Fill up the final summer countdown with all-weather suggestions for family fun. We are always fans of NYC’s fabulous museums (and their fabulous air conditioning) so here are a few of our fave family-friendly exhibits with suggestions for playgrounds and treats nearby.
UPPER EAST SIDE
Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art for storytimes or gallery tours or explore the vast collection on your own. Pick up the delightful gamily map then look for fashionable angels and take in the stunning view from the Roof Garden. Walk like an Egyptian through the Temple of Dendur, compare the chain mail of European knights on horseback with elaborate Japanese samurai gear in Arms and Armor and admire the sixteen Van Goghs temporarily all on display.
Find your block on the rainbow Manhattan Color Walk and lounge on high-design furniture in the very cool terrace and garden of the Cooper Hewitt. Inside the highly interactive museum, explore the five senses, become a sound designer for a street-cleaning robot, make – and see – your own wallpaper in the Immersion Room, and get pretty chocolate in the gift store.
Treat Alert: Enjoy a California vibe and delicious, healthy-ish salads, apps and pizza (and not so healthy nutella pizza) at Pizza Beach (81st Street & Third Ave). Nosh on smoked fish platters, bagels and bialys, knishes, egg creams, babka and more Jewish-American classic foods plus modern salads (and babka french toast!) at Russ & Daughters across the street from Cooper-Hewitt in the also interactive Jewish Museum.
Celebrate the vibrant colors and flavors of favorite sugary delights at interactive art installation Candytopia, featuring over a dozen environments, from flying unicorn pigs to a marshmallow ball pit. Plus lots of sweet treats to eat
UPPER WEST SIDE
Visit Central Park’s charming Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre for a musical spin on Peter Pan. Wander out of this lovely corner of the park to explore the depths of the ocean or the five senses at the American Museum of History or magic in NYC and vintage shoes at the New-York Historical Society – both highly interactive museums great for all ages.
Treat Alert: Feast on antipasti, artisanal pastas and paninis at the New-York Historical Society’s classy but kid-friendly Caffe Storico or get fresh burgers and decadent frozen concretes (including a ‘Natural History Crunch-stellation’) at Shake Shack down the block (make sure to order with the Shake Shack App in advance).
At the worth-the-trip New York Hall of Science, learn about animation and enter life-size sets from the Simpsons and Scooby Doo, interact with a fantastical life-sized animated ecosystem, see awesome 3D films and drop in to maker spaces. Lots of halls to explore with hands-on activities for all ages.
Playtime: An engineering-themed outdoor playground is lots of fun or play a round of mini-golf among rockets.
Pretend you’re in Hawai‘i at Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawaii, featuring 17 gorgeous O’Keeffe paintings created on commission for a Hawaiian Pineapple Company promotional campaign plus lush Hawaiian flora in the Conservatory. On weekends, see hula and native artisan demonstrations. Moana costume optional.
Treat Alert: The family-friendly menu at the counter-service Pine Tree Café offers fresh panini, pizza, salads and snacks or visit the yummy poke tuck. Head to Arthur Avenue a few blocks south for phenomenal mozzarella, prosciutto and other Italian delights at Mike’s Deli.
Playtime: Visit the Children’s Garden to create art inspired by O’Keeffe’s unique style of representing close-up views of flowers and fruit, play in a Hawaiian sand table, wander through mazes, put on a puppet show and more.
* Get wet at the Williamsburg-cool waterfront Domino Playground or stay dry in a tactile interactive experience inspired by dreams (then make your dreams of retro burgers and photogenic ice cream come true).
* In Industry City, experience the mind-bending works of M.C. Escher and mini-golf and arcade games with a side of lobster rolls.
* In Brooklyn Bridge Park, take a bedazzled historic fireboat rides and eat free hot dogs from a hot dog bus (and look for the nearby magic rainbow DUMBO sign and magical croissants).