BY COURTNEY INGALLS
Our summer plans might look a little different this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still make this summer loads of fun! Summertime is the best time to enjoy the warm weather, relax, and make amazing memories. New York City has attractions lined up for this season that is perfect for every family, whether it’s taking a hike with the family or enjoying a drive-in movie. Finish off the summer on a high note with our Ultimate NYC Summer Bucket List!
The Ultimate NYC Summer Bucket List 2020
Enjoy a stroll through the heart of the New York Harbor by visiting Governors Island! This 172-acre island gives families the opportunity to indulge in their favorite activities, whether it’s kite flying, playing games, or simply taking in the artwork and scenery the island has to offer. You’re also able to enjoy a relaxing trip to the island through their ferry service. The island has also taken extra precautions when it comes to sanitizing and social distancing in order to combat COVID-19.
The High Line is the best place to wander and explore. Take a walk to the Tiffany & Co. foundation overlook where the southern end of the High Line was severed in the ’80s. A family favorite is the Diller-Von Furstenberg Sundeck & Water Feature where the designer included subtle water features where children and parents can dip their toes in to cool off. There are many magical spots throughout the High Line that are both fun and educational.
Take a ride on some of New York City’s Classic Style Charter Boats while sailing through the Classic Harbor Line. Families can enjoy a relaxing, inspiring, and breathtaking excursion that overlooks the city that never sleeps. Classic Harbor Line’s boat tours allow you to buy tickets to cruise out to see the Statue of Liberty. If you would like to take a trip that is more private, you have the chance to have a private charter on one of their largest boats. Enjoy the best service while also taking advantage of the amazing views.
Bird watching at Central Park is a great activity to be a part of if you have a love for animals and nature. Over 200 bird species visit the park every year and many of them go to different areas of the park, which will require people to do a little bit of exploring. Check out Central Park’s Woodlands, such as The Ramble, and you will be able to catch a glimpse of these beautiful animals. This is the best activity for early risers since it will keep you on the bird’s daily routine.
From amazing boutiques to tasty restaurants, the Seaport District has a little something for everyone. If you would like to get a little retail therapy done, there are many shops to choose from. After you shop, you can choose to sit and relax at any of the many restaurants. Enjoy the energetic atmosphere and make memories.
The hot weather might stand in your way of participating in outdoor activities, but it also gives you an excuse to head to the pool! Pools such as Hamilton Fish Park, Jackie Robinson Park, Wegner Pool, and Marcus Garvey Park are all opening at the beginning of August. Pack your sunscreen and a towel and enjoy the water!
Look over the amazing city of New York by going to the top of the Empire State Building! Soak in the breathtaking views from the buildings’ two observation decks offered. Head to the 86th floor where you can step onto New York’s most famous open-air observatory, where you can take advantage of 360-degree views. Venture on up to the 102nd floor where you can look out over 80 miles on a clear day!
Sit back and relax as you watch some of your favorite movies at the Skyline Drive-In. This outdoor cinema is situated so families can take in the beautiful backdrop. With a variety of different movies showing throughout the summer months, families can go online and buy tickets for the movie they would like to see. They can then either drive, bike, or walk to the drive-in to enjoy the show. You are also able to bring your own snack so you will have something to munch on like you would in a regular theatre!
The Newton Creek Nature Walk is a destination like no other and is definitely a hot spot in Brooklyn. With so many special features, this walk will bring you to many artistic sites and beautiful landscapes. Kids of all ages are also able to join in on a scavenger hunt. Discover hidden treasures as you explore important cultural, historical, and scientific aspects of Newton Creek. This area was an important factor in the growth of New York City, and visitors can learn about how wastewater is treated to ensure clean harbor water.
Domino Park has been welcoming visitors to explore for over 160 years. Built on the site of the old Domino Sugar Refinery, this park is a tribute to the diversity of generations of Domino workers, their families, and their neighborhood. With fun playgrounds, elevated walkways, and fountains, the park is a pretty place to visit with family and friends. You can also bring your furry friends and bring them to the dog run.
Starting August 7th, The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens will finally be opened to the public! Get to take in all of the scenic views as well as get up close and smell some of the many flowers that are scattered around the garden.
Smorgasburg in Williamsburg is one of the best places to visit on an empty stomach! Due to COVID-19, the huge outdoor food court is starting a promotion called Smorg To Go where you are able to order online and pick up some of your favorite foods from different vendors. The food court is opened seven days a week and with this new to go promotion, the lineup for vendors change every week so customers can experience something new each time they come!
Grab your bikes and go for a ride to pass some time while also getting some exercise! Queens has so many parks that are perfect for biking. Forest Park, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and Little Bay Park are fan favorites for their scenic and peaceful atmosphere. These biking destinations are perfect for families who might not be biking experts but want to try something new!
Animal lovers need to stop by the Queens Zoo in order to get the ultimate fury friend experience! If you and your kids don’t mind getting their hands dirty, take some time to play around at the conservation stations as well! There is something new and exciting to see around the park which makes a visit here an unforgettable experience.
Visiting your local sprinkler parks and water playgrounds is the perfect activity to have your kids cool down and it also very cost-efficient! Splish and splash through some of the best “spray grounds” in the neighborhood. Beach 30th Street Playground, Paul Raimonda Playground, and Travers Park are only a few of the many places to visit that will make your kids day even more fun!
Come visit all of your favorite exotic animals at the Bronx Zoo! The zoo opens to the public on July 24 and all visitors must reserve a date in advance. With over 265 acres, every visitor will have a chance to connect with all different animals! You are welcome to explore exhibits and participate in the wild encounters where your family can get up close and personal with animals such as penguins, cheetahs, and sloths!
If you are looking for a destination where you can relax and experience nature, then Wave Hill is the place to visit! Visit the gardens pergola where you are able to look over the Hudson River. During the summer months, Wave Hill displays colorful paintings that surround the pergola that will add some more color to your day. While you’re visiting, walk through the flower garden or Herbert & Hyonja Abrons Woodland for more exploration. Wave Hill also has exhibits that support emerging and mid-career artists.
For Every Borough
Catch up on some reading this summer by joining some of the best Summer Reading Programs! Summer reading allows for kids to stay engaged over the summer, while also expanding their imagination through different stories they read about. Barnes and Noble, Bklyn Public Library, and Quest for Adventure are all great programs to get your kids excited about reading! Your kids can spend hours entertained with a good book while also educating themselves. These programs are also perfect for expanding their horizons and trying books from different genres and authors!
Looking for a new way to travel this summer that is fun and relaxing? Take a ferry ride to a number of destinations throughout New York City. All of the ferries start from Manhattan and customers can choose where they want to go! Take a trip to Governors Island or take one that will bring you to South Brooklyn or Astoria! Once you’re on the ferry you are able to sit back and take a look at all the views of the city, as well as enjoy great service and refreshments.
If you would like to stay home and create, then making summer smoothies are both fun and delicious! Smoothies are healthy drinks that will fill you up and also keep you feeling refreshed. Whether you like blueberries or bananas with peanut butter, there are many different recipes that you can find to make your taste buds happy!
We all scream for ice cream during the summer months, so why not spend the day searching for a new ice cream place that your family can frequently visit in the future! Every shop adds its own twist to their signature ice cream while also having all of the classic flavors that everyone grew up loving.
One outdoor activity that many people enjoy is taking hikes with their family. Luckily, there are many hiking trails throughout the four boroughs that are perfect for any family. In Manhattan, take a hike through the scenic and historic sites of Inwood Hill Park. Hike at Brooklyn’s Paerdegat Basin where you will be able to admire breathtaking waterfronts. These locations and many others across New York City are perfect for a family outing.
Not comfortable going out to a restaurant yet? Set up your outdoor dining space by having a picnic! Grab some of your favorite snacks, a blanket, and a nice spot in one of the many parks around New York City and enjoy a wonderful meal with your family. Astoria Park, Cloves Lakes Park, and Madison Square Park are some hot spots for the perfect picnic!
Get some of the best fresh ingredients and produce from any of the Greenmarket Farmers Market locations in New York City! Greenmarket was founded in the hopes to promote regional agriculture by providing small family farms the opportunity to sell their locally grown produce. Farmers at the market are from all different states in the Northeast, which provides customers with a large array of fresh foods to try! The market is also putting on virtual workshops throughout the summer where families can learn how to grow their own produce from home!
If you have gotten a little tired of walking or biking, then learning how to rollerblade or skateboard will give your kids a new challenge to try while also getting some exercise. Safety always comes first so get the proper gear (such as elbow pads, knee pads, and a helmet). Once you have everything you need, head over to one of your local parks and take the rollerblades or skateboards for a spin! It might take a little time to master, but practice makes perfect.
For all of the art lovers out there, New York City is the best place to walk around and see incredible street art and sculptures. Enjoy public art from NYC artists who all range in style. Make sure to stop by Brooklyn’s DUMBO Walls or the World Trade Center’s street art to see some of the most colorful and creative pieces of work that these artists have worked hours to create. These destinations are also perfect for a little family photo opt!
Playgrounds around NYC are now open, so take advantage of the openings and bring your kids to have some good old fashion fun! There are all kinds of playgrounds around the city that are designed to make playtime for kids more memorable! Whether you visit the Ancient Playground in Central Park or the Pier 6 Playground, each playground sparks a little imagination into every kid!
Keep your kids learning this summer by trying out some science projects at home! Take some household items you have lying around and turn them into a science lesson that will teach your kids something new. Grow your own crystals in your kitchen, create your own cloud experiment, or try out the orange buoyancy experiment. These do-it-yourself activities are perfect for summer days when you want to stay at home but still do something fun!
Tie-Dye is all the rage this summer, so why not spend time and learn how to do Shibori Tie-Dye with your family! This fun and colorful style is very easy to make and comes out looking beautiful! Learn different folding techniques and try different objects to dye while trying out this traditional Japanese method of indigo dyeing.
This story first appeared on newyorkfamily.com.