In a city as bustling as NYC, it seems like there’s always a million things going on all the time! From Broadway shows to art exhibitions to concerts, there’s no doubt why we’re the “city that never sleeps.” But what about things to do in NYC with kids? There are so many family attractions to do in the city, it was hard to narrow them down into a list! Nonetheless, whether you’re visiting NYC and need some kid-friendly ideas, or you’ve lived here all your life and want to spend a fun day with your children, we’ve got some options of things to do with kids in NYC!
1. Take a festival fall stroll through Pumpkin World
Take your children on a journey through illuminated wonderland of hand-carved Jack O’Lanterns and fall festivities! Pumpkin World, just north of NYC in Pomona, NY, is a family-fun experience that includes gorgeous pumpkin-scapes, pumpkin trails, hay mazes, live carvings, games, and so much more! Learn more about the experience here.
2. Dive into the past at the American Museum of Natural History
There really is so much education to be had at museums, and the American Museum of Natural History is one of the best for kids. The things you’ll find in here range from the largest collection of pre-historic dinosaurs to the Discovery Room for kids age 5-12, to even the Hayden Planetarium! There’s also a wide span of children, teenage, and family science programs constantly taking place! Check out everything the museum has to offer here.
Where: 200 Central Park West
With spring arriving next week, that means warm weather is coming, and there’s never been a better time to spend it at one of New York’s famous zoos! Spend hours on end with your children while you check out all the wildlife there is to offer, from sea lions to Andean bears. Check out all of NYC’s zoos here!
Museums and art exhibitions are a great way to let your child’s imagination explore, and there’s no better place to do that than Small is Beautiful! Here, your kids will be able to get face to face with miniature artwork that’s a little more scalable for them! From a tiny field of mushrooms to intricate carvings into pencil tips, this kid-friendly exhibition will open your children’s mind to the creative side! Plus, there are discounted children tickets for ages 6-12.
5. Stroll through Central Park
Central Park is one of the most popularly explored urban parks, so we can’t talk about things to do with kids in NYC without mentioning our gem of a park. Of course you can bring them here for a picnic, game of catch, or whatever you fancy, but they also have kid-friendly attractions scattered throughout, like a carousel near the Dairy, as well as the miniature Belvedere Castle! Go now to check out the cherry blossoms too!
🌳 Central Park
6. Let them frolic at Camp Romper at Battery Park
On September 22 from 2 pm – 7 pm, young parents are invited to bring their kids to Camp Romper, an educational and fun experience headlined by hands-on activities, immersive activations, and creative crafts like face painting, bracelet making, and more! Kids can take a “trip to space” and learn about constellations and planets as well as go “fishing” for prizes…amongst many more activities! Learn more and see the schedule here!
☀️ Battery Park
7. Explore the Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Believe it or not, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum was founded as the world’s very first children’s museum back in 1899! With a mission to “create experiences that ignite curiosity, celebrate identity and cultivate joyful learning” among children and middle schoolers, there are so many exhibits, programs, movies, and events always going on here! Take a look at exhibits like World Brooklyn, where children can play in kid-sized shops based on local Brooklyn businesses, or even Neighborhood Nature, which explores life sciences, the natural world, and live animals! Learn more and plan your visit here.
🧒 145 Brooklyn Ave, Brooklyn
8. Play at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Welcoming over 350,000 visitors a year, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is an Upper West Side hub for children to “grow and develop into their best selves.” There’s tons of exhibitions to check out, including a Nickelodeon sponsored Adventures With Dora and Diego activation, as well as a PlayWorks™ space that allows kids to build their physical, social, math, art, science, literacy and problem-solving abilities! Check out what’s happening at CMOM and plan your visit here.
212 W 83rd St
9. Sail to the Statue of Liberty
Whether you’re a tourist or a local, visiting Lady Liberty is never a bad idea with your kid. Not only is it a fun thing to do with your kid, but it’s a memory that will last a lifetime! Take the ferry, snap pictures, and get up close and personal with one of NYC’s most famous landmarks! Plus, there’s audio tours for kids, a museum, and they can even climb up to the crown if they’re above four feet tall.
🗽 Statue of Liberty, Liberty Island
Similar to zoos, NYC’s aquariums are a great way to spend a day with children, and you can even do it if the weather doesn’t cooperate! Peek into different marine life featuring penguins, sharks, and exotic fish at the various aquariums around the city. Many, like the New York Aquarium offer sea lion shows, while others offer unique fish breeds and touch tanks. Check out the full list here.
No matter the age of your kids, you’re sure to find something fun to do at Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park. It’s a little outside of NYC in East Rutherford, NJ but it’s definitely worth the trip! They have rides that may homage to famous characters like Timmy Turner and Spongebob, so you know it’ll be a good time. Plus, the American Dream Mall where the park is located also has tons of other kid-friendly attractions, like a mirror maze, ice rink and more!
📍 1 American Dream Wy, East Rutherford, NJ
This LEGO takeover is also a little outside of New York City, but it’s a great day trip to make with your children! There is quite literally so much to do here, it can even be overwhelming! You and your kids can ride rides and attractions, do meet and greets with LEGO characters, watch LEGO movies, shop, eat, and so much more! Check out everything that’s going on at LEGOLAND® here.
🧱 1 Legoland Blvd, Goshen, NY
13. Seek thrill at Coney Island
Although it’s a little tougher in the colder months, there’s so much fun to be had at Coney Island! It’s one of our favorite things to do in NYC with kids because it’s packed full of amusement park rides, games, food, and fun! Take your kids to try to win a stuffed animal, or enjoy the many attractions (like the famous Wonder Wheel) the parks have to offer! Or how about a Brooklyn Cyclones baseball games? Not to mention it’s right on the beach! So many ways to have family-friendly fun!
🎡 Coney Island
14. Get active at Chelsea Piers
If your child is into sports (or you want them to be into sports), you have to check out Chelsea Piers. Their 100,000+ square foot territory on the west side of the city is a kids’ dream and a great way to keep them in tip-top shape! This place has everything thing a child could imagine, from an ice rink to a swimming pool to rock climbing to even bowling at Bowlero! Seriously, there’s just about everything you can think of. Check out everything that’s happening here.
🤸 62 Chelsea Piers
15. Visit Brooklyn Bridge Park
Take your kids walking over the iconic Brooklyn Bridge to get some fresh air and some picturesque NYC skyline views! Don’t forget to check out Slide Mountain, the vintage carousel at Empire Fulton Ferry or the chance to go roller skating at Pier 2. Or maybe one of their plentiful playgrounds will pass the time? Maybe even a summer movie in the park? Whatever strikes your interest, this is always a great visit with kids.
🌉 334 Furman St, Brooklyn
16-18. Go toy shopping at iconic NYC toy stores
Are you and your kids ready to shop until you drop? While there’s so many place to go shopping in NYC, we suggest stopping by some of the big kid-friendly stores you can only find in select places, like New York. We’re talking the mystical Harry Potter store, the LEGO store, and the iconic Fao Schwarz store in Rockefeller Plaza. Let your kids pick out something memorable and take a souvenir home from NYC.
🧙 935 Broadway (Harry Potter)
🧱 Rockefeller Center (LEGO Store)
🧸 30 Rockefeller Plaza (Fao Schwarz)
19. Ride the Roosevelt Island Tram
Are you looking for a low effort way to grab some skyline views with your children? Entrust in the Roosevelt Island Tram that offers gorgeous views and a fun ride to and from the island for the little ones. You can pick it up on the Upper East Side on E 59th and 2nd Ave every 7-15 minutes. Once you get to the island, you can explore Southpoint Park next to the river, North Point Lighthouse, and the Franklin D Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park.
🚠 E 59th St & 2nd Ave
20. Take them to a kid-friendly restaurant in NYC
If all else fails, try taking them to one of these kid-friendly restaurants! They have special menus, sweet treats, and so much more that will satisfy them. We’re talking everything from wacky milkshakes to frozen hot chocolates! Check out our list of best kid-friendly restaurants in NYC here!
What better way to make a memory then grabbing a 360 degree view of our favorite city with your kids? Climb to one some of the highest heights with your kids to experience something like never before. Of course you have the Edge, One World Observatory, the Empire State Building, and so many more. Usually these experiences offer discounted children tickets as well! Check out all of the great observatories here.
While the Orchid Show continues to be the star of the show at the New York Botanical Garden, take your kids to check that out alongside the Children’s Adventure Garden! This place allows children to invent their own plants in “Plant Part Paradise” as well as dash through “Beth’s Maze,” plus many more activities! This is the perfect springtime way for kids to explore the wonders of science and nature! Learn more about the Children’s Adventure Garden here.
23. Catch an NYCFC game at Yankee Stadium
Take ’em out to a sports game! Turn your children into the biggest NYCFC games, where they’ll be kicking the ball around Yankee Stadium all season long! You can get discounted tickets for youth and who knows…you may even spot Lionel Messi if his Inter Miami team comes to town!
⚾ E 161st St & River Avenue
24. Learn about history at South Street Seaport Museum
New York’s rich history as a world port for global trading, goods, labor, and cultures is fully on display at the South Street Seaport Museum. Have your children explore the often unspoken historical side of the city through different exhibits that discuss topics like different ocean liners and even a maritime-themed discovery room featuring a live hermit crab. Check out what’s on here!
🚢 12 Fulton St
25. Let them loose on an NYC playground
NYC’s finest jungle gyms are calling your kid’s name! From slides to swings, there are so many lovely playgrounds around NYC that your child can spend hours frolicking on. In the summertime, some of these playgrounds even have splash ponds and features too to cool off! Check out the best playgrounds in NYC here!
26. Explore the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral by candlelight
Take your child on a creepy yet enthralling walking tour of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral! By candlelight, you and your kids can discover the hidden areas of the church that are off-limits to regular visitors. Learn about the church’s significance in New York history, uncover the final resting places of famous New Yorkers, and so much more!
Experience NYC’s first and only live game show experience with Game of 1000 Boxes! You and your kids can immerse yourself in an hour of fun and exciting party games that test collective wits, gut instincts, and button-finger agility!
This puzzling espionoge museum will have your kid unlocking their inner spy! They’ll test their skills by uncovering hidden talents, cracking codes, and conducting top-secret operations in different SPYGAMES challenges. It’s the perfect adventure!
Step into the captivating world of Ancient Rome, as you and your kids will get a historical look at one of history’s most interesting time periods! With over 50+ meticulously reconstructed artifacts and authentic pieces, from weapons and armor to architectural marvels, there is so much to marvel at. Kids tickets (ages 2-13) are only $8!
What could be more fun than stepping into the world of a sitcom?! While you and your kids sip on goodies from Central Perk, you can take photo opps, look at props from FRIENDS and so much more! It’s the perfect thing to do after binge watching the show together!