“Hot town, summer in the city…” Good song. Not so great a feeling when the heat index is 105 degrees. There are a number of ways to deal with extreme heat in NYC with kids—you can head to a free pool, the shore, or a playground with a sprinkler. But sometimes, it’s just too darn hot. That’s when you head inside and stay inside and keep cool in an air-conditioned space. We’ve rounded up the best places to stay cool with the kids in NYC, some of which you’ve probably thought of, some maybe you haven’t, and could save your sanity and day. From play spaces, to shopping destinations, museums, and more, here’s where to head when the mercury rises.

photo: Chelsea Piers

Hit the Ice

Go all in and surround yourself with ice. Chelsea Piers (pictured) is a favorite, but there are other indoor rinks around town. 

In Long Island City, head to City Pavilion, in south Brooklyn, there's Aviator Sports,  and in Flushing, World Ice Area is open year round. 

photo: Rachel Sokol

Head to an Indoor Play Space

There are many in NYC, in all sizes and stripes. Drop in for a class or open play, or hit up a spot with space to run around and burn off some energy. 

Click here for some of our favorites around the city. 

Manhattan spots are rounded up here.

Brooklyn? These are great options.

If you're in Queens, check out these indoor places to play.

photo: NYSI

Enjoy the Show!

See a double—or triple!—feature at one of our favorite family-friendly movie theaters for kids. (Hit a mutliplex, or settle in for brunch, lunch, or dinner at a dine-in theater.) They keep it nice and cool in those cinemas. 

Climb to New Heights

It scares us to think of the A/C bill of some of these places (so big!), but heading to a rock-climbing facility is a great way to beat the heat! 

Popular spots include Chlesea Piers, Aviator Sports in south Brooklyn, Brooklyn Boulders in Gowanus, The Cliffs LIC, Everyday Athlete in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO, and The Rock Club in New Rochelle.

photo: Mimi O'Connor

Get Some Cool Culture

We don't have to tell you that a hot day is a perfect museum day. These are our favorite exhibits for kids and families running now. 

These are our favorite under-the-radar NYC museums that are worth a visit! 


photo: Mimi O'Connor

Try Some Recreational Shopping

Whether it's back-to-school shopping, an early birthday present, or just because, NYC has lots of stores (and complexes) that are actually pretty fun to shop. 

For a magical toy store, we like CAMP in the Flatiron District (you enter through a secret door behind a bookcase, seen here), for a huge classic, try the new FAO Schwarz in Rockefeller Center.

Haven't been to Hudson Yards? It's got Snark Park, a Micro Scooter track, ice cream, and lots of kid-friendly eats! Read our guide to going with kids here.

Downtown, The Oculus has high end mall Westfield (as well as the multi-floor foodie destination, Eataly)

In Brooklyn, you can spend the day at City Point, with the amazing DeKalb Food Hall, Target, Trader Joe's, Flying Tiger, and Alamo Draft House. 

photo: Katrite Resort and Waterpark

Slip Slide Away

Indoor water parks can be good for severe winter weather and severe summer weather. Check out the best indoor water parks near NYC here, including a brand new one! 

photo: Mimi O'Connor

Visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Yes, you have to take a boat the Liberty Island and Ellis Island (and it's a short walk to the statue) but the statue, and the massive museum on Ellis Island are air conditioned and make a nice day out. Plus, a new museum dedicated to the Statue of Liberty just opened. Read our guide to visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island with kids here! 

photo: Mimi O'Connor

Hit the Links at Shipwrecked Miniature Golf

This pirate-themed indoor miniature golf course prides itself on cranking the A/C when the heat is just too hot to handle. (They also recently opened some Escape Rooms on another floor if you want to give them a shot. Warning: they're not easy!) 

photo: Mimi O'Connor

Spend the Day at Liberty Science Center

You can't even do it all in one day—but you can try! Here's our guide to Jersey City's Liberty Science Center. 

photo: Marcos Stafne

Play with Water Inside

Sort of the best of both worlds: inside, and some H20. In the city, head right for City Treehouse. In Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Children's Museum has a great water play area in its Totally Tots section. 

photo: The Peninsula

Check in & Chill

Let someone else pay the A/C bill. Treat the family to a staycation and book a nice hotel room, bonus points for you if the hotel has a pool. We recommend these spots. 

—Mimi O’Connor


Wet & Wild: The Best Indoor Water Parks Near NYC

Summer Slide: Outdoor Water Parks Near NYC

Spray, You! NYC Parks with Water to Keep Cool