As to be expected from the city with the largest population in the U.S, New York City is full of endless kid-friendly activities. While New York can be a daunting city to visit for anyone, as long as you plan ahead and are prepared before your trip, it will be a fantastic family experience.
Fun Kid’s Activities in NYC
You will find in New York City that a lot of the fun things to do with kids are the same activities adults have on their NYC bucket list as well! There are so many famous attractions and spots to be seen that it is easy to plan a trip that will appeal to all ages.
Staten Island Ferry
If you are trying to get from Staten Island to Manhattan, one of the best ways to do so is via the ferry. The Staten Island Ferry is free, and it’s a great way to see some of the city! Check the ferry website for the schedule, which varies based on the time of day and the day of the week you visit. The ferry ride is about 25 minutes each way, and they do have food for sale on the boat. Avoid taking the ferry during rush hour when it is very crowded with commuters.
A unique thing to do in NYC with kids is a ride on the SeaGlass Carousel. The carousel is magical and is sure to delight kids of all ages with its pastel colors, innovative fish design, and neon lights at night. The SeaGlass is open daily from 10 am-10 pm, and tickets are only $5. The carousel is located inside of Battery Park, so it’s a good activity to combine with a visit to the Statue of Liberty, which is nearby. You can watch a video of the unique carousel below.
Carriage Ride in Central Park
Central Park is the perfect escape for the hustle and bustle of NYC. The park is huge, with over 843 acres to explore, and all of it is kid-friendly. Visit the Alice in Wonderland statue or the Central Park Zoo if you are looking to expand your Central Park excursion. To see the most of the park, the best way to get around is a carriage ride! Not only is it a nod to transportation of the past, but you can enjoy fresh air while making the most of your Central Park visit. You can book your ride in advance on the Central Park website and schedule the date and time. A 30 minute ride starts at $110 for 2 adults and 3 kids.
Empire State Building
For one of the most scenic views in the city, head over to the Empire State building. It is open every day of the year from 8 am to 2 pm, which gives you lots of time to fit it into your busy New York days. If you are traveling with young kids, it is best to visit in the morning as the lines do get longer as the day goes on. Also a perk, kids under 6 get in to the Empire State Building for free! Try to plan your Empire State Visit for a day when the weather looks clear. You will be able to see a lot more and get the most out of your experience.
Tour NYC’s Many Playgrounds
It may seem unlikely, but NYC is full of playgrounds! Use our map of NYC playgrounds to help plan out your play time stops as you navigate around the city. Washington Square Park may be one of the best playground stops, because parents can also enjoy the live music and street performers that pop up in the area.
Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex
Looking for a place for your kids to play? Spend some time in the Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex. The pier is located on the Hudson River, and offers a wide variety of youth camps or drop in activities for kids. While you are visiting, your kids can bowl, ice skate, or rock climb. The Chelsea Piers Sports complex also offers a toddler gym for the younger kids. This is a great spot on a rainy day, or if your kids need an indoor space to run around one afternoon. Adults can get an all day fitness pass, so you can enjoy exercising as well.
American Museum of Natural History
At the very top of the list of kid friendly things to do in NYC is the American Museum of Natural History. The museum is located on the Upper West Side of the city and across the street from Central Park. Plan to spend several hours here, as the museum is huge! Have a talk with your kids beforehand about which areas of the museum are of the most interest to them, as it’s difficult to fit everything into one visit. One of the most famous exhibits is their T-Rex! The suggested price for admittance is $23, but guests can pay whatever they would like to enter.
Go to a Street Fair
There is something going on at every corner in New York City. Be part of the fun by visiting one of the street fairs. A lot of fairs are seasonal, and are only happening certain times of year. Consult online before you leave for your trip to see what kind of events are happening during your visit.
Satisfy your Sweet Tooth at an NYC Bakery or Ice Cream Shop
New York is known for having some of the most innovative restaurants and bakeries in the United States. In fact, there are so many options some people opt to do a food tour of the city just to try a variety of the options! One of the most iconic New York ice cream shops that is a must when visiting Manhattan with kids is Serendipity. This spot is famous for their Alice in Wonderland like decor, and their over-sized ice cream sundaes. Be careful not to over order- one of their sundaes is easily enough to feed an entire family.
Below are some of the other best bakeries and dessert spots in NYC:
- Levain Bakery- Think giant gooey cookie
- Milk Bar- Try their ice cream and birthday cake truffles
- Dominique Ansel Bakery– Famous for their cronuts
- Magnolia Bakery- Amazing cupcakes
Enjoy your time in New York! We also have a resource for Things to do in Dallas with Kids for other kid-friendly traveling ideas.