25 Best things to do with Kids in New York City- Family Fun!
New York City is one of the most famous locations in the world. The city houses several public parks, world-class museums, art galleries, tours, and breath-taking sceneries. It becomes hard to know where to start with so many things to do in New York City. No worries, I’ve got you covered; there’s something for everyone to do in this guide to the 25 best things to do with Kids in New York City.
The Top 25 Things To Do With Kids In New York City
My family takes a day trip to New York at least once a month. As roadschoolers, it’s a perfect opportunity to have fun and find new experiences and places to explore, and learning is one of my favorite reasons to travel. To enjoy your visit to New York as much as we do, I have put together this list of the 25 kids-friendly and family fun things to do in New York with kids of all ages.
1. The Children’s Museum of Arts
The Children’s Museum of Arts is located in Manhattan, New York. My kids love this museum. It’s not too big, has free art lessons, and an art studio where kids are welcomed to draw and create their masterpieces. The visit to the museum is designed to be interactive, fun, and educative. The museum is also never too crowded, and you can sometimes find Groupon tickets for it.
2. The American Museum of Natural History
I’m yet to find someone that doesn’t love this museum. The American Museum of Natural History is one of the largest museums in the country. If you haven’t seen Night at the museum, you should watch it before you go – Then download the AMNH app and find the option for the NATM scavenger hunt – it’s a great way to explore the museum.
The museum houses several buildings dedicated to the history, life, and study of some of the world’s prehistoric animals. You can check out the Mammoth buildings, planetarium, discovery room, and my favorite, the whale room.
3. Visit The Empire State Building
This is an obvious choice, and everyone that visits New York wants to check out the 1400 ft building. The Empire State building took over 400 days (over a year) to be completed, and it houses 102 floors that can be toured. The building itself is a grand spectacle sure to take your kids’ breath away.
The observatory deck on the 102nd floor draws many tourists, and you can get a fantastic view of New York City. The lighting of the building at night is another thing you should check out when in New York
4. New York City Fire Museum
This is a fun, easy way place to break up your day. You will learn about the history of the NYC fire departments, about Firehouses in general, and see real-life antique firetrucks and more dating back to the late 18th century. The museum is inside an old firehouse and is an excellent place for your kids to pick up a thing or two on fire drills and safety measures. Learn how to visit the museum on their website.
5. Tenament Museum and Walking Tours
I’m fascinated with the early days of New York City, how people lived, their home lives, and more. The tenement museum and walking tours will teach you all about that. They offer small group hands-on museum tours, and they have a downloadable free curriculum to help guide you and the kids. The museum also provides virtual school programs, and there is a gift shop to get cool stuff.
6. The ICP (International Center Of Photography)
The International Center of Photography is a museum and school all in one and is the only place in NYC that is 100% dedicated to photography and its history. The building houses a library, shop, and extensive galleries – worth the visit.
My kids have always wanted to become spies, and a visit to the New York City Spyscape was high on our minds. You’ll encounter incredible characters, missions, and gadgets in the building. You’ll dodge lasers, spot liars, run surveillance, and make and break codes. This is sure to get your kids excited.
8. The New York City Transit Museum
Go underground and learn about the subway system’s history. Then, head over and try #12. I loved this place on a hot summer day. The Transit museum also has galleries, a gift and souvenir shop, and old train tracks that make the environment kid-friendly.
9. Visit the Cloisters and Fort Tryon Park
This is a beautiful museum and park located in upper Manhattan. I’ve done a few photo sessions there, and I’m always surprised at its beauty. The 67-acre park is adorned with different flowers, gardens, and walking paths. This is incredible scenery for you and the kids to take lovely photos.
10. Museum of the City of New York
Located on Fifth Ave, New York, is the City of New York Museum. If you want to learn the history of New York, this is where to go. Housed in a former mansion, this museum is not too big or overwhelming, and it’s cool to learn about the place you’re visiting. Here, you get to see thousands of pictures, paper prints, paintings, sculptures, and other artifacts telling you a story about New York.
The Museum also hosts exhibitions where essential objects and artifacts are displayed publicly. To find out how to visit the museum, check their website.
11. Big Bus Double-Decker Bus Tours – Things To Do In New York
Man, this is fun! So many options too. The double-decker buses are an integral part of New York City, and many tourists have it on their list to take a tour on the bus. On the bus, you get headphones and can learn about all the places you see along the route. Do a daytime tour on one trip and a night tour on another – worth it.
12. Visit the 911 Memorial Museum and Freedom Tower
The 911 Memorial and museum allow visitors to learn about the events of the World Trade Center bombing in 2001. This is an educative experience for kids and a chance to understand the importance of peace, unity, and renewal. Asides from the history of the attacks, the Museum also showcases an impressive display of architecture, archaeology, and history.
13. Walk the Highline
The history of the Highline is one worth noting. The original above-ground defunct train system of New York City turned into a beautiful, walkable park. With resting stops to lounge, food carts to come across, and stunning views of the Hudson River, the Highline is a kid-friendly place to visit during your visit to New York City. Just note – no dogs allowed.
14. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge
The bridge was completed in 1883, and it connects Manhattan to Brooklyn over the east river. Make sure to go from Brooklyn to NYC – that’s where the iconic views happen. The tour guides tell you all you need to know before, during, and after walking the bridge. You are allowed to drive or ride across the bridge, but your kids will miss all the fun and stunning views.
15. Have dinner in Chinatown at Congee Village
Congee Village is an establishment worth visiting if your kids love Chinese food. The area houses different Chinese restaurants, culture, friendly people, and good food. Chinatown is one of the best kid-friendly places in New York City. Friendly advice, take extra cash along as your kids will see a lot of toys and jade jewelry.
17. Gazillion Bubbles Show
The Gazillion bubble show was designed with family fun in mind. This bubble world is excellent for kids of all ages. An unbelievable experience, mind-blowing bubble magic, spectacular laser lighting effects, and momentary soapy masterpieces will make your kids smile, laugh, and have a good time. It’s also an excellent place for adults to feel like a kid again – bubble magic works.
18. Shop in Greenwich Village
Head downtown for some of the best family shopping in New York City. You can also grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants and bars that the Village is famous for. The village boasts lovely architecture, buildings, shops, and anything you can find in a market. The people there are amiable too.
19. Hang out in Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park is where I used to live – Well, two blocks over. But it is a historical part of New York, with its famous Archer Milton house symbolizing the end of 5th Avenue. WSP has a lot of history packed into it, and it is the unofficial quad of NYU and has a fountain to chill at in the hot weather; musicians, skateboarders, a dog park, and so much more.
20. Take A Subway Ride
In New York City, the best way to get around town is the subway. It is a historical part of New York, and kids 12 and under ride free. From there, head uptown to Harlem and go to #21.
21. Dinosaur BBQ
The Dinosaur BBQ is a southern BBQ establishment in New York City. The establishment features a restaurant and fantastic nightlife. It’s worth the trip but go early because it gets busy.
22. Have Lunch At The 2nd Ave Deli
Lunch breaks are essential, and New York City has good food at just about every corner. The 2nd Ave Deli serves sweet dishes, and you can visit the Katz deli for excellent Jewish Deli food – Who doesn’t love a good corned beef sandwich, pickle, and matzo ball soup? Yummy.
23. Blue Man Group
The Blue Man Group is a performance and art company in New York. This is a fun, musical adventure hosted by 3 – non-talking, drum-playing BLUE men. Here, your kids enjoy music, art, and popular performances. A friendly piece of advice, if you sit in the front few rows, plan on wearing a poncho.
24. Check out MoMath Museum
It’s the National Museum of Mathematics. It has unique exhibits, galleries, and programs designed to get you and your kid’s minds thinking, spark curiosity, and show them that math is and can be pretty cool if they allow it.
25. Cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery
Another kid-friendly thing to do in New York City is grab a cupcake at the Magnolia Bakery. Made famous back in the Sex and the City days, they have some of MY favorite cupcakes EVER. The bakeries are located in different places in New York. Stand in line for some iconic cupcakes and banana pudding. My kids loved their cupcakes, and I’m sure yours will too.
When Is The Best Time To Visit New York City
The best time to visit New York City with the kids is during fall (September to November). Tourists visit New York in large numbers during this period, and it’s also the time when parades, festivals, and carnivals take place. For instance, the New York Caribbean festival takes place in early September, and it attracts thousands of spectators from around the world.
If you don’t fancy crowded events, you can visit during the spring (April to June). There are fewer people in New York during this time, but there are still tons of fun events and places to check out.
Is New York Family Friendly?
New York City is family-friendly. The city is not only for adults as there are so many other kid-friendly locations to visit. Museums, playgrounds and parks, zoos, restaurants, and more await your family in New York City.
New York City is a fantastic place to visit with your kids. You get to see different places, eat fantastic food, tour the city, and learn along the way – It’s both an educative and fun-filled experience. So, while planning your next family trip, ensure to consider the big apple and when you find yourself there, ensure to try out some of the kid-friendly activities discussed in this post.