Family Fun

Dragon Boats and Sandcastles! Family Weekend Picks in NYC for August 3 and 4

The 10 best things to do with your kids this weekend.

Photo courtesy of New York City Department of Parks & Recreation/Facebook

The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival is one of my family’s favorite summer events, but we won’t be offended if you choose one of the nine other also rad things happening this weekend.

All Weekend

1. Cheer on more than 200 competing dragon boats at the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival at Meadow Lake in Queens’s Flushing Meadows Corona Park—and then eat a whole bunch of pork buns and scallion pancakes. In addition to the races and food, there will be performers, arts and crafts, dragon dances, and general feel-good festivalness.

2. Have a splash fight in the Washington Square Park Fountain. Go ahead, you’re allowed! Then head to Morgenstern’s on West Houston Street for grasshopper and strawberry shortcake sundaes.

Photo by Malcom Pinckney/Courtesy of NYC Parks

3. Have you checked kayaking off of your family summer bucket list yet?


4. Scooter, skate, skip, or bike down the middle of the street—unconcerned with stoplights or crosswalks or turning cars—this Saturday, the first of the city’s Summer Streets, when a thoroughfare from Foley Square up to 72nd Street on the Upper East Side is gloriously closed to traffic. Five rest stops along the way will feature activities and attractions, including a rock wall, a bubble garden, dance performances, and a zip line.

Photo courtesy of Summer Streets

5. Watch VBPs (very buff people) perform feats of calisthenic strength at the Brooklyn Beach Sports Festival at Coney Island. Kids and not-so- (or somewhat-) buff parents can join the action during volleyball, flag football, and Ultimate Frisbee clinics.

6. Get some cultcha—without having to visit a museum or make your kid sit still through a performance—with a celebration of hip hop at Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors Family Day. Gather round the fountain for live music, dance, spoken word, and more.

7. Dress your baby in the most gender-neutral clothes you have and bring her/him/they to the Woke Baby Book Fair at the Center for Fiction in downtown Brooklyn to browse kid lit with social justice themes and meet some authors. Jason Reynolds, author of All American Boys and Miles Morales-Spiderman, will be there to read from his next novel, A Long Way Down!

Photo courtesy of the Center for Fiction/Facebook

8. Coney Island has its pull-up competition on Saturday (see above), but Rockaway holds its annual sandcastle championship on Sunday. Enter as a family and perfect your bucket-pack-then-tap technique. Take the ferry there!

Rockaway Ferry
Photo by Sayaka Ueno

9. Bring ya kids—and your best knock-knock jokes—to the Bring Ya Mamma family stand-up comedy show at the Lantern Comedy Club in the West Village. The 2 p.m. performance features professional comics doing their best to keep it clean. Afterward, indulge in safe-to-eat cookie dough at the nearby Do.

Photo courtesy of Lantern Comedy Club/Facebook

10. Watch the 1999 rom-com Never Been Kissed with your tween or teen in the casual cool backyard of Habana Outpost tonight at 8 p.m. The teacher-student flirtation at the heart of the movie is totally inappropriate, even by 1999’s standards, but it’s sappy sweet and Drew Barrymore makes everything all right.

Need more weekend inspiration? Download our mobile app.