As the most exciting city in the world, you don’t need us to list New York’s famous landmarks. But, if you are a family looking to discover things to do in New York with kids (that are different and super-family-friendly!) you’ve come to the right place.
First and foremost, the most memorable family experiences are stress-free! It’s time spent together having fun, and New York is full of unique places and activities that will make family time in the Big Apple unforgettable.
Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD)
MOFAD (The Museum of Food and Drink) is a museum that allows its visitors to taste, smell, and touch many of its exhibits, making it an ideal destination for curious foodie families. The 5,000-square-foot experimental lab is equipped with plenty of hands-on-displays that explore the history, culture, and the science behind the natural and artificial flavors of our food. Check out the events calendar for unique series, experiences, and workshops like DinnerLab and Kids in the Kitchen.
Party place and interactive museum, Modern Pinball houses over two dozen vintage and modern pinball machines and arcade games that kids and adults can learn about and play. No need for quarters, either: an all-day unlimited ticket allows you to play all the games to your heart’s content. Tip: buy e-tickets ahead for a serious discount.
A magical under-the-sea experience, this aquatic carousel, with shimmering lights and dreamy music, is unlike any other. Sit inside the glowing, glass-like Siamese fighting fish and let them take you on a whirlwind tour of the sea. Afterward, explore the rest of Battery Park or head to Brookfield Place for some shopping and a cornucopia of quality eateries.
For a carousel with unparalleled views, Jane’s is unbeatable–it sits in an immaculate fiberglass box between the Brooklyn and the Manhattan Bridges, making it the perfect starting point for exploring Brooklyn Bridge Park and DUMBO.
The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers
Chelsea Piers is New York’s ultimate playground for kids and adults. Restless kids that are tired of shuffling through boring museums can let loose at one of the drop-in services like year-round ice skating, toddler gym, youth rock climbing, batting cages, soccer and basketball courts, or teen parkour.
Nitehawk Cinema is Brooklyn’s coolest dine-in theater that serves excellent kid-approved foods like gourmet popcorn, burgers, hot dogs, and fried chicken that arrive right to your seat. The cinema screens lots of indie films, but you’ll find cool retro and family-friendly films to see with the kids.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is another excellent dine-in theater that features new release blockbusters alongside a curated list of indies.
South Street Seaport’s architect-designed Imagination Playground eschews typical playground features like slides or swings; instead, kids are provided with space and tools that spark their imaginations. Kids of all ages can use onsite materials–sand, water, giant foam blocks, mats, wagons, fabric, and materials–to create their very own playspaces. Adults, on the other hand, can enjoy the shaded amphitheater-style seating that allows them to sit back and watch their kids’ imaginations take flight.
Queens County Farm Museum
Need a quick break from the concrete jungle? Head to Queens County Farm Museum to hang out with, feed, and pet goats, sheep, and ponies. Hop on the back of a tractor for a hayride and to check out the sprawling grounds.
Additionally, each season brings with it a host of events, workshops, and farm-fresh produce to take home. Unconvinced? How about the fact that the farm is easily reached by public transit.
There is so much amazing food to try in New York, and no other place brings it all together like Smorgasburg. In warmer weather, you’ll find this foodie market outdoors; Saturdays on the Williamsburg waterfront and Sundays in Prospect Park. Indoor winter locations vary.
And, for a truly unique New York culinary experience, check out Queens International Night Market, which pays homage to Asia’s famous night markets with colorful and culinary diverse food stalls, as well as nightly entertainment.
New York Transit Museum
No New York experience is complete without a subway ride, and no other place houses the breadth and depth of New York City’s transit history than this Downtown Brooklyn underground museum. Housed in a decommissioned subway station, the New York Transit Museum recounts the fascinating history of the New York subway system and, more importantly, allows kids to sit behind the wheel of vintage subway cars and buses.
Children’s Museum of Arts
A celebration of art by kids, the permanent collection includes children’s art from around the world. While most art museums ask children to just look at art, the Children’s Museum of the Arts invites them to make art, side by side with real artists. Here you’ll find classes, workshops, and labs (clay molding, collage or book-making, and sound and movie studio) for the wee ones to teens, making it perfect for families of all ages.
Kith Cereal Bar
Start your morning off right in New York at Kith! Heaven for sneakers and breakfast cereal enthusiasts, Kith Treats is a trendy sneaker and clothing shop/cereal bar that serves up over 20 varieties of childhood favorites breakfast cereal, plus four types of milk. Not your thing? Opt for the soft serve and choose from an additional 20+ toppings.
A similar concept, minus the pricey sneakers and threads, can be found at Soho’s Milk and Cream Cereal Bar.
Dreamland Roller Disco
Sparkles, disco balls, costumes, theme parties, unicorns, and rainbows, Dreamland Roller Disco has dedicated hours for families with toddlers. Each event begins with a 20-minute skating lesson, assuring a safe and fun time for all.
Museums for Every Kind of Kid
New York has some impressive museums, but the city’s real charm is its host of lesser-known institutions that appeal to every kind of kid and adult. Math whizz? Head to the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath). Got an oddball in the family? Take him or her to the Museum of Interesting Things, The City Reliquary, or the Morbid Anatomy Museum. History buff? The Museum of the American Gangster or Tenement Museum is as cool as it gets.
A veritable beach wonderland, there is so much to do, most of it is right on or just off the boardwalk. Visit the Aquarium, the Coney Island Museum, the Circus Sideshow, Luna Park, or ride the iconic Deno’s Wonder Wheel and Cyclone Roller Coaster. Watch the Brooklyn Cyclones at MCU Ballpark or catch a concert at the Ford Amphitheater. The dining options range from Nathan’s Famous hot dogs to classic diner grub at Tom’s Coney Island. For a proper sit-down meal, give Kitchen 21 a venture out to Totonno’s for seriously good pizza. Warm weather brings weekly fireworks, free outdoor movies, the Mermaid Parade, and plenty of opportunities to sunbathe and swim alongside the greatest citizens in the world.
Ready to book your New York with kids vacation? Start your flight search below! 👇