Editor’s note: We’re making every effort to provide you with the most up-to-date information. However, sometimes closures occur at the last minute due to circumstances beyond our control, such as the spread of Covid-19. We highly recommend that you call ahead before you pack your kids pack your kids (and all those snacks, and diapers…) and haul them across town. Stay safe!

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 American Girl HQ, 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. Visit the Museum of the Moving image for a great exhibit dedicated to Jim Henson and all his creatures, (it just reopened following a pandemic pause) as well as a gif elevator, movie screenings, amazing memorabilia from the big and small screens, and more.

5. Looking for more museum ideas? Here’s what’s showing around town!

6. Head to a drive-in movie theater—in some cases, you don’t even need a car!

7. Walk the High Line. It’s open access during the weekdays; on the weekends, you’ll need a (free) reservation.

8. While you’re in the neighborhood, check out the Whitney Museum of American Art.

photo: LEGO

9. Get clicking at a spot for LEGO maniacs, such as one of the city’s LEGO stores, or LEGOLAND in Westchester.

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. Get your licks in at the Museum of Ice Cream in Soho.

14. You can’t say you’ve done NYC until you’ve been to Coney Island. (The beach is free, but Luna Park has stopped offering per-ride; it’s not $40 for a Family Fun wristband, which gets you unlimited rides for two hours.)

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.

17. Check out one of our favorite indoor playspaces around the city or Brooklyn. (Many are open, although reservations are often required, and capacity is limited.)

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, which reopen for the summer season on June 26, 2021.

22. Eat delicious dim sum in Manhattan, Brooklyn or Queens.

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 Museum of Illusions.

25. Satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth at one of New York’s best candy stores.

26. Head to Diggerland to  not only operate a digger, dumptruck,  and backhoe—it’s also a water park for slipping and sliding fun! (Open only on weekends.)

27. Get a bird’s eye view and learn about different parts of the city at One World Observatory.

28. Sample the city’s best pizza and decide on your favorite slice.

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

34. Governors Island open? Get yourself there for amazing views, giant slides, art and music festivals, a junkyard playground, and tasty food!

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. Visit museums, cultural institutions, monuments and more that celebrate and honor the history, culture and talents of Black Americans.

37. Drop into one of the many independent bookstores around town, many of which cater to kids.

38. Try a scoop, a cone, a crazy concoction at one the New York City’s best ice cream shops.

39. Hit one of Manhattan’s best playgrounds.

40. …Or, one of Brooklyn’s.

Julie Larsen Maher/WCS

41. Drop in to the New York Aquarium, where its newest shark exhibit is a must-see.

42. Go west to Hudson Yards to see the Vessel and explore NYC’s newest luxury mall.

42. Head to Sunset Park in Brooklyn to eat, shop and play at Industry City.

44. Explore Central Park, then head to other parks around NYC for more—often free—fun!

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.

47. Get crafty at an old standby art space for kids. Or check out one of the new spots around town.

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.

52. Explore one of the city’s many food halls and food truck assemblies: City Kitchen, Smorgasburg, Dekalb Food Market, UrbanSpace Vanderbilt Food Hall.

Katrina M. via Yelp 

53. See NYC in all its spring glory at the city’s Botanical Gardens and public parks.

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.

58. Explore the Museum of Natural History—for the first time, or the 50th. Don’t forget to use the app!

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.

63. Get up close and personal with furry friends at a cat cafe or one for man’s best friend.

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).

70. Head to New York City’s latest riverfront destination, Domino Park in Williamsburg. Or hit its popular cousin in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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

73. Hit up free story time in Central Park at the Hans Christian Andersen statue in Central Park.

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. Catch a show at the theater dedicated to worldwide, innovative theater for kids of all ages at the New Victory Theater. (NYC theaters are still closed due to Covid-19, although some will host performances in the spring and summer as part of the NYPopsUp Festival, bringing performing arts to venues around the city. Broadway is expected to reopen in September of 2021.)

80. Check out the latest in virtual Reality at VR World. (You must be nine or older to enter.)

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. 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. (As of May 1, 2021 the museum is closed for Covid-19 safety.)

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.

photo: LLigon

89. Head to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for hands-on fun at its Children’s Discovery Garden.

90. Check out Grand Central Terminal—the ceiling, the food hall, the Transit Museum store and more!

91. Make your way to The Color Factory or another Instagram-friendly pop-up for kids in NYC.

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!

95. For kids who can’t get enough of trains, a must-see is the New York City Transit Museum, (currently still closed due to Covid-19) and all of the train shows once the holidays roll around.

96. Jump for joy at an area trampoline park.

97. Looking for some day trip ideas? All of these spots are under two hours from NYC!

98. Bowl anyway you like—old school, high tech, in the middle of Times Square, or in an outer borough.

99.  Think you’ve done everything together as a family? How about axe-throwing?

100. Explore the Queens neighborhood of Forest Hills.

101. Be sure to consult our roundup of new free & fun things to do with kids in NYC every month!

—Mimi O’Connor

feature photo: Wikimedia Commons 

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