NYC kids: Eliminate boredom, and keep your budget under control with these FREE and cheap things to do with kids this summer. New York City is a five-borough playground with inexpensive events and activities starting now, before school is out for the summer.
The emphasis here is on family-friendly events and activities, for the family to enjoy together, including FREE outdoor movie screenings, FREE museum admission, FREE swimming at NYC outdoor pools, NYC beaches to get to by subway, and lots more.
Fleet Week New York is the annual Memorial Day Weekend, with FREE tours of U.S. Navy ships, the chance to talk with former NASA astronauts, displays and talks on science, and more.
Memorial Day Weekend is the official opening of 14 miles of NYC Atlantic Ocean and bay beaches, where the swimming is FREE and the lifeguards are on duty daily through Labor Day weekend. Remember to bring your sunscreen and a lock for lockers.
NYC outdoor public pools open on Thursday, June 29, when school’s out for the year.
- NYC public pools in Manhattan
- NYC public pools in Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten Island
- Best NYC beaches you can get to by subway
Avoid paying up to $25 admission to top NYC museums. Here’s when to visit FREE:
- Free museum admission by day of week
- Free museum admission by borough
- Free admission for Grandparents with grandkids at Staten Island Museum
- One year free admission to NYC museums with the IDNYC card
Our vote for best NYC museum for kids is the National Museum of Mathematics, also known as MoMath. Far from boring, this is a fascinating place that explores the connection between math and music; where kids can discover how a bicycle with square wheels rides smoothly over a rough surface; try to figure out why a pentagon-shaped bathroom sink is more efficient than a square one. Open daily, in Flatiron/Union Square East.
Who doesn’t love a carousel? NYC carousels range from a Victorian-style carousel in Bryant Park to a seahorse and seashell themed carousel in Lower Manhattan
Ultimate Science Sunday – Part of the week-long World Science Festival of ticketed lectures and demonstrations, this is a FREE festival of robots, catapults, wind tunnels and more, where kids can ride a hovercraft, control an underwater rover, even face off with virtual reality dinosaurs and more, indoors, so there’s no worry about rain short circuiting the robots. At the NYU Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South, 10am to 6pm.
Museum Mile Festival – What is arguably NYC’s biggest street fair closes a mile of Fifth Avenue, between 82nd and 105th Streets, for live music, theater and dance performances, jugglers and arts and crafts activities for the kids. Plus, there’s FREE admission to top museums including Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of New York, the Guggenheim, El Museo del Barrio and the Cooper Hewitt. Tuesday, June 13, rain or shine, 6pm to 10pm.
July and August
Pop Up Maker Space – tinker, test and learn at weekly workshops where kids design and build solutions to challenges focused on NYC marine life. Who knows, maybe one of the devices will help save the planet and win a Nobel Prize. Sundays, July 2nd to August 27th, 4pm to 5:30pm, at Pier 84. FREE, but registration is recommended to ensure space.