Tag Archives: playgrounds

The Best Summer Activities for NYC Kids

While many people think of summer as a time to escape the NYC heat and head for greener pastures (literally!), summer in the city can actually be a real treat—especially if you have kids. Beyond the tall buildings and bustling streets there are hidden amusement parks, water spraying playgrounds, and free concerts you and your little ones can enjoy almost any day of the week. So next time you’re racking for brain for things to do on your next free afternoon, try out one of the best summer activities in NYC!

Victoria Gardens. Hidden away in Central Park is Victoria Gardens at Wollman Rink, a kiddie amusement park that only operates during the summer. Perfect for preschoolers, the park has a variety of gentle rides (only a few have height limits), local performers, and lots of fun snacks. The under five set will probably need a little help handling rides like the Aeromax and the Rockin’ Tug, but all ages will love a day here nonetheless. To find Victoria Gardens, enter the park at 59th Street and Sixth Avenue and follow the path until you find the fun!


Water Playgrounds
Play in Water
. At first look, NYC playgrounds seem like normal play areas—a few slides, swings, climbing equipment, and some monkey bars. But when summer arrives, these playgrounds transform into water spraying entertainment areas, with sprinklers squirting water in every direction, and little ones frolicking happily through the spray. You can find these playgrounds in almost every corner of NYC, but for the ultimate spot, check out the Pier 25 play area, which has eight seasonal water features designed for kids age 2–12. You can even make a day of it here—there’s an 18-hole mini golf course, sand volleyball courts, and a snack bar.

Madison Square Park Concerts. Not only is Madison Square Park a fun place to go with kids because of its huge playground and every child’s favorite eatery Shake Shack (who doesn’t love a burger and ice cream?!), but it’s also the perfect summer spot because of its Thursday morning FREE concerts for kids. Favorites such as Songs for Seeds, WeBop Family Jazz Party, and more perform rain or shine starting at 10:30am—the lawn opens at 10am so get there early to reserve your spot!

Public PoolsMother and baby playing in a swimming pool. Besides swimming lessons, there’s nothing better than splashing around freely in a pool on a hot day. Luckily NYC has a bunch of great public pools, where little ones can spend a morning or afternoon cooling off with other city kids. We love John Jay Pool because of its proximity to the river and the adjacent John Jay Park playground, but there are tons of other convenient pools throughout NYC depending on where you live.

Drop-in Classes. When your little one needs a break from the summer sun—as well as some learning and structure during the day—there are awesome drop-in classes throughout NYC, where you can pop in without having to plan too far ahead. Whether you live uptown, downtown, or anywhere in between, you can search Kidz Central Station by drop-in classes, location, and whatever type of class you’d like (music, cooking, dance, open play, and more!) and you can sign up in a minute and be on your way to class.

And when all else fails, load up on sunscreen, walk out your door, and grab a couple of cones from your nearest Mr. Softee truck—it’s sure to do the trick!

5 Great Summer Playgrounds in Downtown Manhattan

NYC is a great place for kids in the summer. Not only can they spend most of their days outside, taking in the sights and sounds of the city, but there are tons of parks and playgrounds where they can run around and play. If you’re new to the playground scene or want to venture to a new neighborhood this weekend, try one of these great summer playgrounds in downtown Manhattan —all perfect for a hot day!

5 Summertime Playgrounds In Downtown Manhattan

Leroy Street Playground

Leroy Street Playground (Greenwich Village)
Leroy Street Playground is a bit off the radar, making it the perfect spot for avoiding crowds. The playground features swings and several free standing play areas with slides, stairs, spinning wheels, ladders, and plank bridges. On the hot days, a small fountain in the center of the playground provides some much needed relief from the heat.

Nelson A. Rockefeller Park and Playground (Battery Park City)
Along the Hudson River you’ll find Nelson. A Rockefeller Playground, one of the most picturesque family-friendly destinations in NYC. You’ll find sandboxes, a pedal-operated carousel, swings, a jungle gym with slides, and several spouting water fountains where kids can cool off on hot summer days.

Pier 25 (Tribeca)
Located in Hudson River Park, Pier 25 is a summertime urban oasis complete with buckets and spraying water fountains. Aside from water activities, this playground boasts a futuristic-looking jungle gym, swings, sandboxes and a climbing wall.

5 Summertime Playgrounds In Downtown Manhattan

Pier 25

Evelyn’s Playground (Union Square)
Evelyn’s playground is bright, colorful, and located smack in the middle of bustling Union Square. The large, yet somewhat hidden playground has water fountains, swings, a climbing and sliding dome, and huge slides. The playground’s cushy protective floor tiles were just replaced back in April, so you can ensure your little ones have a soft surface to land on as they jump from one activity to the next.

Imagination Playground (South Street Seaport)
Designed by architect David Rockwell, Imagination Playground (at Burling Slip) is not your average play space. Fostering fun and imagination, this playground brings out kids’ creativity with oversized, moveable pieces (giant foam blocks, mats, wagons, and more) to move around and build on their own. And, like many city playgrounds, kids can run through water fountains and sprinklers to escape the heat.

By Anna Julien, founder and author of The Bump Diaries blog, a lighthearted look at pregnancy and motherhood from a first-time NYC mom.