25 Things To Do for Father’s Day in New York City

Celebrate the big day with dad, grandpa, and all our father figures | Father's Day Weekend Events June 17, 2018
Spend a fun-filled day with dad at Coney Island. Photo by Sara Marentette

Here’s to celebrating the dads, grandpas, and father figures in our lives! This year, Father’s Day is Sunday, June 17, and while it’s possible that chilling on the couch is dad's Father's Day dream come true, why not make it special by planning a memorable day out with the kids? We’ve rounded up 25 great ideas for celebrating Father’s Day weekend in New York City—one or more should certainly prove inspirational!

If you're thinking about taking the party outside the city, be sure to peruse our Day Trips Guide or Theme Parks Guide for lots of great ideas.

1. Get cooking together at the Edible Academy Opening Weekend at the New York Botanical Garden, which includes culinary demos, cooking workshops, and live music. Kids can measure and mix dried herbs to use in a salad dressing and pot up an herb to bring home and grow.

A South Street Seaport Schooner ride is a memorable way to celebrate Father's Day.

2. Sail aboard the 1885 Pioneer Schooner with the South Street Seaport Museum's New York Harbor trip.

3. Test your climbing mettle at the Dumbo Boulders outdoor climbing facility. Round out the day with a great meal in the neighborhood.

4. Putt-putt your Father’s Day away at one of these miniature golf courses or visit Red Hook’s indoor Shipwrecked Miniature Golf.

5. Go on a scavenger hunt searching for Pop-Up Pianos all over the city. Bonus points if anyone in the family can play a tune.

RELATED: NYC Summer Fun Guide: Free Fun, Day Trips, Water Play

Erwin Wurm's Hot Dog Bus will bring free hot dogs to Brooklyn Bridge Park this summer. 

6. The Hot Dog Bus is calling dad’s name in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Hunt it down and nab a dog—or two! While you’re there, hit the Pop-Up Science Encounter: In Search of Earth’s Secrets and find out how scientists drill to the earth’s core to learn about the planet’s past.

7. Head to Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg on Sunday to dance with dad at The Music of The Grateful Dead Father's Day Special, hosted by the Rock and Roll Playhouse. Stick around and bowl some frames!

8. On Saturday, enjoy Central Park’s Adventures NYC, an all-day FREE event that includes rock climbing, mountain biking, obstacle races, and more.

Celebrate Father's Day weekend with dad at Coney Island's Mermaid Parade on Saturday. Photo by Shinya Suzuki via Flickr.

9. Coney Island’s Mermaid Parade sparkles once again on Saturday—a perfect excuse for dad to bedazzle some shorts and march around with a trident.

10. Hop a ferry to Adventures on Governors Island for a maze challenge and climbing wall. (The zip line is closed.) Try the new outdoor ice skating rink or just enjoy a picnic on the grounds. You can even gift dad with a personalized GI hammock! (no guarantees he'll always have first dibs to swing in it, though)!

11. Visit the Children's Museum of Manhattan to let the kids make Father's Day gifts out of that legendary, dad-approved material...duct tape!

12. Browse our list of NYC places where parents and kids can play together and pick an experience perfect for your family.

13. Try Zip Jump Climb for a zip line, extreme air jump, or rock climbing at Atlas Park Outdoor Shopping Mall in Queens. Advance reservations are a great gift.

14. Feeling the heat? Make a day of it and cool off at one of these water parks.

RELATED: Best Festivals and Fairs in June for NYC Families

Catch a family flick at Habana Outpost. Photo courtesy of the restaurant

15. Father's Day coincides with Movie Night at Habana Outpost in Brooklyn, where a screening of Saturday Night Fever (R) is on the menu. Maybe book a sitter and leave the kids at home.

16. Or maybe he's a history buff? Celebrate Juneteenth, the holiday that commemorates the end of slavery, at the New-York Historical Society. Meet living historians from the 6th United States Colored Troops, a Civil War reenacting troop, and learn a military drill! Don't forget to take a peek at the Society's Summer of Magic exhibit, where dad and progeny can check out a box of magic tricks after exploring treasures from David Copperfield's personal magic collection. 

17. Is dad a Shakespeare fan? Go Bard watching in Central Park, where New York Classical Theatre is performing an "on the go" version of Romeo and Juliet.

18. At Bats! Brats! And Beer! on Saturday, challenge dad to a burping contest while watching a baseball game that follows 1864 rules at the Bartow-Pell Mansion.

This exhibit allows visitors to get up close and personal with the works of armor at Fort Tryon Park.

19. Go full ramble at Fort Tryon Park, where an outdoor art display of armor practically begs families to spend an afternoon in a Medieval reverie. As luck would have it, June 17 is also the date for the Scandinavian Music Festival's Children's Concert in the park, with a performance based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Tinderbox.

20. Make 843-acre Central Park, with its 21 playgrounds, your Father’s Day destination; begin by reading this Hidden NYC post. Pack a blanket and snacks. Or, consider this scavenger hunt taking place in the park on Sunday!

Dine-in with the Incredibles 2 at the Alamo Drafhouse. Photo courtesy of Disney Pixar

21. On Saturday, head to Brooklyn’s Alamo Drafthouse for a screening of the new Incredibles flick—the PG-rated and aptly named Incredibles 2—during which dads can treat themselves to brunch and, if it's not too early, an adult beverage. Or spring for a babysitter later that evening after choosing a dining-and-movie spot via our guide to dine-in NYC movie theaters.

22. Go to the beach—via subway, for the whole weekend, or down the Shore.

23. Romp it up at the Rubin Museum's annual Block Party, which promises Himalayan snacks, futuristic art-making stations, drone demos and, paradoxically, a cham dance performance by Palyul Monks, among other earthly delights.

All ages are welcome to participate in the Community Rowing Event at the Bronx River Waterfront.  

24. Rock the boat by taking the family to Community Rowing at the Bronx River waterfront at Hunts Point Riverside Park. Even babies can ride the waves (tiny life jackets are available, while supplies last). In Brooklyn, you can check out a kayak at the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse. You can also kayak or canoe at Hallet’s Cove in Queens. Or sign up for free community sailing in lower Manhattan!

25. On Sunday, fill your bellies with melting pot cuisine at the Eggs Rolls, Egg Creams, and Empanadas Festival on the Lower East Side.

A version of this article was published in 2016, but it has since been updated and revised.

All photos courtesy the respective organizations except where noted