apples
Photograph: Shutterstock

Things to do with kids in NYC this weekend

We'll help you plan a family adventure this weekend! Our list of things to do with kids in NYC guarantees family fun!

By Danielle Valente and Oliver Strand
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Things to do with kids in NYC this weekend are aplenty, so get some rest and prepare for two days of adventure. 

Visit kids' museums, family restaurants, fall festivals and so much more. Of course, you're going to want to refuel while you're out and about, so make sure to pick up the best fall snack around—apple cider donuts!

RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar for families

After a busy day, kick back and watch one of these great family movies or see what's new on Netflix

October 24–25

The Morgan Library & Museum
The Morgan Library & Museum
Photograph: Graham Haber

1. Morgan Explorers

Things to do Classes and workshops Remote, Midtown West

Bring the best of The Morgan right to your living room. During this 45-minute virtual family program, young patrons will be guided through crafts, explore museum objects and learn more about the attraction's library and temporary exhibits. Ages 3 and up. 

brite nites
brite nites
Photograph: Courtesy Michael Marmora + Wagner Farm Arboretum

2. Brite Nites

News City Life

There's a pumpkin paradise waiting for you right outside of New York City! Make like Linus and hop to it. Wagner Farm Arboretum's Brite Nites fall fundraiser in New Jersey is a delightful Halloween event for kids in the tristate area. Akin to the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze, this spooky celebration puts 1,000 hand-carved jack o'lanterns on display in a variety of intricate installations. This year, visitors can expect a tribute to first responders.

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camp stores hudson yards
camp stores hudson yards
Courtesy: CAMP

3. Trick-or-Treat Door to Door Scavenger Hunt at Hudson Yards!

Things to do Hudson Yards, Midtown West

Go trick or treating door-to-door at your favorite toy store! CAMP Hudson Yards will host a touchless scavenger hunt, both indoor and outdoors, where kids can collect treats (or tricks) from 18 different mystery doors. Kiddos will receive a map, candy bag (which unlocks each door) and mystery code. Ages 5–12. 

milk and cream
milk and cream
Courtesy: Milk & Cream Cereal Bar

4. Milk & Cream's Nickelodeon flavor takeover

News Eating

Milk & Cream is at it again! After the success of the limited-edition Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle treats (ice cream pizza!), the Instagrammable dessert spot is continuing the fun with a second installment of the Nickelodeon flavor takeover (#NICKFLAVORTAKEOVER). This time, the focus is on Blue's Clues. Show one of your favorite TV shows for kids some love by stopping in for a snack. Now through Oct 25, the shop will offer Blue's Snack Time Treat, an ice cream sammie with cookie dough, chocolate chips and dark chocolate-covered pretzels and Josh's Ultimate Ube Surprise, a purple yam ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate wafers and dusted off with chocolate crunchies. 

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photo by Trey Pentecost
photo by Trey Pentecost
Photograph: Courtesy Trey Pentecost

5. Pumpkin Point

Things to do Festivals Governors Island, Governors Island

To enjoy the pumpkin patch of your dreams, hop aboard the ferry to Governors Island. The annual Pumpkin Point extravaganza in Nolan Park will feature thousands of gourds, and guests are invited to take one home, free of charge. Social distancing and face masks will be required. Trick or treating and concessions will not take place this year. At the end of the event, leftover pumpkins will be composted at Earth Matter NY’s Compost Learning Center on Governors Island or donated to local food pantries. All ages. 

Pier 17 Pumpkin Patch
Pier 17 Pumpkin Patch
Courtesy: Jane Kratochvil

6. Pier 17 Pumpkin Arch

Things to do Exhibitions Pier 17 at the Seaport District, Financial District

No stroll through the Seaport District this fall would be complete without a visit to the Pumpkin Arch. Stationed at the Heineken Riverdeck at Pier 17, the arch comprised of 500 gorgeous gourds and other fall goodness is on view now until Thanksgiving. Bring the kids for a super-cute pumpkin photo shoot as the Brooklyn Bridge looms in the background. All ages. 

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Classic Harbor Line
Classic Harbor Line
Photograph: Courtesy Classic Harbor Line/Dennis Cahlo

7. Classic Harbor Line Statue and Sightseeing Cruise

Things to do Walks and tours Chelsea Piers, Chelsea

Take in NYC's gorgeous views from a new vantage point—right on the water! This weekend's Statue and Sightseeing Cruise will provide photo-worthy views of your favorite family attractions, so make sure your camera roll is ready! The cruise leaves from Pier 62 at Chelsea Piers. All ages. 

the dynamite shop
the dynamite shop
Courtesy: The Dynamite Shop

8. Dynamite Shop Weekend Workshops

Things to do Classes and workshops Remote, Midtown West

The Dynamite Shop is helping families improve their culinary chops, right from the comfort of their own kitchen. Online weekend workshops cover a wide variety and range from $40–$50 per family. The schedule is as follows: 

  • Saturday, Sept 12 from 2–30pm: Fresh pasta 
  • Saturday, Sept 19 from 2–4pm: Sushi and Edamame
  • Saturday, Sept 26 from 2–30pm: Monkey Bread Brunch 
  • Saturday, Oct 3 from 2–3:30pm: Ultimate Cupcake Challenge 
  • Saturday, Oct 10 from 2–4pm: Chinese hand-pulled noodles
  • Saturday, Oct 17 from 2–3:30pm: Free-form pies 
  • Saturday, Oct 24 from 2–4pm: Dumplings from Scratch
  • Saturday, Oct 31 from noon–1:30pm: Caramel apples with all the toppings
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Storyland exhibit
Storyland exhibit
Courtesy: Minnesota Children's Museum + David Kern

9. "Storyland: A Trip Through Childhood Favorites"

Museums Special interest Liberty Science Center,

What's better than getting lost in a good story? Liberty Science Center's new exhibit focuses on children's favorites—If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr., to name a few—while allowing little bookworms to enjoy imagination and dramatic play along the way. All ages. 

PS ART
PS ART
Photograph: Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art/P.S. 193 Alfred J. Kennedy Queens/Alexandra Budnick

10. "P.S. Art" Exhibition at The Met

Museums Special interest The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park

NYC's youngest are showing off their creative chops. The 13th annual "P.S. Art" exhibition at the Met showcases artwork from 122 students ranging from prekindergarten through 12th grade in public schools and District 75 schools throughout the five boroughs. Catch all the work in a variety of media! "Now, more than ever, we are committed to investing in education and supporting school communities," Max Hollein, director of The Met, said in a statement. Though the Museum had to close for over five months, realizing the presentation of 'P.S. Art' soon after our reopening demonstrates the importance of this artistic program. I'm looking forward to celebrating the tremendous accomplishments of these very talented students." All ages.

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DC Super Hero
DC Super Hero
Courtesy: The Children's Museum of Indianapolis + Jennifer Dummett

11. "DC Super Heroes: Discover Your Superpowers"

Museums Special interest Liberty Science Center,

Consider it your favorite comic books come to life: "DC Super Heroes: Discover Your Superpowers" lets kids connect with their favorite vigilantes like Batman and Wonder Woman as they learn about safety along the way. Young visitors can solve puzzles in Gotham, see if trouble is brewing thanks to the Crisis Scanner, wander through Museum of Ancient History's laser maze and much more. All ages. 

american dream
american dream
Courtesy American Dream

12. American Dream reopens

News City Life

American Dream, the Meadowlands' 3-million-square-foot shopping and entertainment hub, is preparing to welcome back visitors on Oct 1, and its endless entertainment options make it the perfect destination for a family day trip. 

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DreamWorks Water Park American Dream
DreamWorks Water Park American Dream
Courtesy: American Dream

13. DreamWorks Water Park

News Transport & Travel

Hang 10 alongside Shrek and plummet down slides with the Madagascar penguins. DreamWorks Water Park, the largest attraction of its kind in North America, is open. You can expect the world’s tallest indoor drop slide with a 50-foot freefall, the world's largest lazy river at 1.5 acres, the world’s tallest and longest hydromagnetic water coaster, to name a few. If all of those numbers sound too intimidating, worry not: The park caters to swimmers of all abilities and offers something for everyone, including the Kung Fu Panda Temple of Awesomeness Play Structure, the Soakin Safari and King Julien’s Pineapple Jam Swim-up Bar.

nybg pumpkin path
nybg pumpkin path
Photograph: Courtesy NYBG + Marlon Co

14. Pumpkin Path at the New York Botanical Garden

Things to do New York Botanical Garden | Bronx, NY, The Bronx

The New York Botanical Garden is putting an autumn twist on its rustic displays. Beginning Oct 3, visitors can take a gander at gourds of all sizes and eccentric scarecrows adorning the Great Pumpkin Path. Some of the largest pumpkins in the world will arrive on Oct 24, so be on the lookout for the record-breaking sights! All ages.

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queens county farm museum
queens county farm museum
Photograph: Courtesy The Queens County Farm Museum/@wedo_production

15. "The Fall Escape"

Things to do Exhibitions Queens County Farm Museum, Queens

Take a walk on the floral side! The Queens County Museum's gorgeous autumn display provides plenty of fun photo ops for you and your little New Yorkers—from the Blooming Enchanted Fall Forest to the life-sized Pumpkin Spice Latte! Be sure to stay for other fun activities like the Amazing Maize Maze, hayrides, pumpkin picking and more. All ages. 

Boo at the Zoo
Boo at the Zoo
Photograph: Courtesy Julie Larsen Maher

16. Boo at the Zoo

News City Life

Thursday through Sunday from Oct 1 to Nov 1 is your chance to revel in the Halloween fun, from magic shows and pumpkin carving demonstrations to mind reading and trips through the spooky extinct animal graveyard. Each day, animal-themed costumed stilt walkers and Halloween animal puppets will put on a "MASKerade" while the Wildlife Theater will pull out all the stops with performances in Astor Court. 

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Queens County Farm Museum, New York
Queens County Farm Museum, New York
Photograph: Queens County Farm Museum

17. The Amazing Maize Maze

5 out of 5 stars
Kids Quirky events Queens County Farm Museum, Queens

No autumn would be complete without the Amazing Maize Maze at the Queens County Farm Museum! The American Maze Company builds a labyrinth every year that that stretches over several acres, with the length of the course often stretching two miles! Previous years’ themes have included a violin, a riverboat, a train, a farmscape and the largest living sundial. This year, paths will be larger, timed tickets will be required and employees will monitor guests. Ages 3 and up.

Photograph: Courtesy Jennifer Mitchell

18. The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

Things to do Quirky events Van Cortlandt Manor,

Like a well-stocked candy stash, the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze is an essential part of Halloween in New York. The attraction is set along the beautiful 18th century riverside landscape of Van Cortlandt Manor and boasts a pumpkin promenade like none other: There are over 7,000 hand-carved jack o'lanterns waiting to impress visitors. As you tour the grounds, expect synchronized lighting, spooky music and more dazzling, Instagram-worthy features like the Pumpkin Carousel and the Pumpkin Windmill. What's new in 2020? A pumpkin fire truck and a coven of witches cooking up a spell! New safety measures will be in place in 2020. Read all about them online. Be sure to snag tickets early; the event is likely to sell out. Check out the event's second location on Long Island, opening Oct 2. All ages.

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Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson on September 27, 2018.  (Photo by Tom Nycz)
Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson on September 27, 2018.  (Photo by Tom Nycz)
Photograph: Courtesy Historic Hudson Valley/Tom Nycz

19. The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze: Long Island

News City Life

New Yorkers' favorite fall event, the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze, will illuminate a second location with its stunning pumpkin art. In addition to operating at Van Cortlandt Manor in the Hudson Valley, the Halloween happening will set up shop at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration on Long Island from Oct 2–Nov 1.Expect another 7,000+ pumpkins glowing in the autumn evening. Similar to the original event, the Long Island Blaze will also have synchronized lighting and seasonal tunes to accompany the hand-carved installations. 

lefrak center skating
lefrak center skating
Photograph: Filip Wolak

20. Roller blading in Prospect Park

News City Life

Searching for a fun end-of-summer activity? Skating has resumed in Prospect Park, so now's the time to show off those moves you've perfected during quarantine. (C'mon, we know you've got 'em!) Families can make the way to the LeFrak Center at Lakeside every day from noon–6pm for a loop around the rink. Admission is $6 and $10 on the weekends; skate rentals are $7.

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Photograph: Courtesy Joshua Bright

21. Wave Hill's Family Art Project

Things to do Classes and workshops Wave Hill, The Bronx

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. 

intrepid
intrepid
Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

22. The Intrepid Museum

News City Life

All aboard: The Intrepid is ready to welcome back visitors. Beginning Friday, Sept 25, New Yorkers can make their way to the aircraft carrier for a peek into our nation's maritime, military and space history. 

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spineless at new york aquarium
spineless at new york aquarium
Photograph: Courtesy Julie Larsen Maher

23. "Spineless" at the New York Aquarium

Things to do Exhibitions New York Aquarium | Brooklyn, NY, Brooklyn

Now that New York Aquarium has reopened to the public, we're finally able to check out "Spineless," in person the newest exhibit hall at the aquarium. No internet or live cams required! The exhibit features octopuses, jellies, Spider Crabs and other invertebrates. (Get it?) All ages.

Photograph: Courtesy Craig Chesek

24. "The Nature of Color"

Museums Natural history American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side

NOTE: AMNH is currently only open for members. 

What is color? How does it work? Why do diamonds look they way they do? Do some colors really make us sad? These and other heavy questions are addressed by "The Nature of Color," a new exhibition opening at the American Museum of Natural History. The family-friendly show features interactive exhibits that invite kids to play and experiment with the science of colors by way of an immersive color-changing room that responds to movement, a light lab, an interactive game show and more. All ages. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Museum of the City of New York

25. "City/Game Basketball in New York"

Museums Sport Museum of the City of New York, East Harlem

If your kids love to shoot hoops, you won't want to miss "City/Game Basketball in New York," a new exhibit that explores the game as a whole and those in NYC who play it. Learn more about the game's MVPs, history and impact in our neighborhoods. All ages. 

Met Museum
Met Museum
Photograph: Shutterstock

26. The Met Museum

News Art

To celebrate the return of visitors on August 29, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has added new banners to its facade designed by none other than Yoko Ono.Ono's piece, titled DREAM TOGETHER (2020), were created in response to the pandemic and consists of simple white 24-by-26-foot banners with the words "Dream" and "Together" in black. They flank the museum's main entrance with one on each side of the doors, joining Wangechi Mutu's installation of four bronze sculptures, The NewOnes, will free Us (2019), which sit in the niches of the exterior of the building.

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Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

27. Corn mazes

Things to do Festivals

The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting cooler and pumpkins are on the brain. If you find yourself asking Google where to find a "corn maze near me," you've stumbled upon a mighty fine list (if we do say so ourselves). We've rounded up New York's best farms and orchards that are indulging in the best fall activities for kids, including long, windy labyrinths, apple pickingpumpkin picking, petting zoos and even apple and corn cannons! Neat right? 

apples
apples
Photograph: Shutterstock

28. Apple picking

Things to do

Nothing is sweeter in autumn than the taste of a crispy apple. We round up the best apple picking NY families love to explore, so you might want to grab an empty basket and plan a few day trips from NYC. It's time to summon the harvest season, one Granny Smith at a time.

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Photograph: Courtsey Shutterstock

29. Pumpkin picking

Things to do

Just like Humpty Dumpty, it's time to have a great fall: That means cozy sweaters, mugs of warm cider and the best pumpkin picking NY has to offer. Make a day of it. Not only will you be able to find your seasonal jack o'lantern, but you'll get your hands on farmstand treats, enjoy hayrides, live music and petting zoos, maybe a corn maze. 

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Central Park Bethesda Fountain
Central Park Bethesda Fountain
Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

31. The best NYC parks for kids and families

Things to do

Our guide to the best NYC parks for kids will help you make the most of your sunny afternoon! Simply put, these parks amazing. Some have the best playgrounds NYC families need to visit, others have the best water playgrounds in NYC. Go to these parks and you'll find the best bike trails for families in NYC, and even some of the best hiking trails for NYC families to explore. We guarantee that this list will steer you in the right direction!

Domino Park Playground
Domino Park Playground
Photograph: Courtesy Daniel Levin

32. Playgrounds in NYC

Things to do

This is a golden age of playgrounds: In recent years NYC has completely transformed what playtime is like for a city kid, introducing creative playgrounds to every corner of the Big Apple. There are so many gorgeous playgrounds to visit in NYC, and our list will help you set off on a fabulous adventure!

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Cheesequake State Park
Cheesequake State Park
Photograph: Shutterstock

33. Hiking trails for families

Things to do

Just because you live in the Big Apple doesn't mean you can't spend time in the great outdoors. There are amazing family-friendly hikes close to NYC—in fact, the Bronx River Greenway and Inwood Hill Park are right in the middle of the city! So: Check the weather, pack a picnic and make plans to visit mother nature with the fam. These hiking trails are great for children of all ages, from toddlers out for a stroll to bigger kids looking to go for a scramble.

kid bike
kid bike
Photograph: Shutterstock

34. Bike trails for families

Things to do Games and hobbies

New York is a wonderful biking town! From protected bike paths on the Bronx waterfront to the low-key cycling in Battery Park City, we'll help you find the best bike trails for families in NYC.

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Fishing
Fishing
Photograph: Shutterstock

35. Fishing spots in NYC

Things to do

There's nothing like a little quality time with the kiddos at one of the best spots for fishing NY families love the most. Our list includes all of the Big Apple's family-friendly spots, from catch-and-release freshwater ponds and lakes in city parks, to the waterfront piers that draw serious anglers from all five boroughs. Many are in the best parks for kids in NYC, which means you're a short walk away from the best kids' playgrounds NYC families need to visit! Fishing is a great way to spend time outdoors with the fam.

Photograph: Courtesy Timothy Schenck

36. Governors Island

Attractions Parks and gardens

Curious about all of the things to do on Governors Island? Hop aboard the ferry! Located in the heart of New York Harbor, one of our go-to family attractions offers scenic views, a country environment and a plethora of outdoor activities for kids and adults (like one of the coolest kids' playgrounds NYC—with mighty impressive slides). This year, things will look a little different: Governors Island will open at limited capacity for passive recreational activities like biking, hiking, walking and bird watching starting July 15. It'll be open on weekdays from 10am–6pm and weekends from 10am–7pm. Beginning Saturday, July 18, The Trust for Governors Island will offer free ferries to all New York City Housing Authority residents.

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Fornino
Fornino
Photograph: Courtesy Fornino

37. Outdoor restaurants in NYC

Restaurants

Some of the best family restaurants in NYC and the best fun restaurants in NYC have outdoor spaces where you and your kids can enjoy a little fresh air. Go ahead and make the most of the season!

Museum of Ice Cream
Museum of Ice Cream
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

38. Museum of Ice Cream's virtual classes

News City Life

Nothing is sweeter in the summertime than a scoop of ice cream. We love frequenting our favorite shops and leaving with a cone of soft serve or a tasty shake. But for those who are searching for both an activity and a dessert, you're in luck. Here's the scoop: The Museum of Ice Cream is hosting virtual ice cream making classes for those 7 and up Thursday–Sunday at 4:30pm PST (1:30pm New York time). For $25, up to two participants can tune in for step-by-step instructions from a scoop master, fun games and riddles and other creamy goodness.

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Photograph: Courtesy Mikiodo

39. Show Up, Kids

Theater Children's Remote, Midtown West

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. 

wizards of oakwood
wizards of oakwood
Photograph: Courtesy,Sarah Glendening

40. “The Wizards Of Oakwood Drive”

Things to do Performances Remote, Midtown West

Which wizard sibling will emerge victorious on Oakwood Drive? It's all up to the audience! In this interactive, virtual performance, children will watch as two wizards go head to head for the winning title. Best of all? Kiddos are part of the show: With a little help from Mom and Dad, they get to solve magical scenarios all throughout the house. Head online to see what you need and how to participate. The event will take place multiple times on each date; get the full schedule online. Ages 5–12. 

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