10 Fun Things To Do with Kids at South Street Seaport
Have you been to the South Street Seaport lately? You remember that place where you used to go to drink back in your pre-parenting days. Or perhaps it's where you took out-of-towners when they came for a visit, or maybe it was just so far out of the way you never set foot on its cobblestone streets.
But you should. It's a great destination for families. I used to think it was just a mall and a bunch of bars but after exploring with my son I've realized this historic place offers a lot more. Visiting here is actually kind of like being a tourist in your own city, which is a cool thing to do every now and then.
Although the Seaport can get crowded on summer weekends, it's one long party all season long with street performers, free outdoor music and more. Next time you take a trip to the Seaport, bring your kids, bypass the bars and check out one of these fun finds.
1. Ride a bike on the East River Bikeway or one of the other bike-friendly streets downtown. If you don’t have a bike, Blazing Saddles rents them for the whole family, even kids' bikes, tag-a-longs and tandem bikes. It's located right on Pier 17 and even offers fun guided bike tours over the Brooklyn Bridge.
2. Take a seat outside on the decks of Pier 16. You'll see amazing views of the bridges and the East River that even little kids can appreciate.
3. Hit the renown Imagination Playground designed by famed architect David Rockwell. If it's overrun with kids playing with its signature blue interlocking foam pieces, the playground on Pearl Street is just a few blocks away.
4. Take a tour of the studios at Little Airplane Productions, Inc. Kids will love to see how Small Potatoes, The Wonder Pets and other preschool television programs are made.
5. Grab a bite: There are many choices in the mall-sized food court in Pier 16. Then check out Paradise Candy on the top floor with tons of colorful bins of self-serve gummies and other candy sold by the pound.
6. Sun and snack by the Brooklyn Bridge at the Beekman Beer Garden Beach Club. An adult joint at night, in the afternoons families can enjoy upscale bar food, pool and foosball, and of course, sand.
7. Cruise the river on one of the many boat rides and tours that depart from the Seaport. Many of the historic tall ships you see docked at the pier go out through Manhattan by Sail or the South Street Seaport Museum. For more of a thrill, take the 30-minute Shark speedboat ride or go on a sightseeing cruise with the Circle Line or Water Taxi.
8. Shop the weekend Fulton Stall Market. It's packed with suppliers of local produce, meats, breads, coffee, herbs, spices and great crafts from Etsy artists. There's even live music in August and it all goes down in the former fish market.
9. Check out a museum While the South Street Seaport Museum on Fulton Street is currently closed due to ongoing Hurricane Sandy-related repairs, you can still visit its Water Street attractions including the Maritime Crafts Center, where you can watch pros carve wooden masterpieces, and the historic Bowne & Co. Stationers. Due to all the damage sustained during Sandy, the museum is in more need of visitor support than ever so definitely drop by, make a donation if possible and sign up for the email list to stay informed about any updates.
10. Attend one of the Seaport's many special events. During the summer there always seems to be something special going on down there—2011's solar-powered carousel was a big hit! But there are lots of annual events to look out for, like Children's Day, the spectacular Chorus Tree over the holidays with free choral concerts and Halloween festivities.
Updated July 7, 2012