Fun Family Events on Governors Island this Summer


Governors Island, just a short ferry ride from Manhattan and Brooklyn, will host several fun family- and kid-friendly events this summer, all free or low cost.


cma art island outpost governors islandIt’s summertime and the weather’s groovy, which means it’s time to take advantage of Governors Island. Why is this island better than all other islands? Well, you don’t need a plane to get there (just take the free ferry from Manhattan or Brooklyn; see for schedule), it’s far cheaper than a tropical vacation, and it’s the perfect spot for day trips with the whole family. Plus, there are endless family-centric events happening there all summer long, including these highlights:


July 7-8: Fire Up the Grill

If you think summer is synonymous with barbecue, Cookout NYC is the event for you. This grilling festival features a burger cook-off and kimchi-eating contest, plus a selection of custom beers by local craft breweries (for parents to enjoy responsibly).


July 14: Come Out and Play

New York City is casually referred to as a playground for its inhabitants, but the Come Out & Play Festival takes the old adage and makes it quite literal. Now in its seventh year, the festival invites visitors to play unusual and innovative games in an outdoor public space, encouraging players to interact with the world around them (rather than a screen, the typical host to “gaming.”) This year boasts two events (one evening and one daytime), including a Come Out and Play Field Day on Governors Island featuring family-friendly games led by ESI Design. Ideal for kids ages 8-12 and the grown ups that hang out with them, all games will relate to this year’s theme of “time travel.” The games are chosen by submission, so there’s a diverse new bunch every year. So leave the iPad at home, grab your running shoes, plan your strategies—and let the games begin! FREE!


July 21: See the Sites

For those more interested in the sites than the eats, enjoy a very special FamilyDay@TheCenter with the Center for Architecture Foundation. Visit historic forts, Victorian houses, and learn about past uses and future plans for Governors Island. Registration required.


Summer Weekends: Get Artsy

The creative adventurers in your brood will be excited to learn that a trip to the island can yield endless artistic possibilities. The Children’s Museum of the Arts sets up the CMA Free Art Island Outpost every year, where budding artists can choose from a variety of hands-on projects and art-viewing experiences, including artist-led workshops, large collaborative projects, animation opportunities, and podcasting. FREE!


Summer Weekends: Grab Some Wheels

Finally, if you want to make the most of your time on the island, why not rent a bike and enjoy it on wheels? Bike and Roll New York City is open every weekend from 10am-7pm. The company boasts a multitude of bikes, quads, and even some trikes for the smallest family members.



Find even more fun family activities in NYC and the NY metro area in our full calendar of events!