25 Things to Do for Father’s Day in New York City
Here’s to celebrating the dads, grandpas, and father figures in our lives! This year, Father’s Day is Sunday, June 16, 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.
1. Catch a wave at this year's Rockstock And Barrels Festival featuring surf contests, a local arts and crafts shopping village, skateboard demos, and live music.
2. Sail aboard the 1885 Pioneer Schooner with the South Street Seaport Museum's New York Harbor trip.
Get climbing at Dumbo Boulders. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala
3. Test your climbing mettle at the Dumbo Boulders outdoor climbing facility. Round out the day with a great meal in the neighborhood at one of our family-friendly picks, or at the brand new Time Out Market.
The summer-long global food festival Queens Night Market returns to Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Photo courtesy of the Queens Night Market
5. Bring a hearty appetite to the Queens Night Market on Saturday where the whole family can find the foods they love at over 100 vendors. Chow down in front of FREE live entertainment.
6. Head to Brooklyn Bridge Park to play, bike, skate, ride the carousel, view the new public art installation Bridge Over Tree, and hit up the Environmental Education Center and check out the 250 gallon aquarium housing some of the East River's resident critters.
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!
Try out paddleboarding and other sports at Adventures NYC in Central Park. Photo courtesy of NYC Parks
8. On Saturday, enjoy Central Park’s Adventures NYC, an all-day FREE event that includes rock climbing, mountain biking, obstacle races, and more.
9. Grab a blanket and dad's fave foods and head to the Big Picnic at Snug Harbor on Saturday. Bonus: your ticket will get you access to the main event, plus entry to all the great museums, galleries, and gardens the site has to offer.
A new mini-golf course is open at Adventures on Governors Island. Photo courtesy of Governors Island
10. Hop a ferry to Adventures on Governors Island for a round at the new mini golf course, the maze challenge, a climbing wall, and a zip line. Afterwards, enjoy a picnic on the grounds or get crafty at the Children's Museum of the Arts Free Art Island Outpost.
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. Practice some catch and release skills at Brooklyn Bridge Park's Fishing Clinic where marine biologists and expert anglers will guide visitors though the basics of line fishing (unless of course, they're already pros) to discover some of the park's fascinating aquatic organisms.
14. Already feeling the heat? Make a day of it and cool off at one of these water parks.
15. Father's Day coincides with Movie Night at Habana Outpost in Brooklyn, where a screening of Bad Boys (R) is on the menu. (Maybe book a sitter and leave the kids at home for that one.)
16. Is dad a theater fan? If so, head to Central Park, where New York Classical Theatre is performing Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest.
17. Or maybe he's a history buff? Celebrate Juneteenth, the holiday that commemorates the end of slavery, on Saturday. Watch the brass band march in the parade and then head to Gershwin Park for family-friendly festivities.
18. If really ancient history is his thing, head to the American Museum of Natural History to check out the new T. Rex: The Ultimate Predator exhibit, or to the Bronx Zoo for a ride on the newly refurbished Dinosaur Safari, which takes visitors through a two-acre wooded area where 40 ultra-realistic, life-sized animatronic dinosaurs lurk.
19. Go for a family ramble at Fort Tryon Park. As luck would have it, this weekend also features the Scandinavian Music Festival in the park, with a Saturday kid-friendly performance aptly entitled "Papa is Always Right".
Jacob Riis Beach in Queens feels like a world away from the city. Photo by Matthew Nighswander
23. Romp it up at Kids Fest at Jackie Robinson Park, a full day of dance, music, and interactive theater performances, plus workshops and activities for families.
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.
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. It is updated annually.