Lonely Planet Writer

Join a massive summer street party in Manhattan with waterparks, slides and ziplines

New York – and especially Manhattan – may be famous for its traffic-packed streets, but for three Saturdays in August people will take over the roads with waterparks, slides, ziplines and more.

People take part in the 2016 Summer Streets in New York.
People take part in the 2016 Summer Streets in New York. Image by New York City Department of Transportation

This year marks the tenth Annual Summer Streets, which turns Park Avenue into a seven-mile stretch of car-free streets where people can gather for some leisurely activities. The event runs on 5, 12 and 19 August from 7 am to 1 pm on Park Avenue, Lafayette and Centre Streets from Central Park to the Brooklyn Bridge. With the streets empty of the usual city traffic, people in Manhattan are able to run, bike and play along the normally busy streets. There are also a ton of free events in the area, such as mini-golf, participatory public art installations, a water park with obstacle courses, a 270-foot water slide, a 165-foot-long and 30-foot-high zipline and much more.

People take part in the 2016 Summer Streets in New York.
People take part in the 2016 Summer Streets in New York. Image by New York City Department of Transportation

The event has been running since 2008 and last year saw 300,000 people attend. This year’s theme is “storytelling through the five senses”. Without noise and congestion from vehicles, attendees are invited to enjoy the very different sensual experience on the Manhattan streets. There are even ”smellwalks” where participants can explore their environment through their scents – though hopefully visitors won’t be taking in too much of the less-than-pleasant smells downtown New York is usually known for.

People take part in the 2016 Summer Streets in New York.
People take part in the 2016 Summer Streets in New York. Image by New York City Department of Transportation

“What makes Manhattan unique is its unparalleled, walkable streetscape – but it is still so often dominated by cars and traffic,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer in a statement. “Programs that transform our streets into walkable public spaces offer a truly special opportunity to experience the city in a whole new way.” For more information including a route map and street closure information, visit here.