Top 15 Things to Do in New York City with Kids

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New York City offers plenty of attractions and entertainment options for a family with children. No matter if you’re traveling with a toddler or a teen, there is much to see and do in the city for kids of all ages. Aside from popular sites like the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, and the Empire State Building, what else can New York offer young visitors? From amusing museums to outdoor play areas, the kids will stay busy and entertained when you embark on this list of things to do in New York City with kids.

Get in Some Playtime at Bryant Park
Ice skating rink at Bryant Park

Get in Some Playtime at Bryant Park

What Is It? One of the top things to do in Manhattan, Bryant Park is a nearly 10-acre park that offers outdoor play options in proximity to eateries

Why Do It? Young children will enjoy the playground and carousel here, and during the summer months, there are family-friendly movies that play at dusk every week.

Good to Know: One of the best times to visit this New York park is during the winter months, as it is home to the only ice skating rink in the city that offers free admission. 

See the Dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History
American Museum of Natural History, New York City

See the Dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History

What Is It? Take your dinosaur-loving toddler to the American Museum of Natural History, home to the largest collection of dinosaur specimens in the country.

Why Do It? The perfect rainy day activity in New York City, this museum is a must-visit, whether traveling with kids or making the trip as a solo adventurer. There are more than just dinosaurs on display here too. Expect to spend hours roaming this multilevel museum. The American Museum of Natural History is also conveniently located across the street from Central Park.

Good to Know: “Night at the Museum” was filmed at the American Museum of Natural History. Get both you and the kids excited for the outing by watching it before your visit.

Dig Into Fun at the Museum of Ice Cream
Museum of Ice Cream

Dig Into Fun at the Museum of Ice Cream

What Is It? With other locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and most recently Miami, this colorful, ice cream-themed attraction features interactive exhibits, from a swimming pool filled with sprinkles to a multi-level slide – the longest indoor slide in the city!

Why Do It? Both guardians and kids will love playing here. The wacky vibrancy of the exhibits also makes for creative and fun photo opportunities.

Good to Know: Admission to the Museum of Ice Cream obviously includes tastings of both vegan and non-vegan ice cream options. 

Get Your Family Photos Taken at The Color Factory
Colorful striped wall at The Color Factory in New York

Get Your Family Photos Taken at The Color Factory

What Is It? Another fun and colorful attraction in New York City is The Color Factory. This kid-friendly art exhibit focuses on color through interactive installations, like vibrant striped walls and a monochrome blue ball pit.

Why Do It? This will keep you and your kids entertained for hours.

Good to Know: One of the coolest perks of The Color Factory is the opportunity to get your picture taken at each of the stations. 

Shop for Toys at FAO Schwarz
FAO Schwarz in New York

Shop for Toys at FAO Schwarz

What Is It? This iconic New York toy store in one of the world’s top holiday shopping destinations, FAO Schwarz is the oldest toy store in America and a must-visit for young families.

Why Do It? Now located in Rockefeller Plaza, FAO Schwarz doesn’t just contain a plethora of toys. This establishment has interactive experiences, from an in-house Barbie stylist to a build-your-own RC car kiosk. Don’t miss out on playing on the store’s massive piano!

Good to Know: There are a number of events hosted at the store, like behind-the-scenes tours and story times.

Stroll Through Central Park
Central Park, New York City

Stroll Through Central Park

What Is It? No visit to New York City is complete without a stroll in Central Park. This New York must-do is an urban green space that spans over 800 acres and offers more to parkgoers than simply a place to picnic or jog.

Why Do It? Central Park is home to the Central Park Zoo, a carousel, and a number of playgrounds, all great places to enjoy with young children.

Good to Know: Older kids may like renting a paddle boat or exploring Belvedere Castle.

Meet the Stars at Madame Tussauds New York
Julie Roberts wax figure at Madame Tussauds New York

Meet the Stars at Madame Tussauds New York

What Is It? Take the kids to visit their favorite celebrity at this must-visit establishment in NYC, Madame Tussauds is a wax figure museum.

Why Do It? Now, Madame Tussauds doesn’t exactly have celebrities. However, it has grown into one of the most famous wax museums in the world.

Good to Know: Singers, actors, politicians, and sports figures are all on display here. You’ll definitely want to snap a selfie with the hottest celebrities from today and yesteryear. 

Get Lost in Candyland at Dylan’s Candy Bar
Dylan's Candy Bar

Get Lost in Candyland at Dylan’s Candy Bar

What Is It? Satisfy your sweet tooth at Dylan’s Candy Bar, a massive candy store that’s home to over 7,000 different candies.

Why Do It? You can’t walk out of Dylan’s Candy Bar without trying one of the desserts at the cafe. With two locations in New York, you can make a visit to Dylan’s Candy Bar a nice rest stop during a busy day in the city.

Good to Know: Parents will love perusing the basement space, which is where classic and hard-to-find candies are for sale.

Interact with the Exhibits at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Playing at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan

Interact with the Exhibits at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan

What Is It? One of the best children’s museums in New York City, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan has five floors of interactive and educational exhibits, along with a massive outdoor water table.

Why Do It? The museum has a number of rotating exhibits. However, expect immersive art installations, engaging art classes, and plenty of hands-on play opportunities.

Good to Know: This museum is conveniently located right next to Central Park.

Go on an Underwater Adventure at the New York Aquarium
Sea otters at the New York Aquarium

Go on an Underwater Adventure at the New York Aquarium

What Is It? The New York Aquarium is Coney Island’s hub for underwater adventure.

Why Do It? Though not necessarily one of America’s best aquariums, it is home to a plethora of marine life and offers plenty of unique experiences for both kids and adults.

Good to Know: The New York Aquarium is home to a 4D theater, outdoor aqua theater shows, and a play area with a touch pool.

Play Witches and Wizards at Harry Potter New York
Find your perfect wand at Harry Potter New York

Play Witches and Wizards at Harry Potter New York

What Is It? Harry Potter New York is a Harry Potter-themed retail store.

Why Do It? Is your child waiting patiently for their letter to Hogwarts? Snag them a wand here. Spanning two stories, this store is full of amusing Harry Potter merch, from chocolate frogs to Hogwarts cloaks.

Good to Know: This shop is a great spot to visit if you’re intending to see the stage show Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway.

Enjoy the Sunshine and Attraction-Full Walking Paths on Little Island
Little Island, New York

Enjoy the Sunshine and Attraction-Full Walking Paths on Little Island

What Is It? Little Island is an outdoor space located on top of the Hudson River on a man-made island.

Why Do It? This 2.4-acre park is home to an amphitheater, food vendors, and walking paths. A fun and free thing to do for families in NYC, Little Island is a great way to enjoy a nice day in New York City.

Good to Know: Kids will love exploring the quirky features along the walking paths. Spin the optical illusion disc or make music with the foot-operated chiming tiles.

Hop Aboard the Roosevelt Island Tramway
A ride on the Roosevelt Island tramway offers excellent views of the city.

Hop Aboard the Roosevelt Island Tramway

What Is It? Roosevelt Island is a two-mile island located in the East River. However, one of the coolest things to do there is to take the Roosevelt Island Tramway onto the island, a vintage mode of transportation that offers stunning views of the city.

Why Do It? Sure to be an unforgettable experience for the whole family, the tramway is also an affordable option (only a couple dollars per rider). 

Good to Know: The island itself has a few parks, including the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, Southpoint Park, and Roosevelt Island Lighthouse Park.

Meet the Animals at the Bronx Zoo
Monkeys at the Bronx Zoo

Meet the Animals at the Bronx Zoo

What Is It? It is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States and a great option for kids needing to escape the busy city atmosphere.

Why Do It? One of the many reasons New York City is one of the top places for a family vacation in the U.S. is the Bronx Zoo. Home to over 6,000 animals, there is bound to be a critter to catch your eye.

Good to Know: Don’t miss out on exploring the Children’s Zoo within the zoo complex, home to a petting area and other kid-centered exhibits.

Burn Some Energy at Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex
Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex

Burn Some Energy at Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex

What Is It? Expend some energy at the Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex. Located on a couple of piers on the Hudson River, this massive sports complex is open every day of the year.

Why Do It? Not only is this sports complex a spot for locals to exercise and take fitness classes, but the complex also offers a number of entertainment options for tourists.

Good to Know: Take your toddler to the Fit4Tots open play space or the Toddler Gym, or have some family fun time at New York’s only year-round ice skating rink.

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