Welcome to the New Year! There's so much to get excited about, especially our January events calendar: A guide to the best kid's events happening in January. You'll find new family exhibitions at our favorite kids' museums, plays and performances, workshops and other great indoor activities for kids to keep your crew busy.
RECOMMENDED: NYC events calendar for kids
Personally, we're resolving to eat all the good food this year—and if you're on the same level, we suggest visiting our newly-updated list of the best family restaurants in NYC.
January events for kids
When does a "week" last 20 days? When it's NYC Must-See Week, the you-don't-want-to-miss-it promotion from NYC Go that lets you get two-for-one admission to some of the best family attractions in town. Here's how it works: Go to nycgo.com/must-see-week to browse the selections, then follow the prompts or copy and paste the discount codes. NYC Must-See Week events will take place Jan 20-Feb 9—it pays to plan ahead. Go online to see the full lineup!
When the holidays come to a close, it can be difficult to accept that we still have months of cold to endure. The city might've lost a little bit of its seasonal magic—and we might not be quite as inclined to put up with snow and frigid temps—but there's no reason to sulk. One of our favorite winter activities for kids is underway. Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park is scheduled to host FrostFest 2020 from Jan 24–Feb 2, and it is filled to the brim with wintry goodness. During the 10-day celebration, one of NYC's most beloved family attractions welcomes visitors to enjoy cold weather-exclusive activities, from bumper cars on ice to igloo visits. Read on for the full lineup!
Thespians can experience the Great White Way in all its glory, without the hefty price tag. Broadway Week, which offers 2-for-1 tickets, is back from Jan 21–Feb 9, and some of your favorite shows for kids are participating in the deal. Visit nyc.go/broadway-week for a lineup and to purchase your tickets. Participating shows include: Aladdin (Ages 8 and up) Beetlejuice (Ages 12 and up) Come From Away (Ages 10 and up) Dear Evan Hansen (Ages 12 and up) Frozen (Ages 8 and up) Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Ages 10 and up) The Lion King (Ages 8 and up) Mean Girls (Ages 10 and up) Wicked (Ages 12 and up)
Start your Sunday mornings at Time Out Market New York! Not only will you have a chance to indulge in delicious brunch dishes (hello Clinton St. Baking Co.) but you can keep little ones preoccupied while you munch. Join the Puppetsburg crew on our fifth floor stage as the marionette entertainment kickstarts the day on a high note. With a new theme each week—such as "Farm to Table with Old McDonald," "The BEYONCE Show" and "Clementine Goes to Burning Man!"—we have a feeling you'll be as equally entertained as the kiddos. Bonus? Your youngsters will receive complimentary juice! Ages 6 and under.
Nightmares, beware! Crafty kids are tackling you head-on. During a Private Picassos workshop at Time Out Market New York, tots will work with wooden embroidery hoops, ribbon, yarn, and—naturally—unicorn horns and glitter to create a magical, mystical dream catcher. Please note that admission includes art supplies for children and parents. Ages 3 and up.
Bryant Park will keep the winter fun alive on Saturdays with the help of Cali Co Cat. Kiddos' favorite character will read the best stories in town, and afterward, littles have a chance to earn a free skating session on the ice rink. If you attend two story times and one New York Public Library program at the 42nd St location (and/or take out a NYPL book), you'll be entitled to a free skate. Have an adult who wants to get in on the action? Those youngsters who attend three story times will get a skating freebie for one adult, too. Bonus points? Free books are given out while supplies last. Learn more about the program and scoring those sweet deals here. All ages.
Ready your camera roll and prepare for a sugar rush: The Museum of Ice Cream is returning to NYC! The Soho flagship will open its pastel pink doors to sugary goodness on Saturday, Dec 14. Read on for the scoop on the immersive experience (part playground, social media backdrop and sweet shop).
We can't wait to see "Worlds Beyond Earth," the new show that will premiere at the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History on Jan 21. It celebrates the Age of Exploration we're living in right now—humans have only made it as far as the moon, but we have sent out probes and spacecraft to collect data and send it back to Earth. Think about it: Robotic explorers have been to the surface of the moon, and documented the icy and volcanically active surface of Jupiter's moon Io, and observed the showers of liquid methane on Saturn’s moon Titan. "Worlds Beyond Earth" transports you to the far corners of our solar system and beyond with detailed scenes drawn from scientific data. Plus, it's narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Lupita Nyong’o—the cosmos never sounded so good. This is the first new show to run at the Hayden Planetarium since Dark Universe," narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson, premiered in 2013.
Kids can give their imaginations a workout at “Unseen Worlds,” an interactive exhibition that mixes together science, art, design and technology. Visitors to the GIANT Room add to the display by going to the Open Studio and making projects inspired by the unseen worlds of bugs, microbes, yeast, bacteria and fungi. The GIANT Room in partnership with Cooper Union School of Engineering provides cool gear like a laser cutter, 3D printer, microscopes, solar panels, electronics and programmable LEDs! All ages.
An amusement park staple is getting a wintry makeover. If your little ones can't find their balance while ice skating in NYC, why not give ice bumper cars a try? They're making a Kings County debut, and deserve prime-time real estate on your winter bucket list. Venture to Aviator Sports, the gracious host of Big Bounce America, for the super-cool experience. Taking a cue from the Winter Village at Bryant Park, one of Brooklyn's most popular family attractions will offer families (with kids ages 7 and up) a chance to enjoy a 15-minute session for $13 on a first-come, first-serve basis. Time to channel those Coney Island summer days, but with a few cold-weather modifications! Before your bumper-car outing, here are a few things to note: Sessions run on Fridays from 7:30–10:30pm, Saturdays from 2–5pm and 7:30–10:30pm and Sundays from 1–5pm. Aviator Sports states that there are 3 sessions per hour. Riders must be at least 7 years old, 36 inches tall and under 300 pounds. Flat-toed shoes are required (no ice skates). A parent or guardian's signature is required for riders who are under 18.
The William Vale hotel in Williamsburg just debuted a rooftop skating rink with million-dollar views of the Manhattan skyline. The Vale Rink sits on the 23rd floor of the hotel, and could be considered one of the best spots for ice skating NYC kids and families love. Admission to the rink (including skate and locker rentals) costs $20 for adults, $12 for children 12 and under—another upside to the new spot. But take note: This isn't an ice rink. The Vale Rink is a Glice rink with an ice-like synthetic surface developed in Switzerland. Glice has an icy shine that looks wintery, but the plastic doesn't melt—there's no puddling in the midday sun. More importantly, there won't be any wet pants or sopping socks on your little skaters. The William Vale Hotel set up tent lounge next to the rink where parents can relax with a grown-up drink, and where kids can go for an aprés-skate hot chocolate. It is open from 2–10pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays; 2pm–midnight on Fridays; noon–midnight on Saturdays; and noon–10pm on Sundays. Note that children 6 and under must have accompaniment on the ice and those 13 and under must have a guardian present; the smallest skate size 11 girls/9 boys.
New Yorkers take their immersive experiences quite seriously, and this fall promises a slew of sensory-filled adventures. After indulging in creamy goodness at the Museum of Ice Cream's new Soho flagship, head over for a creative afternoon at Sloomoo Institute. This 8,000 square-foot entertainment hub, also in Soho, guarantees a slimy encounter like no other. "We are all excited to bring the wonder and happiness of slime to the world in a large way,” says Karen Robinovitz, one of the three co-founders of the installation, alongside Sara Schiller and Toni Ko. “Our hope is that people of all ages will come to Sloomoo Institute and delight and evoke their inner child.” Sloomoo acts as an art exhibit and art class for kids, too. Visitors big and lil' will enter a black light cove with glow in the dark slime, let an EEG machine provide a sneak peek of your brain on slime and much more. For creative youngsters who love STEM project, this is one of the coolest fall activities for kids taking place this year. Tickets are on sale ($38) and include an 8-ounce custom slime and other fun trinkets. For those who take their sliming super seriously, visitors can participate in a Sloomoo photoshoot (for an additional $30) where slime pours down on eager participants a la 90's Nickelodeon days.
Prepare for a lively celebration! Lola Star’s Dreamland Roller Rink will welcome the holiday season with its beloved roller disco events at City Point, and kids can get in the action! Lace up and enjoy. The schedule, which will run until Feb 15, 2020, is as follows: Learn to Skate for Kids: Thursdays 5–5:45pm (7+) Holiday Themed Dress-up Skate Party for Families: Fridays 3–5pm (7+) Toddler Skate: Saturdays 10–11am (6 and under) Learn to Skate for Kids: Saturdays 11–11:45am (7+) Santa Skate: Holiday Themed Dress-up Skate Party for Families: Saturdays noon–2pm (7+) Dazzle Disco Dress-up Skate Party for Families: Saturdays 2:30–5:30pm
The 42nd season of the Big Apple Circus is officially underway! Brooklyn-born singer and Ringmaster Storm Marrero will lead the way as the show celebrates all-things NYC. There are plenty of acts that'll make your jaw drop, including the Dupla Mão na Roda hand-balancing duo, performances from International Juggling Association Gold Medalist Kyle Driggs, aerial acrobatics with Aliev Troupe and so much more. All ages.
The venerable epicurean extravaganza spends Saturdays in Williamsburg and Sundays in Prospect Park. No matter your preference, there's a little something for everyone. While kids can delight in sweets like fried cookie dough, those with a more expansive palate can opt for offerings such as seafood from Lobsterdamus, Boutros' pork shawarma tacos or PopdUp brewed teas, among seemingly hundreds of other dishes. This year, the new Pizza Cupcake and Fluffies Soufflé Pancakes (available Saturdays and Sundays) will be on hand to wow visitors! Note that admission to the food fest is free, but each vendor charges various prices. All ages.
Get the scoop on all-things sweet. Sugartooth Tours, a local dessert tour company, explores different neighborhoods to uncover the tastiest treats throughout NYC, so bring your appetite. You'll want to explore the newest offering, Village to Village Cupcake and Cookie Crawl (Fridays, Saturdays at 3pm) but don't miss out on favorites like Bright Lights & Broadway Bites Dessert Tour (Saturdays at 11am, Sundays at noon), Sweeter Than Sugar Chelsea & West Village Dessert Tour (Saturdays and Sundays at 4pm) and more. Learn more online. All ages.
Welcome the Year of the Rat at Flushing Town Hall. Join Puppetry in Practice to make your own puppets, then go on a Dragon Walk. (Jan 18, 2pm.) Visit the Lunar New Year Temple Chiese Bazaar to watch live performances, snack on delicious food and take part in fun arts and crafts. (Feb 1, 11am and 1pm.) All ages.
This six-week program lets children ages 3-5 (and their accompanying adult) explore nature up close by wandering through the greenhouses and winter gardens of the New York Botanical Garden. Your little Sprout will touch, taste and grow—every kid loves playing in the dirt. Ages 3-5.
Introduce your kids to the joys of jazz at the Jazz Standard's weekly Sunday brunch program. The Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra, made up of talented youngsters between the ages of 11 and 18, provides the music including big band classics like “Cherokee” and “Billie’s Bounce." While your family taps their toes, chow down on a barbecue brunch from Blue Smoke. Doors open at 1pm. All ages.
This is one event parents might enjoy just as much as the kids...maybe even more so. Rock & Roll Playhouse is a family-friendly concert series that introduces littles to the greats—The Beatles, Queen, U2, to name a few—as the house band plays some of the most popular tunes. The weekend happening adds a few kid-friendly elements such as stories and crafts to make the program extra epic. All events in Industry City (Saturdays at 12:30pm) are free, but tickets are required. Shows at Brooklyn Bowl (Sundays at noon) are $12. Head to the event's website for a full lineup. Ages 10 and under.
Imagine a marching band, 12-foot puppets, images projected on screens: "The Transfiguration of Benjamin Banneker" at La MaMa Kids is a multi-disciplinary spectacle that celebrates the life of Benjamin Banneker, a free African-American living in Maryland in the 1700s who taught himself mathematics and astronomy—and who made important scientific discoveries. Ages 12 and up.
Prepare to shed a few tears...of joy! Teen jokesters from Kids 'N Comedy perform family-friendly acts on a monthly basis with new themes for each show. Come experience laugh-out-loud moments and rid the Sunday scaries with a few giggles. The 2019–2020 schedule is as follows. Ages 9 and up. Nov 24: "The Pre-Turkey Show?" Dec 15: "Christmaskwanzukah" Jan 19 Feb 23 Mar 29 Apr 26 May 17
A sea of toilet paper, neon paint splashes and three blue men have kept audiences laughing and amazed in this long-running Off-Broadway hit. Stand by as these other-worldly fellows learn about the environment around them...and make a bit of noise in the process (largely thanks to the large tubs of paint). You'll laugh, you'll catch one of the group members in the audience and you'll love the wonky happenings throughout the performance. If you catch a show in the first row, wear the poncho—chances are you're going to get splattered with something! Ages 5 and up.
Who can resist a snow day? Looks like Widget and Twig found someone who would rather take a pass. In Yeti, Set, Snow!, an original play from City Parks Foundation, a dynamic duo stumbles upon a yeti, Pascetti, who would rather not deal with flurries and the cold. Time will tell if Pascetti’s new friends will have him singing “Let It Snow.” Ages 3–8. Note: There are no performances on: Nov 28, Dec 24, Dec 25, Jan 1, Jan 2 and Jan 3. Note that showtimes on Nov 29 are: 11am, 1pm and 3pm.
After stints in California and the U.K., it's only fitting that Show Up, Kids returns to NYC. This interactive performance will elicit the help of the audience entirely when Peter's main act is a no-show! Theater-goers will get their say in plenty—plots, props, characters, costumes—during this improvised laugh-out-loud experience! Ages 3–10.
The U.K.'s most popular marmalade-loving bear is making his way to NYC this winter. Catch Paddington in a Jam, a production from Jonathan Rockefeller, in Union Square. The creator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show brings Paddington's journey to life on stage—which is perfect for those who can't resist the famed character's movies and stories. Although audiences might be inclined to have some jam during the performance, note that food is prohibited in the theater! Ages 3–8.
Husband and wife duo Fan and Ana Yang have traveled world-wide to dazzle their audiences with their self-titled masterpiece, "bubble artistry." As lights flicker and music plays, prepare to catch some of the wonkiest looking bubbles you've ever encountered. Kids and parents alike will love how these soapy spectacles create a can't-miss experience. Ages 5 and up.
For the first time in forever, Disney's "Snow Queen"-inspired movie about sisterly love and a talking snowman is coming to Broadway. Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and the whole gang will turn the St. James Theater into a winter wonderland full of songs from the original soundtrack. Expect phenomenal sets and stage-magic, plus a certain Oscar-winning song to get stuck in your head.
The NYC theater scene is gearing up for a kid-friendly lineup. During the 2019-2020 season at the New Victory Theater, families will be able to hang with their favorite picture-book fishes, listen to Aesop's fables and much more. The schedule, which is available on the theater's website, is as follows: The Pout-Pout Fish: Oct 12–20 for ages 4–7 Aesop's Fables: Nov 1–3 for ages 7 and up RE:PLAY: Nov 15–Dec 1 for ages 6 and up 42 FT–A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels: Dec 6–Jan 5 for ages 5 and up CARTOGRAPHY: Jan 10–19 for ages 10 and up Riddle of the Trilobites: Feb 7–23 for ages 6 and up Drumfolk: Feb 28–Mar 15 for ages 7 and up Treasure Island: Mar 20–29 for ages 8 and up Magic Shadows: Apr 3–19 for ages 5 and up Snow White: Apr 24–May 3 for ages 7 and up Jabberbabble: May 9–17 for ages 4–7 Fierce 5: May 30–June 14 for ages 9 and up
This brand-new exhibit is bound to keep your children entertained for hours on end. Its name is quite literal, as little ones can crawl and climb life-size installations and sculptures. Ten renowned artists came together to make the impressive pieces, including a massive tabletop mystery puzzle, a “groundhog burrow” for humans and a spandex wall of tropical patterns to stretch and climb through. Ages 3–10.
The Garment District is morphing into a playground this winter, and "Impluse's" charming features will make you feel like a kid again. On Broadway pedestrian plazas between 37th and 38th Sts, the exhibit will include 12 16–24–foot seesaws that are light and sound activated. And you thought the winter decorations were finished for the season! All ages.
Every weekend, Wave Hill hosts an art workshop class catered to toddlers and families. Using the seasons, holidays and—of course— Riverdale's gorgeous grounds as a muse, the morning workshop tackles a variety of DIY projects. From painting and planting to coloring and sculpting, this offering is perfect for the creative kiddos in your crew. On Saturdays, arrive before noon to score free access to the venue. All ages.
Love Crickets, Save the Planet is like an art farm only with crickets, which makes it way cooler than an art farm. (Not to bag on ant farms, which are pretty great.) This site-specific installation by artists Jude Tallichet and Adam Chad Brody gives kids an intimate look at these amazing insects—a bug-eye's view of the world you don't always see. $13, pay-what-you-wish Thursdays from 4-6pm. All ages.
Prepare to dig deep like a true paleontologist thanks to "T. Rex: The Ultimate Predator." The Museum of Natural History's new exhibit will give visitors a peek into how the massive creatures came to be. Patrons will get a good look at the new findings about the tyrannosaurs genus, with a special focus on our main man, the T. rex. Unlike what people may think—and what movies led us to believe—T. rex is simply one part of the species' 100-million-year evolution. Who knew that tyrannosaurs species actually include small, agile creatures? For real!
It's a balmy 80 degrees in the museum's 1,200-square-foot vivarium, which houses up to 500 butterflies living among tropical flowers. The free-flying butterflies often land on the shoulders of visitors, allowing tykes to come into direct contact with monarchs, zebra longwings, paper kites other species as they emerge from their chrysalises. Outside the vivarium, youngsters can watch a short film and read displays on the life cycle of butterflies, how to protect their habitats and what kinds of adaptations certain species have. All ages.
Reign of the Redbirds looks at the iconic subway cars that came to be known as Redbirds that first appeared in New York in 1959, and that were in kept in service until 2003. These workhorses evoke an era of great transformation in New York, and many of them met a poetic ending: decommissioned red cars were scuttled off the coast and helped anchor an artificial reef. Reign of the Redbirds is in the museum's atmospheric home in a decommissioned subway station under the streets of Downtown Brooklyn. Note: Museum is closed major holidays. $10, $5 ages 2-17, free 2 and under.
This comprehensive exhibit includes vintage and current images of women as aviators and astronauts, looking at fashion, television, film, pop culture—even Barbie and LEGO astronaut dolls are included. You will see photographs of pioneering astronauts including Sally Ride, Mae Jemison and Ellen Ochoa. After seeing this show your little astronaut will shoot for the stars. Free with admission. All ages.
Catch a glimpse inside the cockpit of the fastest commercial aircraft to ever fly across the Atlantic (at an impressive 2 hours, 52 minutes and 59 seconds). At the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, visitors are able to participate a new 20-minute experience of the British Airways Concorde, which provides insight into the plane's amazing technology. Please note visitors are required to climb stairs to board the Concorde. Ages 5 and up.
This introduction to the New York Botanical Garden takes toddlers and their caregivers through guided explorations of this magnificent complex of greenhouses and plant habitats. Each hour-long session in the six-week Nature Explorers Program includes songs, stories and projects you can take home. Ages 2-3.
NYC's museum dedicated to all-things espionage will soon shed some light on 007. The first James Bond exhibit in New York examines the creativity that went into bringing the movies to life. Car aficionados: You'll be pleased to know that Bond's Aston Martin DB5 will on display. There are also many interactive components to the exhibit: You can check out gadgets and gizmos in the Q's lab, get a behind-the-scenes look at how the Skyfall finale came to be and so much more. All ages.
The amazing life-saving dogs in this immersive 3D movie are like real-life PAW Patrol pups. Find out the remarkable stories of canines and their human companions who work hard everyday to rescue people in snowy avalanches and off the coasts of warm beaches. There's even a pair of Bloodhound brothers who are helping save endangered species in Africa. 45 minutes. All ages
NYC's most popular Instagram landmark underwent a renovation that is practically as breathtaking as its views of Manhattan. The $165 million reimagined Observatory Experience at the Empire State Building allows visitors to learn about all aspects of the iconic building: from the moment it was built to its place in pop culture today. Galleries focus on the construction, opening day and everything in between. Catch 70+ screens depicting the building's place in the NYC skyline, see if your favorite celebrity has made a visit and, of course, get a taste of King Kong! Giant ape fingers pierce the wall of a 1930s-themed office. Yikes! All ages.
Every year, Bryant Park transforms into a winter village complete with an outdoor ice skating rink right at the center. Shop from local vendors selling food and drinks and get an early start on those holiday wish lists. Wonderful pop-up shops for kids and families abound, as well as eateries with sweet and savory cusines from around the globe. Holiday festivities are scheduled from the opening day, as Oct 31 will welcome kiddos for Tricks and Treats from 4–6:30pm. Later in the season, little ones can visit Santa from Dec 14–22, so tell your crew to start brainstorming! All ages.
Game on! Sony Square NYC is inviting families to participate in a little friendly competition in celebration of PlayStation's 25th anniversary. (Wow, can you believe that?) Face off against your fam with Sony’s 26ft Crystal LED screen as you take on some of the system's most popular PS4 games. There will be hourly raffles and complimentary treats! All ages.
The holiday model-train show at the New-York Historical Society is always a stunner, and this year celebrates Richard Scarry’s Busytown to honor the 100th anniversary of the author and illustrator’s birth. You’ll see Huckle Cat, Lowly Worm and other favorite characters, plus trains, trains and more trains. All ages.