Timeout New York Kids

Make the most of your city

Best of 2013: Best places and things to do in NYC for families

Our best of 2013 list for NYC families, including new playgrounds and reopened attractions, is here! Plus: We crown the winners in our readers' choice poll.

  • Photographer: Luciana Golcman

    Best of 2013: Time Out New York Kids critics' picks

    Best family tour: Preservation Detectives

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    Best of 2013: Time Out New York Kids critics' picks

    Best new family programming: BAM

  • Photograph: Luciana Golcman

    Best of 2013: Time Out New York Kids critics' picks

    Best place to atch a book come to life: Making Books Sing

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Best of 2013: Time Out New York Kids critics' picks

    Best museum makeover: Queens Museum

  • Photograph: Tessa Hartley

    Best of 2013: Time Out New York Kids critics' picks

    Best newly kid-friendly exhibition venue: Discovery Times Square

Photographer: Luciana Golcman

Best of 2013: Time Out New York Kids critics' picks

Best family tour: Preservation Detectives

Best museums & culture for families this year

Best family tour: Preservation Detectives

The Museum at Eldridge Street, the historic 1887 synagogue on the Lower East Side that took on a second identity as a museum in 2007 after a 20-year renovation, offers some of the most engaging history lessons for young families in the city, and it’s no wonder:
In its heyday the socially conscious congregation welcomed new immigrants with open arms, helping out with food, apartment hunting and even loans. Its popular Preservation Detectives series uses guide-led scavenger hunts, hands-on workshops (think holiday-themed challah and chocolate making) and family walking tours to illuminate aspects of American Jewish history and the fascinating evolution of the neighborhood (second Sunday of the month at 11am; $15 per family). On tap this fall: a Thanksgivukuh Celebration, which fetes this year’s overlap of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. 212-219-0888, eldridgestreet.org.—Lee Magill

  1. 12 Eldridge St, (between Canal and Division Sts), 10002
More info

Best new family programming: BAM

BAMkids’ annual Film Festival has long been the hot ticket for Brooklyn’s littlest movie buffs, but in 2013 the multiarts cultural hub launched a blockbuster lineup for all ages and interests. Théâtre Tout à Trac’s adaptation of Alice in Wonderland used mind-bending sets, masks and puppetry to usher in the new year, while the Pilobolus for Kids workshop saw tweens choreograph and perform their own athletic-dance works. The popular music festival KindieFest also came to BAM for the first time. This fall, families can look forward to the Saturday movie matinee series, which launched in September, and the WeBop Family Jazz Party. Next year promises to be world-class, too, with the Swedish Pantomimteatern company presenting Charlie’s Kid, their take on Chaplin’s classic The Kid, and marionettes performing Sleeping Beauty Dreams—in Spanish. Looks like it’s time for a family meeting to sync calendars. 718-636-4100, bam.org.—Clare Lambe

  1. Multiple locations in Fort Greene, Brooklyn
More info

Best place to watch a book come to life: Making Books Sing

Kids can see stories realized onstage at this theater, which transforms children’s books into theatrical productions. This season’s lineup included a dramatization of Eileen Spinelli’s Wanda’s Monster (with music by kiddie star Laurie Berkner) and a cost-free touring production of the eco-themed puppet show My City Park. Next up this fall: Ballerina Swan, based on the picture book by former prima ballerina Allegra Kent. The nonprofit’s goal is to promote literacy through the arts, motivating even the most reluctant readers to get their hands on the book they’ve just seen magically come to life. 212-573-8791, makingbookssing.org.—Lindsey Garland

  1. 340 E 46th St between First and Second Aves 311 W 43rd St, between Eighth and Ninth Aves, third floor, 10036
More info

Best museum makeover: Queens Museum

Let’s face it—museum expansions don’t exactly make for exciting headlines. But the transformation of the Queens Museum of Art into the new Queens Museum is, well, another story. Not only has the institution doubled its exhibition space to 100,000 square feet by moving into the area occupied for decades by an ice-skating rink, but
it’s also changed its identity from a museum for art to a culturally minded center for all things Queens. Stop by with the kids to explore the work of puppet theater guru Peter Schumann, an exhibit devoted to the edifice’s World’s Fair history, a never-before-seen scale model of NYC’s watershed system (built by the WPA in the 1930s) and the beloved Panorama of the City of New York, which will continue to give kids and their parents an unparalleled sense of how mammoth, intricate and utterly unique their home city really is. (718-592-9700, queensmuseum.org).—LM

  1. Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, (near 111th St and 49th Ave entrance)
More info

Best newly kid-friendly exhibition venue: Discovery Times Square

Yes, we loved the “King Tut” and “Terra-Cotta Warriors” shows at Discovery Times Square, the large-scale exhibition hall that set up shop in the former home of the New York Times in 2009. But this year especially, the midtown spot has turned its eye to the youngest museumgoers, offering a reprisal of its Harry Potter show as well as new exhibitions like “The Art of the Brick,” a show of Lego works by artist Nathan Sawaya, and “Shipwreck! Pirates and Treasure,” spotlighting artifacts from actual shipwrecks (both are up through Jan 5). Not all of its current shows are kid-oriented (“Body Worlds: Pulse” is an iteration of the South Street Seaport’s “Bodies”: most definitely not for young ones), but enough are that we can’t wait to see what’s coming in 2014. 866-987-9692, discoverytsx.com.—Lee Magill

  1. 226 W 44th St, (between Seventh and Eighth Aves)
More info


Share your thoughts
  1. * mandatory fields

Events for kids by date

Americangirl.com for Events!

  1. Aladdin

    This adaptation of the Disney classic tops the res...

  2. "Alice: 150 Years...

    After a century and a half, the original Alice’s A...

  3. An American in Paris

    Ballet choreographer Christopher Wheeldon makes hi...

40 more events »