The world is getting keyed-up for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, and of course, New York is no exception. If this Olympic Games is like any other, New Yorkers in every borough will cheer on U.S. athletes — as well as competitors from other countries considered first homes for so many transplants — all month long. We’ve found a way to kick off the festivities with the kids in style!

rio mascot

photo: via Rio 2016 Facebook page

Welcome to Rio!
From Friday, August 5 to Thursday, August 11, “Rio on the Hudson” will take over Pier 26 in Hudson River Park. Free and open to the public, the event will transform Pier 26 into a playscape for young and old inspired by the Olympic Games and host country Brazil.

Visitors can expect beaches, real palm trees, samba music and dancers and Capoeira performances, as well as Brazilian DJs, live graffiti artists creating large-scale Olympic-themed murals, and Brazilian food and drink.

olympic kid head

Opening Night
If your family likes its Olympic Games-watching experience to be communal, this might be your spot to view to the Opening Ceremony broadcast. The event opens at 5 p.m. on Friday August 5, with a team USA Celebration featuring a cauldron lighting and kickoff at 7 p.m., followed by the Opening Ceremony broadcast at 7:30 on a big screen.


photo: via Jackie Joyner Kersee Foundation Facebook page

Meet & Greet Olympians
One of the highlights of the event — especially, we imagine, for aspiring mini Olympians — will be meet and greets with Olympic athletes and current Paralymipans, the latter of which will be heading to Rio in September to compete.

Athletes currently scheduled to appear include Christie Rampone, Mia Hamm, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Rudy Garcia-Tolson, Scout Bassett, Steve Serio and Sam Kavanagh.

Fun & Games
Rio on the Hudson will give visitors a few opportunities to test their own athletic prowess. Kids can participate in an Olympic Hula Hoop contest; test their speed in the “dash” against Olympian Allyson Felix by racing against her high school or Olympic times, and join a pickup beach volleyball game.

Additional kids programming includes face-painting, and multiple crafting activities such as making your very own Olympic torch.


photo: Simon Law via Flickr

Learn & Watch Some Brazilian Moves
Both kids and adults can take lessons in the Brazilian martial art Capoeria, and then see how the pros (of all ages) do it at performances. Rio on the Hudson will also feature multiple Samba performances and mixers.

Don’t Forget to Eat
All that dancing and dashing will make you hungry. Top NYC Brazilian chefs will be cooking up traditional and authentic pao de quiejo, fried plantains with sett chili sauce, steak & cilantro empanadas, beef skewers and flan and caramel.

Citi Celebrates Team USA: Rio on The Hudson
August 5 – August 11
Pier 26
Hudson River Park
Online: &

Where will you get in the Olympic Spirit this year? Tell us in the comments! 

— Mimi O’Connor