Looking for something to do with kids in New York City? We’ve got ideas! (Lots and lots of ideas.) Whether you’re a native, a newcomer, or just passing through, we’ve got a whole list of things to do with kids. From tried and true classics (that, ahem, some lifers haven’t even gotten to) to new family-friendly destinations around the city, in every borough, this list of fun things to do together in New York City will keep you busy in all seasons. Better get cracking before the kids are all grown up!
1. Want a down and dirty whirlwind? Here’s our suggestion for three days of fun.
2. Go to the new-and-improved American Girl Place in Rockefeller Center.
3. Head uptown to the Bronx Zoo, which is big enough to merit a few trips a year. (Come back for the Treetop Adventure and Nature Trek—complete with zipline!.)
photo: The Jim Henson Company
4. Head to the Museum of the Moving image for a great exhibit dedicated to Jim Henson and all his creatures, as well as a gif elevator, movie screenings, amazing memorabilia from the big and small screens, and more.
5. Hit one of the best museums for kids in the city, the Children’s Museum of the Arts, where you can take in rotating exhibits and kids can get creative at the clay bar and hands-on projects.
6. Catch a show at the theater dedicated to worldwide, innovative theater for kids of all ages at the New Victory Theater.
7. Get a sugar rush (and swim in “marshmallows”) at immersive candy pop-up Candytopia.
8. Loom large over the intricate tiny cityscapes from around the world at Gulliver’s Gate.
10. Explore the Financial District, from Battery Park to boat rides, a free museum, the Daring Girl, and the space-age Oculus.
11. Grab your bikes and head out on a family friendly bike ride.
12. Discover secret spots around town like a hidden hamburger joint and a park in the sky.
13. Do some old school slot car racing at Buzz-a-rama in Kensington.
14. Try a scoop, a cone, a crazy concoction at one the New York City’s best ice cream shops.
15. Explore some of the lesser-known museums in New York, less crowded and worth a look!
16. Hop a ferry to Liberty Island and Ellis Island to see Lady Liberty up close and learn about America’s immigration story.
18. Splurge and dine at one of New York City’s best theme restaurants for kids.
19. Get a mani/pedi at one of New York’s kid-friendly spas.
photo: Julie Larsen Maher/WCS
20. Fly through the air via zipline, in the city, or farther afield.
21. Summer? Head to one of NYC’s enormous, free outdoor pools.
22. Go deep in the middle of Times Square and see National Geographic’s Ocean Odyssey.
23. Explore Queens and all this royally good borough has to offer.
photo: Museum of Illusions
24. Check out mind-bending fun (and educational!) optical illusions and experiences at the new Museum of Illusions.
25. Satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth at one of New York’s best candy stores.
26. Head to Diggerland to operate a digger, dumptruck, backhoe and more.
27. Get a bird’s eye view and learn about different parts of the city at One World Observatory.
28. Work as a team to break out of NYC’s kid-friendly escape room.
photo: Liberty Science Center
29. Climb a suspended jungle gym, see an out of this world show at a planetarium, explore a pitch-black tunnel and more at the Liberty Science Center.
30. Have pancakes pretty much any way you want them at one of these top spots for flapjacks in NYC.
31. Take in a classic puppet show at the Marionette theater in Central Park, or explore imaginative productions from other companies.
32. Got a pinball wizard? Pac-man fever? Head to one of the city’s arcades.
33. Hop the Staten Island Ferry for a free ride on the water, or take to the river and beyond on another vessel.
Figment Festival on Governors Island
35. No New York summer is complete without a trip to Coney Island — and it’s even a great place to visit in the fall!
36. Catch a show by the ever-entertaining improv group, the Story Pirates.
39. Hit one of Manhattan’s best playgrounds.
40. …Or, one of Brooklyn’s.
Julie Larsen Maher/WCS
41. While you’re there, drop in to the New York Aquarium, where its newest shark exhibit is a must-see.
42. Take your tastebuds to Italy at one of Eataly’s locations—in the Flatiron District or downtown, at the Oculus.
44. Check out a show just for kids taking the stage this fall around town.
45. Get cooking at one of our favorite cooking school for kids and families.
46. Tap into you inner James Bonds at the Spy Museum.
48. Or bust out some power tools, circuit breakers, and more at one of the top maker spaces in town.
49. Take a field trip to “Storm King for Kids”, Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey.
50. Talk, and even touch the animals at one of these spots around town.
51. Hop on the Long Island Railroad for a day trip out of town.
53. Rock out to Prince, the Beatles, Madonna and the Dead with Rock N’ Roll Playhouse, the dance party for kids in Williamsburg or Sunset Park.
54. Get cheesy with a meal of fondue with the kids.
55. Take a trip to a “New England” seaside town and visit City Island.
56. Check out a movie at one of NYC’s best movie theaters for families.
57. Head to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum for fun for little ones (in the Totally Tots area) and interactive exhibits and events for bigger kids.
59. Chilly out there? Get cozy and grab a mug of hot chocolate at one of our picks for the best cups in the city.
New York City Panorama at the Queens Museum/photo: via Queens Museum Facebook page
60. Take a tour of classic, old school New York and see these gems that give NYC its unique character.
61. Play a round of pirate-themed golf at Shipwrecked Miniature Golf.
62. Take a spin on one of the city’s many merry-go-rounds.
64. To cool off, splash down at one of New York’s spraygrounds.
65. Early fall? Get out to an orchard and pick some apples.
photo: SupportPDX via Flickr
66. Late fall? Farms are ready for you, with pumpkins for picking, corn mazes, petting zoos, and lots of fresh produce!
67. Try one of New York City’s best doughnuts.
68. While you’re out and about, capture the magic at one of New York’s photo booths.
69. Have a tea party at one of the tea parlors or high tea spots around town (including with “Eloise” at the plaza).
71. Snow day? Head to the nearest hardware or toy store, buy a sled, and hit one of these favorite hills!
72. Or glide across the ice, indoors or out at one of the city’s top ice skating rinks.
photo: Jogoba Barron via Flickr
74. Grab a table outside and watch the city walk by at one of these places to eat al fresco with kids.
75. Head out to the Hamptons for some sun and fun on the shore.
photo: Patrick N. via Yelp
76. Soccer nut in the house? Take a trip out to see the New York Red Bulls play.
77. Make like a tourist and take in a behind-the-scenes tour at Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, and more.
78. While you’re at it, note the free days for New York City’s many museums.
79. Learn all about chocolate from one of the masters, Jaques Torres at his Choco-Story experience.
80. Check out the latest in virtual Reality at VR World.
photo: Intrepid Air & Space Museum
81. Grab a sleeping bag and sleepover at a museum, on a ship, or at the zoo!
82. Eat at one of New York’s best farm-to-table restaurants for kids.
83. Swing for the fences at one of the city’s batting cages.
84. Drop in to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s Spark in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
85. Stay in town but cover some ground with one of our favorite urban hikes.
86. Explore Randall’s Island as a family.
87. Too hot outside? Too cold? An indoor waterpark in the Poconos can be the perfect solution.
88. Here for the holidays? Don’t miss a snap with Santa at Macy’s, or attend tree lighting, from Rockefeller Center to neighborhood gatherings.
89. Explore the Queens neighborhood of Forest Hills.
photo: Brooklyn Owl
90. Drop in for a unicorn horn fitting at Brooklyn Owl.
91. Indulge everyone by diving into an out-of-this-world dessert from one of New York’s chefs.
92. Who doesn’t love brunch? These restaurants welcome kids and families.
93. Whether you’re visiting or having a staycation, consider bedding down at one of these hotels, which offer fun perks just for kids.
94. Fresh snow on the ground? Head to one of these spots for snowtubing and hit the slopes!
97. Make your own ice cream at Upper East Side fun spot Cool Mess Ice Cream.
98. Bowl anyway you like—old school, high tech, in the middle of Times Square, or in an outer borough.
99. Feel the sweet, early rush of spring and go on a maple sugaring outing, many which include a pancake brunch!
100. Achieve some inner peace at one of the spots where kids and families can practice mindfulness and meditation.
101. Think you’ve done everything together as a family? How about axe-throwing?