Timeout New York Kids

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The best NYC parks for families

These awesome NYC parks offer playgrounds, boardwalks, bike paths and pretty much everything else you could need for a great day in the great outdoors

Photograph: Iwan Baan, 2009/ High Line Park Photos

NYC parks are a great place for socializing, picnicking and playing with the little ones—after all, they're the closest thing most New Yorkers have to a backyard! These are some of our favorites around town, and seveal are even neat enough to have amazing hiking trails, carousels and spectacular views of our beloved Big Apple. While you're at it, check out our favorite free things to do with kids, too.

1
Summer at Governors Island

Summer at Governors Island Photograph: Virginia Rollison

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 like FIGMENT, amazing views and top-notch food trucks (think El Paso Taco and Blue Marble Ice Cream). Last, we'd recommend checking out the 20,000-square-foot beach or bringing bikes for a spin on the park's 5+ miles of bike lanes.

  1. Governors Island
More info
2
Travis with Dad, Brooklyn Bridge Park

Travis with Dad, Brooklyn Bridge Park Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

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), Sand Village (a huge sandbox with large metal slides) and Swing Valley (Tarzan-style ropes). There are also soccer fields, sand volleyball courts, handball courts, bike paths plus a rollerskating and boating area for families. Jane's Carousel, built in 1922, is also worth visiting.

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

Battery Park Photograph: Paul Martinka

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. At Battery Park, families can also take boats to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

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

McCarren Park Pool Photograph: Marielle Solan

McCarren Park

  • Free

Sprint around McCarren Park’s 35 acres of 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. From November through January, McCarren also offers an ice-skating rink with free ice-skating for kids under 12 on Mondays and Tuesdays from 4–7pm.

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

Bryant Park

Bryant Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Bryant Park has plenty to offer your family year-round. In warmer weather, take a trip to theArt Cart in front of the NYPL to borrow crayons, colored pencils, stencils and other art supplies so the kids can make their next masterpiece nearby (there are professional-quality supplies available for adults, too)! If you’re more in the mood for a relaxing read, check out the Reading Room (no I.D. or library card required), where there are a wide variety of books available to use for free, plus kid’s furniture and books to keep little ones occupied. In wintertime, don’t miss the Winter Village pop-up shops and free skating (ice-skate rentals are available for a fee).

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

Photograph: Mathews Nielson

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. You can also fish in the Hudson River for free during the summer—just don’t try to eat your catch of the day. In addition to formal fishing instruction from Big City Fishing, kids ages five and older will get a lesson in the ecology and biology of the Hudson River and its species from environmental educators. All fishing equipment, including rods, reels and bait, are provided. The program is offered in several locations on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and Monday evenings.

  1. Battery Park City to 59th St, (at West Side Hwy)
More info
7
Behind the scenes: Prospect Park's Lakeside complex

Behind the scenes: Prospect Park's Lakeside complex Photograph: Luciana Golcman

Prospect Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

There's everything to do in Prospect Park...the question is, are you ready for an all-day adventure? Check out the Prospect Park Zoo, Carousel, LeFrak roller/skating rink (depending on the season), bandshell for awesome summer concerts and the Lefferts Historic House for a little taste of history. There's also free programming at the Audobon Center for kids.

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

The High Line Photograph: Roxanna Marroquin

The High Line

  • Critics choice
  • Free

From the winter Sculpt-Off and famed Haunted High Line Halloween to exciting outdoor summer programming for kids, the High Line is really the place to be year-round. Commit to a long loop to check out the sights, plants and cool public art and explore three fun programs for kids in July and August. In those months, visit Lawn Time (ages 0-3), where families can hear readings by different storytellers each week, Wild Wednesday (ages 4+), featuring nature-related crafts and activities, and Arty Hours, where kids explore their creativity through hands-on art projects.

  1. Washington St at Gansevoort St, (to Tenth Ave at 30th St)
More info
9

Photograph: Vincent Laforet

Randalls Island Park

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Free

Wear the kids out at Randalls Island’s 60+ athletic fields, go for a bike ride or drop by the apple orchard or native wildflower meadows to explore seasonal events. In the likely event that you'll want to make a day of your Randall's Island trip, secure a BBQ pit and grill up some hot dogs and burgers for the little ones.

 

 

 

  1. Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, (at Randalls Island)
More info
10
Madison Square Park

Madison Square Park Photograph: Beth Levendis

Madison Square Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Enjoy Mad. Sq. Kids activities throughout the summer like the annual Kids' Fest, featuring art, crafts, theater, storytelling and face-painting. It's also the location of the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party (yum) and one of New York's most beloved restaurants, Shake Shack. Last but not least, kids can also play at the Police Officer Moira Ann Smith Playground to get soaked under sprinklers and a 15-foot water wheel!

  1. 23rd St to 26th St, (between Fifth and Madison Aves), 10010
More info
11
Fort Greene Park

Fort Greene Park Daniel Avila

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, perfect your serve at the tennis courts or watch the little ones climb around on Fort Greene Park's huge playground complete with towers, ladders and slides. There are also outdoor grills in case you feel like bringing lunch!

  1. Washington Park, (between DeKalb and Myrtle Aves)
More info
12
Flushing Meadows- Corona Park

Flushing Meadows- Corona Park NYC Parks

Flushing Meadows–Corona Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is not only the site of two World's Fairs, but it also offers plenty of space for soccer, tennis, cricket and more. The Park additionally holds a baseball stadium (Citi Field, home of the Mets), a zoo (Queens Zoo), a science museum (New York Hall of Science), botanical gardens (Queens Botanical Garden) and six different playgrounds.

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

Riverside Park Photograph: Beth Levendis

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 14 playgrounds with your older kids or involve the whole family with an afternoon bike ride down the park’s bike path. There are also sports courts and fields for public use, plus a skate park for adventurous tweens. 

 

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


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