These NYC street fairs are perfect to visit as a family—just ask your kids! Family favorites like the Sheep Shearing Festival at Stone Barns are a springtime staple, while the Family Fun Day at Governors Island is a summertime staple.
For more things to do as a family beyond fun NYC street fairs, check out our list of top-notch free activities for kids, parks for kids, fun outdoor activities for kids and other great things to do with kids in NYC.
NYC street fairs and festivals
Fleet week is here, and with it some great events for families! Watch the Naval ships roll in on May 24, enjoy the Battle of the Bands & Swing Dancing on May 27 (buy tickets here) and check out displays on the pier, including a search and rescue demo by the US Coast Guard and vintage military vehicles. A wide range of Fleet Week events also take place at the New York Harbor, Pier 92 in Manhattan, USS The Sullivans Pier in Staten Island, Military Island (Broadway and 7th Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets), Eisenhower Park, the Flagship Brewery and the Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Monument. All ages.
Celebrate the Puerto Rican and Latinx immigrant/migrant community that makes the Lower East Side so vibrant. This year marks the festival’s 30th anniversary and the event, taking place along along Loisaida Avenue (Avenue C) from 6th to 12th Street, will be the place to be to enjoy food, fun, and family-friend activities. Kick the day off with a Carnival Parade at 11am with vendors and ethnic cuisine lining the streets for hungry revelers. Head to the Plaza Cultural on 9th Street and Avenue C for demos, crafts, health workshops, art, and live music. Salsa, samba, charanga, mambo, and rock and roll performances by Puerto Rican and Latin American artists will have the whole festival dancing. All ages.
The annual science bonanza returns for its tenth year, this time highlighting the contributions of women and award-winning science teachers. Taking place in performing arts centers, museums and parks in all five boroughs, this giant fest offers both free and ticketed activities for the whole family. Visit worldsciencefestival.com to learn about the plethora of performances, debates, discussions and interactive demos the fest has in store this year. All ages.
New Jersey’s iconic state fair is back for its 31st year! As always, the giant event offers more than 150 rides and attractions, plus tons of free entertainment, an open-air circus, a petting zoo and plenty of live music. More specifics will be announced in the coming months, but mark your calendar for June 27—when kids under 12 get free admission—and for July 3 and 4, when the fair will put on a fireworks extravaganza at 11pm. Check the website for the full schedule. All ages.
New York’s biggest block party hits town once more, offering free access to seven museums (from the Met to the Guggenheim) along a car-free mile sprinkled with music, art and entertainment. Kids can color up the sidewalk with chalk, get their faces painted, and enjoy performances by clowns, magicians, and more. Many different exhibitions will be on hand like “UPTOWN: nasty women/bad hombres” at El Museo del Barrio, featuring the works of artists who touch upon sexism, racism, homophobia, and violence through different media, or the Neue Galerie New York’s “Austrian Masterworks from the Neue Galerie New York” exhibit. The festival runs along Fifth Avenue between 82nd St and 105th St. All ages.
Enjoy an afternoon of arty fun at the Rubin Museum’s annual outdoor fete, where the whole family can watch live music and dance performances, participate in art making and nosh on Van Leeuwen ice cream and Himalayan snacks from Café Serai. This year’s edition gives a nod to the Rubin Museum’s exhibition, “The World is Sound,” with activities and performances inspired by the exhibit. Make sure to spend some time wandering around inside the Rubin, which has free admission all day. All ages.
Celebrate the cultures of Jewish, Chinese and Puerto Rican communities at the crossroads of the Lower East Side and Chinatown. Only here can you and your little ones marvel at Chinese opera and acrobatics, listen to klezmer, bomba and plena music, plus learn Yiddish, Mandarin and Spanish in the same neighborhood. Encourage your brood to look over the shoulders of a mah jongg pro, make Puerto Rican masks and practice folk arts like Hebrew scribal art and Chinese calligraphy. True to the festival’s name, kosher egg rolls, classic New York–style egg creams and fresh empanadas will also be in abundance. All ages.
More fun activities for kids
There are plenty of outdoor activities for kids in New York City—many you'll even love doing as a family! Explore the coolest skating rinks, parks, family attractions, and campgrounds in cooler weather, and check out our favorite NYC beaches, swimming pools and berry-picking hotspots when it's toasty.