The city that never sleeps can be overwhelming for everyone with all the bright lights and the hustle and bustle of the streets. However, it is not just for grownups. It is also kid-friendly, having so many New York attractions and indoor or outdoor activities for kids to keep them occupied. And while there are so many fun things to do with kids in New York, it can be mind-boggling to plan a holiday getaway or a weekend family outing.
The number of kid-friendly activities in New York City on any given day is enough to excite your kids of all ages. So, we’ve scoured the massive metropolitan city to find the best activities for kids and must-see attractions, whether you’re a local or a tourist. Let’s jump in and check out some of the fun things to do with kids in New York City!
200 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024
Phone Number: (212) 769-5100
Dinosaurs, whales, and elephants! The Upper West Side institution isn’t just beloved in New York City, it’s one of the best global attractions that draw visitors from all over the world. And for a good reason: 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 could marvel at the displays all day long and still not see everything in this palace-like complex.
There are plenty of activities and fun things to do in New York awaiting your kids in this fantastic museum. Imagine “The Night at the Museum” movie can be your reality. If the kiddies want to tuck in under the giant whale, have a look at the venue’s sleepover offerings. When you get to the museum, book a time at the Discovery Room (free with admission) if you have younger ones. For more information, please visit their website.
103 Charlton St., New York, NY 10014
Phone Number: (212) 274-0986
Most of the amazing original sculptures, paintings, and multimedia creations at the Children’s Museum of the Arts are made fresh every day by the artists who 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 participate in daily studio activities. These are great things to do with kids with lots of fun activities in New York because it is designed to please them. It is spread over 10,000 square feet and has many activities like art workshops to keep them engaged.
Kids can explore the art world at a museum designed just for them. The 10,000 square-foot institution has more than enough room to house its 2,000-piece collection of international children’s art, including a considerable center gallery to display it in. For more information, please visit their website.
2537 Broadway at 95th St., New York, NY 10025
Phone Number: (212) 864-5400
Symphony Space’s weekend family program is a kid-friendly celebration of the arts with a lineup of music, literary, dance, and theatrical events that will have your little ones grooving, singing, and rolling in the aisles. It’s also home to the Thalia Kids’ Book Club Camp, a summer camp that offers children up-close interactions with children’s book illustrators and authors.
Youngsters experience everything from circus acts and rock bands to puppetry and beatboxing. During the Thalia Kids Bookclub, young readers participate in creative writing exercises, and fun activities, and engage in dynamic Q&As with their favorite authors in New York. For more information, please visit their website.
1000 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10028
Phone Number: (212) 535-7710
In the classic kid’s book “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,” a resourceful sister and brother live in the Met, spending the days in the galleries and the nights in the recreated bedrooms of a chateau. Wander through the museum and see why that fantasy still resonates. You can walk from an Egyptian temple into a Frank Lloyd Wright house to the armor of Henry VIII and have only explored one corner of one floor of this vast building.
Use the family entrance to the left of the grand stairs on the plaza level (stroller-friendly! no lines!). Ask for the free Family Guides that make the museum come alive for young minds, and check out the storytime events at the Nolan Library. For more information, please visit their website.
209 W 42nd St., New York, NY 10036
Phone Number: (646) 223-3010
The moment the curtain rises in this gorgeous jewel-box of a theater, kids sense that something truly extraordinary is about to happen. The New Vic brings Broadway-quality productions of thought-provoking theater to a young crowd. These family-friendly productions are from worldwide, with fantastic stories that feature everything from breathtaking new plays to re-imagined classics and gigantic puppets to breakdancing daredevils.
Performances are designed with specific age groups in mind—pre-schoolers, grade-schoolers, tweens, and teens—and activities for kids such as pre-show crafts, professional workshops, and other themed programming add to the audience’s enjoyment and understanding of the show in New York. For more information, please visit their website.
14 East 60th S., New York, NY 10022
Phone Number: (212) 310-6600
Central Park’s unique history, accessibility, and design make it New York City’s most famous park and one of the most celebrated green spaces in the history of the world. It was the first public park built in the United States, sees about 25 million visitors per year, and contains 36 bridges and arches and around 50 monuments, sculptures, fountains, and a castle!
Perhaps most important to families, the park contains 21 playgrounds, Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater, charming paddleboat rentals, the Central Park Zoo, and many more New York kids attractions and activities. For more information, please visit their website.
10 South St., Slip 7, New York, NY 10004
Phone Number: (212) 440-2200
Venture out to Governors Island, where there’s plenty to see, do and enjoy as a family. Grab a ferry from Manhattan or Brooklyn to explore 172 acres via bike (there are more than five miles of bike lanes, and bike rentals are easily found at Blazing Saddles (Colonels Row). Or head to spots like the Hammock Grove/Hammock Grove Play Area to kick back and relax in one of 50 hammocks or climb around on a nearby play structure.
It’s a paradise for kids, where they can run around and get all their sillies out. This seasonal venue reopens every spring, and it comes alive in the heat of the summer when cooling ocean breezes visit Governors Island, a perfect idea. For more information, please visit their website.
Pier 40, 353 West St., New York, NY 10036
Phone Number: (212) 627-2020
Hudson River Park is a 550-acre public park that runs along four+ miles of waterfront on the west side of Manhattan. The Park’s recreational piers, distinctive upland areas, and protected Estuarine Sanctuary provide millions of New Yorkers and visitors from around the world with a profound connection to the Hudson River and countless hours of enjoyment running, walking, rowing, playing, dancing, relaxing and communing with friends, family, and nature.
One of the most popular areas in Hudson River Park is the Pier 25 Playground. Filled with activities for children, including swings, climbing structures, water features, and more, this oasis in Tribeca is a haven for children who need a safe place to run and play. Parents and caregivers will also appreciate the shaded seating areas while they keep watch over their kids in these wonderful attractions of New York. For more information, please visit their website.
10 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023
Phone Number: (212) 875-5456
Josie Robertson Plaza is the pulsing heart of Lincoln Center, the cultural campus located on the Upper West Side. Kids love the playful fountain, which rises and falls to a syncopated rhythm—it seems like it’s dancing. Lincoln Center is also where you’ll find Lincoln Center Kids, the New York Philharmonic’s Young People’s Concerts, and the Metropolitan Opera’s family-friendly performance of The Magic Flute—Jazz at Lincoln Center and the home of the Very Young People’s Concerts are close by.
In addition to being a major cultural destination for more than 5 million visitors annually, Lincoln Center is also the setting for high-profile corporate and media events and film premieres. Its transformed campus offers expanded public/green spaces, discount tickets, free WiFi, and varied dining options. For more information, please visit their website.
Washington Square, New York, NY 10012
Phone Number: (212) 639-9675
Washington Square Park is a 9.75-acre public park in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan, New York City. One of the best-known of New York City’s public parks, it is an icon and a meeting place and center for cultural activity. 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 mini replica of the Arc de Triomphe).
In warmer months, the park—which was once a potter’s field—is one of the best people-watching spots in the city, hummings with musicians and street artists while skateboarders clatter near the base of the iconic 1895 Washington Arch (a modest replica of Paris’s Arc de Triomphe). Plus, kids can splash in the area’s new fountain on sweltering days. For more information, please visit their website.
Brooklyn Bridge, New York, NY 10038
Phone Number: (212) 504-4115
The mile-long stroll from end to end of the Brooklyn Bridge offers spectacular views of downtown Manhattan with several New York kids attractions, including the Freedom Tower, the Statue of Liberty, Governors Island, and the iconic double arches that have come to signify NYC’s hippest borough. While you’ll be jolted by the thousands of other tourists crossing the East River, the views can’t be beaten.
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, 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. For more information, please visit their website.
20 West 34th St., New York, NY 10118
Phone Number: (212) 736-3100
It sounds a bit of an obvious choice, but it is among the best attractions with so many fun things to do in New York with kids. High-speed elevators shoot visitors up 1,050 feet to the Art Deco masterpiece’s 86th-floor observatory. You can either peer out at the city from the comfort of a glass-enclosed pavilion or brave the elements on the open-air decks lining all four sides of the ESB.
Then head to the newly renovated observation on the 102nd floor, where kids will take in a breathtaking view—and feel like they’re floating above the city. After taking it all in, you can explore exhibits that detail the skyscraper’s history and place in pop culture. For more information, please visit their website.
110 Wall St., New York, NY 10005
Phone Number: (844) 469-3377
The best view in New York is from the middle of the East River where lots of attractions for kids are located. There’s nothing quite like sitting on the upper deck of an NYC Ferry as it cruises under the Williamsburg, Manhattan, and Brooklyn Bridges. Officially a part of the city’s transportation system, a ride on the ferry is cheap, and children under 44 inches tall are free.
More ferry routes are added every year—a Coney Island service is scheduled to open later in 2022. It’s always more fun to get where you’re going when on a boat. For more information, please visit their website.
One World Trade Center
117 West St., New York, NY 10007
Phone Number: (212) 602-4000
One World Observatory at World Trade Center is among the best New York kids attractions that 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), leading 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. For more information, please visit their website.
Liberty Island, New York, NY 10004
Phone Number: (212) 363-3200
The Statue of Liberty stands on Liberty Island, just off the southern tip of Manhattan Island is one of the most popular New York attractions not just for adults but for kids as well. There are a lot of fun things to do with kids in New York, such as 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.
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. When you’re at the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, get the kids an audio tour. They can also climb up to the crown if taller than four feet. There’s also a relatively new museum here that hosts interactive exhibits. For more information, please visit their website.
53 Bridge St. Brooklyn, NY 1120
Phone Number: (347) 305-7448
This newly-opened DUMBO space promises a healthy dose of competition. Suit up for an adventure in a darkened, dual-level basement where you and your friends can aim for one another and try to claim victory. All ages are welcome, provided participants can handle the laser gun.
At Area 53, they believe fun is for everyone. That’s why they designed their indoor facilities to be wheelchair accessible, and they do their best to accommodate all players. Please be aware that several of its locations have flashing lights and loud sounds. For more information, please visit their website.
30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111
Phone Number: (800) 326-8638
If you’ve got kids who love toys, a visit to FAO Schwartz is a must. It’s one of the most fun things to do in New York for kids and adults. This massive toy store will entertain them for hours. Be sure to say hi to the toy soldiers out front and play the giant floor piano from the movie BIG!
Since 1862, FAO Schwarz has been synonymous with quality and innovation, offering one-of-a-kind playthings and creating cherished memories for generations of kids. For more information, please visit their website.
701 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10036
Phone Number: (212) 581-9100
Make your day in New York City extra sweet with lots of fun activities and things to do with kids. Visit HERSHEY’S CHOCOLATE WORLD Times Square for a one-of-a-kind, interactive experience in sweetness. See, smell, touch and taste all the excitement and wonder of candy. This place offers a delightful world of interactive attractions, delicious foods, fun for the whole family, and the largest selection of anything and everything HERSHEY’S!
Visit the candy machine to mix and match up to 12 different Hershey’s products; personalize a chocolate bar wrapper; enjoy made-to-order gooey s’mores; and complete your experience with a trip to the bakery stocked with decadent cookies, brownies, and more. For more information, please visit their website.
234 W. 42nd St., New York, NY 10036
Phone Number: (212) 512-9600
Located conveniently in Times Square, Madame Tussauds is one of the must-visit and fun things to do with kids when visiting New York City. It has five floors of celebrity fun, a 4D Marvel movie, a 7D carnival game, and even a glass dome that sticks out into Times Square to offer superb views of the activity below!
Whether you want a selfie with your favorite Kardashian or to be a guest on “The Tonight Show,” a stop a Madame Tussauds is a must. 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 to snap start-studded selfies. For more information, please visit their website.
550 W 28th St, New York, NY 10001
Phone Number: (646) 360-2639
The GIANT Room is for kids with GIANT dreams who dare to act on them. If you’re searching for ways to keep your creative kiddos engaged, take a trip to Chelsea. This is an innovative space for tiny New Yorkers with big dreams. The hub is geared toward visitors ages 3–12 who are curious about STEAM studies and art classes for kids.
One of the main draws to the space is the “Blank Canvas,” where participants help piece together a new monthly exhibit for The GIANT Room’s gallery. Exciting workshops, including “Storytelling, Animation and Character Design” and “Design and Fabrication,” are also available. For more information, please visit their website.
New York City is a place that transports kids into fantasy land, and kids will recognize the streets where Annie sang Tomorrow and the skyscrapers that Spiderman swung from. Indeed, there is an endless amount of fun things to do with kids in New York and the best attractions to visit. This handy list is a good starting point to help start your family outing planning juices flowing!
New York offers a wide variety of opportunities for kids to enjoy and have fun all year round! Check out our list of kids resources. Are you looking for more things to do with kids around New York? Browse through our places to go and camps section. Check out our blog posts if you’re even more curious and seek to learn more about kids’ topics, tips, and guides.
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