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
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...
When does the city turn on the sprinklers in NYC parks? That's a question we get asked every year as the weather starts to heat up. It's getting to be that time when going to the playground can pretty much guarantee getting wet. All of those sprinklers, fountains, rivers and other cool...
Pelham Bay Park with Kids: Swim at Orchard Beach, Go Hiking, Biking and Horseback Riding, and Explore a Historic MansionOur month-long focus on the Bronx's Pelham Bay continues with an in-depth look at NYC's largest green space, Pelham Bay Park. At nearly 3,000 acres, the park is three times the size of Central Park and is packed with awesome family attractions including Orchard Beach, four playgrounds,...
What's New on Governors Island for Kids: 30 New Acres of Park, Open 7 Days a Week & Other Exciting ChangesGovernors Island reopens to the public this Memorial Day weekend and there are lots of exciting changes in store for summer 2014. In addition to unveiling 30 acres of new parkland to the public for the first time, the isle will be open to visitors seven days a week! (Take note: The Brooklyn ferry...