By Natalia Kvitek

111 Things to Do with the Kids in NYC

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016 3960

New York City is brimming with fun activities for the entire family. Whether you’re a resident of the Big Apple or just visiting for a few days, it can be tricky to wrap your head around the sheer volume of fun things for kids to do in NYC. We’ve made it easy: we’ve gathered and compiled the most complete list of things to do in New York with kids.

From free museums, to outdoor activities that will exhaust their energy batteries, to eateries the whole family will love, here are 111 things to do with the kids in NYC, plus as a bonus some fantastic hotels geared towards a fun family vacation in the city. 


Menu

NYC Museums for Kids  |  Outdoor and Nature Activities for Kids in NYC

Entertainment and Sightseeing for Kids In NYC  |  Science and Technology Activities for Kids in NYC

Kid-Friendly Restaurants/Eating in NYC  |  Kid-Friendly Stores in NYC  |  Kid-Friendly Hotels in NYC


 

Tip: You can now download and use Google maps offline in case of a lack of WiFi access during your visit. 

 

Practical NYC info

  • Getting there: Two airports within the city limits  connect NYC with tons of national and international destinations. See how to get into town from JFK Airport here and LaGuardia Airport here
  • Transportation in the city: In NYC public transport is king with the iconic subway being the most convenient way to get around – including many accessible stations. It’s just as easy to hail cabs, bus, walk or even cycle!
  • Accessibility: For more info click here.
  • Weather: Spring and Fall are when the city is at its most stunning and when there are significantly fewer tourists. Visit in the summer and prepare to be surrounded by swells of city visitors as well as hot and humid weather. Wrap up warm in winter because temperatures frequently drop below zero and snowstorms here are a regular occurrence. Find out more about NYC weather here.
  • Attraction passes: Families may want to consider getting something like the New York Pass or City Pass New York City to help you save a bit of money on visiting attractions like Madame Tussauds or the Empire State Building. 
  • Public bathrooms: Don’t get caught off guard when your kid downs two juice boxes in a row. Find a restroom near you.


Free NYC Museums for Kids

Many of NYC’s foremost cultural and artistic institutions offer free visits for kids, and oftentimes even adults. Some museums host sponsored nights that open its doors to the public for viewings. This is a great way to get the most out of the city on a budget.

Brooklyn Children's Museum

Kids enjoying the Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s interactive exhibit. Photo by Rubenstein CC BY

1. El Museo As the leading Latino cultural institution in NYC, El Museo features art and graphics, archaeological and historical objects from Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and Latin American cultures. Bring drawing materials and let the muse of Latino culture help your kids celebrate this unique artistic landscape of Pan-American history.

  • OPEN:  Tuesday – Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Children 12 and under Free, Adults $9
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

2. Museum of Modern Art The MOMA holds some of the finest collections of modern and contemporary art and a visit to the museum is a must for any NYC trip. Activity Cards, passports, sketchbooks and kid-friendly audio are available at the MOMA, helping parents make their family visit one that is interactive and inspiring. The museum inspires children to use their imagination, notice details and is helping educate new generations of art lovers.

  • OPEN:  Sunday-Thursday 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Friday 10:30 a.m.– 8:00 p.m., Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. 
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Children 16 and under Free, Adults $25. Admission is free for all visitors during UNIQLO Free Friday Nights, every Friday evening from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. but keep in mind it’s usually very busy during these hours- try to arrive after 6:00 p.m.
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

3. American Folk Art Museum Celebrating the creative expression of self-taught artists, a visit to the American Folk Art Museum shows kids how a little dose of creativity can go a long way. Grab a free guide from the welcome desk and some pencils and prepare questions to help your kids understand the scope of these paintings, drawings and textiles.

  • OPEN: Tuesday–Thursday: 11:30 a.m.–7:00 p.m., Friday: 12:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m., Saturday: 11:30 a.m.–7:00 p.m., Sunday: 12:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m., Closed Monday.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

4. Queens County Farm Museum Forgo the hectic pace of NYC for the largest remaining tract of farmland in the city, complete with historic farm buildings, greenhouses, orchards and gardens as well as many heritage breeds of livestock animals including cows, pigs, goats, sheep and honeybees. Take a guided tour of the farmhouse buildings or jump on a hayride (April till October, weather permitting).

  • OPEN: Grounds open every day 10 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free, except on special dates.
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Wheelchair accessible

5. The Bronx Trolley Developed to help initiate artistic and business development as well as show off the Bronx to visitors, take a ride through the Bronx on a 20th century replica trolley car. The journey brings you to unique venues offering art exhibits, film screenings, and live theater, music and dance performances plus the freedom to hop on or off whenever something sparks your interest. 

  • OPEN: Runs on the first Wednesday evening of every month, (except in January and September) at 5:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Trolley vehicle and most venues are wheelchair accessible

6. The Bronx Museum Of Arts The Bronx Museum of Arts has brought contemporary and 20th century works by American and international artist to both visitors and the local Bronx community with free admission encouraging people to come and enjoy this slice of culture from many under-rated and up and coming artists.

  • OPEN: Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday 11:00 a.m.–6:00 pm., Friday 11:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m., Closed Monday and Tuesday.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible
MET NYC with ChildrenQueen County Farm Museum
Pick and choose what interests your kids the most. Photo by Randy OHC and H.L.I.T. CC BY

7.  The Met The Metropolitan Museum of Art boasts the title of being the largest museum in the USA. When visiting such an institution with over 2 million works, pick and choose which sections would best appeal to your kids- always a hit are the Egyptian galleries or choose one of the MET’s suggested itineraries to see the best highlights.

  • OPEN: Everyday 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Children 12 and under Free, Adults $25
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

8. The Cloisters A branch of the Met, the Cloisters museum and gardens house a collection of medieval art and architecture from Europe. Located inside Fort Tyron Park, the grounds have an element of magic to them, akin to stepping into another world. A particular hit with the children are the Unicorn tapestries.

  • OPEN: Open 7 Days a Week, March–October: 10:00 a.m.-5:15 p.m., November–February: 10:00 a.m.-4:45 p.m
  • ADMISSION PRICES:  Children 12 and under Free, Adults $25
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Limited accessibility

9. Brooklyn Children’s Museum As one of the first museums to cater to the child’s mind, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum focuses on helping kids understand their surroundings with daily programming in addition to the exhibit spaces. The ground floor works as a fun space where kids can pretend to work at a bakery, pizzeria, travel agency or grocery store while the upstairs brings regular exhibits that incorporate learning into play time. Let them loose! 

  • OPEN: Tuesday- Sunday 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Thursday 10:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: $11 per person, or Free on Thursdays from 2:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m.
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

10. National Museum of the American Indian As part of the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of the American Indian helps preserve the languages, history, literature and arts of Native Americans from their earliest times to the present.

  • OPEN: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. daily, Thursdays till 8:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

11Guggenheim With its impressive Frank Lloyd Wright–designed building, this is the sort of one-of-a-kind architectural attraction even your kids will admire. It houses a rich collection of  modern art. Sundays from 1-4 p.m., you can join a family guided tour geared towards children aged 3-10 where you’ll explore highlights of their collections through creative projects.

  • OPEN: Sunday-Wednesday, Friday 10:00 a.m.- 5:45 p.m., Closed Thursday, Saturday 10;00 a.m.-7:45 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Children under 12 Free, Adults $25, pay what you wish Saturday 5:45 p.m.- 7:45 p.m.
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

12. Queens Museum The Queens Museum presents artistic works to its diverse local community. Kids will especially love the The Panorama, a perfect building-for-building model of New York City, giving them a Godzilla feeling over the Big Apple. 

  • OPEN: Wednesday- Sunday 12:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Children 18 and under Free, Adults $8 for adults
  • ACCESSIBILITY:  Fully wheelchair accessible

13. The Whitney Museum This fun and funky museum focuses on contemporary American artists. The Whitney Museum also hosts family-fun days, open studios and sketching sessions to get the little ones interested in art. Also available for children falling on the autism spectrum is a sensory-friendly tour of the gallery when it is closed to the rest of the public.

  • OPEN: Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday, Monday 10:30 a.m.- 6:00 p.m., Friday & Saturday 10:30 a.m.- 10:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Children under 18 Free, Adults $22
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

14. The Jewish Museum With a wonderful collection of Jewish antiquities, art, ceremonial objects and more spanning over centuries, the Jewish Museum also boasts some wonderful programming aimed at families. Regular concerts, guided tours and art workshops are geared at bringing understanding and fun to this vast and important collection of Jewish culture.

  • OPEN: Saturday- Tuesday 11:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m., Thursday 11:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m., Friday 11:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Children 18 and under Free, Adults $15
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

15. Dyckman Farmhouse Museum This little historic farmhouse, first built in Dutch Colonial style in 1784 offers kids a chance to explore the last farmhouse in Manhattan. Opened as a museum since 1915, the Dyckman Farmhouse is to curious little eyes, a glimpse into a Manhattan that wasn’t dominated by high-rise buildings.

  • OPEN: Thursday – Saturday 11:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m., Sunday 11:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m., Winter hours: Friday and Saturday 11:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Admission to house donation based, gardens Free
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Not accessible

16. Morris Jumel Mansion Take a trip back in time to Manhattan’s oldest house and the HQ of Washington during the American War of Independence. Decorated with period antiques, the house also regularly hosts exhibitions and has a large (by Manhattan standards!) garden.

  • OPEN: Closed Mondays, Tuesday-Friday 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Children under 12 Free, Adults $10
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Not accessible

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NYC Museums for Kids

American Natural History Museum

Discover the history of our natural world. Photo by Maëlick CC BY

17. American Museum of Natural History With over 2 million specimens and artifacts pertaining to natural history, there is something to thrill or gross out every kind of kid here. Pick your poison depending on what your child loves best, whether it be dinosaurs, the ocean, our own bodies or outer space. A visit here is sure to entice your child’s imagination. Special mention goes to the Butterfly Conservatory where over 500 free flying butterflies might magically land on you at any time. 

  • OPEN: Daily from 10:00 a.m.- 5:45 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Suggested admission price for children age 2-12 $12.50, Adults $22, or pay what you want
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

 

“From mummies at the Met to immigrant life at the Tenement Museum, there are so many interesting large and small museums in the city that at least one will strike a chord with any child. My kids’ favorite is the classic: the American Museum of Natural History.”

Jennifer Miner – The Vacation Gals

 

18. Tenement Museum Telling the story of America’s urban immigrant, the Tenement Museum also provides walking tours of the Lower East Side neighborhood including a great food walking tour that includes free samples of food that has shaped American food culture. Inside the museum, you can visit the restored apartments of past residents from different periods, allowing you to get a sneak peek into the lives of American immigrants and meet “residents” (interpreters) dressed in costume.

  • OPEN: Friday- Wednesday 10:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., Thursday 10:00 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Vary depending on the tour,  Adults $25-45
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Varies, depending on tour. See here for accessible tenement tours

19. 9/11 Memorial Museum The museum might be one to reserve for older children due to it’s graphic nature, but the 9/11 Memorial Museum is nonetheless a touching look at the impact of 9/11 on both New York City and America as a whole.

  • OPEN: Sunday – Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free for kids under age 7, Youths aged 7-17 $15, Adults $24
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

20. Museum of the Moving Image Perfect for budding film connoisseurs or gamers, the Museum of the Moving Image shows how this art form has progressed through the years. Optical illusions meet digital art and film screenings of everything from Hollywood classic to animation.

  • OPEN: Wednesday- Thursday 10:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m., Friday 10:30 a.m.-8:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 11:30 a.m.- 7:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Children 3- 12 $6, Adults $12
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

 

“Let the kids get hands on and experience the world of film, television and digital media at the Museum of the Moving Image. Installations let them learn about the making of TV, film, animation and video games and they can make some of their own “productions” as they walk through exhibits.”

Eden Pontz – Traveling Mom

 


21. Children’s Museum of Manhattan Focusing on hands-on and educational exhibits and activities, this children’s museum is the perfect place for a rainy day with different exhibits geared towards different age groups.

  • OPEN: Tuesday- Friday 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m.- 7:00 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m., Closed Mondays.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Children and Adults $12
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

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Free Outdoor and Nature Activities for Kids in NYC

With around 29,000 acres of parks, 500 miles of shoreline and an abundance of outdoor family friendly activities to get involved in, you will be hard pushed to find reasons not to get out and enjoy the sunshine. 

Brooklyn Botanical garden Kids

Get outside in New York City. Photo by Guian Bolisay CC BY

22. Fish the Hudson River While it may seem an unlikely opportunity in the city, the Fish the Hudson River program provides participants with the rods, reels, bait and instruction they need to make their big catch. While you may not be able eat what you catch (the program operate on catch and release rules), kids will get to learn first hand about river ecology and how pollution affects the environment, plus a momentous searing moment of pride when photographed with their catch!

  • OPEN: See here for times and locations.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Wheelchair accessible

23. Citywide Park Festival The Parks of New York organize several citywide festivals each season ranging from Street Games in the Spring in cooperation with the Walt Disney Company to the Medieval festival in the Fall in Fort Tryon Park. 

  • OPEN: Check here for dates and locations
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Most are wheelchair accessible

24. Brooklyn Botanic Garden The expansive estate runs over 52 acres, complete with a variety of different gardens. Kid favorites include the Japanese Gardens with Koi ponds and the exotic orchids and water plants in the Aquatic House. Bring a pair of binoculars to observe the ample birds who flock to the gardens. Make sure to check out the Discovery Garden, a newer addition which encourages kids to explore nature through hands-on experiences.

  • OPEN: Winter: Tuesday- Friday 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 10:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Closed Mondays. Summer: Tuesday- Friday 8:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Closed Mondays.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Children under 12 Free, Adults $12
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Certain paths may be narrow or rough but grounds are mostly wheelchair accessible

25. Irish Hunger Memorial Containing stones from each of Ireland’s 32 counties and vegetation native to Ireland, the Irish Hunger Memorial is both poignant and beautiful. Visitors are allowed to roam freely.

  • OPEN: May 1st till October 31st everyday from 8:00 a.m.- 9:00 p.m., November till April everyday from 8:00 a.m.- 6:45 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Limited

26. Governors Island What was originally a fortification during the Civil War is now one of New York City’s finest parks and remains accessible only by ferry. Be sure to pick up a junior ranger book in the bookstore or print one at home which will help the kids learn about the history and ecology of the park. Another highlight is stopping by Castle Williams for a free 30 minute tour. 

  • OPEN: Open seasonally
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free but access via ferry costs $2 round-trip  for adults. Children 12 and under and bikes are free.
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Limited

27. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge The Brooklyn Bridge is one of New York City’s greatest landmarks, separating Manhattan from Brooklyn. Skip across the pedestrian walkways and bring a camera to catch some beautiful shots of the city skyline.

  • OPEN: Always
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Wheelchair accessible
Video by Love Taza

 

28. Pier 6 Playground Brooklyn Once you’ve walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, head over to the Pier 6 Playground. Boasting the largest sandbox in NYC, a slide mountain, gardens, water features, and Tarzan ropes, you could easily spend the whole day letting their imagination run wild over one of the coolest playgrounds in the whole of New York.

  • OPEN: Dawn till Dusk
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Partially accessible

 

“The new Brooklyn Bridge Park is a great family destination thanks to a transformation that’s re-vitalized this waterfront park. Multiple piers offer free (or almost free) activities like multiple (and impressive) playgrounds, basketball, handball, shuffleboard, bocce and beach volleyball courts, a roller skating rink and more.”

Eden Pontz – Traveling Mom

 

29. Playground for All Children A veritable revolution in the playground sphere, the Playground For All Children was the first playground constructed in the US for both disabled and able-bodied children in New York’s Flushing Meadows Corona Park.  It was designed to accommodate kids who use aids for walking or wheelchairs, and to help grow kids’ social, cognitive, sensory and motor activity. The playground has all the appeal of a regular one, but promotes acceptance and allows everyone a chance to have fun. 

  • OPEN: Dawn till Dusk
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

30. Ancient Playground Central Park If your kids loved the Egyptian exhibit at the MET, they can’t miss the Ancient Playground in Central Park. Complete with climbing pyramids, obelisks and sundials inspired by the museum’s collection, this is the perfect place to climb, explore and cool off in the water features on a nice day. Families can also partake in Discovery Programs that will teach kids about important aspects like keeping the Park ‘green.’ See here for more info on learning activities for families.

  • OPEN: Dawn till Dusk
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Partially accessible

31. Central Park No trip to NYC would be complete without a day spent in Central Park. Must do’s with the kids include a visit to Belvedere Castle, the Chess and Checkers house, sailing model boats at the Conservatory Water, skating at the Wollman Rink or even just lazing on the grass with a picnic. See a full list of family-friend activities for Central Park here.

  • OPEN: 6:00 a.m.- 1:00 a.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Partially accessible
Video by Love Taza

 

32. The High Line Built on an elevated section of a disused New York railroad line, this 1.45 mile long High Line Park is beloved by locals and visitors alike. Kids can join programs about catching bugs or making art, or just wander around to see how something old in NYC was turned into something new.

  • OPEN: December 1 to March 31: 7:00 a.m – 7:00 p.m., April 1 to May 31: 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., June 1 to September 30: 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m., October 1 to November 30: 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Partially accessible

33. Fishing at the Harlem Meer More fishing opportunities are available at the Harlem Meer in Central Park for kids under 16. Borrow fishing poles, grab some complimentary bait (the only kind allowed) at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center and practice a gentle catch-and-release of fish like bass, sunfish, carp and pickerel.

  • OPEN: Mid-April to mid-October, Monday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Sunday, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm (poles available until 1:00 pm)
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Partially accessible
Brooklyn Flea. Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY. May 2015. © John von Pamer

Browse for treasure. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Flea

34. Brooklyn Flea Kids will happily search for hours for trinkets and treasures among the beautifully curated selections of vintage, collectibles and antiques as well as a stellar selection of fresh food and locally made products.

  • OPEN: Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free entrance
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

35. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade A tradition that started in 1924 and has become one of NYC’s most beloved events for children and adults alike–if you’re in town during Thanksgiving, don’t miss the parade! Dominated by its massive balloons, marching bands and sumptuous floats, the parade is a feast for the eyes and sure to delight. If you want to see the balloons being blown up, visit the corner of Columbus Avenue and 79th Street on Thanksgiving eve for a bit of a “behind-the-scenes” feeling. 

  • OPEN: Thursday, November 24, 2016
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Partially accessible

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Outdoor and Nature Activities for Kids in NYC

Zoos in New York CityOutdoors kids activities NYC
Photos by 
pelican and Mrs. Gemstone CC BY

36. Trail Ride in the Bronx Want to go on a trail ride right through the middle of the city? The Bronx Equestrian center offers trail rides through Pelham Bay Park on the outskirts of the Bronx. See the city from a quieter angle and make your cowboy dreams come true.

  • OPEN: Every day from 9:00 a.m. until dusk.
  • ADMISSION PRICES:  $35.00 per hour – cash only.
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Not accessible

37. Central Park Zoo Take a trip into a tropical rainforest and watch the lemurs play or meet the only cow in Manhattan joined by friends like potbellied pigs, sheep and goats at the Tisch Children’s Zoo. 

  • OPEN: Everyday 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Children ages 3-12 $11.70 online, $13 at gate, Adult $16.20 online, $18 at gate
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

38. SHARK Speedboat Thrill Ride See the city from a harbor angle in a speedboat ride. While you may get a little wet depending on how rough the waves are, this is a great way to see the Statue of Liberty from afar while enjoying music and some heart-pounding moments. Note, passengers must be 40″ tall to ride and children must be able to sit in their own seat. 

  • OPEN: See here for departure times
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Children $19, Adults $28
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible
Coney Island New York CityLuna Park Coney Island
Photos by drpavloff CC BY

39. Luna Park Coney Island Located in Coney Island, Brooklyn, the current incarnation of Luna Park is patterned after the original Luna Park in Coney Island. This is a fun day for all– cotton candy, rides ranging from very thrilling (try the Thunderbolt only if you’re feeling brave) to carousels and tea cups, this is a piece of nostalgic NYC that no family should miss.

  • OPEN: Quite varied, check here for more info
  • ADMISSION PRICES: No entrance fee, pay by ride — 60 credits + 15 bonus credits for $60.
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Partially accessible

40. Whale Watching Boat out into the open waters and catch a glimpse of the magnificent whales and dolphins frolicking near the Rockaway. While there is no guarantee that wildlife will be seen, your chances are quite good- children are encouraged to help keep the “official count” of animals spotted. Should you not see any on your trip, they offer a discount to try again, however the boat ride alone offers beautiful shots of the NYC skyline. 

  • OPEN: Quite varied, check here for more info
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Children age 5 – 12 $30, Adults $45
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

41. Victoria Gardens Located at the Wollman Rink right in the middle of Central Park lays a classic amusement park. Complete with classics like Whack-A-Mole and Hydro Racers, it’s the perfect park for small kids and is easily accessible from anywhere in the city.

  • OPEN: Quite varied, check here for more info
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Weekdays: $8.00 entry, plus pay-as-you-go or unlimited wristband for $15.00, Weekends: $9.00 entry, plus pay-as-you-go or unlimited wristband for $17.00
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Partially accessible

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Free Entertainment and Sightseeing for Kids In NYC

There are tons of free and affordable events and programming happening across the city all year round and plenty of opportunities to get that Big Apple feel without spending any money. 

Free activities for Kids in New York City

Get a free view of the cityscape and a boat ride in one! Photo by Anthony Quintano CC BY

42. Staten Island Ferry The half hour journey from Lower Manhattan to Staten Island gives you incredible views of the New York skyline as well as the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Governor’s Island as well as New Jersey and Staten Island. You basically get a harbor cruise for free!

  • OPEN: The Ferry ferry runs every day- every 15 minutes during rush hours, every 30 minutes the rest of the time.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

43. Coney Island Flicks on the Beach Bringing a mix of classic and indie movies to an inflatable 40-foot screen on the beach, the Coney Island Flicks on the Beach is the perfect way to spend a Monday night. The schedule for 2016 season of this popular event should be posted soon.

  • OPEN: Mondays at 8:00 p.m. during July and August
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

44. Summerstage Performing Arts Festival You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the variety of entertainment presented at SummerStage. The diversity present, showcasing everything from Opera to Hip-Hop, circus and avant-garde, embraces the multicultural communities that call NYC their home. The festival is a perfect way to introduce the kids to a variety of performing art forms.

  • OPEN: Check here for programming information.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible 

45. HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival What better draw to come out for an evening at Bryant Park than free popcorn, classic movies and costumes? Join HBO for their outdoor summer film festival, but be sure to arrive before the lawn opens for optimal seating. Bring drinks and snacks to last you well into the evening when the movie starts. Make sure to check out all the activities Bryant park offers that the whole family will enjoy. See their event calendar here.

  • OPEN: Lawn opens at 5:00 p.m. for blankets and picnics. Films begin at sunset, usually around 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

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Entertainment and Sightseeing for Kids In NYC

Rockefeller Center viewing deck

The view from the top of the Rockefeller Center. Photo by John St John CC BY

46. Bronx Zoo With well over 4,000 animals, this is an incredible opportunity to see exotic animals including baboons, giraffes, gorillas and tigers in one of the largest metropolitan zoos in the world. Time your visit to coincide with a penguin or sea lion feeding to the certain delight of kids who adore observing these funny creatures gulping down their lunch.

  • OPEN: Everyday 10:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Children aged 3-12 $14.35 online, $15.95 at gate, Adults $20.65 online, $22.95 at gate
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Some areas are fully accessible, see here for more info.

47. NY Aquarium Located on the Coney Island boardwalk, the NY Aquarium is one of the oldest in the United States. Join the penguins, walruses or sea otters for meal time or get a scuba divers view of many exotic marine species without ever getting wet. Weather permitting, the sea lions put on a fantastic show in the Aquatheatre!

  • OPEN: Daily from 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Winter hours)
  • ADMISSION PRICES:  $10.75 online, $11.95 at gate, Children under 2 free.
  • ACCESSIBILITY:  Fully wheelchair accessible

48. Broadway Shows What better way to experience the drama of New York City than catching a Broadway show? Kid-friendly options playing at the moment include the Lion King, Matilda, and School of Rock: The Musical. The shows on average run about 2.5 hours, so this might not be an activity for the fidgety but for older kids, this is an inspiring option that will have them belting out tunes and dancing for weeks.

    • OPEN: Varies, see here for scheduling
    • ADMISSION PRICES: Buy tickets for individual shows here
    • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

49. Prospect Park Zoo While this Zoo can boast of its exotic friends like tiny dart frogs and red pandas, our personal favorites are the alpacas and sheep in the Barn and Garden who are always available for a scratch– that is, in exchange for a handful of grain!

  • OPEN: Daily from 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Winter hours)
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Children 3-12 $5, Adults $8
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

50. Madame Tussauds This famous wax museum is always a hit with kids–over 200 figures range from celebrities to famous sports stars and even E.T! Currently they are also showing a Marvel Superheroes movie in 4D– plus after the fact you can even get your photo taken with some of the stars: Spider-Man, the Hulk and Iron Man in all their waxed glory.

  • OPEN: Tuesday- Saturday 10:00 a.m.- 10:00 p.m., Sunday and Monday 10:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Adult $25.75, Children under 4 free
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

51. Top of the Rockefeller Center Enjoy a higher than a bird’s eye view of New York City from atop of the legendary Rockefeller Center. Spanning across three floors with indoor and outdoor viewing decks, this is a thrilling way to understand the scale of the city.

  • OPEN: Everyday from 8:00 a.m. to midnight
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Children aged 6-12 $26.00, Adults $32.00
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

 

“Rockefeller Center is an iconic New York City attraction. Purchase a ticket to the Top of the Rock observation deck for a fantastic view of the city, or just wander through the shops and Channel Gardens with its live displays that change with the seasons.”

Colleen Lanin – Travel Mamas

 

52. The New Victory Theater The focus of this theater group is on the hardest to please spectator- kids! By blending elements of theater, dance, circus, opera and music from around the world, they manage to create compelling and exciting entertainment for kids as well as offering crafts and Q&A sessions. They even offer some autism-friendly performances in a super-relaxed atmosphere.  

  • OPEN: See here for full list of shows and times.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Varies by seat and performance
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

53. Coney Island Coincide your visit to the iconic Coney Island Luna Park with a family-show in a landmark building including magic and theater performances.

  • OPEN: Check here for programming information and times
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Varies
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

54. Helicopter Tour Cruise high above the city in a private helicopter: pick from tours of the bridges and Ellis Island, or soar above Central Park in this riveting adventure tour.

  • OPEN: Contact them for booking times, but open from Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m., Saturday: 9:00 a.m.– 7:00 p.m. and closed Sundays. 
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Start at $139 per person
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Partially accessible

55. NBC Studios Tour Take a tour of some of the most famous television studios in the world! Follow around a NBC studios page for a behind the scenes look at some of the funniest shows on TV, including Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show and 30 Rock. You’ll even get to produce your own show and download it for free. This is the perfect teen -friendly activity for New York. 

  • OPEN: Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m.- 2:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Children aged 6-12 $29, Adults $33
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

56. Empire State Building What trip to NYC would be complete without a visit to the iconic American skyscraper? (None!) Visit bright and early between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. to beat the crowds and get the best backdrop for your family selfie high up on the 86th floor.

  • OPEN: Everyday 8:00 a.m.- 2:00 a.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: All the way to the 102nd floor: Kids under 6 free, Children 6-12 $46, Adults $52; Main deck only: Children $26, Adults $32
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible
Yankees baseball game New Yorknew York Knicks basketball game
Photos by Jason Devaun and Keith Allison CC BY

57. New York Yankees Game & Tour For baseball fans, a NY Yankees game & tour is a necessity. Check the schedule on their official website for details of games and book a pre-game tour where you’ll visit the museum and Monument Park for an insiders view of the life of a Yankee- and an opportunity to ask all the questions you want! If you’re visiting off-season, you can still book individual or group tours.

  • OPEN: Check here for info on tour times
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Varies by seat and games
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

58. New York Knicks Basketball Game Got an aspiring basketball star in your household? See an action packed NY Knicks game at Madison Square Garden decked out in team colors and cheering them onto a win.

  • OPEN: See here for a games schedule
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Varies by seat and games
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

59. New York City FC Soccer is on its way to becoming America’s favorite sport — what better place to see one of the top teams in America?

  • OPEN: See here for a games schedule
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Varies by seat and games
  • ACCESSIBILITY:  Fully wheelchair accessible

60. Brooklyn Nets Basketball game More a Nets fan than a Knicks? Join other Brooklyn fans at the Barclays Center for a lesson in how the pros play basketball. 

  • OPEN: See here for a games schedule
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Varies by seat and games
  • ACCESSIBILITY:  Fully wheelchair accessible

61. New York Mets Baseball Game With a city this size, its easy to make the rounds to several premier sporting events- a New York Mets baseball game should be part of any baseball lovers list. The energy at these games is infectious– even if you don’t consider yourself a baseball lover.

  • OPEN: See here for games schedule
  • ADMISSION PRICES:  Varies by seat and games
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

62. Bowling at Lucky Strike If you’re looking for a fun, old-fashioned family night out, Lucky Strike bowling lanes put a glitzy spin on it with an incredible atmosphere. Keep in mind, only adults (21+) are allowed after 5:00 p.m. on weeknights and 7:00 p.m. on weekends, but the lanes are usually available without the crowds during the days for families to enjoy.

  • OPEN: Kid friendly from Monday to Friday 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Saturday- Sunday 12:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: $5.95 shoe rental fee plus lane rental
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

63. New York Jets Football Game If American Football gets your blood pumping, pick your allegiance (Jets vs Giants) and cheer your your team as they tackle, throw and kick their way to touchdown.

  • OPEN: See here for games schedule
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Varies by seat and games
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

64. New York Giants Football Game Bigger fan of the Giants? Show your support at one of their home games!

  • OPEN: See here for a games schedule
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Varies by seat and games
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

65. Symphony Space With a devoted family genre series of concerts and performances, Symphony Space is a beautiful way of introducing children to classical music, puppetry, theater, literature and dance. Check out their wide range of kid-friendly events here to pick and choose which appeals best to the little dancer, puppeteer or violinist in your life!

  • OPEN: Most family oriented performances happen Saturdays and Sunday from October till April, but they generally offer some form of kid-friendly programming year round.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: $15-$20 depending on the performance
  • ACCESSIBILITY:  Fully wheelchair accessible

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Free Science and Technology Activities for Kids in NYC

Introduce your kids to the wonders of science and technology through these incredible museums and exhibits. Many of the premier institutions offer up visits to budding scientists and engineers to their fascinating exhibits for free! 

Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum

Models on display at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. Photo by D_M_D CC BY

66.  NY Hall of Science Over 450 exhibits on science, technology, math and engineering are packed into the former 1964 World’s Fair pavilion in a completely hands-on environment. This is the place to bring your kid if you speak the word “Don’t Touch!” more often than not. Let them wander lost in curiosity among the optical illusions and radar guns which measure just how fast your little one can pitch a baseball.

  • OPEN: Monday – Friday  9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Children ages 2 – 17 $12, Adults $15, free admission on Fridays, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Sundays, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

67. Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology For any budding fashion designers or anyone who loves to dress up dolls, the museum at FIT houses the largest collection in the world of costumes and apparel dating back to the 18th century.

  • OPEN: Tuesday – Friday 12:00 p.m- 8:00 p.m. , Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Closed Sundays, Mondays
  • ADMISSION PRICES:  Free
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

68. The Evolution Store Ranging from the exotic mounted and preserved specimens (like the rare Giant Blue Swallowtail Butterflies)  to the slightly sinister animal skeletons, The Evolution Store is a destination for kids of all ages with a profound appreciation of science and natural history. 

  • OPEN: Sunday – Saturday 11:00 am to 8:00 pm
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Free
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

69.The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum The fascinating permanent collection here features objects spanning over thirty centuries- books, sketches, snail shells and bits and bobs that have inspired ideas and design. A current exhibit on Pixar: The Design Of Story, examines the where and how the ideas behind Pixar Animations came from, and features artworks from beloved children’s movies movies like Toy Story, Wall-E and Cars.

  • OPEN:  Weekdays and Sundays, 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m., Saturdays, 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Children 18 and under  Free, Adults $16 (*online), $18 at the door
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

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Science and Technology Activities for Kids in NYC

Liberty Science Center for kids

Learning about bodily functions at the Liberty Science Center. Photo by Eden, Janine and Jim CC BY

70. Intrepid: Sea, Air & Space Museum Get up close and personal with your favorite toys- life sized! With a vast variety of machines ranging from aircraft, jets, space shuttles and submarines, visitors get a first hand look at the inspiring innovation in sea, air and space travel — perhaps inspiring a new generation of scientist and engineers! Kids will get to try their hand at flight simulation and play with a huge variety of interactive exhibits. This is sure to be a family favorite.

  • OPEN: April 1st till October 31st: Monday- Friday 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 10:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.; November 1st till March 31st: Daily from 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Kids age 3-6 $17,  Youth age 7-17 $24, Adults $31
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully accessible

71. New York Transit Museum In a city with as massive of a public transit network as NYC, it’s no surprise that an accompanying museum takes you on a historical journey to the roots of the iconic New York Subway. They often have special visiting hours for children with autism or other disabilities.

  • OPEN: Tuesday – Friday: 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m., Saturday – Sunday: 11:00 a.m.-  5:00 p.m., Closed Mondays
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Children ages 2-17 $5, Adults $7
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Fully wheelchair accessible

72. Museum of Mathematics Guaranteed to spark the curiosity of even the most reluctant mathematician, this museums presents numbers in a more engrossing light with a special emphasis on the school curriculum of those from 4th Grade to 8th Grade.

  • OPEN: Everyday 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Children $9, Adults $15
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Partially accessible

73. New York Fire Museum Located in a historic firehouse built in 1904, this museum is a great way to view the history of firefighters in New York.  On display are vintage firetrucks and artifacts as well as the Jaws of Life and other tools crucial for this dangerous job.

  • OPEN: Everyday 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES:  Children 12 and under $5.00, Adults $8.00
  • ACCESSIBILITY:  Fully wheelchair accessible

74. Discovery Times Square This large scale exhibition center presents educational and immersive exhibits which manage to blend pop culture and arts with science and history. Kids will love their interactive exhibits and this center is a great introduction into how science and history create the backdrop for many of our favorite interests. Past exhibits include everything from Harry Potter to Pompei.

  • OPEN: Sunday – Tuesday: 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., Wednesday – Thursday: 10:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m., Friday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Kids ages 4-12 $20, Adults $27.50
  • ACCESSIBILITY:  Fully wheelchair accessible

75. Liberty Science Center This is a fantastic place to bring young children: by melding interactive exhibits with education, your kids won’t even realize they are learning while they play. Make sure to try the 35 ft climb upwards on the Infinity Climber, catch a movie at the IMAX theater, or visit with the honeybees.

  • OPEN: Hours depending on season. Please see the website for timetables.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: Children ages 2-12 $17.75, Adults $21.75
  • ACCESSIBILITY:  Fully wheelchair accessible

76. The Skyscraper Museum Considering the amount of skyscrapers dotting the NYC skyline, what better way to get acquainted with this megalith of engineering than at the skyscraper museum. Alongside the actual museum, they host a whole repertoire of family programming on Saturday mornings about buildings and city planning, see here for the calendar.

  • OPEN: Wednesday-Sunday 12:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m.
  • ADMISSION PRICES: General admission $5
  • ACCESSIBILITY:  Fully wheelchair accessible

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Kid-Friendly Restaurants/Eating in NYC

Families will be spoiled for choice deciding on where to fill their bellies – including a diverse range of food trucks dotted throughout the city. Below are some kid-friendly stops to keep your little nippers gastronomically content during your visit.  

$ – Entrees below $10 | $$ – Entrees $10-20 | $$$ – Entrees $20-30 | $$$$ – Entrees over $30

Kid-Friendly restaurants NYC

New York City offers something for even the pickiest small eaters. Photo by Stuart Richards CC BY

77. Le District  $$$ This French-inspired marketplace and eatery offers up a variety of snacks, meals or treats, depending on how hungry you are.

  • KID-FRIENDLY PICK: Chicken Calvados, gourmet Cheeseburger

78. Brooklyn Ice Cream factory $ With two locations in Greenpoint and Brooklyn Heights, this is the perfect afternoon treat. Taking the craft seriously, there’s a rotating selection of incredible flavors.

  • KID-FRIENDLY PICK: One scoop of Strawberry, one scoop of Vanilla Chocolate Chunk

79.  Jing Fong Dim Sum $$ Try something new at the largest Cantonese restaurant in town. Massive oversized tables dominate the already huge room and over 100 dishes on the menu mean everyone has something to pick from.

  • KID-FRIENDLY PICK: Fried shrimp wontons, Sweet & Sour Pork with Pineapple

80. 456 Shanghai Cuisine $$ With a menu centered around dumplings, this restaurant doesn’t disapoint in quality nor variety. Plus with the cute aspect of dumplings, it won’t be hard to convince your kids to try a couple!

  • KID-FRIENDLY PICK: Soup dumplings, Special fried rice 

 

“For a different New York bagel experience take the family to The Bagel Store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for their trademark “rainbow bagels”. Neon colors, a proprietary technique and perhaps a little bit of New York magic will have you wanting to sample these bagels along with a schmear of Funfetti cream cheese.”

Eden Pontz – Traveling Mom

 

81.  Joe’s Shanghai $$ Located in Flushing, Chinatown and Midtown, Joe’s Shanghai offers up some of the best soup dumplings in the city, made fresh to order.

  • KID-FRIENDLY PICK: Crab or Pork soup dumplings

82. Max Brenner’s Chocolate bar $ To the delight of most kids, chocolate is in pretty much all of the offerings here. Whether it be pastries, milkshakes, fondues or even pizza, it’s covered in chocolate. They’ve also got a special kids menu.

  • KID-FRIENDLY PICK: A chocolate pizza with a Kids Shaken Chocolate Milk

83. Serendipity3 $$ A classic dessert parlor, this place is world-renowned for doing up the best ooey-gooey-delicious treats. It’s popular with tourists, so reservations are a must.

  • KID-FRIENDLY PICK: A cheddarburger with a drugstore sundae

84. Shake Shack Madison Square Park $ Born out of a hot dog cart, Shake Shack is now an institution in its own right. Designed to be environmentally harmonious with its park surrounding, their burgers can’t be beat.

  • KID-FRIENDLY PICK: Hot-dog and vitamin creamsicle shake 

85.  John’s Pizzeria Bleeker Street $$ What’s better than a slice of true-to-its-roots NYC pizza? Not much, especially when you’re a kid. Gather round a split a large pizza- and pick your own toppings.

  • KID-FRIENDLY PICK: Large pepperoni with extra mozzarella and a Black Cherry soda

86. Bubby’s Tribeca or High Line $$$ Bubby’s is a picture-perfect classic American diner serving up classic fare whether you come for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

  • KID-FRIENDLY PICK: Fried chicken and Bubby’s Buttermilk biscuits 

87.  Melt Shop comfort food $$ Specializing in comfort food, this is the place to indulge in a cheesy sandwich and a side of tater tots.

  • KID-FRIENDLY PICK: Three-cheese sandwich and loaded tots

88. Franny’s Brooklyn $$$ Utilizing the availability of locally-sourced and organic products, Franny’s is not your run-of-the-mill NYC pizza slice. Pizzas come with hormone-free meats, their menu revolves with the seasons– and remains consistently delicious.

  • KID-FRIENDLY PICK: Tomato, meatballs and fior di latte pizza

89. Roberta’s $$ With pizza names like Lil’ Stinker and Beastmaster, your kids will love picking out the lovingly wood-fired pizza’s at Roberta’s.

  • KID-FRIENDLY PICK: The Speckenwolf or the Chessus Christ pizza

90. Blue Smoke $$ Drawing inspiration from Southern comfort cooking, the Blue Smoke has a specialty kids’ menu where you get a main (smoked chicken breast or mac and cheese are some of the options), a side, a dessert and a drink for $14.

  • KID-FRIENDLY PICK: Grilled cheese sandwich with barbecue baked beans and a scoop of chocolate ice cream for dessert
Original Shake Shack New YorkAmple hills creamery ice cream
Photos by David Woo and Ample Hills Creamery Facebook page

91. Ample Hills Creamery $ This whimsical ice cream shop opened its doors in 2011 to great success for kids of all ages. With flavors like Ooey Gooey Butter Cake and Snap Mallow Pop and mix-ins made from scratch, give yourself plenty of time to pick!

  • KID-FRIENDLY PICK: One scoop Snap Mallow Pop and one scoop Vanilla Bean

92. Wichcraft $$ Bringing farm-to-table, artisanal and local products to sandwiches, Wichcraft has perfected the lore of healthy and delicious sandwiches for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

  • KID-FRIENDLY PICK: A chunky pb&j for lunch or a Cuban style pork and ham

93. Milk Bar $ Specializing in cookies, cakes and pies, the sister bakery of the uber hip momofuku restaurants have five locations across NYC. At each location, you;ll be treated to cookie flavors like blueberry & cream and cornflake chocolate chip and cake truffles made of vanilla rainbow cake. This is a bakery designed with the kid in mind.

  • KID-FRIENDLY PICK: A crunchy cereal shake and one of each cookie

94. Amy’s Bread $ A cross between your grandma’s kitchen and a Parisian boulangerie, this homey bakery serves up fresh pastries and sandwiches made on homemade bread.

  • KID-FRIENDLY PICK:  Simply Yellow Cupcake with Pink Frosting

95. Eileen’s Special Cheesecake $ Winner of many Best Cheesecake awards, Eileen’s is the place to get a mini, cupcake-sized cheesecake in the myriad of flavors which dot their display shelves.

  • KID-FRIENDLY PICK: Cherry Cheesecake

96. Alice’s Teacup $$ This fanciful tea house is the perfect place to nip into for an afternoon tea. If you’re famished, try their $100 unlimited scones, preserves, sandwiches and cookies so you can eat till you burst. They’ve also got a designated “menu for the small”.

  • KID-FRIENDLY PICK: Homemade peanut butter and jam sandwich and cookies with milk

97. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co $$ For the kids who love seafood, this slightly kitschy but delicious franchise has a special kids menu with smaller portions and flavors that will appeal to all. They’ve also got loads of gluten-free options.

  • KID-FRIENDLY PICK: Fish sticks with french fries, a slushy and jello- all part of the kids meal

98.  Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain $ Housed in a 1920s apothecary store in Brooklyn, this vintage soda fountain shop is too cute to pass up. Try a turn of the century NYC classic, the egg cream or stay within the sphere of known favorites and order a decadent sundae.

  • KID-FRIENDLY PICK: Old-fashioned black and white milkshake and a Brooklyn hot dog

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Kid-Friendly Stores in NYC

Visits here might be free but we can’t promise that the treasure your kids unearth in these kid-friendly stores in NYC won’t have you reaching for your wallet. In any regard, these stores are the perfect place to let your kids loose and let their imaginations run wild–could be the perfect opportunity for some lessons in budgeting for them as well!

LEGO store Rockefeller Center13552575624_b61a321af0_z

99. Midtown Comics Boasting the title of largest comic book store in the United States at their Times Square location, this is the perfect pit-stop for any comic book or action figure collector in your life. Prepare to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of product available- and maybe set some guidelines before you go in about what your spend budget looks like.

  • OPEN: Monday – Saturday: 8:00 a.m.- 12:00 a.m., Sunday 12:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m.

100. Toy Tokyo For the discerning collector of action figures, anime and retro toys or for the budding one, Toy Tokyo is run by like-minded people who are excited to share their enthusiasm and knowledge with young visitors.

  • OPEN: Sunday – Thursday 1:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m, Friday- Saturday 12:30 p.m.- 9:00 p.m.

101. Build-A-Bear Giggle your way through the creation of your new furry best friend. You’ll have the opportunity to pick your animal, stuff it, shape it and then pick out some outfits for them to wear when they journey home with you. Kids love the interactive process and be sure to set aside ample time to fully enjoy this experience.

  • OPEN: Empire State Building location Monday- Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. 

102. American Girl Is your American Girl doll in need of a new hair-do or a new outfit? Bring her to the American Girl NYC flagship store for a makeover and be sure to make reservations for dinner for you and your doll!

  • OPEN: Monday-Thursday: 10:0 a.m. — 7:00 p.m., Friday: 10:00 a.m. — 8:00 p.m, Saturday: 9:00 a.m. — 9:00 p.m., Sunday: 9:00 a.m. — 7:00 p.m.

103. Disney Store Times Square For any avid Disney fans. the Disney Store in Times Square is a veritable mecca. Not only do they have a massive selection of Disney merchandise, they also host events in-store occasionally that really bring the world of Disney to life.

  • OPEN: Everyday 9:00 a.m.- 1:00 a.m.

 

“Be sure to pop in to the two-story Disney Store for a glimpse of Disney magic in New York City.”

Colleen Lanin – Travel Mamas

 

104. Economy Candy A true gem of an old-fashioned candy store, Economy Candy is known as the “Nosher’s Paradise of the Lower East Side”. Give the kids a budget to help them learn some math and unleash them upon rows of brightly colored candy and chocolate. 

  • OPEN: Sunday: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Monday & Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Tuesday through Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

105. Kidding Around Toy Store  As the local experts on everything toy-related, this family owned shop is the place to find unique toys that can’t be found anywhere else. They’ve got several locations around the city, including Grand Central Station and the Flatiron district.

  • OPEN: Varies by location

106. LEGO Store Rockefeller Center While your kids might not be interested in the other shops on the infamous Fifth Avenue, this one is sure to get their attention. The huge store not only sells the biggest selection of LEGO you could ever dream of, but there are also tons of impressive LEGO sculptures scattered throughout the store.

  • OPEN: Monday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

107. Dylan’s Candy Bar Another lesson in gluttony comes from Dylan’s Candy Bar. A more modern take on the conventional candy shop, Candy Bar manages to meld sweets with pop culture and is sure to bring a smile to the face of even the sulkiest child. 

  • OPEN: Flagship store on the Upper East Side Monday – Thursday 10:00 a.m.- 9:00 p.m., Friday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m.- 11:00 p.m., Sunday: 11:00 a.m.- 9:00 p.m.

 

“Seeing three-story stores dedicated entirely to candy is a memorable and fun stop for kids who need a break from traditional sightseeing.“

Allison Laypath – Tips For Family Trips

 

108. The Sweet Life Bringing a touch of of sugar to Manhattan’s Lower East Side since 1980,  this sort is a feast for the senses rounding up the best confectionery and gourmet food from around the world. 

  • OPEN: Monday- Friday 11:00 a.m.- 7:00 p.m., Saturday- Sunday 11:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.

109. Forbidden Planet This store is dedicated to the lore of gamers, comic book readers and manga lovers offering a huge selection of books, collectibles and games plus merchandise to show off your love of all things Forbidden Planet!

  • OPEN: Monday- Wednesday 9:00 a.m.- 10:00 p.m., Thursday- Sunday 9:00 a.m.- 12:00 a.m.

110. Nintendo World  The new design of the Nintendo World NYC store which opened to the public on February 19th, 2016 will see the addition of a 15-foot gaming screen in already 10,000 square feet of gaming paradise. 

  • OPEN: Monday – Thursday 9:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m., Friday – Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

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#111. Kid-Friendly Hotels in NYC

Convenient and kid-friendly accommodation can make all the difference in a trip to a dauntingly exhaustive city like New York. While the classic kid-friendly hotels offer roll-away beds and kid-kits, we’ve stepped up the ante with our favorite hotels that are guaranteed to appeal to the younger generation.

Pod39

145 EAST 39th STREET 

Pod39 2Pod39 3

Brightly decorated  with funky chairs that look like game pieces, colorful Chinese lanterns dotting the ceiling and even bunk beds in some of the rooms: this hotel looks like it was decorated by one stylish kid! There’s even a community playroom with ping-pong and board games, an onsite taqueria and the possibility to join bunk and queen rooms for optimal family comfort. See more about POD39 here

Pod39
Photos courtesy of Pod39 hotel

The Muse

130 WEST46th STREET

The Muse Family friendly hotel New YorkThe Muse hotel New York
Photos courtesy of the Muse hotel 

For a boutique hotel feel and a welcoming family atmosphere, The Muse, located in the Theatre District is an excellent choice for young families. You can borrow their complimentary bikes and take to the streets of New York and there are nightly receptions where kids and adults are welcome to mingle. Love animals? Whether you want to bring yours (The Muse is pet-friendly!) or just want to cuddle Ginger, the resident teacup Pomeranian,  the Muse proves to be an excellent start-off point for any family New York City adventure.

 

The James

27 GRAND STREET

The James 2The James
Photos courtesy of the James hotel

Located in the artsy Soho neighrborhood, the beautiful James hotel makes children feel like cherished guests. The rooftop pool has a lifeguard on site, as well as a bevy of blow up pool toys. Room service boasts its own kids’ menu for those 10 and under, and turn down service includes milk and cookies. Best part for adults? The spacious family configuration suite allows all members of the family to enjoy their own space.

 

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Any fantastic kid friendly locations, activities or eateries we’ve missed? Got any NYC family trip advice of your own? Leave a comment below!

*Cover image by Emanuele Bresciani

Natalia Kvitek
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Natalia is a list-maker, international adventurer, professional bon-vivant and a lover of art, fashion, ponies and pizza. She aspires to swim in every sea, expand her global snacking repertoire and be reincarnated as an otter. Her favorite trips see her veering off-piste and her favorite hotels must have a bathtub big enough for swimming.