Let's Get Outside!
Summer in the city is full of activities, things to do, concerts, and more. New York City has plenty to offer in the warmer months. While many of these activities are located around Central Park, this is by no means where everything to do in the summer can be found. After all, New York has plenty more parks, gardens, zoos, markets, amusement parks, beaches, and other warm-weather activities to keep you busy. So, let's get started finding out what you can do during the summer in New York. Below is the best of all of the activities and places to visit.
Coney Island is a classic, old-school amusement park and entertainment area that offers visitors a glimpse into the past. The park is just over an hour outside of Manhattan and it has several classic thrills including a wooden roller coaster, an aquarium, and a boardwalk. The island also has a beach and a chill atmosphere that makes a strong contrast to the vibe in the city.
1218 Bowery Street, West Brighton, NYC, New York, 11224
Bryant Park, located between Fifth and Sixth Avenues and between 40th and 42nd Streets in Midtown Manhattan, is situated next to the Main Branch of the New York Public Library. Featuring a large field in the summer, and a very popular ice skating rink in the winter, this community park is a nice spot to relax, enjoy a quiet setting, have a picnic, or go for a walk.
6th Ave at 41st Street, New York, New York, 10018
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is an American military and maritime history museum. It has an impressive collection of museum ships and they also offer planetarium shows as well as Astronomy Family Nights. The museum is located at Pier 86 at 46th Street, along the Hudson River, in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood on the West Side of Manhattan.
Pier 86, W 46th St, Upper West Side, New York, NY, 10036
Ulysses S. Grant's Tomb
Formally known as the General Grant National Memorial, this is the final resting place of Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885), the 18th President of the United States, and his wife, Julia Dent Grant (1826–1902). Construction was completed in 1897, and the tomb and monument is located in Riverside Park in the Morningside Heights neighborhood.
501 Riverside Drive, NYC, New York, 10024
Chinatown's many street markets and authentic Chinese restaurants bring tourists from around the globe. This neighborhood is a popular tourist destination for both eating and shopping, but there are also museums, galleries, and parks in the area that are worth checking out.
Located in Bronx Park, the Bronx Zoo is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States. With over 265 acres of habitats and park area full of animal exhibits, educational resources, and more, this is a destination for the whole family. And it's popular, too, as over 2 million people visit every year. Some of the more popular exhibits include the lions, red pandas, bison, cheetahs, sloths, and the World of Birds area featuring species from around the world. Admission is free
Jungleworld Road, Lambert Houses, NYC, New York, 10460
American Museum of Natural History
This is one of the largest museums in the world and it is made up of 28 interconnected buildings that house 45 permanent exhibition halls. There's also a planetarium and a library. The museum's collection includes more than 33 million specimens of animals, plants, minerals, fossils, rocks, and more.
180 Central Park West, Lincoln Towers, NYC, New York, 10024
Hamilton Grange National Memorial
The Hamilton Grange National Memorial is the home and burial site of U.S. Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. The mansion showcases the restored historical rooms of the house, along with an interactive exhibit showcasing the history and life of Hamilton.
160 Convent Avenue, NYC, New York, 10031
Field Station: Dinosaurs
Young children appreciate this walking tour that has animatronic dinosaurs and a number of kid friendly exhibits.
1114 New County Road, Secaucus, New Jersey, 07094
Fantasy Forest at Flushing Meadows Carousel
More than just a carousel, the Fantasy Forest has a variety of smaller rides ideal for younger children such as a small coaster, teacups, and more. The carousel itself it historic and has a variety of gorgeous horses and other animals to ride, as it was built for the 1964 World's Fair by combining pieces from previous carousels. It's now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These rides are located next to the Queens Zoo.
5351 111th St., Queens, New York, 11368
Barrett Park Staten Island Zoo
This suburban zoo is located in West New Brighton on Staten Island. It's a small, 8 acre zoo that has reptiles, spider monkeys, donkeys, foxes, cows, and more. It's also the home of the famed Staten Island Chuck, a groundhog who predicts the Groundhog Day forecast yearly for New York City. Admission is normally $10, but it's free
on Wednesday afternoons.
614 Broadway, West New Brighton, NYC, New York, 10310
Rockaway Beach & Jacob Riis Park
Rockaway Beach is located in Queens and is accessible with public transportation. Here you can find some nice sand, fairly calm waves, and a relaxed crowd. In the summer months, especially on weekends it can get a bit crowded as this is one of the most accessible beaches to the city. A large section of this beach is Jacob Riis Park
which is a National Recreation Area managed by the NPS. Here you'll find several historic art deco buildings in addition to the wide sandy beach (and a sizeable parking area).
125 Beach 135th Street, NYC, New York, 11694
This 18-acre zoo in Flushing Meadows is home to a huge collection of animal exhibits that the whole family will enjoy. Don't miss the sea lions, bison, bald eagles, and other animals from the Americas. The farm animal section is a popular favorite with the little kids, too.
Corona, NYC, New York
This outdoor theatre in Central Park is home to the Shakespeare in the Park
shows which are free. Opening in 1962, this theatre has been home to a large number of free shows which are loved by adults and children alike. While sometimes the shows are based on Shakespeare's works, other times the theatre hosts musicals and other classic plays.
Central Park, NYC, New York
Central Park Zoo
The Central Park Zoo is a small, 6.5 acre zoo that has three different habitats. The Tropic Zone, the Temperate Territory, and the Polar Circle offer visitors a chance to see animals from each unique biome. There are Antarctic penguins, a children's area with farm animals, and a sea lion pool, among other things.
830 5th Avenue, NYC, New York, 83
Central Park Carousel
This vintage carousel located in Central Park (at the southern end of the park near East 65th Street) is the fourth carousel to run on this site, as a carousel has been here for many years. Kids love it, whether they are locals or visitors alike.
65th Street Transverse, NYC, New York, 10153
Canal Street & Canal Street Market
Canal Street is in Lower Manhattan and it runs east to west from East Broadway to West Street. It passes through Chinatown and ends at the edge of SoHo and Little Italy. The Canal Street Market is a unique retail market and community space with food, shopping, and more.
261 Canal Street, NYC, New York, 10013
Next door to all the fun at Coney Island, Brighton Beach has some wide sandy beaches with a relaxing but fun vibe. As expected, it's very popular in the summer months when the water and weather is warmer. Lifeguards are on duty during the day in the summer, and the facilities are wheelchair accessible, too.
Ocean Parkway to Corbin Place, Brooklyn, New York City, New York
This is the largest weekly open-air food market in America, attracting 20,000-30,000 people to Brooklyn each weekend. There are more than 100 local vendors to chose from and this is the perfect place to enjoy New York City's local culture. You can experience the diversity of its culinary scene, try new and diverse foods, and step away from the typical tourist's circuit. This is also a great place to interact with locals, people watch, and see New York from outside of the tourist's perspective.
Hester Street Fair
Hester Street Fair offers themed markets including things like "Lobster & Beer", "Vintage Extravaganza” and “Ice Cream Social” fairs.
Lower East Side
Queens Night Market
This family-friendly night market not only has vendors that sell art, food, and antiques, there are also cultural performances and fun activities that everyone can enjoy. This is an open-air market that's found in Queens and it's an interesting place to wander and experience local New York culture.
Flushing Meadows, Corona Park, Queens, New York City, NY
Chelsea Waterslide Playground
Located in Hudson River Park, this colorful playground is fun for all ages! There are water features, fun fish shaped climbing equipment, a sand area, and shaded seating that's perfect for a parent to who needs to rest their legs. After a busy day exploring, everyone will feel refreshed after a stop at this fun playground.
Hudson River Park
Essex Street Market
This long running market is New York City's most historic public market. It began in 1888 and, although it's relocated to new facilities, it continues its long history of offering fresh, delicious, and diverse local food.
88 Essex Street, Manhattan, New York, NY, 10002
Union Square Greenmarket
This Farmer's Market is held several times a week and offers local produce, flowers, and a variety of food items. It's located in Union Square and is popular with the locals.
Bronx Night Market
This is the first open air food market in the Bronx. Featuring a large selection of vendors that sell food, drinks, and artisan goods, this market is popular during the warmer months. It's located in Fordham Plaza from April thru November every Saturday night. If you want to get outside of Manhattan and see a bit of the local nightlife, then this street market is fun to explore
Whitney Museum of American Art
This impressive museum relocated in 2015 to the Meatpacking District in Lower Manhattan. It sits at the edge of High Line and has more than 63,000 square feet of space that includes both indoor and outdoor settings. The collection has about 15,000 pieces that represent works from more than 2,000 artists including Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, Edward Hopper, and Georgia O'Keeffe.
99 Gansevoort St., Meatpacking District, New York, NY, 10014
Located on the waterfront in Brooklyn, this retail area is spread throughout a repurposed New York industrial site. It offers open air shopping, plenty of open space, and a unique experience. There's also a food court with a wide variety of options, and tons of shopping venues with anything you might need.
220 36th St, Suite 2-A, Brooklyn, NY, 11232
Cedar Grove Beach
You'll find this fairly new beach on Staten Island. It's charming and small, and it's also wheelchair accessible. Lifeguards are on staff in the summer months, too.
Ebbitts Street and Cedar Grove Avenue, Staten Island, New York City, New York
Piggybacking on the Egyptian Art collection found at the Met, this playground offers climbing equipment, slides, swings, and water features that inspire kids of all ages to become explorers and archeologists. This playground, in Central Park, is the perfect place to pass some time before heading out to see more sites in New York City.
DiMenna Children's History Museum at the New York Historical Society
This museum is designed with kids in mind. There are hands-on displays that take you back in time 350 years to learn about the history of NYC. Kids are encouraged to climb and interact with the exhibits that look at the lives of historical figures. There are also family programs available including cooking classes, scavenger hunts, games, and story time.
170 Central Park West, Upper West Side, New York, NY, 10024
Not far from Brighton Beach is this smaller family-friendly beach with nice sand and fairly calm waves. It's the perfect place to spend the afternoon with your kids and enjoy beautiful weather. Picnics and BBQ's are popular here and it's easy to keep everyone entertained with the sporting venues and other activities nearby as well.
The surrounding neighborhood is filled with single family houses, many with private swimming pools.
Oriental Blvd, from Ocean Avenue to Mackenzie Street, Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Jones Beach State Park
Jones Beach in Wantagh on Long Island is very popular, and can get crowded in the summer. But the popularity is warranted as the beach here is terrific, and there's also a lengthy boardwalk, changing areas and bathrooms, and other nice facilities. They also have concerts in the summer which bring in a crowd. As it's a state park, there is a small admission fee.
1 Ocean Pkwy, Wantagh, New York, 11793
How much does it cost?
Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $6 to $275. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $59. A few of the best options are below.
Where to Stay in New York City