Every year, just as the summer is really heating up, families around the country dust off the grill and cut up some watermelon to celebrate the Fourth of July.
In New York City, planning a family barbecue on the most popular weekend of the year can be daunting, but we’ve got your back with this guide to kid-friendly locations, products, and activities to help inspire your July Fourth celebration:
Planning the Family BBQ This Fourth of July Weekend in NYC
Pick the Perfect Park
Finding a balance between optimal grilling setup and activities for the kids can be a challenge, but fortunately, a number of NYC parks offer both. Queensbridge Park features multiple playgrounds and a large grilling area, and its location along the East River will provide a break from the city’s infamous humidity.
If you’re willing to get up early to claim a grill, Prospect Park is known for its pastoral fields as well as the Donald & Barbara Zucker Natural Exploration Area, a unique play space that doubles as a natural history exhibit.
And, if your family is particularly sporty, Randall’s Island Park is home to over 60 playing fields, miles of bike pathways, and grilling spots overlooking the beautiful waterfront.
Tip: Always check ahead to see if the park where you want to grill requires a permit at nycgovparks.org.
Outsmart the Sun
They may not want to put it on now, but your kids will thank you later for slathering them up with sunscreen. Make sure you buy children’s sunscreen that is healthy and environmentally friendly as well as being effective:
Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen from Neutrogena is gentle on the skin and features SPF 50 protection, while TruBaby’s Water & Play Sunscreen is guaranteed to stay on no matter how many trips your child takes into the pool or down the slip ‘n slide. If you plan to grill somewhere out of the shade, bring something like an E-Z Up Dome and establish a shady base of operations for the afternoon.
Buy the Best Beef (and Pork and Veggies)
Feeding your family good food is the best way to keep them healthy and happy in the long run, so put in a little extra effort and trade in those ballpark franks for some locally sourced brats.
Legendary butchers like The Meat Hook in Williamsburg and newcomers like Harlem Shambles offer high-quality meats that are perfect for your Fourth of July weekend barbecue. For the best fresh produce in NYC, check out A Matter of Health on the Upper West Side or the Park Slope Food Coop in Brooklyn.
Take the Night Off
You spent the day grilling, so why not spend the night stretched out on a blanket watching a movie? Free screenings for families take place at parks across the city all summer, including a showing of “Hotel Transylvania” in beautiful Tompkins Square Park in the East Village on Saturday evening. Just be sure to arrive before 8 pm to claim your spot!
Happy 4th of July!
I hope you enjoyed this guide to Planning the Family BBQ This Fourth of July Weekend in NYC. No matter what you do, make sure to enjoy the holiday with your family and friends!