Timeout New York Kids

Make the most of your city

Indoor & Outdoor Play

Best play spots for kids including New York playgrounds, NYC parks & botanical gardens for families, city carousels, play spaces, libraries & indoor activities.


New York playground guide

Billy Johnson Playground

The coup de grace here is the 45-foot-tall, carved-granite slide that awaits in the playground’s leafy back.

  1. Central Park
More info

Imagination Playground

The most buzzed-about playground opening in recent memory was this kid hub designed by David Rockwell.

  1. Financial District
More info

J.J. Byrne Playground

Along with state-of-the-art equipment, the playground features interactive panels that share themes of farming and the Revolution.

  1. Park Slope
More info

Moira Ann Smith Playground

The newly dedicated Moira Ann Smith playground is named for the only female NYPD officer to perish on September 11.

  1. Madison Square Park, (between 24th and 25th Sts)
More info

Pearl Street Playground

In addition to swings and slides, the spot has an oyster-shaped sand-and-water play space.

  1. Lower Manhattan
More info

Pier 6

Amenities here include Water Lab, a stone-strewn area with water underfoot to splash in.

  1. Brooklyn Heights
More info

Playground for All Children

Built in 1984, this Queens playground is designed to accommodate children with and without disabilities.

  1. Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, Queens
More info

Union Square Playground

The playground is best known for its gleaming hemispherical dome.

  1. Union Square Park, (between 16th and 17th Sts)
More info
See more New York playgrounds

City carousels

Le Carrousel

  • Price band: 1/4

The Bryant Park small carousel pays homage to the green space's Parisian influence with French cabaret music.

  1. Bryant Park, W 40th St, (between Fifth and Sixth Aves)
More info
See more city carousels

Best NYC parks and botanical gardens for families

Central Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Manhattan's green getaway is a lifesaver for local families, brimming with a wealth of family-friendly destinations.

  1. 59th St to 110th St, (between Fifth and Eighth Aves)
More info

Prospect Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Central Park's little sister offers as much greenery and kid-friendly fun as its older sibling, but without the crowds.

  1. Prospect Park West to Flatbush Ave, (between Prospect Park Southwest and Ocean Ave)
More info

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Th green, chill sanctuary for city families is the perfect place for kids to commune with nature.

  1. 990 Washington Ave, (at President St)
More info

New York Botanical Garden

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

World-class conservatories, plentiful gardens and a natural forest make the Bronx garden a boon to NYC families.

  1. Bronx River Pkwy, (at Fordham Rd)
More info

Wave Hill

  • Price band: 1/4

Weekend family programs make the gorgeous spot on the Hudson a magnet for nature-loving NYC kids.

  1. W 249th St, (at Independence Ave)
More info

Brooklyn Bridge Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The recently expanded park on the East River is chock-full of green spaces and great playgrounds.

  1. Main St, (at Fulton Ferry Landing)
More info

Nelson A. Rockefeller Park

  • Free

The park at the northernmost end of Battery Park City sports green lawns and excellent playgrounds.

  1. Battery Park City, (enter at River Terr and Warren St)
More info

Riverside Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This scenic four-mile waterfront park extends from 72nd to 158th Streets along the Hudson River in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Facilities include sport courts, a skate park, bike paths on the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway and a public marina at 79th Street.

  1. Riverside Dr, (between 72nd and 158th Sts)
More info

Ice-skating rinks for kids in New York

Wollman Ice Skating Rink

  • Price band: 1/4

No matter what your child’s skill level, there’s nothing quite like skating in the middle of our city’s most beautiful park.

  1. 830 Fifth Ave (East Dr), 10065
More info

Lasker Skating Rink

  • Price band: 1/4

This rink at the northern edge of Central Park is less crowded and less expensive than Wollman.

  1. 10826 East Dr (at Central Park N), enter the park at 110th and Lenox Ave, 10026
More info

Rockefeller Ice Skating Rink

  • Price band: 2/4

The most famous of rinks is still as cramped as ever, so go as early in the morning if you can to avoid crowds.

  1. 30 Rockefeller Plaza, (between 49th and 50th Sts)
More info

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

  • Free

During the winter months, Bryant Park opens a no-charge 17,000-square-foot skating rink. Don’t get too excited: The admission may be free, but you gotta pay $14 to rent skates (or BYO). On the upside: The complex holds 500 people, holiday shops, an indoor pavilion and the Canadian-themed lounge Celsius, which conveniently offers a full children's menu and plenty of hot chocolate.

  1. Sixth Ave, (between 40th and 42nd Sts)
More info
See more ice-skating rinks for kids in New York

More outdoor play for kids

City hikes

Wooded trails in all five boroughs that leave the city behind.

Bronx Zoo

  • Price band: 2/4

The massive institution is home to more than 5,000 creatures.

  1. 2300 Southern Blvd, (at Fordham Rd)
More info

Central Park

New York's lush backyard is the ideal spot for autumnal family fun.

Prospect Park Audubon Center

  • Free

Devoted to wildlife preservation and education, the spot offers families workshops and hikes in the great outdoors.

  1. enter at Ocean Ave, (and Lincoln Rd)
More info

Best New York City play spaces

The Heimbold Family Children’s Playing & Learning Center

The play center here is chock-full of activities, including a custom Lego corner, mushroom house and sensory wall.

  1. 58 Park Ave , (between 37th and 38th Sts)
More info

City Treehouse

  • Price band: 1/4

The Chelsea retreat's main attraction is a water table that accommodates children from 18 months to eight years.

  1. 129A W 20th St, (between Sixth and Seventh Aves)
More info

Kidville UWS

  • Price band: 3/4

At this Kidville location, you'll find a supervised indoor gym, tons of classes each week, a kiddie salon and a boutique.

  1. 466 Columbus Ave, (between 82nd and 83rd Sts)
More info

Apple Seeds, Chelsea

  • Price band: 4/4

Your seedling will blossom at this Chelsea play space, which includes a 2,500-square-foot indoor playground.

  1. 10 W 25th St, (between Broadway and Sixth Ave)
More info

Wiggles and Giggles Playhouse

  • Price band: 1/4

Tots can “cook” in a miniature faux kitchen, play conductor at a train table and monkey around in a soft area.

  1. 875 W 181st St, (at Riverside Dr)
More info

Baby Moves

  • Price band: 2/4

Set in the courtyard of the Westbeth artist community, this tot stomping ground is warm and inviting.

  1. 155 Bank St , (between Washington and West Sts)
More info

The Moxie Spot

  • Price band: 1/4

This bi-level “restaurant and play space” is chock-full of amusements (foosball, Wii) that go well with the tapas.

  1. 81–83 Atlantic Ave , (at Hicks St)
More info

MoonSoup

  • Price band: 2/4

This boutique doubles as a play space for tots and offers a range of classes: art, dance, music, science and more.

  1. 1059 Second Ave, (at 56th St)
More info
See more New York City play spaces

Best libraries for kids

Children's Center at 42nd Street

  • Free

The cozy but spacious children's room has great couches and is home to the real Winnie-the-Pooh and friends.

  1. Fifth Ave, (at 42nd St)
More info

QPL Central Library

  • Free

The new Children's Library Discovery Center, with an interactive floor map and activity tables, is stellar.

  1. 89-11 Merrick Blvd, (between 89th and 90th Aves)
More info

BPL Central Library

  • Free

The children's area has a cozy, carpeted room for storytimes and a kids-only tech loft with 36 computers.

  1. 10 Grand Army Plaza, (at Flatbush Ave)
More info

Battery Park City Library

Like the rest of the branch, the spacious children’s room is both ultramodern yet classic and comfortable.

  1. 175 North End Ave, (between Vesey and Murray Sts)
More info

Bronx Library Center

  • Free

This branch is the the largest public library in the Bronx.

  1. 310 East Kingsbridge Rd, (at Briggs Ave)
More info

Jefferson Market Library

  • Free

The whole library exudes a Harry Potter–esque feel, and has one of the smartest, nicest children's librarians in the city.

  1. 425 Sixth Ave, (between Christopher and W 10th Sts)
More info

St. George Library Center

  • Free

In the sunny, laid-back bigger kids’ area are blond-wood book shelves and eight bright-purple Knoll Womb chairs.

  1. 5 Central Ave, (at Hyatt St)
More info

Chatham Square Library

  • Free

The branch at the crossroads of Chinatown and the LES has the city's largest collection of Chinese books for kids.

  1. 33 East Broadway, (at Catherine St)
More info
See more libraries for kids

More indoor activities for kids

Bowling alleys

Enjoy life in the fast lane at one of these alleys.

City museums

We picked the 20 exhibits every NYC kid should see before they hit five feet.

Pool halls for kids

Introduce kids to cue balls and break shots.

Grand Central Terminal

Thomas the Train would have a ball at the station—and so will your kids.


Events for kids by date

  1. Aladdin

    Charming street urchin Aladdin brings his exotic w...

  2. Anne and Bernard...

    The former Human Biology and Evolution Hall has ev...

  3. Arthur Ross Hall of...

    This exhibit explores our 4.5-billion-year-old sol...

41 more events »