101 things to do with kids in NYC

These 101 picks are our favorite things to do with kids in NYC! Enjoy these great family attractions, museums and other fun adventures.


Searching for things to do with kids in NYC? We'll give you a hundred...and one! 

From exploring new and upcoming exhibits and hitting the best kids' playgrounds NYC youngsters love, to grabbing a slice of New York pizza and visiting the coolest family attractions in town, our roundup is 101 percent full of can't-miss fun. 

Opportunities abound in Gotham, and it's only right to take advantage of all the lively and exciting happenings. This super-cool checklist will help you explore unknown areas, try different restaurants and venture outside of your borough. We certainly hope you have a comfortable pair of shoes! 

Follow along with our list of things to do with kids in NYC and prepare for "boredom" to leave your kids' vocabulary entirely. Happy adventuring! We know you'll find a lot to love.

Best things to do with kids in NYC

Photograph: Jeffrey Gurwin
Attractions, Historic buildings and sites

Grand Central Terminal

icon-location-pin Midtown East

Though 750,000 visitors pass through its doors daily, Grand Central Station’s celestial ceiling in the main terminal has the power to practically stop time. But despite its beautiful, dark green hue and portrayal of the traditional zodiac, there’s just one problem: It’s technically inaccurate. Shortly after its installation in 1913, a visitor noticed certain astronomical inconsistencies, for instance, the placement of Orion. Kids, however—unless they’ve just finished a particularly intensive constellation unit in school—will be awed nonetheless.

Attractions, Parks and gardens

High Line

icon-location-pin Chelsea

Consider this park NYC’s best example of recycling on a mega scale. Built atop an abandoned train track, the High Line offers more than 20 blocks worth of car- and bike-free strolling. Besides plenty of seating and a killer view of the Meatpacking District and Chelsea, there are fun opportunities for little ones such as monthly family festivals, partnerships with schools and camps as well as teen programs.


Museums, Science and technology

Rose Center for Earth and Space

icon-location-pin Upper West Side

The American Museum of Natural History isn’t just home to wonderfully colossal dinosaur, sea creature and artifact displays—it’s also home to the Rose Center for Earth and Space, a glass enclosure that houses the stunning 87-foot-diameter Hayden Sphere. Families can explore the 13-billion–year history of the universe, pick up cool facts about planets, stars and galaxies and watch space shows. The Museum collaborates with NASA to keep all of its visual maps up to date.


One World Observatory

One World Observatory at World Trade Center lets visitors experience panoramic views of NYC from atop the tallest building in the United States. Kids will love arriving at their destination Jetsons-style via Sky Pod elevators (some of the fastest in the world) which lead to a two-minute video presentation of gorgeous city images on the 102nd floor. Check out City Pulse on the 100th floor, showing HD videos featuring notable NYC landmarks and neighborhoods, then daredevil kids (and parents) can brave the Sky Portal, where a 14-foot wide circular disc provides a view of real-time, high-definition footage of the streets below.

Museums, Science and technology

New York Hall of Science

icon-location-pin Queens

At this way-cool Queens museum, kids can get hands-on with hundreds of interactive exhibits and activities that bring science, technology, engineering and math to life. Built for the 1964 World's Fair, NYSCI is home to a revolving lineup of displays about light, 3-D printing, outer space and robots, plus the Design Lab, where kids can tackle activities at five stations: Backstage, Sandbox, Studio, Maker Space and Treehouse. Kids can also climb on a rope web and play mini golf at the massive Science Playground and Rocket Park. Trust us, this place is worth the trek.

Summer at Governors Island
Attractions, Parks and gardens

Governors Island

icon-location-pin Governors Island

In the short amount of time it takes to reach this former military base, families will be transported to a world a million metaphorical miles away. Lush green lawns are dotted with quaint Victorian homes, car alarms are replaced by bicycle bells and there’s always a quirky festival going on (think the annual Labor Day weekend NYC Unicycle Festival).

Nitehawk Prospect Park
Photograph: Courtesy Sakeenah Saleem
Movie theaters, Independent

Nitehawk Cinema Prospect Park

icon-location-pin Park Slope

Nitehawk Cinema's highly-anticipated Prospect Park venue has made its grand debut, and everyone in the family needs to get in on the action. The dine-in theater is a unique movie experience for adults, but the Lil' Hawk friendly programming allows junior film buffs to take their movie excursion to the next level. The kid-centric offerings—made even more perfect by the surrounding Park Slope nabe—are can't miss treats. Learn more here. All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy Julie Larsen Maher © WCS
Things to do

Bronx Zoo Treetop Adventure

icon-location-pin The Bronx

The animals who inhabit the Bronx Zoo have no problem climbing on rocks and finding the tallest tree branch to call their own, so you should be able to experience the grounds from new vantage points, too. Thanks to the Bronx Zoo Treetop Adventure, visitors (ages 7 and up) are treated to a whole new perspective thanks to a zip-lining and a rope adventure course. After a walk through the exhibits, get your adrenaline pumping with something adventurous, and if you walk away feeling inspired, make sure to book your child’s next birthday party at the course!


New Victory Theater

icon-location-pin Midtown West

The moment the curtain rises in this gorgeous jewel box theater, kids sense that something truly amazing is about to happen—and it does. The New Vic is beloved for its high-quality productions of entertaining and thought-provoking theater sourced from all over the world, with fantastic stories that feature everything from breathtaking new plays to re-imagined classics and gigantic puppets to breakdancing daredevils. Audiences could be transported to the depths of the ocean, Ancient Rome, the plains of Africa, the circus or maybe even Mars, thanks to artists of every stripe keeping everyone enthralled. Most performances are designed with specific age groups in mind—pre-schoolers, grade-schoolers, tweens and teens—and activities such as pre-show crafts, professional workshops and other themed programming build on the young audience’s enjoyment and understanding of the show. Parents will love the venue’s family-centric ethos—affordable ticket prices, Autism-aware performances, stroller parking, free lockers and plentiful booster seats, all thoughtful touches that take the drama out of taking kids to the theater.  

Photograph: Funtopia USA
Things to do

Kid-friendly arcades in NYC

Though parents enjoy nostalgic visits to old-school arcades, kids have an equally hard time parting ways with their favorite pinball machines. Bring the whole family to spots such as Modern Pinball, which packs your favorite games into every possible inch of space, or new favorites Dave & Busters, where you can tackle a variety of options for little ones who want a more modern touch.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

icon-location-pin Midtown West

New York is world-famous for its over-the-top dedication to the holidays each December, and few places in Gotham better sum up the city’s love for the season than this annual show. Since 1933, the Rockettes have been bringing cheer to audiences’ faces with each in-unison high kick in their fabulous, sparkling costumes. The massive set pieces and new technology mix with classic elements like the dancing Santas and wooden soldiers to create an experience nostalgic grandparents and first-time viewers will equally enjoy. Afterward, make sure to grab a picture around back at Rockefeller Center’s gigantic holiday tree. This is a quintessential addition to your list of things to do during the holidays.

Brooklyn Bridge 2
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Brandon M. Koger
Attractions, Historic buildings and sites

Brooklyn Bridge

icon-location-pin Manhattan

The mile-long stroll from end to end of the Brooklyn Bridge offers spectacular views of downtown Manhattan, including the Freedom Tower, the Statue of Liberty, Governors Island and of course, the iconic double arches that have come to signify NYC’s hippest borough. While you’ll mostly be joined by the thousands of other tourists and locals crossing the East River, be on the lookout for occasional cyclists attempting to make their way through the crowds. If you’re coming from Manhattan, reward tired legs with a scoop of something sweet at Ample Hills Creamery, conveniently located at the base of the bridge in DUMBO. If you worked up an appetite, make sure to stop by the forthcoming Time Out Market New York on Water Street, which is a taste of the city’s best chefs under one roof.

Attractions, Zoo and aquariums

New York Aquarium

icon-location-pin Brooklyn

You’ll have a whale of a time at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s home to marine life. Located off the Coney Island Boardwalk, the aquarium is where you’ll find plenty of fish, starfish and the mammals and birds that live among them. Otters, seals and penguins take in the sun from the stony cliffs before cooling off or searching for food under the water while sea lions show off amazing behaviors in the aquatheater for special shows. Visitors looking for an experience with more teeth should definitely check out the sharks.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2015
Photograph: Filip Wolak

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is more than just your average street fair—and you definitely aren’t just limited to watching it on TV. Get there early and line up along 6th Ave to see classic balloons like Snoopy or newer additions like Hello Kitty, the Pillsbury Doughboy, SpongeBob and Paddington Bear. There’s also a balloon inflation area on the Upper West Side the evening before festivities begin—usually outside the American Museum of Natural History—if you aren’t interested in battling the crowds on Thanksgiving. It’s one of the best things to do with kids in NYC as the holiday season gets underway.

Attractions, Religious buildings and sites

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

icon-location-pin Midtown East

This legendary house of worship counts Presidents, movie stars and business moguls among past and present attendees. While its intricate marble towers are a marvel of Gothic Revival architecture, St. Pat’s interior—including the Louis Tiffany–designed altar and spectacular rose window—is tremendous as both a feat of master craftsmanship and a source of spiritual inspiration.

Things to do, Playgrounds

Chelsea Waterside Playground

icon-location-pin Chelsea

The newly renovated Chelsea Waterside Play Area pays homage to a resident of the Hudson River Park Estuary: the pipefish! He's on display in all his glory as the playground's main attraction—a multi-colored slide designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh. The upgrades also include a newly constructed water features, a fun sand area plus a new shaded region where parents can catch a breather. All ages.

<p>Museum of Modern Art (MoMa)</p>
Museums, Art and design

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

icon-location-pin Midtown West

Though the Museum of Modern Art might seem a bit intimidating for a family excursion, many young visitors love the expressive, colorful works of masters like Picasso, Matisse, Gogh and Jackson Pollack. Talented tour guides on specific days offer tours of the modern and contemporary galleries specifically for four years olds, kids 5 to 10 years old and for tweens. On each group trip through the legendary museum, kids share their ideas about the art and are taught new ways of looking at and thinking about the material through conversation and hands-on activities, like drawing and movement. Can’t find a tour? Explore the space yourself and later stop by the Art Lab, a room with multimedia tools kids can use to express their own creativity. Note that the venue will temporarily close from June to October of 2019 to work on renovations.

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Attractions, Parks and gardens

Snug Harbor Cultural Center

icon-location-pin Staten Island

A visit to Snug Harbor keeps families busy thanks to the scenic cultural center and interactive Staten Island Children's Museum. Wander through hands-on exhibits, engage in song and dance and get in on craft projects. Don't forget to visit the Connie Gretz Secret Garden, where kids can wander through the maze-like shrubbery inspired by Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic novel. There's a miniature castle and rose garden at the end of the trail!

Brooklyn Bridge Park
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/

Walking tours

While convincing your children to use their feet and quit their whining about wanting to take a taxi might be a challenge, they’ll happily keep pace with the crown on a special tour about their interests. Broadway babies (and bigger fans) will love the Broadway Up Close tour of the Theater District, where guides not only share stories about the iconic stages and their actors, but also can get into the nitty gritty on the real (non musical) life of one particular founding father with a trip downtown for the “Hamiltour.” For those local history buffs, learn about New York during the Revolutionary War, or the very localized history of your neighborhood like Chelsea or the Lower East Side, check out a walk with the extremely well-informed guides at Big Onion Tours.

Music, Music venues

Symphony Space

icon-location-pin Upper West Side

Symphony Space’s weekend family program is an utterly kid-friendly celebration of the arts with a lineup of music, literary, dance and theatrical events that will have them grooving, singing and rolling in the aisles. At the ultra-popular Saturday morning Just Kidding series, youngsters experience everything from circus acts and rock bands, to puppetry and beatboxing (the latter comes with massive playground-bragging rights), and during the Thalia Kids Book club, young readers take part in creative writing exercises and engage in dynamic Q&As with their favorite authors. Add a raft of concerts, plays and even screenings of Britain’s finest National Theatre productions, and you’ve got yourself a weekend home on the corner of 95th and Broadway.

Restaurants, American

Junior’s Restaurant

icon-location-pin Park Slope

This New York institution's claim to fame is its rich, fluffy cheesecake, which comes in several varieties like red velvet and devil’s food—but your picky eaters will be plenty pleased with the original. Work our way up to the sweet slab of loveliness by chowing down on diner fare first. Perfectly salty-sour pickles and other crunchy bites are served while little ones peruse the appropriately-titled Junior Menu and choose from a selection of kiddie favorites like grilled cheese and chicken fingers.

McCarren Park Pool
Photograph: Marielle Solan
Attractions, Parks and gardens

McCarren Park

icon-location-pin Greenpoint

This Brooklyn park straddles the two hipster-fied nabes of Greenpoint and Williamsburg but continues to be a family favorite, too. There are baseball, football and soccer fields, dog runs, a track, tennis courts, a skate park and more. The space operates year-round with movies under the stars and a dip in the pool during summer months and a round of ice skating in the winter.

Museums, Special interest

Queens County Farm Museum

icon-location-pin Queens

Goats, sheep and ponies—oh my! Families don’t have to travel far from the city to get a tranquil agrarian experience. At the Queens County Farm Museum, the the oldest continually farmed site in the state, barnyard animals are available for feeding, petting and your “oohs” and “ahs,” too. Explore the full 47-acres on a tractor-pulled hay ride, or stick to the gardens. Come harvest season there’s a special corn maze and activities such as pumpkin picking and a haunted house.

Time Out says
Museums, Childhood

Children's Museum of the Arts

icon-location-pin West Village

Most of the amazing original sculptures, paintings and multimedia creations at the Children’s Museum of the Arts are made fresh everyday by the artists...which are actually the visitors. Little ones from across the city and around the world convene at this kid’s museum to let their imaginations and creativity run free as they take part in the daily workshops and studio activities.

Photograph: Filip Wolak
Attractions, Parks and gardens

LeFrak Roller Rink

icon-location-pin Prospect Park

Prospect Park’s all-in-one recreation center effortlessly transitions from an icy wonderland in winter to a summer-fun hot spot for Brooklyn families, whether it’s biking along the park’s shaded paths or gliding on the 16,000-square-foot roller rink. Rent equipment on-site and move at your own pace with the kids, or improve their skills in a roller-skating or roller-hockey class. Pack a swimsuit, because you won’t be able to duck out without dashing through the 20 water jets of the LeFrak Center’s awesome Splash Pad feature (for those who are under 12).

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Photograph: Melissa Sinclair
Things to do


icon-location-pin Multiple venues

NYC foodies revel in the selections that abounds from Brooklyn’s hippest culinary experience. Make your way (on an empty stomach) to Williamsburg on Saturdays and Prospect Park on Sundays for a plethora of options that will appeal to all palates in your brood. Previous vendors such as Big Mozz X DO, which serves up irresistible fried cookie dough, stole junior chefs’ hearts. However, a call for vendors is currently underway for the 2019 season, which will kick off in April. Who knows what’s in store next!

Photograph: Courtesy Pip's Island
Theater, Children's

Pip's Island

icon-location-pin Hell's Kitchen

Beginning March 21, Pip's Island will make its grand return to NYC—this time, permanently. The kid-focused theater experience will include immersive sets, exploratory spaces and audiovisual features that'll have pint-sized visitors calling the shots (think of it as starring in a video game). The chief creative officer describes it as "a special blend of the creative arts including interactive space design, performance art, music, animation, digital gadgetry and play—all brought together with seamless storytelling and audience engagement." Although we're ready to take the kiddos ASAP, the venue doesn't open until the spring (previews begin March 11). All ages. 

Museums, Art and design

Whitney Museum of American Art

icon-location-pin Meatpacking District

Art-loving parents and their babies (even fussy ones) can enjoy private tours of The Whitney’s most buzz-worthy exhibitions, led by Whitney Teaching Fellows and Ph.D. candidates. On Saturdays and Sundays, kids can even use inspiration from the galleries to make a masterpiece during Open Studio For Families.

Photograph: Courtesy Murray's Cheese
Shopping, Cheesemongers

Murray’s Cheese

icon-location-pin West Village

They say sweet dreams are made of cheese, and we’re not one to disagree. A bite out of the dairy selections at Murray’s Cheese—which seems like a catalogue— is nothing short of spectacular and irresistible. Even better news? The shop just debuted a restaurant right next door, so you can shop and feast until your heart’s content.

Attractions, Historic buildings and sites

Washington Square Park Fountain

icon-location-pin Greenwich Village

You can’t beat the bustling Washington Square Park when it comes to people watching—plus some kind of performance is practically guaranteed on weekends. It’s not rare to see musician Colin Huggins wheeling his baby-grand piano right in the square to play classical tunes beneath the majestic arch (a replica of Paris’ Arc de Triomphe). Dress the little ones in their swimmies—it will be difficult to keep them out of the fountain on hot days!

Time Out says
Photograph: Courtesy NYC Audubon

NYC Audubon

We’re all familiar with the bouncy brown sparrows, speckled European starlings and the smattering (or should we say, splattering) of pigeons that live on every block. But look—and listen—a little closer, and you could meet some more unknown city dwellers such as glorious red Northern Cardinals, shimmering Blue Jays and orange-chested American Robins. Nature-nurturing organization New York City Audubon protects the birds, wildlife and their natural habitats in our area. The venue’s fun workshops and school programs teach children how to identify their feathered friends and care for the environment, too.

Photograph: Courtesy Gulliver's Gate
Attractions, Theme parks

Gulliver's Gate

icon-location-pin Midtown West

Times Square’s massive attraction is also its tiniest thanks to this awesome 50,000-square-foot space dedicated to miniatures. The $40 million project brings hundreds of itty-bitty trains, planes and automobiles (and wagons!) zipping through scaled down landmarks from around the world, including New York’s very own Times Square. This isn’t just an impressive diorama; each ticket holder is given a high-tech key (that looks like a skeleton key) that reveals special secrets about the locations. Folks interested in seeing how the lights and motors work can also look into the control room and, for an additional fee, can make themselves mini with the special 3D printer.

statue of liberty_02.jpg
Photograph: Jena Cumbo
Attractions, Monuments and memorials

The Statue of Liberty

icon-location-pin Liberty Island

Lady Liberty is the quintessential representation of the American spirit, and locals and tourists can agree that a visit to the historic grounds is worthwhile. You’ll definitely want to put the monument on your list of places to visit this spring. The newly renovated Statue of Liberty Museum is set to make its grand debut in May, and there’s a lot for patrons to look forward to: an immersive theater that provides a glimpse into Lady Liberty's history and ideals, an engagement gallery where visitors can get a behind-the-scenes of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi’s creative process the inspirational gallery that provides an up-close-and-personal look at the monument’s original torch. You can learn more about the project here.

Time Out says
Photograph: Courtesy DUMBO Boulders/Boone Speed
Sports and fitness, Climbing

Kids' rock climbing walls in NYC

NYC is definitely a concrete jungle, but don’t be fooled—there are plenty of ways to keep active, even if backyards are few and far between. You can take on new heights without venturing to the top floor of a skyscraper. Rock climbing spots throughout the five boroughs, such as Brooklyn Boulders, offer a chance for participants of all ages to master their moves while making their way to the top. Classes and party options are available at most venues, so take a gander and see what suits your little adventurer’s needs.

Photograph: Courtesy Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Madame Tussauds New York
Attractions, Sightseeing

Madame Tussauds New York

icon-location-pin Midtown West

Want to rub elbows with your favorite celebs? There’s no need to head to Hollywood—just visit Madame Tussauds for a taste of Tinseltown in the heart of Midtown. The Times Square museum is in a league of its own, housing wax figures of our beloved stars and starlets: Jimmy Fallon, Princess Meghan Markle, Oprah and so many more. It’ll be hard to keep up, and chances are you might get a bit starstruck along the way. Make sure your phone battery is fully charged, as you’ll want to snap start-studded selfies throughout your visit.

Attractions, Monuments and memorials

Empire State Building

icon-location-pin Midtown West

As the tallest building in the world—well, at least it took the title when it was completed in 1931—the Empire State Building still offers arguably the best view of Manhattan. Take your time enjoying the scene from the 86th floor, the open-air observatory and the enclosed rotunda on the 102nd floor, where kids will be shocked to learn they’re standing nearly a quarter of a mile above the streets below.

Photograph: Etienne Frossard
Attractions, Parks and gardens

Kayaking at Brooklyn Bridge Park

icon-location-pin Brooklyn Heights

One of the great joys of summer in the city is boating on the East River with the Manhattan skyline as your backdrop. Every year, from May until August, Brooklyn Bridge Park offers free (free!) kayaking—just head to the boathouse between Piers 1 and 2 for a 20-minute session of paddling bliss. All the equipment is provided, there are single and double kayaks—some doubles have room for a small child to sit in the middle—lifejackets are mandatory and you should know you’ll probably get a little wet, so wear swim clothes or something that dries quickly.

Time Out says
Photograph: Courtesy Joan Marcus

Broadway shows for kids

Seeing a first-rate show on the Great White Way is a rite of passage for every little New Yorker. When the lights go down and the curtains go up, suddenly kids are fully immersed in onstage make-believe and the magic happens before their very eyes. There are shows to suit all tastes, but performances often run two hours or more, so wait until your little wrigglers can sit still long enough to enjoy the show without distracting others. Be sure to check out what’s on offer at the TKTS booths—you may get lucky and score a discount!

Attractions, Parks and gardens

Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Edible Academy

icon-location-pin Prospect Park

People have the common misconception that NYC is lacking greenspace. Clearly, these people have not made a visit to the Edible Academy at the New York Botanical Garden. The new greenspace, which opened in 2018 after extensive renovations, has one goal: to get kids in the dirt. Thanks to classrooms, lecture spaces, gardens and other facilities, the Edible Academy immerses little New Yorkers in all-things botany, nutrition and nature. Head to the Bronx to explore the classes, camps and cool event offerings in store for the Edible Academy in 2019.

Time Out says
Photograph: Antony Morales
Museums, Science and technology

Liberty Science Center

A quick trip across the river is well worth it when you arrive at the Liberty Science Center. New Jersey’s four-floor attraction offers plenty of exciting, hands-on experiences for curious minds. The newly opened Weston Family Lab is a deep dive into earth and space exploration,“One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure” planetarium show gives little ones a greater understanding of the Cosmos and “The International Exhibit of Sherlock Holmes” (on view until May 27) will keep kids on their toes until they crack the case. There’s a variety of subjects that all ages will enjoy at this entertaining venue.

Shopping, Grocery stores


icon-location-pin Flatiron

A grand celebration of Italian culture, Eataly’s expansive market place-restaurant hybrid delights all those who pass through its doors. From produce to pasta and cured meats to cappuccino, each section of the space offers a little something different, so there are plenty of options to satisfy everyone in your brood. Kids will definitely want to take a bite out of the Nutella Bar (and understandably so), but don’t forget to expand their palettes with delicious dishes like lo spaghetto al pomodoro (plus if you don’t like it, Eataly gives it to you for free, which is a perfect situation for parents of picky eaters). Make sure to explore the classes and events taking place at the Flatiron hotspot. Sounds bellissimo!

Attractions, Parks and gardens

Wave Hill

icon-location-pin The Bronx

Yes, 28 acres of gorgeous greenery does exist in the Bronx—and we’re not talking about the New York Botanical Garden or the Bronx Zoo. This 19th-century estate is home to a historic mansion and public woodlands perfect for getting lost in—or better yet, being led through on a nature walk. Be sure to check the event schedule before visiting (chances are there’s an art project or family festival going on). If you manage to wake the kids up early enough on Saturdays, it’s free to enter before noon.

Photograph: Courtesy Scott Frances


Thinking of a career in espionage? Test your skills at Spyscape in NYC, the interactive Times Square exhibit that lets visitors uncover the truth with lie detectors, put their flexibility to work in a room full of laser beams and learn about spies like Alan Turing, who cracked the Enigma code. See you there...or will we?

Photograph: Courtesy The New York Botanical Garden
Things to do

NYC's best children's gardens

Whether your toddlers loves getting their hands dirty with a gardening class or your book-loving big kids want to see a classic setting come to life in Snug Harbor’s maze-like Connie Gretz Secret Garden (which was inspired by Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic novel), New York has a children’s garden for your family. Young McDonald’s can sing E-I-E-I-O at urban farming co-operative South Brooklyn Children’s Garden, where they’ll frolic among the strawberry patch and herb box or they can enjoy a leisurely afternoon by the koi pond and under the natural shade at Jefferson Market Garden. Should you find your way to the New York Botanical Garden’s 250-acres, kids will find activities perfect for them including green-thumb workshops.

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Restaurants, American

Dave & Buster’s

icon-location-pin Midtown West

When the weather isn’t cooperating and a trip to Coney Island isn’t in the cards, bring the fun indoors to Dave & Buster’s. The Times Square arcade offers something for everyone in the family—bowling, shuffleboard, virtual reality, Dace Dance Revolution and plenty of snacks to help you refuel when you are in need of a pick-me-up. Kids and adults will be equally enamored with the fun offerings. Make sure to give the games your all—cool prizes are at stake!  

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz
Restaurants, Ice cream parlors

Ample Hills Creamery

icon-location-pin Prospect Heights

Ample Hills is on point with unique kid-pleasing favorites like Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, Chocolate Milk and Cookies, The Munchies and Snap, Mallow and Pop—it also doesn’t hurt that there are great flavors for grownups like Salted Crack Caramel, Butter Pecan Brittle and Mexican Hot Chocolate. The Gowanus location boasts a roof deck complete with colorful chairs, super cute murals, a stationary bike kids can ride to help make ice cream and a build-your-own-sundae option with whipped cream, brownie, sprinkles and your ice cream of choice.

Sports and fitness, Stadiums

Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center

icon-location-pin Prospect Heights

Barclays is home to many a fantastic thing, but one thing you MUST do there is catch a Brooklyn Nets home game. Even if you grab a seat in the nosebleeds, big screens give you access to all you’ll want to see. The kiddos will love the halftime shows with giveaways, energetic performances by the kids-only dance team (Brooklyn Nets Kids) and traditional sports arena fair available throughout Barclays—though we prefer walking across the street to Shake Shack. Your mini-mes will also be glad to know there’s a Brooklyn Nets gear shop not far from their seats in the stadium so they can walk away repping their favorite team.

Holiday Train Show 2013 at the New York Botanical Garden
Photograph: Filip Wolak
Attractions, Parks and gardens

New York Botanical Garden's Holiday Train Show

icon-location-pin The Bronx

A 20-plus year tradition at the New York Botanical Garden, the Holiday Train Show is every curious kid’s dream. They’ll be eye level with over 150 iconic NYC buildings recreated with bark, leaves and other natural materials, seeing G-scale choo choo trains weave around the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center and even cross the Brooklyn Bridge on a quarter-mile of track in the conservatory. While you’re there, visit the Garden’s other indoor exhibits or walk through portions of the 250-acre grounds.

Time Out says
Restaurants, Delis

Katz’s Delicatessen

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

With origins as far back as 1888, Katz’ Deli is certainly worth a visit. It’s been family-run for over 100 years, offering huge servings of delicious corned beef, pastrami and brisket (among others) all cooked to perfection. Kids will love the hot pastrami sandwich, matzo ball soup, knishes and mouth-watering New York cheesecake. The cool décor is also worth checking out—there are pictures, hand-written signs and other artifacts from famous guests. We’d suggest visiting in off-peak hours to minimize the wait. Pro tip: Parents, hold onto your family’s meal tickets! You won’t be able to leave without giving them to the cashier (and will face a hefty fine if you lose them).

Fort Washington Park
Photograph: Virginia Rollison
Attractions, Historic buildings and sites

The Little Red Lighthouse

icon-location-pin Washington Heights

Built in 1880, this teeny structure is a beloved nod to the city’s history. The lighthouse served as the inspiration for Hildegard H. Swift's 1942 children's book, The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge, plus it plays host to an annual festival in late September.

Pier 25
Things to do, Playgrounds

Hudson River Park, Pier 25

icon-location-pin Tribeca

Believe it or not, hours of waterfront fun can be found right in Tribeca! At Hudson River Park, athletic kiddos can tackle a massive playground and get their toes in the sand and play on regulation-size beach volleyball courts. If volleyball isn’t your game, take to the 18-hole mini golf course, complete with a pond, streams, footbridges, waterfalls, sand traps and even a cave. Young Masters-in-training will also love the Play Area outfitted with a sandbox, swings and water features.

Photograph: Courtesy Puppetworks


icon-location-pin Park Slope

At this low-tech playhouse, kids will gladly cast phones and gadgets aside to see amazing handmade puppets in action. Founder Nicolas Coppola adapts classic tales for his marionettes to perform in the cozy theater (kids sit on rugs at the front, parents are on benches at the back). Families will be swept away by the artful scenery, lively music and intricate puppets as they take on a life of their own, moving across the stage as if by magic.

Photograph: Courtesy of Recess Dumbo
Sports and fitness, Gyms and fitness centers

Indoor playgrounds in NYC

As much as kids can’t resist a journey down Billy Johnson Playground’s epic 45-foot slides, the weather in NYC isn’t always conducive to outdoor fun. But when you have awesome indoor playgrounds across the five boroughs, the adventure doesn’t have to be put on hold because of the forecast. These venues sport cool jungle gyms, slides, bounce houses and so many other exciting features. Whether you’re venturing in for a drop-in class or want to host your little one’s next birthday party at a super-cool kids’ play space, there’s a little something for all visitors. Parents aren’t left in the dust, either. Good Day Play Cafe is one of the many indoor playgrounds that has a recreational area for guardians to grab snacks and take a load off while their kiddos are running around. Sounds like a win-win to us!

Photograph: Paul Kolnik
Theater, Off Broadway

Ballet at Lincoln Center

icon-location-pin Upper West Side

During the winter season, the New York City Ballet presents the crème de la crème of NYC holiday performances: company co-founder George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. But the NYCB’s calendar is teeming with reasons why you and your child should book a ticket any time of the year. Check out this season’s lineup to see what you and your crew will enjoy!

Photograph: Filip Wolak
Museums, Art and design

The Cloisters

icon-location-pin Washington Heights

If you’ve never visited The Cloisters, now’s the time: It’s a must-see for the little ones. Devoted to the architecture of medieval Europe (and home to the ever-magical “Unicorn Tapestries”), this branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is full of incredible medieval artifacts and indoor-outdoor gardens. Pack a picnic lunch and set up camp on one of the grassy areas on your way to The Cloisters (food inside can get a bit pricey), then enter the museum to check out jewelry, sculptures, paintings, metalwork and furniture. After, go for a walk overlooking the Hudson or hit the Fort Tryon Park playground with swings, playhouses and a splash pad with spray fountains as you meander back to the subway.

Time Out says
American Museum of Natural History
Museums, Science and technology

American Museum of Natural History

icon-location-pin Upper West Side

The Upper West Side institution is a beloved NYC attraction that engages all those who pass through its doors. From learning about species in the Hall of Biodiversity, to walking under the giant whale in the Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life, museum-goers marvel at all that is available. There’s a lot to look forward to, including the new T. Rex exhibit opening in March 2019, which paleontologists big and small will find fascinating. If the kiddies (or even if you and your spouse) want to tuck in under the giant whale, have a look at the venue’s sleepover offerings. Yep, The Night at the Museum movie can be your reality...well, sort of!

Staten Island Ferry
Photograph: Shutterstock
Things to do

Staten Island Ferry

Imagine a boat cruise around the New York harbor with views of the Statue of Liberty, Governors Island, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline—now try to think of one that’s free! While many Staten Islanders use the boat simply as a way to get to work, this hour-long trip is also one of the best totally free things to do with kids in NYC. Even better? The frequent schedule makes the need for careful planning unnecessary. Depart from Whitehall Terminal in Manhattan or the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island. 

Hotels, Spa hotels