Things to Do

Things to do with kids in New York, including events this week, free things to do, fairs and festivals, story time, theater for kids, and kids' entertainment

The best fall activities for kids in NYC
Things to do

The best fall activities for kids in NYC

Snag a bushel of Golden Delicious apples and resurrect your sweaters from the closet: autumn's in the air! To celebrate, we're rounding up the best fall activities for kids in NYC.  Although this year has been difficult, the spooky season is trudging on—safely, of course. Some things will look a little different, but there's still plenty to enjoy: apple picking, hot chocolate, Halloween events like the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze.  RECOMMENDED: More things to do in the fall with kids We found ways to keep you and your little ones busy now until we're ready to put up the Christmas trees. Have a look at the seasonal festivities, reopened family attractions and new events that require a spot on your calendar. No, in case you were wondering, fall is not canceled. 

This blacklight mini golf course is out of this world
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This blacklight mini golf course is out of this world

You don't need to travel terribly far to visit outer space. In fact, you can get a taste of the cosmos right in New Jersey.  American Dream in the Meadowlands is now home to a new intergalactic-themed mini golf course. Catch 3-D astronaut sculptures, planet murals and a splash of color at every hole while you work your way toward victory.  Oh, did we mention that it's completely glow in the dark? Out of This World Blacklight Mini Golf even has glow-in-the-dark equipment: balls, putters and scorecards. It's one of the most Instagrammable places near NYC and it makes for fun family competition. Tickets must be purchased in advanced. General admission is $15 and a family four pack is $48.  Courtesy: American Dream American Dream is also home to the Angry Birds Not So Mini Golf and a variety of other cool, record-breaking attractions: The nation's first indoor ski slope, the largest indoor water park in the country and an indoor theme park that houses the world's steepest roller coaster and the world's tallest adventure ropes course.  Think of making a Jersey day trip? Which American Dream attraction will you visit first? Most popular on Time Out - NYC schools closed: a running list of building shutdowns- NYC schools have cancelled snow days for the 2020–2021 term- The best apple picking NY kids and families love- The best spots for pumpkin picking NY families love- The best Halloween movies for kids of all ages Get us in your inbox! Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.

The best new and upcoming exhibits at NYC museums for kids
Attractions

The best new and upcoming exhibits at NYC museums for kids

Curious about new and upcoming exhibits at the best NYC museums for kids? We've got you covered. Now that our favorite spots have started reopening, we can't wait to get lost in the galleries and exhibitions.  RECOMMENDED: Full guide to children's museum picks for families Grab your brood for a outing like no other: Topics range from science, super heroes, history and so much more. No matter your children's interests, these family attractions have plenty of options to keep youngsters entertained. Be sure to browse our picks for the best fall activities for kids, too. And, no matter how you decide to spend your day, we recommend polishing off all outings with something sweet like milshakes or apple cider donuts. 

When to catch fall foliage in NYC
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When to catch fall foliage in NYC

Time to mark your calendars! 

You can once again get into these 25 NYC attractions for free with Culture Pass
News

You can once again get into these 25 NYC attractions for free with Culture Pass

A library card goes a long way in New York City.  Today, the New York Public Library, Queens Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library announced that Culture Pass will resume for 25 attractions—with limited capacity—on Nov 1. This program provides New Yorkers with library cards free access to their favorite family attractions.  The 25 institutions participating:  Alice Austen House Museum American Museum of Natural History Asia Society Museum Brooklyn Museum The Drawing Center Dyckman Farmhouse Museum Fraunces Tavern Museum International Studio & Curatorial Program The Jewish Museum King Manor Museum Kingsland Homestead The Metropolitan Museum of Art Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) MoMA PS1 Morris-Jumel Mansion Museum of Arts and Design Museum of the City of New York National Lighthouse Museum New Museum New York Botanical Garden The Noble Maritime Collection The Noguchi Museum Poster House The Rubin Museum of Art SculptureCenter How to snag a freebie:  Beginning Nov 1, in-person passes can be reserved up to one month in advance on culturepass.nyc. (Learn more about Culture Pass rules.)  More good news:  Additionally, Culture Pass is rebroadcasting virtual arts and cultural programs for all ages from NYC's favorite institutions through Nov 21.  Besides mapping out your Culture Pass plans, be sure to check out the best new and upcoming exhibits at our go-to kids' museums, sit in for virtual storytimes from the New York Public Library every Monday through Friday and see what else is happening on NYC's fall calendar. For all-things Culture Pass, visit the program's website.  Most popular on Time Out - NYC schools closed: a running list of building shutdowns- NYC schools have cancelled snow days for the 2020–2021 term- The best apple picking NY kids and families love- The best spots for pumpkin picking NY families love- The best Halloween movies for kids of all ages Get us in your inbox! Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.

Things to do outdoors

Skate reservations opened for Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
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Skate reservations opened for Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

As they say in Game of Thrones: Winter is coming. On Friday, Oct 30 the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park will return to midtown with shops, confections and, of course, the ice rink. As of Oct 28, skating reservations have opened online ($21–$36), so tell the little winter Olympians in your crew!    There are new ice skating rules to note this year:  Reservations for skating sessions opened on Oct 28, and they are required for the 2020 season.   The rink is open daily from 8am–10pm. All transactions will be online only. Skate sessions are now timed. You are asked to arrive on time for your allotted session.  Bag checks are also available, though large accessories are not recommended.  All skate rentals come with a complimentary shoe bag that will be worn on your back with shoes securely stowed. If you plan to use your own skates, you must have a similar sized bag (16" x 18") or purchase one onsite.  Items are not to be left on the ground, benches or with chaperones in skating areas. See a full list of rules online.  If you've already forgotten about Halloween and can't help but fast forward to the holidays, be sure to get a jump start on fun happenings: scope out the best hot chocolate in the city, learn how to sign up for the virtual Macy's Santaland and snag tickets to this holiday light show drive-thru.  Most popular on Time Out - NYC schools closed: a running list of building shutdowns- NYC schools have cancelled snow days for the 2020–2021 term- The best apple picking NY kids and families love- The best spots for pumpkin picking NY families love- The best Halloween movies for kids of all ages Get us in your inbox! Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.

LuminoCity Festival
Things to do

LuminoCity Festival

After a successful run in 2019, the Luminocity Festival will return to Randall's Island this holiday season. Join Lumi, the host of the event, through a narrated tour of 10 acres of gorgeous LED installations. Children will be in awe of the mystical, fantastical displays illuminating the grounds. Stick around after your tour for a visit to the mini gallery or dessert from the food trucks. New social distancing rules will be implemented this year; learn about them online. All ages. 

Bronx Zoo Holiday Light Show
Things to do Buy tickets

Bronx Zoo Holiday Light Show

The Bronx Zoo is bringing back its spectacular holiday lights show in 2020! This year, you'll be able to enjoy lantern safaris that transport visitors to Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America and the depths of our oceans. But the spectacular doesn't end there: Ice carving competitions, a holiday tree, costumed characters and more holiday happenings await. However, this year advanced tickets will be required on select dates and times from Nov 20 through Jan 10. Read more about the zoo's new safety procedures online. All ages. 

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New York Botanical Garden will ring in the holidays with a new light experience
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New York Botanical Garden will ring in the holidays with a new light experience

The New York Botanical Garden is adding a splash of color to its holiday celebration.  This year, the Bronx family attraction will host NYBG Glow, an outdoor light experience that will brighten up the grounds with Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at its center. Visitors can expect thousands of energy-efficient LED lights and festive installations—an ideal backdrop for a family holiday photo op. Plus, there will be dance performances, ice carving demonstrations and other seasonal activities to enjoy (at a distance).  To comply with state guidelines, the event, which begins Nov 27, requires tickets. Timed entry, limited capacity and social distancing measures will be forced once there. Tickets go on sale beginning Nov 10 at 10am.   View this post on Instagram This holiday season, let it GLOW at NYBG in an all-new outdoor experience illuminating our landmark landscape and Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. . With lots of room to spread out, explore a glowing world of color and light featuring the Haupt Conservatory as the centerpiece—its iconic exterior a glittering canvas. Washes of brilliant colors, thousands of dazzling lights, and picture-perfect installations fill the Reflecting Pool and enliven surrounding gardens and collections. And during your visit, enjoy artistic ice carving displays, roving dancers and musicians, plus more outdoor fun. . Hit the link in our bio for more info and to sign up for ticket alerts, and experience NYBG GLOW for yourself beginning Nov. 27. . #plantlove #AllInNYC A post shared by New York Botanical Garden (@nybg) on Oct 30, 2020 at 11:18am PDT NYBG Glow will take place from 10am–5pm on 14 dates:   Nov 27 Nov 28 Dec 5 Dec 12 Dec 18 Dec 19 Dec 26 Dec 27 Dec 28 Dec 29 Dec 30 Jan 1 Jan 2 Jan 9  Looking for more ways to ring in the most wonderful time of the year? Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park is returning, but with new safety measures in place. Be sure to sign up for your skating sessions, as RSVPs are required this year. Feel more comfortable keeping a distance? Macy's Santaland is going virtual. Plus, this holiday drive-thru lights event on Long Island makes the perfect day trip. Be sure to crank up the Christmas songs for kids while you're heading out east!   Please note that the NYBG Holiday Train Show will only be accessible to NYBG Members and Bronx Community Partners this year.  Most popular on Time Out - NYC schools closed: a running list of building shutdowns- NYC schools have cancelled snow days for the 2020–2021 term- The best apple picking NY kids and families love- The best spots for pumpkin picking NY families love- The best Halloween movies for kids of all ages Get us in your inbox! Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.

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Free and cheap things to do

Free activities for families in NYC
Things to do

Free activities for families in NYC

NYC might be famous for its sticker shock (that upgraded soft-serve costs how much?), but this is also a city that knows the best things in life are free. Here are places and activities that will entertain the crew—and that let you keep your credit card in your pocket.

Time Out New York Kids + New York Public Library daily storytimes
Things to do

Time Out New York Kids + New York Public Library daily storytimes

Are your little ones missing their favorite reading circle? Don’t worry, Mom and Dad: We have the perfect solution! Time Out is partnering with the New York Public Library to present digital storytimes for pint-sized bookworms. Beginning August 10, families can tune in Monday through Friday at 10am—right here—for a remote read-aloud. Curious about the lineup? The Time Out New York Kids newsletter will reveal forthcoming story time schedules on Fridays, so sign up today! Things might be confusing right now—especially to little New Yorkers—but the NYPL and Time Out are here to ensure your family can experience the best of the city, even while you’re at home. THIS WEEK: Catch a special reading on Tuesday, Aug 18 with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment with her picture book, Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote. Don't forget to visit the library's website and check out its great activities for kids, too!     Monday, August 17 Kristy Raffensberger from Hudson Park Library in Manhattan John Coltrane's Giant Steps by Chris Raschk and What! Cried Granny: An Almost Bedtime Story by Kate Lum Tuesday, August 18 Jennie Mayfield from Parkchester Library in the BronxRuby Gets Crafty by Rosemary Wells   Wednesday, August 19 Mleeka Khan from Dongan Hills in Staten IslandThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and Bark, George by Jules FeifferThursday, August 20 Michael Kirby from Van Nest Library in the BronxAccordionly: Abuelo and Opa Make Music by Michael Genhart and Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen ChristelowFriday, August 21 Krystina Humbert from Mariners Harbor Library in Staten Island Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett and Get Out of My Bath! by Britta Teckentrup Monday, August 10: Nobuko Wilson from St. George Library in Staten IslandPapa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle and Ten in the Bed by Jane Cabrera   Tuesday, August 11: Kelly Smith from Woodstock Library in the BronxBilly Bloo is Stuck in Goo by Jennifer Hamburg   Wednesday, August 12: Lauren Wrenn from Melrose Library in the BronxFeast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell and How About a Night Out by Sam Williams   Thursday, August 13: Sarah West from St. Agnes Library in ManhattanKitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes and The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli   Friday, August 14: Olisha James from Stapleton Library in Staten IslandA Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnel and We Are in a Book! by Mo Willems   Be sure to explore our favorite summer activities for kids while you're at it! After all, a visit to the beach or park isn't complete without a good book.  

The tastiest apple cider donuts near me in NYC
Restaurants

The tastiest apple cider donuts near me in NYC

Ah, fall—the leaves begin to change, sweater weather swoops in and "Apple cider donuts near me" becomes your favorite Google search. What better way to welcome New York City's most beautiful season than with something sweet? RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in the fall with kids Whether you opt for treats from your local farmer's market, Doughnuttery's cinnamon-citrus blend or Dough's apple doughnut with almond streusel, you can't go wrong. The only wong way to snack would be skipping out on some cider or cocoa with your order.  While you peruse our favorite fall activities and October events calendar, make sure a visit to these spots ends up on your to-do list.

The Bronx Zoo will bring back free Wednesdays
News

The Bronx Zoo will bring back free Wednesdays

Good news for those who are anxious to pay a visit to the animal kingdom. Not only is the Bronx Zoo reopening to the public on July 24 (it's operating on a members only basis from July 20–23), but it's enticing visitors with a perk. For families in search of a day trip on the cheap, might we suggest a Wednesday pitstop to the outdoor attraction? According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, general admission to the Bronx Zoo is free on Wednesdays. However, visitors have to plan in advanced: Advanced timed tickets will be required. The Wednesday ticket store will open on Tuesday at 10am for that Wednesday’s reservations, so make sure to set an alarm on your phone. You're not going to want to miss an opportunity to snag a spot.  Keep in mind that this is an unusual time, zoo-goers: Visitors will not be able to simply walk through the grounds—on any day of the week—without a reservation. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the attraction's new norms and stay safe while visiting.  If your little zoologists really have animals on the brain, why not pay a visit to the (reservation-only) Six Flags Safari? It's a socially-distanced drive-through experience that'll give them access to 1,000+ creatures—all from the family minivan. Most popular on Time Out - The best hiking trails for NYC families to explore - The best strawberry picking in New York for families - Six Flags Great Adventure's Safari will reopen as a drive-through experience - The 2020 Summer Reading program from the NYPL is the best yet - 15 NYC pools will reopen this summer after all according to Mayor de Blasio

Here's how to snag free admission to the New York Aquarium
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Here's how to snag free admission to the New York Aquarium

The next time you're Coney Island-bound, make sure to pay a visit to your favorite maritime creatures.   As of last week, the New York Aquarium has started welcoming back visitors, joining the ranks of the Wildlife Conservation's other family attractions like the Bronx Zoo and Prospect Park Zoo. The sharks are lurking, the sea otters are relaxing and the "Spineless" newbies are waiting to say hello.  These animal encounters alone are enough to pique your interest, but free admission is also another enticing factor. On Wednesdays after 3pm, the aquarium admits visitors at no cost. However, there are a few things to note now that city is grappling with a new norm: Advanced timed tickets are required, and those who attempt to enter without reservations will not be permitted inside. Every Monday at 5pm, the Wednesday Afternoon Ticket Store will open for that week's reservations according to the aquarium's website, so act fast!  If after-school plans are up in the air or you're just looking for a reason to visit one of your favorite NYC spots, why not take a mid-week trip? We have a feeling the sea lions will be pleased! (Psst: The Bronx Zoo also offers free timed admission on Wednesdays.)  Most popular on Time Out - NYC DOE reaches a new decision about the return to school - Will NYC teachers go on strike? Here’s what you need to know - The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze is opening a second location this year - Take a peek inside NYC’s Krispy Kreme flagship in Times Square - Farmers’ Almanac reveals when New Yorkers can catch the best fall foliage

You can once again get into these 25 NYC attractions for free with Culture Pass
News

You can once again get into these 25 NYC attractions for free with Culture Pass

A library card goes a long way in New York City.  Today, the New York Public Library, Queens Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library announced that Culture Pass will resume for 25 attractions—with limited capacity—on Nov 1. This program provides New Yorkers with library cards free access to their favorite family attractions.  The 25 institutions participating:  Alice Austen House Museum American Museum of Natural History Asia Society Museum Brooklyn Museum The Drawing Center Dyckman Farmhouse Museum Fraunces Tavern Museum International Studio & Curatorial Program The Jewish Museum King Manor Museum Kingsland Homestead The Metropolitan Museum of Art Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) MoMA PS1 Morris-Jumel Mansion Museum of Arts and Design Museum of the City of New York National Lighthouse Museum New Museum New York Botanical Garden The Noble Maritime Collection The Noguchi Museum Poster House The Rubin Museum of Art SculptureCenter How to snag a freebie:  Beginning Nov 1, in-person passes can be reserved up to one month in advance on culturepass.nyc. (Learn more about Culture Pass rules.)  More good news:  Additionally, Culture Pass is rebroadcasting virtual arts and cultural programs for all ages from NYC's favorite institutions through Nov 21.  Besides mapping out your Culture Pass plans, be sure to check out the best new and upcoming exhibits at our go-to kids' museums, sit in for virtual storytimes from the New York Public Library every Monday through Friday and see what else is happening on NYC's fall calendar. For all-things Culture Pass, visit the program's website.  Most popular on Time Out - NYC schools closed: a running list of building shutdowns- NYC schools have cancelled snow days for the 2020–2021 term- The best apple picking NY kids and families love- The best spots for pumpkin picking NY families love- The best Halloween movies for kids of all ages Get us in your inbox! Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.

Best attractions

NYC's 50 best family attractions
Attractions

NYC's 50 best family attractions

How many have you been to?

The best spots for ice skating NYC kids and families love
Things to do

The best spots for ice skating NYC kids and families love

Lace up for the best ice skating NYC has on its roster. Classic options (such as Rockefeller Center) are just as thrilling as newcomers like the rink at Industry City.  After gaining the necessary stamina with a cup of the best hot chocolate in NYC, it's time to hit the ice with your crew! All ages and skill levels are welcome to give the winter sport a whirl. (We recommend these ice skating lessons for kids to get your little ones comfortable.) RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas for kids in New York After a few loops around, we think you should top off your winter adventure with a trip to our favorite holiday markets in NYC and holiday train shows. 'Tis the season, after all!  For those who can't get enough, make sure to sign up for bumper cars on ice! The theme park-inspired activity is available at Bryant Park and Aviator Sports! 

The best kids' museums in NYC
Museums

The best kids' museums in NYC

Visit the best kids museums in NYC and you'll get a lot of "wow," and "cool," and "aww!" What you won't hear? "I'm bored." That's because the best children's museums in NYC are as entertaining as they are educational—your kids will have so much fun they won't even know they're learning.  The 13 best museums for kids in NYC–okay, 12 plus the Bronx Children's Museum, which will open later this year–are some of the family attractions that make this city so awesome. Going to a children's museum in NYC is one of our favorite things to do with kids in NYC!  When you're ready to extend your experience, consider taking part in one of the amazing museum sleepovers in NYC. Just imagine: You can spend the night on the Intrepid aircraft carrier, or have your very own Night at the Museum of Natural History—without the dinosaures waking up, thank you very much.

The best family restaurants you and your kids will love
Restaurants

The best family restaurants you and your kids will love

UPDATE: Events, venues, shops and restaurants in NYC have been cancelled or closed due to coronavirus. Some offerings here might be affected—if you're unsure, please call to confirm. If you're looking for the best family restaurants in NYC, we have the definitive list for you. We mix the best of the newest restaurants that make this city's scene so exciting with the classics every New Yorker should visit, plus restaurants with play areas and other fun restaurants in NYC in all five boroughs. Little New Yorkers want more than just chicken fingers and hot dogs (not that there's anything wrong with those), and we include the dim sum palaces, udon counters, and taco joints that make local kids flip out. Our list of kid-friendly restaurants in NYC even includes some low-key kid-friendly bars and beer gardens (JG Melon, Greenwood Park, Berg'n, Donovan's and Harlem Tavern, among others) for those late afternoons when you just want to grab a beer with your friends. Most importantly, we only include restaurants that welcome children and families—there's no side-eye if you show up with a stroller. Many of the spots on our list have comfortable booth seating, easy take-out options, booster seats, impressive kid's menus and other amenities to make your lives easier. Happy feasting!

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