Before we really get into it, if you’re planning a family trip to New York City during the summertime, you need to know the following two things about the warmer months in the Big Apple: it can get toasty, so pack comfortable, lightweight clothes, and when all else fails, there are thousands of ice cream trucks parked throughout the city at any given moment, and it’s hard to beat a cone from a Mister Softee cart, dipped in sprinkles.
So with the formalities out of the way, here are a few of our favorite activities to enjoy with the kiddos in the city.
Central Park in general is not to be missed in the summer (or ever). It’s one of Manhattan’s most iconic destinations, one of the finest works of landscape architecture anywhere, and of course, a large green space where your kids can run around and tire themselves out. But if it’s still early in the day and you want to preserve their energy, then head over to Central Park’s Conservatory Water, to rent a couple of remote controlled, wind-powered sailboats. Once you get the hang of them, steering them from the shore proves a surprisingly captivating pastime!
Follow up your visit to the Conservatory Water with a short walk over to Central Park Zoo. It’s much smaller than its counterpart in the Bronx, but makes up for that with its great proximity to everything, plus its sea lions and snow leopards! At the very least, it’s the setting of the entire Madagascar movie series, so your kids should get a kick out of that!
It’s a bit of hike, but Coney Island is well worth the trip. The beachside Brooklyn neighborhood feels a world away from the high-rises of Midtown, and happens to be home to a boardwalk and amusement park seemingly lifted out of the 1950s. For older kids (and of course, thrill-seeking adults), the Cyclone is a must-ride roller coaster, but there are plenty of less jarring diversions in Coney Island as well, ranging from tamer rides, to carnival games.
Take advantage of clear skies and sunny weather by viewing the city from above. There are a handful of spectacular observation decks atop the city’s tallest buildings; but the best is probably the “Top of the Rock“, located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. From its deck, you can not only see both the Empire State Building and the new World Trade Center, but its positioning near Central Park affords wonderful views of the city’s crown jewel as well. Enjoy out-of-this-world, panoramic views of the whole city in the middle of the action.
And of course, as we mentioned earlier, it’s hard to walk a block in the summertime without having access to ice cream. It’s tough to beat that classic city-dweller pastime of just grabbing a cone, and taking a stroll down the Hudson River pedestrian path.
New York City truly comes alive in the summer with excitement and activity, and there’s no shortage of family-friendly offerings. Don’t miss out on the country’s best vacation destination during one of the best times of year to visit!