Summer in NYC is so chock-full of treats to eat and awesome activities to try that our wallets could probably use a break by the time 4th of July weekend rolls around. Luckily, there are also lots of free things to do with kids for those who want to have their summer joy on the cheap without sacrificing an ounce of fun.
RECOMMENDED: Full coverage of 4th of July for kids in NYC
Free things to do over 4th of July weekend
For this mother of all pyrotechnic displays, Macy's will explode more than 40,000 fireworks—returning to the East River for the second year in a row. Stake out a nice spot along Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Brooklyn Promenade or the South Street Seaport to watch, and bring your own picnic basket with beverages to toast our country's birthday. All ages.
Celebrate our nation’s independence by joining an estimated 40,000 viewers in watching people stuff their faces with franks. (America, ladies and gents.) After securing the world record by downing 69 hot dogs in ten minutes in 2013, reigning champ Joey Chestnut is back and hungry for his ninth consecutive title this year. All ages.
Governors Island, NY is an amazing place for fun with the kiddos! There's plenty to see and do on 172 grassy acres—including hiking, biking, swimming, scaling playgrounds and sightseeing. You'll definitely want to visit Slide Hill, where there are four slides to choose from (one is the longest slide in all of NYC!), and take a trip to Hammock Grove, where a network of comfy hammocks await.
Come cool off and take a dip in the Brooklyn Bridge Park Pop-Up Pool. The pool's size is 30' by 50' feet and 3.5 feet deep, an ideal depth for children. The pool will be open for 45 minute sessions every hour on the hour starting June 29. Guests can relax at the sand beach or get refreshments at the Lizzmonade Brooklyn concession. Starting in July, the park will offer moderately priced swimming lessons during the morning. All ages.
Artist Anish Kapoor’s ”Descension," a public art installation in the shape of a giant whirlpool, features a 26-foot-diameter pool of water that's endlessly spiraling down into a center void, energizing the negative space left in its wake. Kapoor, the artist who designed Chicago's mirrored "Cloud Gate," also known as "The Bean," debuted the installation in 2014 as a smaller work in India and was later included in Kapoor's 2015 exhibit in Versailles, France. This is the first time it's being unveiled in North America. It’s captivating—especially if your little one is into the soothing sounds of water or is in that phase where flushing is the greatest thing since sliced bread! All ages.