Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights
Courtesy: Julie Larsen Maher

Things to do with kids in NYC this weekend

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

By Danielle Valente
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Update: Reservations are often needed for events in 2020. Always call before you make a trip.

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

RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar for families

Visit kids' museums, fun attractions and more. Of course, you're going to want to refuel while you're out and about, so make sure to pick up the best winter snack around—hot chocolate

After a busy day, kick back and watch one of these great family movies or see what's new on Netflix. In a holiday state of mind? Catch one of the season's biggest trends: drive-thru Christmas attractions. But hurry! Seasonal festivities are almost over!

January 09–10

Aladdin Puppetworks
Aladdin Puppetworks
Photograph: Courtesy TA Smith

1. 2021 Puppetworks performances

Theater Puppet shows Puppetworks, Park Slope

The marionette merry-making never stops at Puppetworks! For a unique performance unlike any other, stop by the Park Slope hotspot and see what all of the fuss is about. Call ahead for reservations, as the venue is operating at 25 percent capacity and seats are likely to fill up. The schedule is below. Ages 3 and up. 

Little Red Riding Hood: Charles Perrault's Folk Tale on Jan 2 at 12:30pm 
Little Red Riding Hood: Charles Perrault's Folk Tale on Jan 2 at 12:30 and 2:30pm
Aladdin & the Wonderful Lamp from 1,001 Arabian Nights: Jan 9–Mar 28

 

 

Photograph: Courtesy Elizabeth Shrier

2. Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

Things to do Bryant Park, Midtown West

Winter Village is on its way to Bryant Park! Every year, the midtown green space transforms into a holiday wonderland, complete with shops, sweets, ice skating, a Christmas tree and more. Things will look a little different in 2020: The event will be spaced out appropriately, everything will take place outdoors and timed skating sessions will be required. (Tickets open at the end of October.) Visit the Bryant Park website for more details. All ages. 

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NYBG Holiday Train Show
NYBG Holiday Train Show
Courtesy: NYBG + Robert Benson Photography

3. New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

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

Fans of locomotives will delight in the New York Botanical Garden’s annual tradition. Take in the model trains as they loop through teensy versions of famous New York landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge, Rockefeller Center and the Statue of Liberty. Note for 2020, the event will be available for NYBG Members and Community Partners only. Learn about the new safety rules online. All ages.

new york historical society train show
new york historical society train show
Courtesy: Glenn Castellano; New-York Historical Society

4. Holiday Express: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection

Things to do New-York Historical Society | Manhattan, NY, Upper West Side

Minitrain aficionados are certain to be transfixed by the scenic components of this show, featuring trains from the Jerni Collection of handmade toys dating all the way back to 1850. Lighting and accompanying music immerse viewers in the exhibit on the museum's first floor as they browse model trains from decades past. Be sure to explore holiday and train-themed family programs that will take place via Zoom throughout the exhibition’s runAll ages.

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CMOM Right to Vote
CMOM Right to Vote
Courtesy: CMOM

5. “Right to Vote”

Museums Childhood Children's Museum of Manhattan, Upper West Side

The Children's Museum of Manhattan new “Right to Vote” exhibit commemorates the centennial of women’s suffrage and, of course, the 2020 election. It intends to emphasizes the importance of working for the greater good, listening to others' opinions and thoughtful decision making. Upon visiting the installation, little politicians in the making will cast a vote to a subject near and dear to their heart—free school meals, clean water or more park spaces. After testing out what voting feels like, kids step into the role of commander in chief in the mini Oval Office, where they can take calls and make deals. Subsequently, they'll learn about important figures in the women's suffrage movement and use the pioneers' example to create artwork to represent what's important to them. (Think DIY posters, ballots, etc.) Ages 2 and up. 

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

6. "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

7. "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. 

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

8. 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.

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

9. 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.

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

10. 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!

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Domino Park Playground
Domino Park Playground
Photograph: Courtesy Daniel Levin

11. 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!

six flags holiday
six flags holiday
Photograph: Courtesy Six Flags Great Adventure/Joel Noufe

12. Six Flags' Holiday in the Park Winter Festival

News Events & Festivals

Update: For the first time in the park's history, Six Flags will offer its Holiday in the Park as a drive-thru experience Monday through Thursday evenings from Nov 30 through Dec 17. Other experiences, including roller coasters, fire pits and holiday treats will only be available on the weekend. All guests must reserve a ticket online. All safety measures are available on the park's website.

The fan-favorite theme park is slated to debut its sixth Holiday in the Park extravaganza from Nov 14 to Jan 3, 2021, and guests have plenty to look forward to this season. Returning traditions include Holiday Magic: A Celebration of the Season, a festive light show, Joy to the World, a path of illuminated trees, and Polar Point, an area of ice-blue trees frequented by the Snow King and Queen.

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Photograph: Courtesy Michael Moran

13. Where to go ice skating this winter in NYC

Things to do

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.

Bar Pisellino Hot Chocolate
Bar Pisellino Hot Chocolate
Photograph: Oliver Strand

14. The best hot chocolate in NYC

Restaurants

When the temperature dips, we can't help but search for a cup of the best hot chocolate in NYC. Whether we're off to fun Christmas events or just staying in with a few good family movies, delicious cocoa in the winter is a necessity—much like a big helping (or two) of whipped cream.

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Cheesequake State Park
Cheesequake State Park
Photograph: Shutterstock

15. 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

16. 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.

See all weekend events
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