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8 Family Reunion Ideas You Will Love in NYC

Published by Josh Hirsch. What better city is there in the world to host a family reunion? Whether your family is from the Tristate Area originally or simply wants to enjoy each others’ company in an uncharted city, the Big Apple has plenty to see, do (and eat!). And when it comes to activities? We’ve got a few family reunion ideas in NYC that’ll have your relatives bonding in no time.

Tips for Planning a Family Reunion in NYC

It’s no secret: families aren’t always easy. That goes double when it comes to getting everyone together (and on the same page regarding activities). To ensure you’re covered when it comes to Aunt Millie’s nut allergy and Grampa Bob’s aversion to direct sunlight, we’ve got a few tips to keep everyone copasetic.

  • Take a poll to see what types of activities are popular with your family
  • Don’t ask open-ended questions like, “What does everyone want to do?” This can only lead to chaos and too many different suggestions
  • Consider booking more than one activity during your reunion and passing out an itinerary to keep things organized
  • Book plenty of ‘unscheduled’ time to ensure participants can partake in unscheduled activities
  • If everyone’s interests are all over the board, book a few small ‘breakout’ activities to allow different family members to partake in various activities
People enjoying samples of food on a food tour

Spend time with your friends and family while enjoying delicious food

Food Tour

We’ve never heard of a family reunion in NYC that doesn’t involve food! Whether your family has a special dish that your festivities revolve around or a favorite restaurant, we recommend getting out in the city to enjoy some iconic NYC eats.

Learn about the city’s history on one of Sidewalk Food Tours’ customized private food tours. Can’t make up your mind? Choose a public food tour of famous neighborhoods. Nosh on Knishes on The Lower East Side  or slices of pizza in the West Village

Sidewalk Food Tours can even create a specialized tour to fit your family’s dietary needs — or as a throwback to certain culinary heritages.

An aerial shot of governor's island in nyc

Escape the city and enjoy family time

Governor’s Island

Governor’s Island is basically one big playground for adults, which makes it the perfect spot for a family reunion in NYC. Enjoy a picnic — or have one catered! There’s even a food truck rally here on weekends if you want to leave all of the work up to someone else.

The fun starts on the ferry ride (the only way to reach Governor’s Island). Activities on the island include bicycling and ziplining. Or, bring your own lawn games for even more fun. 

If your family really wants to go all out for an entire weekend, you can even glamp on Governor’s Island. Rent platform tents (with stunning views of the harbor) for your entire family. Consider glamping in October (when the weather is still mild) for a great deal on nighly reservations.

You can even take a ‘day trip’ into the city if you get tired of island life.

An indoor beer garden

Enjoy the magic of an indoor beer garden

Beer Garden

Did you know there’s a rich brewing history in NYC? That might just be why there are so many breweries here! 

From German to Czech to American microbreweries, you can find pretty much any style of beer here — and an outdoor or indoor beer hall to drink it in. 

Aside from what you might assume about beer halls, it’s totally appropriate to bring your offspring here, too. Since beer halls all serve some type of food, many NYC parents even celebrate birthday parties for kiddos in them. There’s plenty of space for little ones to run around while the adults catch up. 

Aerial shot of central park

The infamous park within the confines of NYC

Prospect Park/Central Park

If you’re planning your family reunion in NYC between April and October, you might want to consider enjoying some natural splendor while you’re at it. Two of the city’s most iconic parks, Prospect Park in Brooklyn and Central Park in Manhattan, also happen to be the perfect setting for a family gathering.

You can even rent out sections of these parks (gazebos, barbecue and picnic areas and public buildings) if you want to ensure a comfy spot for all your closest family members.

image of the beach and roller coaster at Coney Island in NY

There’s more to Coney Island than hotdogs!

Coney Island

Coney Island is NYC’s playground from May through October. Yet, we recommend booking this one in the spring or fall as the temperatures on Brooklyn’s southernmost beach can get pretty steamy in the summertime. Crowds also happen to be a little thinner in May, September and October.

Ride the iconic Cyclone, grab a hotdog at Nathan’s or stop by the Coney Island sideshow. Coney Island also offers spaces for events and large parties, and you can also rent out an event room at one of the nearby restaurants.

A river cruise boat on the Hudson with NYC in the background

Time to set sail and get a new perspective on the skyline of NYC

River Cruise

If you’re planning on inviting your entire family to NYC, we recommend an activity that celebrates the city! 

An NYC river or harbor cruise is perfect pretty much any time of year — especially since you can hide away indoors during inclement weather while still enjoying the view. 

Many of the city’s tourist boats also cater private events aboard their vessels. Sail up the Hudson, the East River or through the NY Harbor while snacking, sipping and chatting. You can even book a tour guide to narrate the sights you’ll see along the way.

We recommend Circle Line Cruises, Harbor Line and Bateaux New York.

a baseball stadium

Grab some snacks and supplies and take in America’s pastime

Mets/Yankees Game

If your family is full of sports fans, we recommend planning your family reunion in NYC between spring and fall to check out a baseball game. This one is especially great for families who grew up in the Tristate Area and root for any of the local teams.

Most ballparks (including Yankee Stadium and Citifield) sell blocks of tickets for special events and offer event spaces with drink and food packages just for these types of occasions. 

You can even book a private tour of the ballpark either before or after the event. 

on the beach at Riis park

A family gathering at the beach means fun in the sun

Jacob Riis Park

If you’ve got a family full of beach bums, we’ve got just the spot for you! While Coney Island’s waters might be a little too tainted for swimming (and the beach isn’t the most pristine), Jacob Riis Park has plenty of white sand, sea views, popup shops and food trucks to please the whole family. 

Spend a day or an evening here enjoying some fresh air — and a little time with your family, of course.