50 outdoor activities in New York City


Use it as your NYC outdoor to-do list!

Now that the temperatures are warming up and the trees are in bloom, now is a great time to get outside. Here are 50 things to do in New York City with kids to enjoy the outdoors in the world’s largest city. Think of this as your to-do list before summer. And if you visit any of these places, don’t forget to tag @NYMetroParents when you share your photos on Instagram!

Try your hand at a carnival game, enjoy a hot dog on the boardwalk, or brace yourself to ride the famous Cyclone roller coaster at Coney Island’s Luna Park. Enjoy aerial views thirty meters into the sky on the swings of the Brooklyn Flyer.

moon park

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

Run under a shower of pink petals in the Cherry Esplanade, learn about native insects and plants in the Discovery Garden, and say hello to turtles, carp, and ducks in the Japanese Garden Pond at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Watch sharks swim overhead from inside the immersive Coral Reef Tunnel at Coney Island Aquarium in New York City. Watch sea lion ham in front of an audience at the Aquatheater.

Rent a boat to paddle around the lake, cycle the park’s circular walkway, or put on a pair of skates and roll through Prospect Park. Run the mile of Long Meadow, the longest unbroken stretch of prairie of any US city park.

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

children's museum
Image courtesy of Tri Lox

Admire the Manhattan skyline from the top of 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.


Cheer on the home team in a Brooklyn Cyclones game. Watch the roller coaster plunge into the bottom of Coney Island as the sun sets over the sea.

Watch a favorite movie at Skyline Drive-In, plus a Manhattan sunset from the comfort of your car, or purchase a seat in the outdoor seating area if you don’t have your own vehicle.

ski slope by car

Climb aboard the classic recliner, bumper cars and ferris wheel in Adventurer’s Park. There are also plenty of kids’ rides designed to put a smile on the face of the little ones.

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

Print or purchase a copy of the Scavenger Hunt for Kids to guide them through an exploration of the trees, plants and animals that inhabit Green-Wood Cemetery. Keep in mind that Green-Wood is an active graveyard, and guests of all ages should respect the sanctity of the grounds.

green wood
Image credit Penelope Duus

Take a multisensory tour of the sugar refining process on the unique play structures of Domino Park in Williamsburg. The views of Manhattan’s waterfront are also pretty sweet.

Bring your bikes for a waterfront ride in Shirley Chisholm State Park, named after the Brooklyn Crusader pioneer. If you don’t have a bike, you can borrow one from the Bike Library – Adult and Child sizes available (parks.ny.gov).

Watch the seals take mealtimes at the Central Park Zoo. Feed the animals at the petting zoo, and don’t miss the hourly Delacorte clock animation!

Climb aboard the 1943 aircraft carrier home to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Observe a variety of airplanes on display on the ship’s deck up close.


Enjoy a 360-degree view of the city from the top of the rock. Spot Central Park, the two rivers, and the Empire State Building from above.

18. Empire State Building

Admire the city view from the top of the Empire State Building. Whether you look at the city from the 86th or the 102nd floor, you’ll understand why the awe-inspiring panorama has been a tourist draw for so long.

Take a leisurely stroll on the High Line, a linear park built on top of an old elevated railway line. Admire the contemporary art installations on display.

highline families walk
Image credit: Timothy Schenck

Explore Central Park on foot, by bike or on horseback and carriage. Spend time in one of the park’s 21 play areas, rent a model sailboat, or climb to the top of the Alice in Wonderland sculpture.

Watch miniature toy cars and ants through the glass floor of The Edge, the tallest outdoor patio in the Western Hemisphere.

LegendImage courtesy of Oxford

Cruise around Manhattan Island and enjoy the sea breeze on a Circle Line sightseeing cruise. Locate 130 landmarks from the outside deck of the boat.

circle line

Spend the whole day at Pier 25 in Hudson River Park. Your children can play mini-golf, climb the play structures or cool off in the water games.

hudson river park
Image credit: Julienne Schaer

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

horn ringer photo

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

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

botanical queens
Image credit: Eryn Hatzithomas

Rent a bike or pedal boat to explore some of the more than 900 acres of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Let yourself be splashed by the iconic Unisphere fountains.

meadow rinse

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

Ride one of the animals in the historic forest park carousel, show your strength on the high striker or win a prize in the ring throw.

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

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

portico state park

Visit the land that has fed New Yorkers for over three centuries at the Queens County Farm Museum. Say hello to the animals and collect fresh produce from the farm stand.

Take a look at the city’s geological past in the wetlands, mud flats, grasslands and forest of Alley Pond Park, which sits on the site of a glacier-formed moraine. Visit more than 80 animal ambassadors and see the programs available at the park’s Environmental Center.

alley pond park
Image credit: Daniel Avila

Head to the ball game at Citi Field. If you are lucky you will be able to see the apple home run in action.

Spot the tail of a whale or diving dolphins on a whale and dolphin watching cruise with American Princess Cruises.

american princess
Image courtesy of American Princess Cruises

Explore the vast shaded grounds of the Bronx Zoo. Climb aboard the Bug Carousel or climb high in the Nature Trek for a bird’s-eye view.

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

Wind your way through the adventure ropes course or zipline on the Bronx River at the Bronx Zoo Treetop Adventure.

julie larsen maher treetop adventure
Image credit: Julie Larsen Maher

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

Spot the fish swimming in the water garden, admire the breathtaking views of the Hudson, and trek through the forest at Wave Hill. Family art projects take place on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

wave hill
Image credit: Joshua Bright

Explore New York’s native forests and wetlands in the expansive Van Cortlandt Park. Take a walk on one of the nature trails, discover some of the five playgrounds or relax in the sun on the lawn.

van cortlandt park
Image courtesy of Van Cortlandt Park Alliance

Visit Groundhog Chuck and Friends at the Staten Island Zoo. Observe the bees in the apiary and say hello to otters, foxes, horses and leopards.

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

Take a guided weekend tour of historic Richmond to learn how New Yorkers lived centuries ago and make your kids thankful for modern conveniences.

Depart from the Greenbelt Nature Center to take one of the many hiking trails. Check the calendar of events for other nature center programs.

Built on the site of the infamous landfill of the same name, Freshkills Park, although still under development, has several areas open to the public. Visitors can climb the Schmul Park’s play equipment or cycle along the 3.2-mile New Springville Greenway.

Admire the Statue of Liberty up close from the adjoining grounds (it is currently not possible to enter Lady Liberty’s interior). Stop at Ellis Island on your trip and learn about the arrival of millions of immigrants to the United States.

Use your MetroCard to take the streetcar from the East Side of Manhattan to Roosevelt Island. Enjoy the green space of Four Freedoms Park or visit one of the historic sites located on the island.

Roosevelt Island
Image courtesy of Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation

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, zipline, playgrounds and more!

Take the 103rd Street walkway to Randall’s Island and enjoy 10 miles of trails for walking or biking. Check out the event calendar for details on story time, movie nights and other family events.


Comments are closed.