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50 Things to do in NYC Outdoors with Your Kids

50 Things to do in NYC Outdoors with Your Kids

Use this as your NYC outdoor bucket list!

Now that the temperatures are warming up and the trees are in bloom, it’s the perfect time to head outdoors. Here are 50 things to do in NYC with kids to enjoy being outside in the greatest city on earth. Think of this as your pre-summer bucket list. And if you visit any of these places, make sure to tag @NYMetroParents when you share your pics on Instagram!

1. Luna Park in Coney Island

Try your hand at a carnival game, enjoy a hot dog on the boardwalk, or buckle up to ride the famous Cyclone roller coaster at Luna Park in Coney Island. Enjoy aerial views a hundred feet in the sky on the swings of the Brooklyn Flyer.

luna park

2. Prospect Park Zoo

Feed a handful of grains to a gentle sheep or alpaca at the Prospect Park Zoo. See if you can spot the zoo’s Pallas cat, also known as the original Grumpy.

3. Brooklyn Botanical Garden

Run through a rain of pink petals in the Cherry Esplanade, learn about insects and native plants in the Discovery Garden, and say hello to the turtles, carp and ducks in the Japanese Garden’s pond at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

4. New York Aquarium

See the sharks swimming overhead from inside the immersive coral reef tunnel at Coney Island’s New York Aquarium. Watch the sea lions ham in up for an audience at the Aquatheater.

5. Prospect Park

Rent a boat to paddle around the lake, bike the park’s circular drive, or strap on a pair of skates and roll in Prospect Park. Run the mile of the Long Meadow—the longest stretch of unbroken meadow in any U.S. urban park.

6. Brooklyn Children's Museum

Enjoy some outdoor time at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum by exploring the Nest, an interactive play space on the museum’s roof inspired by the unique nests of baya weaver birds and crafted with wood reclaimed from city water towers.

children's museum
Image courtesy Tri Lox

7. Jane's Carousel

Admire the Manhattan skyline from atop a painted horse at Jane’s Carousel in Dumbo. The 1922 carousel has been lovingly restored and is ready to delight riders of all ages.


8. Brooklyn Cyclones Game

Root for the home team at a Brooklyn Cyclones game. Watch the roller coasters plunge in the Coney Island background as the sun sets over the sea.

9. Skyline Drive-in

Take in a favorite flick at the Skyline Drive-In, as well as a sunset view of Manhattan from the comfort of your car—or purchase a seat in the outdoor seating area if you don’t have your own vehicle.

skiline drive in

10. Adventurer's Park

Ride the classic tilt-a-whirl, bumper cars, and Ferris wheel in Adventurer’s Park. There are also lots of kiddie rides designed to bring a smile to the youngest visitors.

11. Brooklyn Bridge Park

Romp in the playgrounds, cool off in the water play area, and enjoy unobstructed views of lower Manhattan from the sandy Pier 4 beach at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Check out the calendar of events for activities such a virtual story time and a family fitness class.

12. Green-Wood Cemetery

Print out or pick up a copy of the scavenger hunt for children to lead them on an exploration of the trees, plants, and animals that inhabit Green-Wood Cemetery. Keep in mind that Green-Wood is an active cemetery, and guests of all ages need to respect the sanctity of the grounds.

green wood
Image credit Penelope Duus

13. Domino Park

Take a multi-sensory tour of the sugar refining process on the one-of-a-kind playground structures in Williamsburg’s Domino Park. The waterfront views of Manhattan are also pretty sweet. 

14. Shirley Chisholm State Park

Bring your bikes for a ride alongside the water in Shirley Chisholm State Park, named in honor of the trailblazing Brooklyn crusader. If you don’t own a bike, you can borrow one from the bike library—adult and child sizes available (

15. Central Park Zoo

Watch the seals do tricks at mealtime at the Central Park Zoo. Feed the animals at the children’s zoo, and don’t miss the entertainment of the Delacorte Clock at the turn of every hour!

16. Intrepid Museum

Climb aboard the 1943 aircraft carrier housing the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Take an up-close look at a variety of planes displayed on the ship’s deck.


17. Top of the Rock

Enjoy 360-degree views of the city at Top of the Rock. Spot Central Park, both rivers and the Empire State Building from on high.

18. Empire State Building

Take in the view of the city from the top of the Empire State Building. Whether you’re gazing down at the city from the 86th or 102nd floor, you’ll understand why the awe-inspiring panorama has remained a tourist draw for so long.

19. The Highline

Go for a leisurely stroll up or down the High Line, a linear park built atop an old elevated train track. Admire the contemporary art installations on display.

highline families walk
Image credit: Timothy Schenck

20. Central Park

Wend your way through Central Park on foot, bike, or horse and carriage. Spend some time in one of the park’s 21 playgrounds, rent a model sailboat, or clamber atop the Alice in Wonderland sculpture.

21. The Edge

Look down on the little toy cars and ant people through the glass floor of The Edge, the highest outdoor deck in the Western Hemisphere.

CaptionImage courtesy Related Oxford

22. Circle Line

Circumnavigate the entire island of Manhattan and enjoy the sea breeze on a Circle Line sightseeing cruise. Spot 130 landmarks from the boat’s outdoor deck.

circle line

23. Hudson River Park

Spend the entire day at Pier 25 in Hudson River Park. Your kids can play mini golf, climb the playground structures, or cool off in the water features.

hudson river park
Image credit: Julienne Schaer

24. Hornblower Cruises

Select the sites you’d like to see up-close on a Hop-on, Hop-off City Experience by Hornblower Sightseeing Cruises. Check out the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Governors Island, Brooklyn Bridge, South Street Seaport, Battery Park, the new Hudson Yards and more!

hornblower photo

25. Queens Zoo

Watch the birds in the aviary, hear the sea lions bark, and feed the animals in the petting zoo at the Queens Zoo.

26. Queens Botanical

Admire the flowers, stand in the shade of the trees, and smell the roses at the Queens Botanical Garden.

queens botanical
Image credit: Eryn Hatzithomas

27. Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Rent a bike or a paddle boat to explore some of the 900-plus acres in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Get splashed by the iconic Unisphere fountains.

flushing meadow

28. Fantasy Forest

Hop aboard the carousel, the Choo Choo, the Frog Hopper, and other little kid-friendly rides in Fantasy Forest Amusement Park.

29. Forest Park Carousel

Ride one of the animals on the historic Forest Park Carousel, show your strength on the high-striker, or win a prize at the ring toss.

30. Socrates Sculpture Park

Admire the outdoor art exhibitions and take in the views of the Manhattan skyline at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City.

31. Gantry Plaza State Park

See a piece of Pepsi-Cola history at Gantry Plaza State Park. Cool off in the mist fountain and prepare your fresh catch on the fishing pier’s cleaning table.

gantry state park

32. Queens Farm

Visit land that has been feeding New Yorkers for more than three centuries at the Queens County Farm Museum. Say hello to the animals and pick up some fresh produce at the farm stand.

33. Alley Pond Park

Get a look at the city’s geologic past in the wetlands, tidal flats, meadows, and forest of Alley Pond Park, which sits on the site of a glacier-formed moraine. Visit more than 80 animal ambassadors and check out the programs available at the park’s Environmental Center.

alley pond park
Image credit: Daniel Avila

34. Citi Field

Head out to the ball game at Citi Field. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see the home run apple spring into action.

35. American Princess Cruises

Spot the tail of a whale or some diving dolphins on a Whale Watching and Dolphin Adventure Cruise with American Princess Cruises.

american princess
Image courtesy American Princess Cruises

36. Bronx Zoo

Explore the expansive, shady grounds of the Bronx Zoo. Hop aboard the Bug Carousel or climb high in the Nature Trek for a bird’s eye view.

37. New York Botanical Garden

View Yayoi Kusama’s giant, whimsical sculptures on display at the New York Botanical Garden. Go on a scavenger hunt and sit in on story time in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden.

38. Bronx Zoo Treetop Adventure

Make your way through the adventure ropes course or zip line over the Bronx River at the Bronx Zoo Treetop Adventure.

julie larsen maher treetop adventure
Image credit: Julie Larsen Maher

39. Yankee Stadium

Go to a game at the iconic Yankee Stadium. Arrive early and enjoy a visit to the New York Yankees Museum before the game.

40. Wave Hill

Spot the fish swimming in the aquatic garden, admire sweeping views of the Hudson, and trek through the forest at Wave Hill. Family art projects take place on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-1pm.

wave hill
Image credit: Joshua Bright

41. Van Cortlandt Park

Explore New York’s native woodlands and wetlands in sprawling Van Cortlandt Park. Walk one of the nature trails, check out some of the five playgrounds, or lounge in the sunshine on the lawn.

van cortlandt park
Image courtesy Van Cortlandt Park Alliance

42. Staten Island Zoo

Visit Groundhog Chuck and his friends at the Staten Island Zoo. Check out the bees in the apiary and say hello to the otters, foxes, horses and leopards.

43. Snug Harbor Botanical Garden

Take a peek at the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden, one of two authentic classical Chinese gardens in the country, and enjoy more than a hundred varieties of roses in the rose garden at the Snug Harbor Botanical Garden.

44. Historic Richmond Town

Take a guided weekend tour through Historic Richmond Town to learn how New Yorkers lived centuries ago and make your children grateful for modern conveniences.

45. Greenbelt Nature Center

Head out from the Greenbelt Nature Center to one of several hiking trails. Check out the calendar of events for other nature center programs.

46. Freshkills Park

Built on the site of the infamous landfill of the same name, Freshkills Park, while still under development, has several areas open to the public. Visitors can climb the playground equipment at Schmul Park or ride bikes along the 3.2-mile New Springville Greenway.

47. Statue of Liberty

Admire the Statue of Liberty up close from the adjoining grounds (it’s not currently possible to go inside Lady Liberty). Tack a stop at Ellis Island onto your trip and learn about the arrival of millions of immigrants to the USA.

48. Roosevelt Island

Use your MetroCard to take the tram from the East Side of Manhattan to Roosevelt Island. Enjoy the green space at Four Freedoms Park or check out one of the historical sites located on the island.

roosevelt island
Image courtesy Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation

49. Governor's Island

Take in views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Statue of Liberty while biking or walking the car-free roads of Governor’s Island. Enjoy art exhibitions, musical performances, mini golf, a zipline, playgrounds, and more!

50. Randall's Island

Take the 103rd Street Footbridge to Randall’s Island and enjoy 10 miles of pathways to walk or bike. Check out the calendar of events for details on story time, movie nights, and other family-friendly events.


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Marie Holmes

Author: Marie Holmes has written for Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, the Washington Post, and other publications. She lives in Upper Manhattan with her wife and their two children. See More

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