We know: you’ve been busy. Life doesn’t stop just because school is out, and it can be hard to get to (or even remember) all the big plans you had at the beginning of the summer. Don’t despair — It’s not too late! We’ve gathered together tons of great things to do, see, eat and drink during summer’s last gasp, as well as some special events you shouldn’t miss. Bookmark this page for go-to ideas of how to squeeze every last bit of fun out of the rest of the season. (Labor Day is September 7. The time is now!)


photo: icecream and water by Suzette – www.suzette.nu via Flickr

1. Go wild at the brand new Children’s Zoo at the Bronx Zoo.

2. Hit the streets —safely! Thanks to Summer Streets, on three consecutive Saturdays in August, nearly seven miles of New York City’s streets are opened to the public to play, run, walk and bike. (Oh yeah: a free gigantic water slide will be there, too.)


3. Take the subway to one of NYC’s FREE beaches for fun in the sun near the city. Want to go further afield to a sandy spot? Try these beachy keen escapes!

4. Looking to stay cool in the city? Try one of these frigid air-conditioned spaces to chill out with the kids.

5. Along the way, stop in at these kid-friendly beer gardens for a refreshing brew and snack.


6. Head uptown to check out the city’s newest park — a bridge that offers amazing views of the city!

7. Cool off with a sweet treat at one of New York’s best ice cream shops.

8. Forgot to plan a vacation? (It happens.) Check out Hersheypark for a sweet escape with rides and waterparks, or Morey’s Piers on the Jersey Shore for a seaside family stay.


9. Visit the interactive and super cool new Children’s Discovery Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

10. When the heat gets too much, hit one of the city’s great spraygrounds for a day of splishing, splashing and dunking.

11. Catch a flick under the stars at on one of these screens around the city, or head inside to one of these kid-friendly theaters.


photo: via Public Art Fund Facebook page

12. Explore public art around the city, and cool off in Brooklyn Bridge Park with Jeppe Hein’s  interactive water sculpture, “Appearing Rooms.”

13. Camp (or glamp) as a family at one of these spots near NYC.

14. Don’t miss the chance to eat outside with the kids at one of these restaurants that actually welcome patrons of all ages! Or sample the offerings of our picks for the best kid-friendly food trucks in the city.


15. Take in the classic — and brand new — sights, sounds and tastes — at Coney Island. A great day to go? August 15, when the Coney Island 25th Anniversary Sand Sculpting Contest takes place!

16. Grab a bucket and head to one of our favorite blueberry patches to pick some blue gold yourself!

17. Take the baby for baby back ribs. The top blues acts in the country and NYC’s best barbecue converge on August 22 for Blues BBQ at Hudson River Park’s Pier 26 in Tribeca.


18. Check out NYC’s newest play space Recess — you don’t even have to be a member!

19. Serve up the fun (and get psyched for the U.S. Open) with Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day in Queens on August 29, featuring live music from top pop stars, games, face painting, balloon  twisting and lots more!

20. Think you’ve been to all the best playgrounds in the city? Check out our lists for Manhattan and Brooklyn and see!


Frolic! photo: Children’s Museum of Manhattan

21. Need to occupy a toddler on a hot day? Head to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s new play space just for little ones, Frolic!

22. Head to Riverside Park South for the West Side County Fair on September 6. Enjoy a full day of free county fair magic in Manhattan with carnival rides and games, four awesome bands, sideshow performers, aerialists, reptile shows, local food and merchandise vendors, cotton candy, and more!

What’s on your “must-do” list before autumn arrives? Tell us in the comments below!

—Mimi O’Connor