New York City Playgrounds & Parks Guide
NYC is a big concrete jungle, yes, but we've also got almost 30,000 acres of parkland. From grand, romantic 19th century parks like Central Park and Prospect Park to modern state-of-the-art playgrounds, New York City has some of the best urban green spaces, anywhere.
The city's wonderful parks and playgrounds are part of what makes raising kids here special. No need to coordinate playdates; just head to a neighborhood playground to meet friends or make new ones. You can also do a lot more than just play in the parks, you can go bird-watching, boating, picnicking, or just lay on the grass and stare at the clouds. Our parks and playgrounds are our backyards, community centers and nature preserves all wrapped up in one.
This guide to New York City's Best Playgrounds & Parks will lead you to some veteran favorites as well as innovative newbies that we adore.
Staying Cool in the Parks
New York's Central Park
Midtown East may not be the first neighborhood that pops into your head when you picture a day out in a lovely park or an indoor play date at a cool romping spot. But once you get past the steel and concrete office buildings, you'll find a handful of great green spaces in the eastern part of...
Alley Pond Park in Queens: An Environmental Center, An Adventure Course with a Zip Line & Other Fun Things to with KidsAt just over 635 acres, Alley Pond Park is Queens' second-largest green space behind Flushing Meadows Corona Park. While there are plenty of traditional urban park attractions, including three playgrounds and a slew of sports fields, what sets Alley Pond Park apart is its natural wonders like...
Randall’s Island: 10 Best Things to Do with Kids - Mini Golf, Biking, Horseback Riding, an Urban Farm & Awesome ViewsAlthough Governors Island tends to get all of the attention, there's another isle off Manhattan where families can go for great views, picnicking and relaxing under the sun: Randall's Island. Located in the East River and bordered by Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx, the isle has added some...
New York City never ceases to amaze me with its seemingly endless expansion in the “you can do that in NYC now?!” department. The people who don’t understand why we raise our kids in the city just don’t get the true awesomeness of the ever-changing playground in which we...
When we were growing up, playgrounds had sprinklers. Now playgrounds have "water features." You know, fountains, geysers, rivers, pumps and beautiful spraying statues. The kids just love them, and we parents prefer to go to these newfangled playgrounds because they're pretty and cool...
Photos of Governors Island's Brand-new Mini-Golf Course, Interactive Sculpture Garden, Hammocks & Play AreasEvery year we rave about the interactive Figment arts festival on Governors Island. But even if you missed the 2014 edition last weekend, a lot of its cool creations remain on view throughout the summer. Figment is behind the isle's FREE annual mini-golf course and Interactive Sculpture Garden...
Juniper Valley Park in Queens: Playgrounds, Sledding Hills and Free Sports Lessons & Summer ConcertsThough not as big as Flushing Meadows Corona Park or as sleek as the waterfront green spaces in Long Island City, Queens' beautifully maintained Juniper Valley Park is beloved by local families like mine. Nestled in Middle Village in the heart of central Queens, this 55-acre former swamp...
Take the Subway to NYC's Beaches: Coney Island, Rockaway, Brighton Beach, Orchard Beach & More All Accessible by MetroCardNew York City beaches open for the season this Memorial Day weekend and, unlike last year, you won't see quite as much damage left over from Hurricane Sandy. (The storm's impact is still evident on Staten Island, where two beaches are closed due to ongoing construction, and Rockaway, which...