If you’re anything like us, we have a love/hate relationship with summertime in the city. On the one hand, the city is brimming with fun family events and there’s certainly nothing like a refreshing dip in the Atlantic (or if we’re lucky, a weekend away in the Hamptons). Our excitement for summer is only tempered by the throngs of tourists clogging our sidewalks and the totally unbearable train platforms (the word ventilation clearly meant nothing to the subway planners). So in an effort to re-invigorate your excitement for summer (after all, the city is truly a mecca for fun events during these warm months) we’ve come up with 50 of our favorite summer family activities. From free outdoor movies to the 411 of New York’s floating pool, there is plenty for you and the kiddos to do, both indoor and out.
1. From “Cars” to “The Wizard of Oz”, you won’t want to miss all the free outdoor movie showings this summer.
3. Take a day trip to a farm to get up close and personal with pigs, sheep, and chickens.
6. Head underground to a cool (literally!) haven where your kids can climb aboard trains, buses, and run through turnstiles.
7. Escape the summer heat and head indoors to a kid-friendly movie theater.
8. Indulge in some food cart faire at the Red Hook Ball field.
9. If watching a Yankees or Mets game is too much of an ordeal, try grabbing tix to the much more informal (and cheaper) Brooklyn Cyclones game.
10. Explore a family-friendly neighborhood with a roofless stone cottage, 45-foot palm trees, and a shake shack. Need we say more?
11. Escape the concrete jungle by embarking on an adventure to our fave parks and playgrounds (one even has a 45-foot long granite slide!).
12. Did you know New York hosts a floating pool each summer?
15. For all of you mamas (and pops) who need to get in tip-top shape for swim suit season, we’ve got you covered. Here are local gyms that also offer childcare.
16. If your kid’s idea of wildlife is a subway rat, it’s time for a real animal encounter.
17. Did you know the subway has secrets? Uncover them — an afternoon of entertainment will only cost you a train fare.
18. The summer heat is enough to sap anyone’s energy. Re-fuel at one of these family-friendly coffee shops.
19. Hop on the nostalgia train and expose your kids to the wonders of a drive-in movie theater.
20. Climb aboard the N train and check out Astoria’s Socrates Sculpture Park. Marvel at the sweet sculptures and let your kids (dogs welcome, too) run around on the waterfront grassy expanse.
21. Take advantage of your kids waking up at the crack of dawn and head out for dim sum. One of our favorite spots is Jing Fong — your kids will love all the offerings on the food carts and the gigantic banquet hall. The best part is there’s no waiting for your food here!
22. Got a bendy toddler on your hands? Enroll him or her in a yoga class, a perfect indoor summer activity for the kiddos.
23. If you have a kid with a summer birthday, get inspired with these amazing birthday cakes.
24. New York City offers free summer tennis lessons for kiddos ages 5 and up. Get all the deets here.
25. Take the 7 train (your kids can look out the windows from the elevated track) to the famous Ice King of Corona.
26. While you’re in Queens, head to Flushing Meadows and let your kids ride their bike around the paved paths.
29. Since the MOMA almost always has a line out front during the tourist-heavy summer months, you might want to opt for the family-friendly MOMA off-shoot, P.S.1. Afterwards, check out the family-friendly happenings in LIC.
30. It’s no wonder this 50-acre garden that features kids gardening classes, drop-in family workshops, and tons of places to play is one of our all-time favorites.
31. Take the day to explore Governor’s Island — from bike riding to fishing and public art, there’s never a lack of things to do here.
32. Pack up and head to the beach! One of our favorites is Long Beach — even though the you must pay to enter the beach, the sand is pristine and there are clean bathroom facilities readily available. Let us know in the comment section below your family’s favorite beach!
34. Explore the family-friendly high line and afterwards, indulge your sweet tooth at Fat Witch bakery.
35. If temps hit 80 plus (and let’s be honest, there are way too many days in the city when this happens), head over to Pier 6, one of our fave year-round playgrounds in BK.
36. Visit a gigantic public garden in Riverdale that boasts 28 acres with tons of pathways and flora and fauna to explore. Story times and garden walks are also offered throughout the summer.
37. Play tourist for the day and take a ride on the free Staten Island Ferry.
38. Have you been to Central Park’s own secret garden?
39. If you don’t want to make the trek to Coney Island, head to Times Square instead for a thrilling ferris wheel ride.
40. Head to the Central Park Zoo and marvel at all of the critters. The sea lion exhibit is one of our favorites because the enclosure is glass so your kiddos can literally get nose to nose with the sea lions. Call ahead of time to check on feeding schedules as well.Central Park Zoo’s Facebook page
41. You won’t want to miss where technology meets creativity at the kid-friendly Sony Wonder Lab.
43. If you’re looking for a fun day trip head to Bear Mountain where there’s a carousel, swimming pool, picnic grove, and walking/hiking trails.
44. Take your tricycle (extra points if it’s red) for a spin on car-free roads during the city’s Summer Streets Saturdays.
45. If your kiddos still aren’t too steady on their two-wheelers, head over to Pier 54 is the only space in the city reserved for beginning cyclists.
46. Weekend walks are happening again this summer on 20 sites throughout all 5 boroughs — this is a great opportunity to explore a new neighborhood.
47. Make Super Hero costumes, pirate flags, under the sea shadow boxes at Moomah this summer.
48. Discover all of the amazing summer produce at the Union Square farmer’s market.
49. Check out the re-vamped Pearl Street Playground near South Street Seaport.
50. View the city (or at least the East side and Queens) from new heights by taking a tram ride that will only cost you one subway fare.
What’s your family’s #1 favorite summer activity? Let us know in the comment section below!