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Summer bucket list for Brooklyn families

School’s out for the summer, and we’ve compiled a list of all the best activities for kids and families in Brooklyn this season! Play some mini golf, see the Alice in Wonderland exhibition, plan an adventure to Governors Island, Coney Island, or other NYC beaches, enjoy a public pool or water sprinkler, get out on the water in a kayak or canoe, catch a movie under the stars, dance the night away at an outdoor concert, or cool off with a fun family-friendly activity indoors!

Catch an outdoor movie

There are free outdoor movie screenings all over Brooklyn this summer. Grab a blanket and bring the whole family to watch a film under the stars! Check out our overview on free outdoor movies to see what programs are happening near you.

Take the ferry to Governors Island

There is so much to do on Governors Island! Picnic on the lawn, rent a bike, play at the adventure playground, lay in a hammock, sample from all the food and beverage vendors, or grill your own meal!   Check our our guide to planning a day trip to Governors Island, with information on the ferries and all the best activities and events for kids and families.

Plan a day trip to Coney Island

Summer is the best time to visit Coney Island! See our guide to planning a day trip to Coney Island, with tips on visiting the boardwalk and beach, Luna Park and Deno’s, and the New York Aquarium! Just in time for the Fourth of July, the aquarium’s Aquatheater has reopened after renovations, and the sea lions and their trainers are performing once again. Schedule your adventure around special events, like the Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, followed by Independence Day fireworks, or July 20’s Nostalgia Ride to Coney Island presented by the New York Transit Museum. There are also outdoor concerts and movie nights happening all summer long.

Check out a neighborhood festival or street fair

From an Italian-American celebration in Williamsburg to a Caribbean street fair in Flatbush to Brooklyn’s oldest and largest street festival along Atlantic Avenue, there are so many family-friendly block parties happening this summer! Follow our guide to all the outdoor festivals and street fairs in Brooklyn this summer.

Kayak, canoe, or row in New York Harbor 

There are so many ways to get out on the water in New York Harbor this summer – for free! Our summer boating overview includes kayaking, canoeing, and rowing programs in various neighborhoods in Brooklyn and lower Manhattan. Or, if you’re looking for another way to be on the water, simply hop on the free Staten Island Ferry for gorgeous views of the New York City skyline and the Statue of Liberty!

Plan a beach day

NYC beaches will be open daily until September 8, 2024. Pack your swimsuit and beach gear and plan a family outing to Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, or Rockaway Beach. Check out our guide to planning a beach day and learn more about lifeguards, rules for swimming, and how to check for water quality advisories or closures.

Enjoy Open Streets in our neighborhoods 

Summer means it’s Open Streets season! See our list of all this year’s Open Streets in Brooklyn, and don’t miss out on special programming like DUMBO Family Games on car-free Washington Street, Montague Open Streets in Brooklyn Heights (June 30 and then returning in September), Vanderbilt Open Streets in Prospect Heights (Sprinkler Saturdays, pictured below, coming up on July 13 & August 10) and Myrtle Avenue Summer Nights in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill (June 21, July 19 & August 16).

Swim in a public pool 

Cool off with a day at the pool! Public pools open for the season on Thursday, June 27–the first day of public schools being closed for the summer. See our overview of pools in our neighborhoods, plus hours and important rules for swimmers.

Play in water sprinklers 

Another way to cool off on a hot day is to visit your local park’s splash pad! Our list of water sprinklers covers all of the best sprinkles in our neighborhoods. Don’t forget to pack your water toys!

Catch an outdoor concert or dance party

There are so many free outdoor concerts and dance parties happening in Brooklyn all summer long! Keep up to date with our overview of musical concerts, dance performances, and social hours that are open to all ages. Performance series include the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn concerts in Prospect Park, DUMBO’s Live at the Archway program, plus tons of live music, dance parties, and other performances in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Ride the East River Ferry to Williamsburg

NYC Ferry is a great way to get around the city with kids! Catch the East River ferry to North Williamsburg and play mini golf on the waterfront at Putting Green, an 18-hole course which is designed to showcase the problems and solutions of climate change. Hours are Monday–Friday 12-8pm and Saturday & Sunday 10am-8pm. While you’re in the neighborhood, enjoy Domino Park’s playground, lawns, and water sprinklers.

Visit Prospect Park Zoo 

After being closed for many months due to flood damage after a storm this past fall, the Prospect Park Zoo reopened Memorial Day weekend! Read our guide to visiting the zoo this summer, with information about their reopening, new animals, hours, admission rates, and more.

Follow Euro and Copa soccer tournaments

Two exciting soccer tournaments—the Euro Cup and Copa América—are being played now through Sunday, July 14. Find out where to watch the soccer tournaments in Brooklyn this summer, and the get the whole family excited to cheer on the teams! You can find restaurants, bars, and other venues showing the games in DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, Fort Greene, Park Slope, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Industry City.

See the Alice in Wonderland exhibition at New York Botanical Garden

Head to the Bronx to and visit the beautiful New York Botanical Garden! Their summer exhibition, Wonderland: Curious Nature brings Alice in Wonderland to the Garden! There’s larger-than-life mushrooms, a huge chess board, and amazing floral displays. Tickets are $35/adult, $15/child (ages 2-12), and children under 2 are free. NYBG is open 10am-6pm daily.

Stay cool with an indoor activity

On days when it’s too hot to play outside, find a kid-friendly activity indoors! Our overview of drop-in indoor activities in Brooklyn highlights play spaces, story times, arts and crafts, adventure parks, rock climbing, mini golf, bowling, laser tag, and more for all ages, from babies to teens! For babies and toddlers, check out our guide to Baby & Me classes for new parents and their little ones.

Check out Balloon Story at the Armory

Balloon Story, a magical balloon wonderland, will be installed at Park Avenue Armory on the Upper East Side in July and August! All ages are welcome to marvel at the ballon display. Tickets start at $33.90 for adults and $26.90 for children ages 4-12. Click here to purchase.

Attend a kid-friendly event at The Seaport

Take a trip across the river to The Seaport for a free family-friendly event hosted by Brooklyn Bridge Parents! Mark your calendar the Seaport Kids x Summer Bash on August 17. Summer crafts, balloon twisting, basketball entertainment with 3 Time Guinness Record Holder, water sprinklers and more free kids activities at the Seaport Square. Bring bathing suits for water play! Basketball shows at 11.15 am, 12 pm and 12.30 pm. Best for ages 1 – 10.


Updated: July 9, 2024. Main Image: Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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