The Best Things to do with Kids in New York City

The 15 Best Things to do in New York City with Kids

There’s so much to do in New York City that it’s no wonder it’s called the “City That Never Sleeps.” You won’t even want to blink, let alone sleep when you visit this cultural capital because you won’t want to miss out on even a minute of the exciting events the city has to offer.

Featuring museums, historic landmarks, shows both on and off Broadway, interactive exhibitions, some of the best shopping and dining in the world, and so many more exciting experiences, NYC is much like a massive playground. But while a lot of that playground is adult-centric, there’s still plenty to do with kids in this one-of-a-kind city!

Visiting NYC with kids and wondering what to do? We’ve compiled a list of the most kid-friendly and family-friendly things to do in New York City for you. Explore the sites on this list, and your little ones will have a trip they won’t ever forget.

The 15 Best Things to do with Kids in New York City

1. Take the Kids out to Broadway

Best Things to do in New York City with Kids: Night on Broadway

From seeing their favorite Disney movie come to life to classics that are great for the whole family, going to a Broadway show is one of the best things to do with kids in NYC. Ticket prices a little steep? Keep an eye out for when Kids’ Night on Broadway returns, which allows all kids under 18 to get in for free with an accompanying adult.


2. Explore the American Museum of Natural History

Cool Things to do in New York City with Kids: American Museum of Natural History

Visiting the American Museum of Natural History is one of the most kid-friendly things to do in NYC, thanks to all the interactive exhibits throughout its 2.5 million square feet. From the massive dinosaurs to teeny tiny insects to galaxies beyond our own, there are so many worlds to explore at this beloved NYC institution.


3. Play Around the Brooklyn Children’s Museum

Looking for something that’s kid-focused? If you’re visiting New York City with kids, be sure to stop by the Brooklyn Children’s Museum.

Good for kids aged just six months up to 10 years, this museum features three floors filled with interactive exhibits, all designed to boost kids’ physical, emotional, and social development. From toddler-centric play spaces to a neighborhood that celebrates all different cultures, there’s plenty to do for kids of all different ages here.


4. Visit the DiMenna Children’s History Museum

If you want a children’s museum that feels a bit more like a museum than a play space, check out the DiMenna Children’s History Museum. This museum offers fun and interactive activities for kids in NYC, introducing your little ones to more than 300 years of American history. From story times with historical tales to living history demonstrations with costumed interpreters, this NYC institution really brings history to life. 


5. Test Out Toys at CAMP

CAMP isn’t your run-of-the-mill toy store. Visiting it is easily one of the most kid-friendly things to do in NYC. Little ones will love seeing their favorite characters come to life in interactive exhibits, making their own slime, and testing out toys throughout this kid-centric playground! 

The flagship CAMP store is located at Fifth Avenue, but there’s another at Columbus Circle. Each has a different character-focused experience, so be sure to check both locations to see which store has the characters your kids really want to see. Past experiences have been themed to “Trolls” at Fifth Avenue and “Paw Patrol” at Columbus Circle.


6. Explore the New York Transit Museum

Unique Things to do in New York City with Kids: New York Transit Museum

Located inside a decommissioned subway station, the New York Transit Museum is one of the most fun things to do in NYC with kids. This one-of-a-kind museum explores how transit shaped New York City. Though there are many interesting artifacts on display, there are also interactive experiences to be had here that will literally put kids in the driver’s seat.


7. Journey through Central Park

Fun Things to do in New York City with Kids: Belvedere Castle

Covering 843 acres, it’s no wonder that the massive Central Park offers so many of the best activities for kids in NYC. Visit the Tisch Children’s Zoo at the Central Park Zoo, step back in time at Belvedere Castle, ride the carousel, see a puppet show at the Swedish Cottage, or just enjoy the over 20 differently-themed playgrounds throughout the park.

Depending on when you’re visiting, you’ll find different family-friendly events happening throughout the park as well, such as storytelling near the Hans Christian Andersen statue every summer.


8. Ride the Carousel at The Battery

New York City with Kids Bucket List: The Battery

For more fun playgrounds, check out The Battery, formerly known as Battery Park. You can take a ferry from The Battery to see two of NYC’s most iconic landmarks, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, or you can just hang out and play on the Battery Playscape.

The playscape is inspired by nature and encourages kids to explore the many different worlds around them. Designed for kids of all ages, it’s a great place for little ones to play, learn, and get some energy out. 

While you’re at The Battery, be sure not to miss the beautiful SeaGlass Carousel, one of the most fun NYC activities for kids. This aquarium-themed carousel is like no other, and it looks like the fish your little ones are riding on are dancing throughout the indoor ride space.


9. Experience All Things Slime at the Sloomoo Institute

Must do things in New York City with Kids: Sloomoo Institute

Does your child love experimenting with slime? Then, you need to check out the Sloomoo Institute

A must if you’re visiting NYC with kids, this bright and vibrant play space focuses on sensory play. Kids will make their own slimes, play with slime vats, become slime creatures, enter a slime-themed augmented reality, and much more. 


10. Become a Spy at SPYSPACE

Designed with older kids in mind, SPYSPACE is an interactive museum that dives deep into stories you’ve never heard before about the most important spies and missions throughout history. But it’s much more than that.

SPYSPACE offers one of the most family-friendly things to do in NYC, encouraging adults and kids alike to hone the skills they use every day to become spies. You’ll break codes, try to spot the liar, and take on all different sorts of challenges.


11. Play and Learn at the National Museum of Mathematics

Speaking of fun challenges, the National Museum of Mathematics is another of the best NYC activities for kids if your little one likes puzzles and thought-provoking games. You’ll use math to solve unique challenges throughout this fun, colorful, and kid-centric playground. From pattern recognition to understanding acceleration, the challenges at this museum are so much fun that your little one won’t even realize they’re learning.


12. See the Sights at Coney Island

What to do in New York City with Kids: Coney Island

Coney Island is an NYC institution and the home of some of the best NYC activities for kids. Here’s where you’ll find Luna Park, where you can ride the famous Coney Island Cyclone and many other rides designed for kids and adults of all ages. 

You’ll also find the New York Aquarium, the oldest continuously operating aquarium in the US and another of the top kid-friendly things to do in NYC. Young kids will especially enjoy this aquarium’s play areas. 


13. See the Animals of the Bronx Zoo

New York City with Kids Things to do: Bronx Zoo

For more animal-focused fun, head over to the Bronx Zoo, one of the biggest zoos in the US and a must-do if you’re visiting NYC with kids. The Children’s Zoo is where little ones can get up close to their favorite animals and even pet and feed the critters of the farmyard. 

For more interactive experiences, kids can weave through the obstacles of the Nature Trek or take to the sky in the Treetop Adventure, where they’ll take on the aerial ropes course and zipline over a river.


14. Visit the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Best Things to do in New York City with Kids: Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Do you have an aspiring astronaut in your group? Check out the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Get up close to some of the most critical technological marvels in history, like the first space shuttle, Enterprise. 

Kids will love getting a firsthand look at the incredible vessels, as well as the interactive exhibitions that help them learn even more, including virtual and augmented reality experiences. 


15. Play and Shop through Rockefeller Center

Best Things to do in New York City with Kids: Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center is one of the greatest symbols of NYC. You and your children have likely seen it many times over the years on your TV screens, but now it’s time to see it in person! You can take in the views from the Top of the Rock, check out different exhibitions throughout the year, and go ice skating when the weather cools down and the rink returns. 

If you’re visiting NYC with kids, stopping at the FAO Schwarz is a must-do! This famous, gigantic toy store is sure to be one of the highlights of their trip. Rockefeller Center is also home to a huge LEGO store and Nintendo NY, where you’ll find fun and interactive play spaces.

There you have it! The 15 best things to do in NYC with kids. What’s your favorite kid-friendly thing to do in NYC? Let us know in the comments!


Planning a trip to New York City? Check out our favorite books and travel guides!


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Author

  • Jacqueline Gualtieri

    Jacqueline is a writer and editor pursuing the freelance life to explore the world. Born and raised in New Jersey, she spent her college years in Boston before settling down with her partner and puppy in Monterey, California.

    When she’s not writing, you can often find her planning her next trip. Road trips are her favorite, whether it’s driving across the country or simply exploring a new city in her own backyard. She loves uncovering the history of every new place she goes.

    Jacqueline has a restless passion for learning and makes it a goal to pick up a new skill every year. She’s picked up embroidery, crocheting, knitting, and cross-stitching, but she’s hoping to master more languages to help her in her travels. She’s also a published author, with short stories and poetry appearing in several anthologies.

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