New York with kids: best winter activities and attractions!
It’s finally here, I know! I get tons of requests to write about activities and attractions for families traveling with kids and I also receive messages of concerned parents who think NY is a boring destination for the little ones. And let me tell you something? This is NOT true at all. There are so many fun things to do and I decided to list some of my favorites here! For more NYC tips make sure to follow me on instagram @marthasachser and @blognyandabout. Make sure to check the best FREE THINGS to do in NY clicking HERE for more ideas!
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Let’s start with the classic: there are some really nice ice skating rinks in NY and here are my favorites: Central Park, Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center, Prospect Park, Brookfield Place, Pier 17, Chelsea Piers. The least crowded ones are Brookfield Place and Pier 17 in my opinion. If Bryant Park is your first option, get there early, early, early like 8:30 early. My personal favorite is Central Park.
American Girl Store
There is a (literally) mega American Girl store in NYC with all the dolls and accessories you can dream of, plus a cafe and some activities for kids! You can see all the details HERE!
New York Transit Museum and Seaport Museum
This is one for the family as well! Head to Brooklyn for a immersion on NYC transit system with history, fun facts, photo-ops and more! Admission is U410 per adult and U$5 per child. The museum is located at the corner Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street in Downtown Brooklyn (Boerum Pl & Schermerhorn Street Brooklyn, NY 11201). Visit the official website HERE! The South Street Seaport Museum is also a mother favorite where kids get to explore some historical ships at Pier 17. Learn more HERE!
Manhattan from above
This used to be a hidden gem but I feel like it’s getting more popular every year. So, as the name says, it is a tram that connects Manhattan to Roosevelt Island and you can get a beautiful view of the city during the short ride to the other side – about 3 minutes. The best part? All you need is your metro card, it’s the same fare or if you have an unlimited metro card then it’s “free”. To get there simply walk to 1st Avenue and 59th Street. Or if you want take the subway to the island and then ride the tram on the way back (or vice-versa), take the F train to Roosevelt Island.
Children’s Museum of Manhattan and Children’s Museum of the Arts
There are a few children museums in NYC and one of my favorites are the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and Children’s Museum of the Arts. More info: http://www.cmom.org and http://cmany.org For the first one, if you want a nice breakfast option, Cafe Lalo is right in front of Children’s Museum of Manhattan and you might recognize it from the movie “You’ve Got Mail” .
Aladdin, Frozen, The Lion King on Broadway
You don’t have to break the bank to take the family to a Broadway show. Learn my favorite ways to get discounted tickets HERE!
Dylan’s Candy Bar and It’s Sugar
Candy lovers or simply kids… make sure to add these two shops to your itinerary. You will find all types of candy, including some of the vintage – old ones. There are a few locations in the city, but I recommend the Dylan’s Candy Bar on Lexington and 60th Street.
Central Park and Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo is the largest zoo in New York City and offers a variety of events and activities throughout the year for the entire family. And it is pay-what-you-wish on Wednesdays! Central Park Zoo is a classic and if you are traveling with little ones there is also a small farm where kids get to feed the animals. Learn more here!
Ellen’s Stardust Restaurant
There are many family friendly restaurants in NYC but this is one of my favorites to go with my family. You might have heard of it before, this is where the servers perform all day long many of my favorite Broadway songs or the latest pop tunes. It’s fun, you can sing along and there is something for everyone on the menu. The food is not the best, but for the experience, I think its okay. Try to stick with the basic if you can (like waffle fries, nachos, burgers…), if you go on the healthier side, you might be disappointed (at least I was with salads and soups).
FREE ADMISSION TO ATTRACTIONS
One of the best ways to visit all the paid attractions in NYC is buying a discount pass, such as CityPass, Sightseeing Pass or New York Pass. They offer a lot of attractions with a great discount. After using the pass a few times the attractions are basically free. Make sure to get yours if you are visiting at least 3 paid attractions in NYC (such as Empire State Building, Top of The Rock, MET Museum and maaaaaany more) to get a better price.
Another fun store at Times Square. Kids love picking their favorite M&M’s by the colors, there is literally a wall of colors to choose from. Some photo-ops and cool M&M merchandise.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
This is my favorite place in NYC. More in the summer than in the winter, but still a great place to visit and take the kids: playground, the classic Jane’s Carrousel, enough space for them to run around, plus some kids favorites: pizza (Juliana’s and Grimaldi’s), ice-cream (Brooklyn Ice-cream factory and Jacques Torres) and burgers (Shake-Shack). And to make it even more fun, you can take the NYC ferry from downtown Manhattan for only U$2.75.
National Geographic Encounter
Good option for rainy days, explore National Geographic Encounter, explore the Pacific Ocean and learn more about the creatures you will find there and the best part: its all made using technology, screens…no real animals. It’s a fun way to stay warm and dry and kids, especially the little ones, will like it. You can get tickets in advance HERE!
Not my favorite thing to do in NY since you can find the museum in other cities around the world but I know some kids have fun seeing some of the wax statues and there are some cool experiences such as a 4D Marvel show and a Ghostbuster experience. You can get tickets in advance HERE!
Pretty much every neighborhood in NYC comes with a nice playground. Slides, swings and sometimes even a water sprinklers in the summer. One of my favorites is the Hippo Park in the Upper West Side.
Dave and Busters
You can also find this in other cities but hey, it’s all about having a great time with kids and you can’t go wrong with Dave and Busters. Games that will provide them with laughs and a lot of burnt calories. You get a card, add the desired amount and collect tickets for each time you play. At the end you can exchange for something at the store. If you’re feeling hungry, there is a restaurant serving some of the classic American favorites like sandwiches, fries, etc… Dave and Busters is located in Times Square at 234 W 42nd St, New York, NY, on the third floor.
Games, comics and collectible toys
Some of my favorite stores for merchandize are Forbidden Planet, Midtown Comics, Toy Tokyo and Kinokuniya. If you love TV shows, head to HBO shop and NBC Experience Store.
Needless to say, kids love Central Park. There are some nice playgrounds , plenty of room of them to run, play ball, watch squirrels, ducks and other birds and even explore Central Park Zoo. In the warm months, you can access the (free) swimming pool.
American Museum of Natural History
Another favorite, make sure to see the sea life (with the beautiful whale) and the dinosaur sections. The museum has a suggested price but you can pay-what-you-wish. Lear more here: http://www.amnh.org . If you wanna get more creative, kids can also spend a Night at the Museum as well. Learn more HERE!
Eloise at The Plaza Hotel
Another store to the list but this one is located inside the beautiful Plaza Hotel, by the food hall. So you can go for a snack or a full meal and explore the beautiful store as well, kids can also watch the movie, play and rest. Learn more HERE!
My gym ou Gymboree:
There are many gyms throughout the city with classes for kids. You can always check the schedule and price before you go and plan accordingly. Click HERE for My Gim and HERE for Gymboree! You can also check YMCA.
Apart from all the merchandize, on the second floor kids can watch clips, movie scenes and sing along! The store is located in Times Square, you can’t miss it!
Another favorite, kids can play with educational toys, take classes, do experiments… You can also buy toys and other educational material and books. Learn more HERE!
Gymnastics e other fun activities for kids and teens.
Right by Times Square, Bryant Park is one of my favorite places in NY. There are activities and events going on all year long and for kids there is a carrousel, iceskating rink in the winter and mini-golf and much more!
Raining? Too cold to stay out? Head to YMCA: http://www.ymcanyc.org