Check out one of the many free pools in NYC before summer ends like Liberty Pool. Photo courtesy of NYC Parks
Check out one of the many free pools in NYC before summer ends like Liberty Pool. Photo courtesy of NYC Parks

End of Summer Checklist: 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 things 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. There are plenty of great activities we haven't gotten to, though. So, we've crafted this list of 40 things to do 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

Enjoy an over-the-top-ice-cream treat at one of these cool spots, or pick up a chilly scoop at our favorite ice cream shops.

Summer Streets
Don't miss Summer Streets for a day of car-free fun. Photo courtesy of NYC DOT.

3. Summer Streets

Cycle through car-free streets, fly along the zip line, or catch more family entertainment at the annual Summer Streets on Saturdays, August 7 and 14. FREE

4. Enjoy an LIRR Day Trip

Visit the kid-pleasing splash pad at Jones Beach or enjoy one of these other LIRR-friendly day trip stops.

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 August 17-October 3.

6. Enjoy Some Water Sports

Row your 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.

8. Go 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.

RELATED: The Best Things To Do in NYC With Kids This August

Glamping at Jacob Riis Beach
Take a glamping vacation at Jacob Riis Beach. Photo by Wade Mayer

9. ...Or Glamping

Stay local and try out glamping at Camp Rockaway or on Governors Island.

10. Roller Skating

Glide across (or stumble, we won't tell) a nearby roller rink.

11. See an Outdoor Movie

Catch an alfresco flick in an NYC park. FREE

12. Peep a Cool Exhibit

Explore the Nature of Color at AMNH.

13. Play Mini-Golf

Try for a hole-in-one at the seasonal mini-golf course on Governors Island, the pop-up Pixar Putt in Battery Park, or another of NYC's outdoor putt-putt spots.

14. See a Kiddie Concert

Groove to an outdoor kiddie concert.

RELATED: 100 Free Things To Do in NYC This Summer

Roller Skating at Brooklyn Bridge Park
Take a spin around the roller rink at Pier 3 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Photo by Julienne Schaer

15. Go Bowling

Hit the lanes at one of our favorite bowling alleys for NYC kids—bonus: industrial AC.

16. Visit the TWA Hotel

Check out the TWA Hotel at JFK for roller skating and retro vibes.

17. See Some Fireworks

Watch the dazzling Coney Island fireworks every Friday night. FREE

18. 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

19. 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.

20. Visit the Statue of Liberty

Visit Lady Liberty and the museum dedicated to her history.

RELATED: Best NYC Playgrounds With Shade

Pier 6 Water Lab
The Water Lab at Pier 6 is one of our favorite places to cool down. Photo by Sara Marentette

21. Dive Into a Play Fountain

While away the day splashing in one of our favorite play fountains before the sprinklers are turned off for the year. FREE

22. Hit the Playgrounds

Visit a destination playground, or if you're feeling ambitious, hit a bunch in one day in Central Park, Prospect Park, Riverside Park, or Brooklyn Bridge Park.

23. 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 you can peep much of the Kusama exhibit while you're there. The Queens Botanical Garden is FREE on Wednesdays from 3-6pm, and Sundays from 9am-11am.

24. 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.

25. Take a Metro-North Trip

Hop aboard the Metro-North to explore one of these seven kid-friendly stops.

26. Visit the New York Aquarium

Get up close to deep-sea creatures at the Ocean Wonders: Sharks! exhibit at the New York Aquarium on Coney Island.

RELATED: Visiting Queens' New Mega Splash Pad

Jane's Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park
Admire the view from Jane's Carousel. Photo by Shinya Suziki

27. Explore Brooklyn Bridge Park

Plan a daycation to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Beyond its fab playgrounds and spectacular carousel, make sure to explore the Pier 3 attractions.

28. Tour a Children's Museum

Craving industrial AC? Check out one of our favorite children's museums. Bonus: With an NYPL card, you can even net FREE admission to some of them, plus a long list of other NYC cultural institutions.

29. Visit a Local Farm

Pick the final peaches at area farms, or the early apples that arrive for the picking in the metro area pre-Labor Day.

30. See American Dream

The New Jersey mega-mall has debuted a pair of new kid-friendly attractions: Legoland Discovery Center and SeaLife Aquarium. See them and thousands of square feet of retail stores and other attractions.

31. 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.

32. Enjoy a Picnic

Or pack a blanket and spend an evening picnicking at one of these entertaining spots.

RELATED: Best NYC Summer Festivals for Kids This August


Conquer The Hills on Governors Island. Photo by Matt Nighswander

33. Sail Away to Governors Island

Channel your inner kid with a ride down the city's longest slide at The Hills on Governors Island, or check out the zip line and more at Adventures at Governors Island. There's also a weekend-only adventure playground to explore. FREE

34. Hit the Local Amusement Parks

Go for a wild ride at one of these public-transit-friendly amusement parks.

35. Go for a Dip in a Rooftop Pool

Splurge on a day pass at one of these rooftop pools.

36. Go for a Bike Ride

Explore the city on two wheels with a family-friendly bike ride.

37. Go to Van Gogh

You can still get tickets to one of the two Van Gogh exhibits currently showing in city limits.

RELATED: You Pick Flower Farms Near NYC

Belvedere Castle in Central Park
Stroll through Central Park and explore Belvedere Castle. Photo by Janet Bloom

38. Play Like Royalty at Belvedere Castle

Explore the enchanting Belvedere Castle and surrounding ecosystem with a guided or self-led tour.

39. See the NYC Unicycle Festival

Head to Governors Island over Labor Day weekend for the always entertaining NYC Unicycle Festival. FREE

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.

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