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.
NYC has 14 miles of 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.
Also FREE are NYC outdoor public pools, also open through Labor Day weekend.
- 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
Take me to the movies! There’s a full schedule of FREE family-friendly outdoor movies in NYC parks.
Outdoor movies in Brooklyn nearly every night of the week.
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.
Summer Reading Games Day – Turn reading into fun and games at the New York Public Library. The first ever Summer Reading Games Day celebrates play, literacy, and games at a FREE all day event for kids and adults, including videogames, tabletop games and science games, all based on books. Plus, there’s a special program for educators. Your kids are going to play video games anyway, so they may as well learn something at the same time. Saturday, July 29, 11am to 5pm. FREE, but registration is required to ensure space.