concerts, toddler sports, and outdoor game days provide fun and active ways for kids to spend their energy all month long.
- Inwood Park’s Theater Fun in the Sun makes your kids the star. The three-day mini-camp is for kids 4 – 10 years old and an accompanying adult. Through fun games and workshops taught by professionals from the People’s Theater Project, participants will create and act out a short theater piece inspired by NYC’s parks.
- Rock out with any of these family-friendly concerts coming to NYC over the summer.
Angry Birds exhibit. photo: NY Hall of Science.
- The New York Hall of Science offers year-round hands-on interactive exhibits for children and children-at-heart adults. But if you need any more reason to visit this summer, the Hall of Science is hosting an Angry Birds exhibit. Angry Birds Universe introduces visitors to the science behind the game: learn what goes into the making of the games, discover real facts about birds, and use real slingshots to wreak some havoc.
- Help your children stay fit with the Summer Sports Experience at Williamsburg Oval, a drop-in program that focuses on a different sport every hour. Featured sports include basketball, soccer, track, and more.
- For a calmer way to exercise, take your kids along with you to a kid-oriented yoga class. Summer is a great time to take this outdoors, with the children’s yoga at Washington Square Park. Or check in on many other places where kids can practice yoga around the city.
Ice cream sandwiches at Oddfellows Ice Cream. Photo via Yelp.
- There’s never been a better time to eat ice cream! Any ice cream is good ice cream, but some NYC ice cream shops feature rotating menus or seasonal items. Visit Oddfellows NYC or Davey’s Ice Cream for some seriously awesome — and a little off-beat — summertime specials, or head to any other ice cream shop around the city to cool down with a sweet treat.
- Pay a visit to the PuppetMobile — or rather, let it pay you a visit! The mobile puppet show will be making several stops throughout the summer to host puppet-making workshops and present Cinderella Samba, a Brazilian spin on the classic fairy tale.
- Listen to a story in the great outdoors with one of the city’s outdoor story time events this summer. Listen to Stories in the Shade at Pelham Bay or join the Walt Whitman Library for outdoor storytime in Fort Greene Park.
- Looking for a fancier dessert than ice cream? Check out the family-friendly NYC Dessert Fest, which has everything from eerily realistic face cookies, to adorable panda macaroons, to cakes in jars. #Dessertgoals! Tickets sell out fast, so get yours ASAP. (August 19 & 20)
- Visit The Paper House, the communal evolving art installation that visitors get to help create! Located on Governors Island, The Paper House asks visitors to use paper, crayons, cardboard, tape and other simple craft materials to make art. Explore four themed-rooms and leave your mark! Don’t forget to visit the slides while you’re there! (Weekends through August 20.)
Brooklyn Bridge Park pool. Photo by Etienne Frossard.
- Take a dip in one of NYC’s community pools, like the Brookyn Bridge Park’s pop-up pool. Or choose from a number of free outdoor pools, which we’ve put together for you right here.
- Prefer the beach? No problem — NYC is home to 14 miles of public beaches which will be open an extra week this year through September 10.
- Become one with nature by camping out with the family. Even if you missed out on the state’s free camping gear initiative, you can still take off to one of these camper-friendly places and sleep under the stars.
- Kids over 5 can get their creative juices flowing in the Hudson River Park outdoor maker space pop-up. Every Sunday in August, kids can tinker, play and problem-solve issues related to marine challenges.
- As the city becomes more and more bike-friendly, now is a good time to learn to ride a bike. Children and adults over 10 can join the Claremont in Motion bike ride every Sunday, where they will get hands-on riding lessons as they explore Bronx sites and parks.
Willamsburg Smorgasburg. Photo via Smorgasburg.
- Eat mouth-watering, freshly-made food from local vendors at the Brooklyn Smorgasburg. Find this mini-food-fest in Williamsburg on Saturdays and in Prospect Park on Sundays.
- Bring home a big one after a day of fishing. Join one of the city’s many charter fishing boats, or learn the ropes with Big City Fishing, where anyone over 5 can spend a lazy afternoon learning about fishing and marine life from experienced educators.
- Introduce your kids to a whole new world of food at the Ecuadorian Food Market. The festival, located at the New York Hall of Science, will have traditional Ecuadorian dishes and desserts (but no cuy. Probably). (August 20)
- For a different part of Ecuadorian culture, visit the Children’s Museum of Manhattan for the Ayazamana Dance Group. The group will perform various traditional Ecuadorian dances from different regions, and will expose the audience to the art and music of the culture.(August 20)
Coney Island Walls, 2015. Photo by Martha Cooper/Thor Equities, via FAD Market.
- Check out the art of Coney Island Walls, featuring murals by street artists from around the world. When you’re done marveling, shop around in the annual FAD Market, which brings over 40 local vendors to a one-day flea market by the beach.(FAD Market August 20)
- Travel to a world of flowers and culture without ever leaving the city: visit the Queens Botanic Garden’s Taiwanese Orchid exhibit. Besides beautiful flowers, the weekend festival includes art and music, and Taiwanese culture.
- Boogie on down to Boogie on the Boulevard, a street fair in the Bronx sponsored by the Bronx Museum. Free music, art, and fitness programs combine into a block party for the whole family to enjoy. (August 28)
- In the mood for more outdoor festivities? The Brighton Jubilee Festival is returning for its 41st year of beach-side fun, live music, delicious food, and much more. A mix of Russian and other cultures, the Jubilee attracts thousands of people every year for one unforgettable Sunday.(August 27)
Eloise at the Museum. photo: New-York Historical Society, via Facebook.
- Visit Eloise at the New-York Historical Society, for an exhibit all about the children’s book icon. Eloise at the Museum displays more than 75 objects in relation to the books, including original manuscript pages and sketchbooks, vintage dolls, and more. Young fans of the books can also join the museum staff for family programs like story time and crafts of the fawnciest kind.
- Take advantage of the city’s Summer Meals program, which provides breakfast and lunch for kids. The program open for all NYC children, and provides kids with healthy meals in participating schools, libraries, parks, and pools. Visit the official website to find a Summer Meals location near you.
What’s your family’s must-do before summer ends? Share it in the comments!