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13 Best NYC parks for families (that aren’t Central Park)

Central Park is a given, but have you explored all the other amazing (and kid-friendly) parks in NYC? Take a minute to check out your neighborhood (and 13 of the coolest spots in town).

Photograph: Iwan Baan, 2009/ High Line Park Photos

It’s a beautiful sunny day in New York, and you’ve got the toddlers in tow. Why not go for a stroll in beautiful NYC? These spectacular parks around the city offer kid-friendly features and parent-approved events that will have you viewing your neighborhood in a different light.

1

Governors Island

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Explore a full roster of free kids’ activities, including craft workshops, an artist-designed minigolf course and prime picnicking at Picnic Point. Governors Island is known for its exciting festivals and top-notch food trucks (think El Paso Taco and Blue Marble Ice Cream), and now it’s about to have 30 acres of new ball fields for you and the kids to play on.

  1. Governors Island
More info
2

Brooklyn Bridge Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Visit Brooklyn Bridge Park for the Pier 6 playground, which boasts the Water Lab (a stone-strewn area with water to splash in) and the Sand Village (a huge sandbox with large metal slides). Hit up the Pop-Up Pool this summer to cool off with views of Manhattan in the background.

  1. Main St, (at Fulton Ferry Landing), 11201
More info
3

Battery Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Go for a stroll in the flower-filled waterfront gardens, or educate the kids on sustainability at Battery Urban Farm this summer, where kids can plant and harvest their own crops during summer programs, festivals and workshops.

  1. Battery Pl, (at State St)
More info
4

McCarren Park

  • Free

Sprint around McCarren Park’s baseball, football and soccer fields with the little ones or watch 'em conquer the skate park on their own. McCarren regularly hosts outdoor film screenings, and during the summer, it features a huge park pool for cooling off.

  1. Bayard St to Nassau Ave, (between Leonard and North 12 Sts)
More info
5

Bryant Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

In addition to its proximity to one of the most iconic public libraries in the world, Bryant Park offers an unbeatable summer movie series, an adorable minicarousel and weekly kid-friendly programming such as juggling lessons and game socials.

  1. Sixth Ave, (between 40th and 42nd Sts)
More info
6

Randalls Island Park

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Free

Wear the kids out at Randalls Island’s five-plus athletic fields, or drop by the apple orchard or native wildflower meadows to explore seasonal events. Be on the lookout for the park’s educational summer programs for kids too.

  1. Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, (at Randalls Island)
More info
7

Prospect Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

At the zoo’s recently reopened Discovery Center, families can read nature books together and explore wildlife using a magnifying glass before saying hello to red pandas, sea lions and monkeys. Now that construction has been completed on Lakeside, kids can frolic in the fountain or take a spin around a roller rink.

  1. Prospect Park West to Flatbush Ave, (between Prospect Park Southwest and Ocean Ave)
More info
8

Madison Square Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Enjoy Mad. Sq. Kids activities throughout the summer, and watch your tykes go on a scavenger hunt through the park at Explore!, create artistic masterpieces at Art in the Park and listen to stories at Reading Rangers. Kids can also play at the Police Officer Moira Ann Smith Playground to play in sprinklers and a 15-foot water wheel!

  1. 23rd St to 26th St, (between Fifth and Madison Aves), 10010
More info
9

Fort Greene Park

  • Free

Toss a Frisbee in one of Fort Greene Park’s lush green fields, play "H.O.R.S.E." on the basketball court, or watch the little ones on one of the park’s exciting playgrounds.

  1. Washington Park, (between DeKalb and Myrtle Aves)
More info
10

The High Line

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Let your kids walk through a field of wildflowers, taste one of People’s Popsicles local flavors and enjoy free summer programs such as Arty Hours, Lawn Time and Wild Wednesdays.

  1. Washington St at Gansevoort St, (to Tenth Ave at 30th St)
More info
11

Hudson River Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Feel the wind in your hair as you take the kids on a Pier 62 carousel ride, practice putting with the family at the miniature golf course on Pier 25 or kayak through the Hudson.

  1. Battery Park City to 59th St, (at West Side Hwy)
More info
12

Flushing Meadows–Corona Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Take a day trip to the park’s zoo, explore six different playgrounds, take a boat out on the lake, or cook up some picnic fare at one of the park’s BBQ stations. 

  1. 111th St to Van Wyck Expwy, (between Flushing Bay and Grand Central Pkwy)
More info
13

Riverside Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

At Riverside Park, you can roll your doublewide stroller down four miles of scenic waterfront with your babies, try and hit all 15 playgrounds with your older kids or involve the whole family with an afternoon bike ride down the park’s bike paths.

  1. Riverside Dr, (between 72nd and 158th Sts)
More info


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