The best outdoor activities for kids in NYC

There's plenty to explore in NYC. Check out these fun outdoor activities for kids and let the adventure begin!
Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock/pio3

Everyone assumes that NYC is just a concrete jungle, but the truth is, there are plenty of fun outdoor activities for kids. From parks, zoos, events, festivals and anything else you could possibly imagine, there are many ways to take advantage of nature—even from this hustling, bustling metropolis.

Not convinced? Check out our list of outdoor activities for kids and try not to feel too overwhelmed with all of the possibilities. Happy exploring! 

Looking for more ways to take advantage of NYC? Visit a few museums for kids, let the crew run wild at these kids playgrounds and close out the day with a bite from one of these fun restaurants

Best outdoor activities for kids

Things to do

Explore the wonders of Central Park

Think you know Central Park? Think again! There is so much to explore throughout the 843–acre playground for New Yorkers of all ages. Rent a boat from the boathouse, send a sailboat across the Conservatory Water, catch an outdoor storytime and pay a visit to the Central Park Zoo (for starters). Exploring your options for fun outdoor activities for kids? Your little ones will love spending a day at this iconic NYC location. 

Queens Zoo Toddler Time Camp
Photograph: Julie Larsen Maher
Attractions, Zoo and aquariums

See exotic animals without leaving NYC

Thanks to the fantastic zoos in NYC, most of which are backed by the Wildlife Conservation Society, families have the opportunity to see animals from across the globe without ever leaving the city. From the massive Bronx Zoo (one of the largest in North America) to the petite Central Park Zoo, these family attractions invite kids to learn about numerous species through storytimes, art activities and hands-on interactions with nature (outdoor activities for kids your whole crew will love). 

Things to do

Visit one of NYC's coolest gardens

Walk the High Line, visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden or head uptown to the New York Botanical Garden to see (and smell) the best flowers in town. It's a beautiful way to spend the day, plus you can always sign your crew up for exciting outdoor activities for kids. 

Photograph: Courtesy Angelito Jusay Photography
Things to do, Literary events

Head to storytime for kids

New York's literary scene is booming with activities for little ones. Not only can children attend a storytime at the bookstore, but outdoor venues such as Bryant Park and Central Park offer kids the chance to hear their favorite stories in the backdrop of NYC's most beautiful spaces.  

Hoot and Howl Weekend
Photograph: Courtesy Joshua Bright

Find a cool free class for kids

There's so much to enjoy in New York City, and thankfully not everything comes with a hefty pricetag. There are plenty of free classes for kids that cover a wide range of topics. NYC Parks across each borough offer a variety of fun outdoor activities for kids, so take a look at the offerings before spots fill up. 

Photograph: Courtesy of Daniel Avila / NYC Parks & Recreations
Things to do

Climb, slide and jump at a NYC playground

NYC is home to some pretty amazing parks, many of which come equipped with equally amazing playgrounds. The outdoor activities for kids seems endless—jungle gyms, monkey bars, sandboxes, the list goes on and on. At these inclusive NYC playgrounds, all children are welcome. 

Jane's Carousel
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Justin Kiner
Things to do

Take a spin on an iconic NYC carousel

Whether you're keen to hop on a ceramic horse, zoo animal or bug, these carousels can deliver. Some are old, some are newand each offers its own unique (and beautiful!) experience for NYC kids.

Photograph: Courtesy Alex Roche/ Manhattan Youth

Challenge the kids to mini golf

Get in on the very best mini golf NYC spots with your tots, kids and tweens (even teens!) to get competitive on some astroturf. Here in the city, we have teeny golf courses that offer many a mini-sight to behold, including tiny windmills, caves kids can walk through, statues and quirky plastic animals. 

Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

Dine outside at a kid-friendly restaurant

There are plenty of NYC restaurants that embrace the little ones (and all the potential catastrophes that go along with them). These outdoor restaurants are a great fit for you and the whole brood.


Play a few games

Looking for the best outdoor toys for kids? Check out our roundup of great summer picks, including beach toys, outdoor games, gadgets, swim gear and more to make the sunniest season even more loveable.

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