12 Kid Friendly Things to do in New York City!

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New York Manhattan Skyline
New York Manhattan Skyline Image: depositphotos.com

There are so many things to do in NYC that it can seem a little overwhelming when you first start investigating your options. If you’re taking your kids to the city, it can be even harder; although you might think of New York as being the ideal adult getaway, it’s actually well set up for children to have the best time of their lives, and there are many things to do in NYC for the little ones as well. No matter how much time you might have in New York, if you don’t plan ahead and have a good idea of the things you want to do and see, you’re sure to run out of time. Read on for some of the most kid-friendly things to do in New York City to get you started on your family adventure. 

  1. Westgate New York Grand Central

NYC Westgate New York Grand Central is a great family hotel.

The Westgate New York Grand Central isn’t exactly a thing to do in New York, but it needs to be on the list nonetheless because whatever else you do, you’ll need somewhere to rest your weary heads – and feet – when you’re done sightseeing for the day. This hotel boasts a brilliant location that is either within walking distance to whatever you want to see or close to a subway that will get you to the right places. There is an onsite restaurant, gym, good-sized rooms, and one of the best things is how quiet this hotel is. Take a look at the resort’s blog, and you’ll find some fun things to do in and around New York City, which is a very useful addition.

Luna Park
Luna Park

Source: Instagram, posted on May 10, 2022, LunaParkNYC’s official profile.

  1. Luna Park

New York’s own amusement park is a wonderful day out.

Although you’ll need to take a 45-minute train ride to get to Luna Park from midtown Manhattan, it’s well worth the journey when it comes to things to do in NYC. Luna Park is on Coney Island, well known for its amusements and great street food – don’t forget to try a Nathan’s hot dog while you’re there. There are rides and games for kids (and adults) of all ages, and you can spend a whole day at Luna Park before you know it, so make sure you block out enough time.

Ellis IslandSource: Instagram, posted on May 3, 2022, StatueEllisNPS’ official profile.

  1. Ellis Island

Ellis Island is educational and interesting for all ages.

To get to Ellis Island, you need to hop on board a ferry that takes you from Battery Park in Manhattan to the island – it takes you to Liberty Island, where the Statue of Liberty can be found too. Ellis Island is where all immigrants would have arrived in New York, and it’s now a fascinating museum that documents this and tells the story of the 12 million people who went through the center between 1900 and 1954. If you’re looking for things to do in NYC that will teach your kids as well as entertain them, this should be at the top of the list.

Transit MuseumSource: Instagram, posted on May 23, 2022, NYTransitMuseum’s official profile.

  1. New York Transit Museum

New York’s subway system is brought to life.

Anything different is sure to entertain kids immensely, and when it comes to different things to do in NYC, the New York Transit Museum could do very well indeed. It’s housed in a former subway station, so to get inside, you have to go underground, which is always exciting. Once there, you’ll get to explore vintage subway trains – you can even sit in the driver’s seat – and discover all you can about how the massive subway system that so many New Yorkers (and tourists) rely on today was started. It’s a small museum and will probably take about an hour to get around, so it’s a great stop on any day of your trip.

Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty

Source: Instagram, posted on May 11, 2022, StatueEllisNPS’ official profile.

  1. The Statue Of Liberty

Is there a more iconic attraction in New York?

It would be a shame to visit New York and not put the Statue of Liberty on your list of things to do in NYC. Just like Ellis Island, you can reach it via a ferry from Battery Park, so it’s not too difficult to reach. If possible, try to get up to the Crown. For one thing, you can say you’ve done it, and for another, the views are magnificent. Bear in mind, though, that you have to be 48 inches tall to go up that high, and there are – as you might expect – a lot of narrow steps to climb. Other things to see and do include the Statue of Liberty Museum, where you can see the original 16-foot torch as well as much more.

Museum of Natural History
Museum of Natural History

Source: Instagram, posted on March 24, 2022, AMNH’s official profile.

  1. American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History is both high-tech and traditional.

The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) is a great place to take the kids when you want to know what things to do in NYC will suit them best. It is 150 years old and is jam-packed full of the most fascinating exhibits that are sure to keep everyone entertained for a good few hours. There are state-of-the-art experiences, such as 3D exhibits, but you can also see some impressive practical items such as the t-rex skeleton and the famous blue whale model that is breathtakingly huge. In the Discovery Room, kids between 5 and 12 can explore how to put dinosaur bones together and much more.

Empire State Building
Empire State Building

Source: Instagram, posted on May 22, 2022, EmpireStateBldg’s official profile.

  1. The Empire State Building

See New York City from a new perspective from the top of the Empire State Building.

New York is full of iconic buildings, but if you choose just one to visit when you’re looking for things to do in NYC, make it the Empire State Building. The kids are sure to recognize it from movies and TV, and the views are definitely worth the admission price. This is a 102-story skyscraper that, for 40 years, held the record of being the tallest building in the world. Buy your tickets in advance; otherwise, you’ll be in a long queue.

Jane's CarouselSource: Instagram, posted on January 2, 2022, Jane’s Carousel’s official profile.

  1. Jane’s Carousel

Ride a piece of history at Jane’s Carousel.

Who can say no to a ride on a traditional fairground carousel? It’s always fun, so it’s a good idea to make Jane’s Carousel in the Empire-Fulton Ferry Park (close to Brooklyn Bridge) part of your things to do in NYC adventure. This carousel is famous. It was built in 1922 and is one of the only traditional carousels left. It still works perfectly, and it’s an iconic piece of New York history – plus, it’s a lot of fun.

Bronx Zoo
Bronx Zoo

Source: Instagram, posted on May 8, 2022, Bronx Zoo’s official profile.

  1. Bronx Zoo

See the animals and enjoy the rides at the Bronx Zoo.

Did you know that the Bronx Zoo is the biggest city-based zoo in the US? It spans a massive 265 acres, so if you want to fill a whole day and tick something fantastically off your things to do in NYC list, Bronx Zoo is ideal. You might even need two days here, or if you can only spare one, make sure you plan ahead so you don’t miss out on the animals and excitement that you want to see. You can have breakfast with the animals on occasion, and if you book in advance, you can feed some of them too.

USS Intrepid
USS Intrepid

Source: Instagram, posted on May 16, 2022, IntrepidMuseum’s official profile.

  1. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Visit a floating museum and learn about history.

Museums aren’t always that interesting for kids, but the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum certainly will be, which is why it’s an ideal item for your things to do in NYC list when traveling with the family (or even by yourself). Situated on a WWII aircraft carrier, this is actually a floating museum – already out of the ordinary – and it offers a fascinating insight into the history of war and combat. It’s now a National Historic Landmark.

Central ParkSource: Instagram, posted on May 24, 2022, CentralParkNYC’s official profile.

  1. Central Park

Central Park is the biggest playground around.

Central Park is an 843-acre park in the middle of New York City, and no matter what time of year it is or what age your kids are, it’s a great spot to visit when you want things to do in NYC. Children love the great outdoors, and this will give them that and then some; they can run and play as much as they like. As well as the natural surroundings and the fact that this is a peaceful place in a very busy city, there are many playgrounds, statues, fountains, a zoo, a castle, and so much more to explore. If you’re up for an adventure, try the 45-foot slides at the Billy Johnson Playground. Depending on when you visit, there might be outdoor movie nights taking place or sledding and ice skating to join in with.

Children's Source: Instagram, posted on May 12, 2022, CMoMNYC’s official profile.

  1. Children’s Museum Of Manhattan

Let their little imaginations go free in the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.

It’s always good to have some museums featuring in your plans for things to do in NYC, but some might not be entirely suitable for children. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is, as the name suggests, perfect for them. There are five floors of exciting things to do and discover, and kids can learn about everything from how the body moves to why you need to eat and what makes the world turn.