Spring is in full bloom—and there are so many things to do in spring with kids! As we pack our coats and gloves away for the season, breathe in some fresh air and stop to smell the flowers (and did we mention your radiators will finally stop clanging??), you’ll find that the city is simply buzzing with great activities.
Looking for inspiration? We’re here to help. See below for our ultimate guide to fun things to do in spring, including zipping down slides at a newly-renovated playground, jumping around on the world’s biggest bounce house, zip-lining through the trees at warp speed in the Bronx and other great stuff! Beyond our delightful list of spring activities, don’t forget to browse our guide to Easter for kids, which includes some pretty sweet holiday events and easter egg hunt opportunities, or our guide to outdoor activities for kids.
Best things to do in spring with kids
Set in a lovely park overlooking the Hudson River, the Cloisters are home to the Met’s Medieval art and architecture collections. A path winds through the peaceful grounds to a castle that seems to have survived from the Middle Ages (though it was actually built less than 100 years ago). Be sure to check out the famous Unicorn Tapestries, the 12th-century Fuentidueña Chapel and the Annunciation Triptych by Robert Campin.
The whole family will find something to love at Waterfront Barge Museum in Red Hook. You’ll board a barge that’s almost a century old and will have some exciting opportunities to learn about the borough’s history! Check out the Museum’s upcoming events (circus and other theater events happen often!), and don’t forget to take photos at this super Instagram-friendly attraction. Red Hook (waterfrontmuseum.org)
Get your kids into the coolest programs for their best summer yet! While it’s still springtime, parents are keenly aware of how fast local day and sleepaway camps fill up. Consider browsing our super cool guide to fun offerings in the area. The picks on our curated lists offer engaging themes like performing arts, sports and cooking, just to name a few.
Of all the fresh blooms that arrive with spring, few are more beautiful—or short-lived—than cherry blossoms. You can spot the best examples of this Japanese import at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden—which celebrates the flowers and culture with the Sakura Matsuri Festival—as well as Central Park, the New York Botanical Garden and Randall’s Island. Prospect Heights (bbg.org)
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!
While you’re exploring all that NYC parks have to offer, why not take the family for an outdoor meal? Bring some of your favorite picnic foods, find a cozy spot and enjoy your dinner in nature.
Once we put away our winter coats for the season, little ones can’t wait to spend their time outside. This year, you’ll definitely want to check out the newly-updated Billy Johnson Playground, new Domino Park Playground and the Chelsea Waterside Play Area (which has sprinklers for when it gets warmer!).
NYC has an amazing selection of museums for those big and small. There are plenty of kid-friendly exhibits, classes and events that’ll keep your little ones busy. Stop by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Brooklyn’s Children Museum or take a trip out east to the Long Island Children’s Museum.
Is there anything better than getting lost in a good story? Head to your neighborhood’s independent bookstore to see what type of events are available for little ones. If you’re looking to make story time a regular weekend event for your kiddos, Books Are Magic in Cobble Hill, among others, is a great venue to explore.
Give city kids a chance to get their hands dirty and explore local green spaces at fabulous children's gardens in NYC, such as Everett Children’s Adventure Garden (at NYBG) or Wave Hill. Offering outdoor activities ranging from gardening workshops, alfresco storytimes and annual festivals for families, these public gardens are perfect, scenic spots for outings with your whole gang.
Thanks to the fantastic zoos in NYC, most of which are backed by the Wildlife Conservation Society, families have the opportunity to see animals from across the globe without ever leaving the city. From the massive Bronx Zoo (one of the biggest in North America) to the petite Central Park Zoo, these family attractions invite kids to learn about numerous species through storytimes, art activities and hands-on interactions with nature.
Who doesn’t love a picnic in the park? Once the sun starts shining, take your family outside for a taste of nature smack dab in the middle of the busiest city in the world. New York City parks in every borough not only provide places to relax and take in the nice weather, but they offer a wide variety of classes and events. See what’s on the schedule at your neighborhood park.
If you and your kids can't get enough of sports, cooking classes, yoga classes and more, why not spend the warmer months doing something new together? These top-notch classes will keep you busy all season long.
The former NYC pop-up recently established its permanent home here in the city, and it’s unlike any other family experience out there. It's a space where your kids take charge and lead themselves (with the help of staff) through an exciting adventure...almost as though they're the main characters in their very own video game. The attraction is set to include immersive sets, exploratory spaces and audiovisual features that will help bring your kid's creativity to new heights
Give your youngsters a dose of fresh air and introduce them to a variety of exciting East Coast cities this spring. These destinations, each just a short drive or train ride from the city, are bursting with family-friendly activities, making them the perfect spots for spring day trips from NYC.
Where are you eating today? Family restaurants like Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Paulie Gee’s and Sweet Chick will cure any cravings, whether you’re digging the best smoked wings or need a good slice of pizza. Even better, your kids will feel 100 percent at home. From mouth-watering New American family restaurants to the best Italian family restaurants in NYC, these picks will satisfy both sophisticated and petite palates.
Spring is the perfect time to bust a move. Have a look at some of our favorite kid-friendly bands and get ready to jam! Might we suggest a few punk rock tunes from the Not-Its to get you energized?
NYC is one of the hottest fashion hubs in the world, so it’s only right to explore the best kids clothing stores. Now that the nice weather is upon us, you’re going to want to see what spring items are available for purchase. Your little shopaholic will love a day out hitting these spots!
In our opinion, the Big Apple’s a big playground—and it’s not just for the kids. Grab a slice of New York pizza and take your little ones (actually, your tweens and teens will probably be in, too) for a game of Pac-Man, Skee-Ball or even Street Fighter II at these cool arcades in NYC. And no, you can’t take your kids to Barcade (save that for date night)!
Grab some popcorn and prepare for the best kids' movies 2019 has on the way! Thanks to an impressive lineup of great new kids' movies in theaters, you'll be treated to retellings of Disney classics, become reacquainted with old friends (hello, Anna and Elsa) and explore new worlds. Don't miss The Secret Life of Pets 2, Toy Story 4, Aladdin and other great releases.
Broadway is perhaps more family-friendly than ever before, thanks to a dazzling adaptation of Frozen. Meanwhile, the larger-than-life puppets and theatrics of The Lion King are just as jaw-dropping wonderful now as they were over 20 years ago. Other kid favorites like Wicked and Aladdin will wow young theater lovers with stellar musical numbers, out-of-this-world costumes and amazing choreography.
Cool? Check. Kid-friendly? Check. Off-Broadway shows around NYC make for perfect family outings. From Blue Man Group to Gazillion Bubble Show, these favorites really provide something for all age groups.
Whether you're looking to unload gently-used items to save space in your apartment or if you’re looking to fill your kids' closet with goodies, these kids’ consignment and thrift stores in NYC require a visit. Be sure to rock your new look (or have fun with your new pocket money) while you're checking out the cool events in our NYC events calendar.
Yeah, yeah, we know—too many sweets will rot your teeth. But once in a while, a treat is in order, and these New York candy shops deliver. From throwback classics to new favorites from around the world, these candy stores for NYC kids are enough to send your kiddos on a sugar high.
Thinking about adopting a family pet? Now’s the time! Having a dog or cat helps your little ones learn responsibility and compassion, and there are plenty of awesome organizations around New York that would love to connect you with your new furry best friend (and their rescues with a new forever home). New York’s shelters have kittens and pups of every shape and size, and they’ll do their best to connect you with a pet that suits your family’s lifestyle. Here’s where to look, New Yorkers!
Check out this new food hall dedicated to Japanese cuisine and goods! The space is divided into four distinct sections: Japanese grocery store Sunrise Market, 11 food stalls with authentic Japanese vendors, restaurant and cocktail bar WakuWaku, and Japanese liquor store Kuraichi. Families with children will particularly delight in Setagaya (for tonkotsu ramen), Moriya (rice bowls) and Gohei (where tykes can see how buckwheat and flour noodles are made), while the adults will appreciate aptly-named Omakase Sushi and Brooklyn Steak and Lobster (where the aforementioned are served with flavorful Japanese condiments).
Governor’s Island zip-lining promises to be bigger and better this year thanks to a longer zip-line and the addition of shaded waiting area (if you’re not so daring and need to watch a friend before trying the zip-line yourself). Count us in!
We called in the expertise of six awesome family restaurants in NYC to help us make dinnertime exciting for you and the kids. Here are six easy comfort food recipes for the little ones. With just a few small tweaks, matching adult versions of each dish will please the older crowd at the table.
We love these restaurants and cafes for more than just their food. Each venue also has a kids’ play area, so you can actually enjoy a meal or snack with friends and grown-up family members while your young kids entertain themselves.
Should this year’s whacky weather leads to an early heat wave, have no fear: Ice cream is here. Whether your kiddos love unique, crunchy flavors filled with unexpected goodies or just a perfectly creamy sweet version of a classic, the city’s best ice cream shops for kids will bring full stomachs and happy smiles.
Try your hand in the kitchen and make a batch of edible cookie dough that you and your kids will love. There are a variety of DIY classes at DŌ, so have a look at the calendar and pencil one in! This will make for a fantastic snack when your crew is piled up on the couch watching a new Disney movie.
Grab a blanket and some snacks and enjoy family-friendly classic films under the stars. Every summer, New Yorkers flock to their favorite parks for free screenings and fresh air. Keep an eye out for the 2019 lineup!
Coney Island is most well-known for being home to some top-notch amusement parks, but there's plenty more family-friendly entertainment to be found near the expansive boardwalk. In addition to squeal-inducing carnival rides, kids can also enjoy a day sprawled on one of our favorite NYC beaches, chow down on Nathan's Famous hotdogs and even catch a baseball game. With so much to do, we think Coney Island deserves a few summer day trips with the whole gang in tow.
The perfect way to explore NYC parks is to do so on bike. Grab the whole family and take a stroll down one of your local park’s bike trails—you’ll be sure to get in a little family time and workout—plus you’ll take in scenes of the city. Don’t forget the helmets!
As much as we love Central Park and the Museum of Natural History, we can’t limit ourselves. NYC’s five boroughs have a lot for us to explore as a family–from museums, parks and so much more. Walk off the beaten path and explore these underrated attractions in NYC—you and the kids will be glad you did.
Test your FBI skills at SPYSCAPE, the new interactive Times Square attraction that offers 60,000 square feet of intelligence operations to solve. You can try to dodge lasers, monitor CCTV footage and outsmart a lie detector test...or can you?
Find a spot on the stoop or in the park and break out one of these fabulous NYC-based books, like Larry Gets Lost in NYC or Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale . Your kids will fall in love with the beautiful illustrations and enchanting stories.
Ready for some friendly competition? At New York’s mini golf spots, you can practice your form while taking in fun sights. Intergalactic-minded players should try New York Hall of Science’s Rocket Park, where each hole is themed around space travel and the planets, while families looking for great views should try the 18-holes on Pier 25 where you’re surrounded by the Hudson River and the downtown skyline. Late in the season, try Governors Island for Figment’s annual putt-putt course where each hole is a different piece of art. Fore!
NYC is a great place to catch a good show...but that doesn’t mean everyone on stage has to be an actor. Travel to one of these puppet theaters in NYC and watch your child’s new favorite character come to life. Bravo!
Even the most energetic kids will meet their match at these trampoline park hotspots for families! They’ll bounce to their heart’s desire on trampolines big and small, even getting in on age-specific playtimes and glow-in-the-dark games. Plus, if you haven’t considered a trampoline park as a spot for your kid’s upcoming birthday party, you definitely should—most have plenty of space for large groups!
Don’t let April showers or a cold May day get in the way of your fun! At these indoor amusement parks, you get all the thrills without the chills. Just an hour outside the city by car are amazing fun centers like Kidz Village, where children can run their own little town or zoom around in pedal cars. Active kids will love FunTime America, where they can play laser tag and challenge each other on the ninja obstacle course. Meanwhile, kiddie rides abound at FunFuzion and FunPlex East Hanover.
The Easter Bunny is hopping his way all over NYC and spreading holiday cheer with egg hunts, egg decorating classes and a variety of other family-friendly activities your whole crew will enjoy.
New York’s biggest block party hits town once more, offering free access to seven museums (from the Met to the Guggenheim) along a car-free mile sprinkled with music, art and entertainment. Kids can color up the sidewalk with chalk, get their faces painted and enjoy performances by clowns, magicians and more. The festival runs along Fifth Avenue between 82nd St and 105th St.
Need a break in the kitchen? Sign your kiddos up for a cooking class and leave the meal prep to them! Just don’t be surprised if they swap out the typical veggies for some mac n’ cheese.
These exciting famers' markets in NYC are pretty spectacular. You get get everything needed for a farm-fresh meal, including eggs and dairy, fruits, veggies, even freshly-caught fish! Farmers' markets in NYC are the best way to get your greens—your kiddos can even meet real farmers! Insider tip: A visit to Park Slope's market puts you right near Old Stone House, JJ Byrne Playground (it has water cannons!), amazing bagels and more, so make an afternoon of it with the little ones!
There's no shortage of fun things to do with kids in NYC, but we want your family to experience the very best that this city has to offer! We compiled a list of 101 essential activities to make sure you don't miss a thing, including must-see family attractions like the Brooklyn Bridge, beloved NYC museums like the Museum of Natural History and the best family restaurants, from Dizzy's to Katz's Deli. Going on adventures like these will make it even more apparent that NYC is the best place to raise a family. Happy exploring!