End of Summer Bucket List: 40 Things To Do in NYC Before School Starts
With August upon us and the start of a new school year looming, my kids and I are in a panic about all the fun, summery things to do in NYC we haven't yet crossed off our NYC summer bucket list.
Sure, we've had a lot of fun tooling around the city, enjoying our local swimming pool, reigniting a love for some favorite playgrounds, chilling out with some ice-cold treats, and soaking up all the FREE entertainment. But, there are plenty of great activities we haven't gotten to. So, we've crafted this list of 40 things to do in NYC before summer ends.
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1. Visit the Beach
Sneak in one last trip to a city beach for some seaside fun. FREE
2. Scream for Ice Cream
3. Enjoy an LIRR Day Trip
Don't miss Summer Streets for a day of car-free fun. Photo courtesy of NYC DOT.
4. Summer Streets
Cycle through car-free streets, join a dance party, learn to ride a bike, or catch more family-friendly things to do in NYC at the annual Summer Streets on Saturdays, August 6, 13, and 30. FREE
5. Visit the New York Renaissance Faire
Take a trip back in time with a visit to the New York Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo Park. The Faire runs weekends from Saturday, August 27 through Sunday, October 9.
6. Enjoy Some Water Sports
One of our favorite physical things to do in NYC each summer is rowing our way through one of the city's waterways in a kayak, canoe, or rowboat.
7. Ride the Ferry
For a more relaxing ride, let someone else command the vessel and hop on a ferry to a kid-friendly shore.
Take a glamping vacation at Jacob Riis Beach. Photo by Wade Mayer
8. Go Glamping...
9. ...Or Camping
Escape the city's heat and humidity with a weekend camping trip. Some of our favorite family-friendly sites are even accessible via the MTA. Prefer a one-day getaway? Check out one of these summer day trips.
10. Peep a Cool Exhibit
11. Play Mini-Golf
Enjoy some retro fun at the DiscOasis or one of the other roller skating rinks in NYC. Photo by Jody Mercier
12. Roller Skating
13. See an Outdoor Movie
Catch an alfresco flick in an NYC park. FREE
14. See a Kiddie Concert
Groove to an outdoor kiddie concert.
15. Go Bowling
Hit the lanes at one of our favorite bowling alleys for NYC kids—bonus: industrial AC.
16. Go for a Bike Ride
Explore the city on two wheels with a family-friendly bike ride.
RELATED: Best NYC Playgrounds with Shade
The Water Lab at Pier 6 is one of our favorite places to cool down. Photo by Sara Marentette
17. Dive Into a Play Fountain
When the summer sun gets to be too much, splashing in one of these play fountains is one of our favorite things to do in NYC. Make sure you get in a splash before the sprinklers are turned off for the year. FREE
18. Escape for a Weekend
19. See Some Fireworks
Watch the dazzling Coney Island fireworks every Friday night. FREE
20. Journey to City Island
Head to the bucolic City Island for an evening of fun on the Bronx isle. A public bus takes you from the Pelham Bay Park subway stop to the island anytime. FREE
21. See the NYC Unicycle Festival
Head to Governors Island over Labor Day weekend for the always entertaining NYC Unicycle Festival. FREE
Explore the Richmond County Fair over Labor Day weekend at Historic Richmond Town. Photo courtesy of the fair
22. See Staten Island
Sticking around town for Labor Day weekend? Hop on the Staten Island Ferry and enjoy the sea spray en route to the Richmond County Fair. Want to venture out on another day? Hop off the ferry to explore the surrounding cultural institutions.
23. Explore Alley Pond Park
Idle away a sunny afternoon in Queen's second-largest public green space, Alley Pond Park, where you can hike, bird watch, zip line, picnic, and explore its orienteering course.
24. Visit the Statue of Liberty
25. Hit the Playgrounds
26. See the Blooming Botanic Gardens
Stroll among the blooms and butterflies at one of the city's botanic gardens. The NYBG offers FREE grounds admission to NYC residents on Wednesdays and the Queens Botanical Garden is FREE on Wednesdays from 3-6pm and Sundays from 9am-11am.
Admire the view from Jane's Carousel during a visit to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Photo by Shinya Suziki
27. Explore Brooklyn Bridge Park
28. Take a Metro-North Trip
Hop aboard the Metro-North to explore one of these seven kid-friendly stops.
29. Visit the New York Aquarium
30. Tour a Children's Museum
Conquer The Hills on Governors Island. Photo by Matt Nighswander
31. Sail Away to Governors Island
Channel your inner kid with a ride down the city's longest slide at The Hills on Governors Island. Check the calendar for family-friendly things to do in NYC, like the weekends-only adventure playground. FREE
32. Visit a Local Farm
33. See American Dream
The New Jersey mega-mall is home to tons of kid-friendly attractions, plus thousands of square feet of retail stores, restaurants, and more.
34. Enjoy Outdoor Dining
Take the night off and treat yourself to dinner with a view or an alfresco meal at one of these kid-friendly restaurants with patios and backyards.
35. Enjoy a Picnic
Or pack a blanket and spend an evening picnicking at one of these entertaining spots.
Stroll, skate, and scoot through Central Park and explore Belvedere Castle. Photo by Janet Bloom
36. Play Like Royalty at Belvedere Castle
37. Hit the Local Amusement Parks
38. Go for a Dip in a Rooftop Pool
Splurge on a day pass at one of these rooftop pools.
39. Try a Family Adventure Course
Enjoy some thrilling adventures at WildPlay at Jones Beach or one of these other adventure parks, zip lines, and ropes courses near NYC.
40. Visit the Zoo
Enjoy some face time with NYC's wildest residents at one of our favorite zoos and aquariums.
This post is updated annually.