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Summer Activities, New York Style

A woman and man kayaking in one-person kayaks, the woman leading.

Summer Activities: New York Style

Since we mentioned it in the title, kayaking atop the Hudson River certainly deserves some exploration, no? Now, there are free options for doing this, as Fitt New York notes, but these, obviously, come with a bit of a gotcha

“You can pick up a free kayak at Pier 26 or Pier 96 and coast through the calm bays along the west side of the city. There’s a catch, though. You can’t go out in the moving water (unless you have a permit), and rentals are offered in 20-minute increments.”

So, what to do if you want a deeper kayaking experience in your life? You’ll have to turn to one of the city’s many kayaking rental services for that. Options like Manhattan Kayak + SUP cater to novices, so you can learn the ropes if you’re not yet familiar with the art of kayaking. What’s more, they offer the option to try stand-up paddleboarding as well — an alternative to kayaking that requires a bit more athleticism.

Once you’re done with the kayaking adventures, you might try floating down to the Chelsea Piers for a little while? It’s the site of the Chelsea Piers Sports & Entertainment Complex, and they’ve got plenty in the way of recreation for you to enjoy. Even if you don’t have a gym membership there or belong to one of their sports leagues, you can still have your fill of excitement. Drop in activities are always on the menu, and include gymnastics, the batting cages, bowling, golf, ice skating, basketball, hockey, soccer, and rock climbing, among others.

Since it is summer, though, you might want to consider joining one of those adult sports leagues! It’ll be a great way to get out into the city consistently, meet some new people, and, of course, get your recommended amounts of physical activity. Chelsea Piers offers adult leagues for basketball, soccer, and hockey, and play continues year-round (so you can continue your newfound hobby into the fall and winter).

If you’re looking for some out-of-the-ordinary summer entertainment to hold your interest, you might also try your hand at some bowling? The Bowlmor Lanes in Times Square is a popular destination, and, admittedly, they have a pretty good handle on offering up a deluxe bowling experience (plenty of colored lights, drinks, bar food, and more). Again, you can even join a league while you’re here. They cater to all skill levels, so it doesn’t much matter if you’ve been bowling for years or if you’re just learning how to throw the ball down the lane.

Of course, no summer activities list would be complete without a mention of one of the most popular: a walk through the park. Central Park is the most obvious choice, certainly, but it isn’t the only one you have access to in Manhattan. NYC Parks has the full list for you to explore, and few standouts include:

  • Battery Park
  • Marcus Garvey Park
  • Washington Square Park
  • Thomas Jefferson Park
  • Hudson River Park
  • The High Line

Speaking of that last entry, The High Line, it’s a Manhattan sight you’ll have to see before the summer is over (if you haven’t done so already). This converted rail line has been transformed from historic mode of transportation to elevated public space, complete with gardens and art for you to explore:

“The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. Saved from demolition by neighborhood residents and the City of New York, the High Line opened in 2009 as a hybrid public space where visitors experience nature, art, and design.”

It’s not a bad place for a stroll by any means, so consider it, and any of Manhattan’s other parks to your list if you’re interested in taking some long, relaxing summer walks. You might also try getting your relaxation catching a movie in one of said parks. Again, NYC Parks keeps the list of what’s upcoming (and free), and near-future options include Movies Under the Stars presentation of A Star is Born at the Tecumseh Playgrounds, and Films on the Green’s presentation of Tomboy at the Old Bandshell Lawn. There are plenty of other options, certainly, but these should be more than enough to get your started for the summer.

Now, while some might dispute the next entry’s status as an “outdoor activity,” we’re convinced it makes the cut: drinking at one of your favorite rooftop bars. Again, this being Manhattan, there’s no shortage of these around town to enjoy. Harper’s Bazaar already has a list of the 29 best options that you can peruse if you’re short on ideas. They’re all pretty great, but if you’re looking for something close to Lower Manhattan, we’d probably suggest Mr. Purple. It’s up on the 15th floor of the Hotel Indigo, and has a pretty good mix of decor, cocktail food, and speedy service to make of a quality summer hangout.