New York City

100 Free Things to Do This Summer with Kids in New York City

Summer is the season of FREE in NYC—and here it comes. There's no-cost fun everywhere you turn, from festivals, outdoor movies, and concerts, to kayaking and fireworks. With the public school break upon us, and the kids itching to play (and swim), we've rounded up FREE things for families to do every single day of summer vacation. Starting with Wednesday, June 27 and running all the way through Wednesday, September 5, 2018, we've compiled the best FREE things to do with kids in NYC all summer!

Of course, this list isn't comprehensive. There are literally hundreds of FREE fun events happening across our city this school break. You can find more cool seasonal activities and destinations in our Summer Fun Guide, including beach day trips, FREE splash pads, and more. Check out our Events Calendar for more events.

Still searching for a summer camp for a week or two? Check out our NYC summer camp directory and guide.

Top 10 North Carolina Beaches for Families

North Carolina is home to top notch colleges, bustling cities, fun towns tucked into the Blue Ridge Mountains, and some of the best beaches on the East Coast. Most of these beaches are a far cry from the bustling carnival-like atmosphere of the boardwalk towns in the Jersey Shore, and others take a bit more effort to get to than you might expect, but they’re definitely worth it. Wild horses, cute seaside towns, and a dose of southern charm make North Carolina a great beach destination for you and your family.

Keep reading for our top picks for family-friendly beaches in North Carolina.

Best Free NYC Swimming Pools for Toddlers and Kids

It's summertime and the livin' is easy—beaches, sprinklers, and awesome days at the playground. Oh the hard life of a New York City kid. And the NYC Parks Department is poised to open its outdoor pools on Wednesday, June 27, 2018, the day after public schools let out.

We've rounded up our picks for the best free pools in the city. These are all places we've visited personally, or have come highly recommended by families we know. The city hosts more than 50 outdoor pools this summer, so it will be hard not to find one you like. Time to get swimming!

50 Things to Do with Kids in the Hamptons and North Fork This Summer

So much to do, so little time.

That’s a popular refrain on Long Island’s East End, where vacationers and residents alike struggle to pack as much adventure as possible into the 60-some days between school years. Which is where we come in, of course.    

Our Mommy Poppins experts have updated their list of the best fun things to do this summer and family-friendly events on the North and South forks. We’ve researched family beaches, state and county parks, pools, and even indoor options just in case Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate.

So have a look, and while you’re at it check out our guide to this unique region, home to farms, museums, wineries, and even the trendy celebrity or two. Who knows: While you’re here, you might even scratch an item or two off our list of 100 must-do things with LI kids. Hurry, time’s a-wasting.

Best Summer Events for NYC Preschoolers

The days are long and steamy, but at least there is so much to do with a preschooler in New York City! From free concerts and festivals, to swimming and crafting, not a week goes by without outings and activities that will make lasting summer memories for your family.

With this list of our best event picks for summer fun with your preschooler or toddler-age kid, you’ll find yourself wanting to stay in town to take advantage of it all. Best of all? It's almost all FREE.

Check out our Summer Fun Guide for NYC Kids for more fun things to do for every age in every borough.

Island Beach State Park: A Haven for Nature-Loving Beachgoers

There's more to the Jersey Shore than rides, salt water taffy, and (let's face it) crowds. Island Beach State Park (IBSP) may well be one of NJ most beautiful and unique beaches, drawing thousands of nature enthusiasts every year.

Though you'd get to Island Beach from the same Garden State Parkway exit as Seaside Heights, the two beaches are worlds apart. Ten-mile long Island Beach is situated between the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay and is one of the last few undeveloped barrier beaches on the North Atlantic Coast. From hiking to bike riding, and, of course, swimming, here are some things outdoorsy families will love about Island Beach.

New Mini Golf Course Set to Debut on Governors Island This Weekend

Putt-putt lovers take note: A brand new, 18-hole mini golf course on Governors Island is set to debut Saturday, June 23, just in time for the Figment Art Festival this weekend.

Brought to life by the folks behind Adventures at Governors Island (which also introduced a zip line and climbing wall to Governors), the new miniature golf course is located on the island's western shore, with breathtaking views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor beyond.

Weekend Fun: Figment Fest, Pride, Free Outdoor Plays & Movies

NYC's beloved family art festival Figment Fest takes over Governors Island this Saturday and Sunday. Don't miss the Jacob Hashimoto exhibit and the Guerilla Sense Sensorium while you're there!

Two terrific versions of Shakespeare's most kid-friendly comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream, hit the stage this summer solstice weekend at Castle Clinton and at Smith Street Stage in Carroll Gardens. Or, celebrate the longest day of the year at the Inti Raymi Festival of the Sun at the National Museum of the American Indian.

June's month-long Pride celebrations culminate in the Manhattan Pride Parade this Sunday, and kids and teens can check out Youth Pride on Saturday, an afternoon of games, performances, and dancing.

Our encyclopedic Free Outdoor Movie guide keeps growing: So far, Coco fans can catch 10 screenings around town! And if you love Jumanji (13 screenings) or Black Panther (11 screenings—and counting), you're in luck, too. This weekend, just a few of the FREE outdoor movies under the stars include the LEGO Ninjago Movie in Queens, Despicable Me 3 in Brooklyn, or Moana in the Bronx.

Heat getting to you? Check out our parent-tested list of great water parks for toddlers or best water playgrounds and sprinklers. And, as always, scroll through our calendar to find ALL the best things happening near you and around NYC.

Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn with Kids: Fun Things to Do as a Family

From the quiet, tree-lined brownstone streets to the bustling business districts along Fulton Street and Nostrand Avenues, Bedford-Stuyvesant has something for everyone. Young families in NYC are discovering Bedford-Stuyvesant as one of the best corners of Brooklyn to settle, drawn by its rich cultural history, beautiful architecture, and close-knit community.

Bedford-Stuyvesant is bordered by Flushing Avenue to the north, Atlantic Avenue to the south, Classon Avenue on the west, and Broadway on the east. Most of the neighborhood is easily accessible by the A and C trains, along with several bus lines. But one of the best ways to experience Bed-Stuy, as it is affectionately known, is on foot. You can find yourself in Bed-Stuy with just a short walk from nearby Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, or Williamsburg. And once you have a chance to experience the sights and sounds of this vibrant community, you may never want to leave.

Even as gentrification brings new real estate developments, coffee shops, and wine bars to the neighborhood, Bed-Stuy is committed to maintaining its unique neighborhood identity. From creative classes to free activities to family restaurants, here are some of the best things to do in Bed-Stuy with kids.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Plans to Install a Permanent Outdoor Pool

Brooklyn Bridge Park is getting a new, outdoor public pool—eventually. After years of the public enjoying what was supposed to be a temporary pop-up pool in Brooklyn Bridge Park, the park has launched a fundraising campaign to fund the construction and operation of a permanent pool.

While the new pool won't be in the same spot as the pop-up pool, swimmers will still enjoy Manhattan skyline views from its location in Squibb Park, a portion of Brooklyn Bridge Park just above Pier 1 that sits in Brooklyn Heights at the entrance to the bouncy Squibb Bridge, which connects the promenade to the park. The construction of the new pool is expected to cost between $10-$15 million, according to park organizers. Admission will be FREE, as with the current pool.

Fans of the current pop-up pool may be wondering what this means for swimming in Brooklyn Bridge Park while the new pool is being constructed. The news is mixed.

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