Top 10 Things to do with Kids In New York City

Have you ever been to New York City? It is my absolute favorite city in the world. There is so much to do there. My dream was always to live there for a year. Well in 2012 my dream came true! My husband got stationed at West Point and we got to go down to New York City all the time. When I visited there my daughter was 18 months and I was pregnant with my 2nd. We were able to get out and enjoy so many things the city had to offer. We were able to get around on the subway just fine. We made sure to map out the locations with elevators because I carried her around in a stroller. If I had to do it over again I would have a light weight stroller with an Ergo. When I needed to go up stairs I would put her in the Ergo, fold up the stroller. It would take more time, but be worth it because there would be more Subway stops to use.


There are so many fun things to do with kids in the city, but these are my top ten. It is especially good if you are short on time and want to hit the best things.Watch out in the next couple of months, I will be covering my favorite holiday things to do with kiddos in New York City.



1. Brooklyn Bridge Park
Why is this number one? It is number one because it is an AMAZING park. It sits at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge. The views there are unlike any other. Kids can play and mom and dad can sit back and appreciate the gorgeous view of NYC. That is exactly what I did. Plus the park is AMAZING. Did I say that already??? Because it is. The park is 1.3 miles long. It was transformed from a cargo shipping area into a park to help revitalize the area and it has! The park consists of 6 piers, Main Street, John Street, Brooklyn Bridge Plaza, and Fulton Ferry Landing. The park has activities for all ages. It has state of the art playground equipment, seriously I have never seen some of the equipment they had before in my life. The playgrounds are called Water Lab, Sandbox Village, Slide Mountain, and Swing Valley. They have bocce , basketball, handball , shuffleboard courts. They have picnic areas, splash pads, green space, athletic fields, sand volleyball courts, dog runs, and a Carousel. And it is not even finished. If you want to get a good view of NYC and your kids to have fun at the same time come here.
  • Cost: free
  • Location: 79th St. & West Drive Brooklyn, NY
  • Hours: depends on the show
  • Subway Stop: A, C High Street, F York Street, 2, 3 Clark Street, R Court Street, 2, 3, 4, 5 Borough Hall
2. Central Park Puppet Show at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater
Another one of my favorite places to go in New York City was the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater in Central Park. The theater features a puppeteer production and changes all the time. My kids loved the puppet show tremendously. I was surprised they sat still for it, but they did.  Word of warning however, these tickets go fast so make sure to book them in advance. If you are like me and like to see things on a whim you can go the day of and ask for standby tickets. We were able to get in, but I would not recommend it especially if your kids are looking forward to going. You can find tickets here. They also schedule birthday parties there. Make sure to grab your tickets and go! Afterwards there are so many other things to see in the park.

  • Cost: $8 per child and $12 per adult
  • Location: 79th St. & West Drive
  • Hours: depends on the show
  • Subway Stop: 81 St B, C
3. Grand Central Terminal
A visit to Grand Central Terminal is super easy because it is the hub for so much transportation in New York City. It is probably the place I "visited" most when I was there. The terminal was built to be elegant, but functional. There are 85 millions passengers that travel there annually. The terminal is the hub of the Metro-North Railroad, which travels to New York and Connecticut. The subway is located on the southeast corner of the terminal. Amtrak started recently running trains out of Grand Central, though the main hub for Amtrak is Penn Station. When we came to the city we would come from the north from Beacon and travel into the city. My daughter was fascinated with the train ride. The train ride is relatively reasonably prices. We have taken tourist trains in other places and paid a lot more.


What is there to do there? Shopping, train rides or sighting, tours and eating! First off is the whole place is very stroller friendly. The terminal features two levels, a main concourse. That is the one seen in movies where people are running to Grand Central. People do really move quickly. I found the best place to "stand" to get your bearings was in the middle by the ticket counter. There I could access the free internet and see where we were going to go that day. Or wait for my husband or friend. The upper level also features 68 of some of the best shops in the city. My favorites were the fancy chocolate stores, Apple and Papyrus. The lower level features an amazing array of restaurants including Shake Shack and Magnolia Cupcakes. It is one of my favorite levels. There you will really see the people of the city. One of my favorite times there was when an amazing cello player was just playing. My daughter and I stopped for an hour or so just to listen to this private concert.
One of my favorite parts about visiting Grand Central was exiting it. Haha funny I know. It was at that moment I knew I was in New York City and excited for an amazing day.


There is also a New York Transist Museum located that tells the story of mass transportation in New York City. I never visited, but I have a feeling my son would love it now.
  • Cost: free except tours and train rides
  • Location: 89 E 42nd St New York, NY 10017
  • Hours: 5:30am-2:00 am
  • Subway Stop: S, 4, 5, 6, 7 and Metro North
4. Dylan's Candy Bar
Have you heard of Dylan's Candy Bar? My friend told me about it. It is a candy store with three floors of candy and a candy cafe. Your kids and you will be in heaven!

Photo courtesy of Alonna Whitehead
  • Cost: free except tour is $50 per person
  • Location: 1011 Third Ave and 60th St New York, NY
  • Subway Stops: N, Q, R, 4, 5, 6
  • Hours: 5:30am-2:00 am
5. Bronx Zoo
If you want to see a really good zoo, skip the Central Park Zoo and come to this one. It is huge and one of the largest in the world. It has free attractions and additional paid attractions. Warning or Tip. The zoo is free every Wednesday and very crowded that day. 
  • Cost: $36.95 per adult, 26.95 per child, discounts for seniors, military and NYC undergraduates
  • Location: 2300 Southern Boulevard Bronx, NY 10460
  • Subway Stops: 2 train to Pelham Parkway, Buses, There is also parking
  • Hours: Summer Hours, 10:00am-5:00pm daily, 10:00am-5:30pm weekends
Another must see in NYC is the Stand Bookstore. It is 18 miles of books over 2.5 million new, rare and used books. It reminds me of Powell's in Portland, Oregon. One of the best things about this store is the story times. They have many character themed story times; Elmo, the Very Hungry Caterpillar show, Harry Potter, Madeline, Pete the Cat, Clifford, and Curious George. Your kids will love it. FYI there are also storytimes around the city at many of the bookstores.
  • Cost: free 
  • Location: 828 Broadway, Manhattan NY 10003
  • Subway Stops: 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday 9:30am-10:30pm, Sunday 11:00am-10:30pm.
7. Children's Museum of the Arts
I loved visiting the Children's Museum of the Arts in NYC. My friend told me about it and we went. There are so many fun exhibits and hands on experiences for the kids to do there. The WEE Arts Studio is for smaller kids and features a play area where kids can color, use instruments, and play with play-dough and flubber. The gallery has exhibits on display. The Fine Arts Studio is for all ages to make their own art. The Quiet Lab are seated areas to relax in. I pumped in one of them when I was there, it was nice and private. The media lab teaches the kids how to use digital art equipment. At the Clay Bar kids can make animals, creatures with the help of Clay Bar Teaching Artists. The Sound Booth introduces kids to music making. The Swirl Studio is a place for kids to play on Spun chairs. The Bridge was my kids favorite parts. It is an interactive space that features interactive exhibits with stairs.
  • Cost: $12, under 1 is free
  • Location: 103 Charlton St. NYC
  • Subway Stops: 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday 12:00pm-varies, pay as you wish 4:00pm-6:00pm on Thursdays
8. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Complex
The Intrepid Sea and Space Museum is one of my favorite sites to see in NYC. Why? It is so big and expansive and full of history. The experience includes; third floor and gallery decks, where men lived and worked in the ship, a flight deck where the planes landed and took off, a hangar deck where the planes were stored when not in use, and finally the flight control area which was up a bunch of narrow stairs on the top part of the flight deck.  I was also fascinated it was still sitting on open water along the Hudson River and not on dry ground somewhere.


The Intrepid "launched in 1943, the aircraft carrier Intrepid fought in World War II, surviving five kamikaze attacks and one torpedo strike. The ship later served in the Cold War and the Vietnam War. Intrepid also served as a NASA recovery vessel in the 1960s." It was "decommissioned in 1974."
  • Cost: $33 for adults, and $24 for children, free admission 4 and under. Discounts for seniors, military, and NYC residents.
  • Location: Pier 86 W 46th St & 12th Ave New York, NY 10036
  • Hours: Summer Hours (April 1 to October 31), 10:00am-5:00pm Monday-Friday, Saturdays, Sundays & Holidays 10am-5pm , Winter Hours (November 1-March 31), 10:00am-5:00pm, closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas
  • Subway Stop: A, C, E, N, Q, R, S, 1, 2, 3, 7 to 42nd St, walk or take M42 West bust to Hudson River or 7 train to 34th St, exit 11th Ave.
This is definitely a must see, both boys and girls will love it!

9. The High Line and Hudson Pier
One of my favorite things to do in NYC is to walk around taking in the sights and the smell everywhere. The High Line Trail is an old railway track. It was repurposed because the railroad was no longer running. The developer saw a lot of potential and turned it into a 1.45 mile walking trail. And people love it! There are elevators, ramps, bathrooms and shops. It is stroller friendly! The Hudson Pier is right next to the trail and very nice to walk down. I did this as my activity in NYC one day and loved it. The view of the Hudson River was amazing. The breeze was blowing, the sun was perfect, my daughter was in her stroller. Definitely talk a walk with your kiddos. The Intrepid is just a few blocks north.
  • Cost: free
  • Location: Gansevoort St to West 34th Street.
  • Hours: 7:00am-11:00pm in the summer, closes at 10:00pm other times and 7:00pm Dec 1 to March 31.
  • Subway Stop: 7 at 34th St Hudson Yards
10. Central Park Zoo and other Zoos in town
No visit to NYC is complete without a visit to the Central Park Zoo. The zoo is pretty small and such and is pretty fast to go through. That is why it is on the bottom of the list. But it makes the list because it is the iconic Central Park Zoo. I loved going there, but a warning it looks nothing like the Central Park Zoo from the movie Madagascar. I do not even think they have lions at the Central Park Zoo. The main attraction are the Sea Lions. The Zoo consistent of a main zoo, Gift shop, a 4-D Theater, Cafe, and a Children's Zoo. The iconic Central Park Carosel is just around the corner. If you want to see other more impressive zoos, check out number 5 on this list, the Bronx Zoo. Or check out the Prospect Park Zoo, that one is big for NYC standards.
  • Cost: $18 for adults, and $13 for children 3-12, free admission 4 and under. Discounts for seniors and military.
  • Location: 64th St & 5th Avenue
  • Hours: Summer Hours (April 1 to October 31), 10:00am-5:00pm Monday-Friday, Weekends 10am-5:30pm
  • Subway Stop: N, R or Q trains to 5th Ave/59th St, 6 train to 68th St/Hunter College Station and walk the rest of the way
I hope you enjoy your time in NYC and I hope this list has given you an idea of what to do there. Let me know how your visit goes!