Tribeca with Kids: Top 30 Things to Do for NYC Families

Pier 25, Washington Market Park, Downtown Community Center

One of New York City's original residential neighborhoods, Tribeca was initially settled back in the 1700s. The area has undergone several transformations since then. In the 19th century, it became an industrial and commercial hub, By post-World War II, it was a ghost town with only a few hundred residents, and block after block of empty warehouses. Thanks to all of that available and eminently affordable loft space, artists and bohemians flocked to Tribeca in the 1980s and by the 2000s it had been reinvented once again as one of Manhattan's most affluent and amenity-filled areas.

Today, this unique neighborhood is in high demand with families thanks to its great public schools, the beautiful waterfront Hudson River Greenway in Hudson River Park, a plethora of locally owned businesses, kid-friendly restaurants and a funky downtown vibe that is quickly disappearing from NYC. The area is also home to the famed Tribeca Film Festival, which was created after September 11 to help spur lower Manhattan's financial recovery. Every spring, in addition to screening a slew of movies, the fest hosts many special events for families, including one of the city's biggest annual celebrations for kids, the Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair. Meanwhile, on Halloween, the ritzy stores on Duane, Reade, Greenwich and Hudson Streets welcome trick-or-treaters and hand out some seriously awesome swag.

Tribeca is an acronym for the triangle below Canal Street, and as such the neighborhood has fairly specific borders: Canal Street to the north and Vesey Street to the south between West Street and Broadway. This month, we'll offer an in-depth look at everything Tribeca has to offer families, including our favorites spots to eat, play, shop and our top 30 things to do with kids in the neighborhood.

If you live in the area or are thinking of moving there, join Hudson River Park Mamas (HRPMamas), a terrific social group for downtown families, and bookmark Tribeca Citizen, a website and newsletter that will keep you in the loop about everything going on in the 'hood.

  1. Visit the heart of family-friendly Tribeca, Washington Market Park, to run amok on its giant play structures and grassy lawn
  2. Watch the Great Ragidy Supreme perform amazing tricks during French bistro Cercle Rouge's magic brunch on weekends
  3. Have a special-occasion-only Japanese meal at Ninja New York, the city's only ninja-themed restaurant
  4. Enjoy brunch and a family-friendly show or film at the intimate Canal Park Playhouse
  5. Explore the attraction-filled Pier 25 which boasts an awesome playground, a mini-golf course, a skatepark and beach volleyball
  6. Pose for a pic outside FDNY's Hook and Ladder Company #8, the location used as the Ghostbusters' headquarters in the classic '80s comedy. While the firehouse doesn't offer tours, the fireman are really friendly and usually don't mind letting kids poke around.
  7. Tour the historic Tug Boat Pegasus and the steam-powered lighthouse tender Lilac, which are often docked at Hudson River Park's Pier 25—check their respective websites for schedule
  8. Pick up a magic cupcake or other treat at Duane Park Patisserie and then devour it at the bakery's namesake park, one of NYC's oldest green spaces
  9. Drop in to an open art session or sign up for classes at the esteemed Church Street School for Music and Art
  10. Learn how to build custom-made robots out of everyday items at Brooklyn Robot Foundry Tribeca
  11. Peruse a wide selection of educational playthings at Boomerang Toys
  12. Handcraft a ceramic masterpiece during Tribeca Claywork's weekly Saturday Family Clay Day
  13. Or paint your own pottery on any day at Color Me Mine
  14. Drop in for FREE storytimes and toddler programs at the New Amsterdam Library
  15. Rock out for FREE at Washington Market Park's family summer concert series
  16. Stroll, cycle or roller blade the Hudson River Greenway
  17. Experience one of NYC's most immaculate members-only indoor play spots, Playgarden, by signing up for one of its open to the public Project Playdate drop-off parties
  18. Join neighborhood tot spot Downtown Community Center for access to its indoor pool and gym facilities, plus a ton of cool arts and athletic classes for toddlers to teens to adults
  19. Catch top-notch kids' theater at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center
  20. Romp in the nearby Nelson A. Rockefeller Park, a true destination playground.
  21. Mark your calendar for the neighborhood's must-see annual celebrations: the Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair and Taste of Tribeca in spring and the North River Historic Ship Festival in summer
  22. Get inspired to create at old-school fabric stores Jem Fabric Warehouse and PS Fabrics. Jem Fabric even hosts kids' classes and workshops
  23. Hang out at the local Barnes & Noble, which has an impressive children's section and hosts storytime and other events for families
  24. Grab a snack and romp in the kids' play space upstairs at Whole Foods
  25. Indulge in a shot of frosting, a glammed up sandwich cookie or delectable cupcake at Tribeca Treats
  26. Shop from a carefully curated selection of trendy baby gear, toys and apparel at Babesta
  27. Browse silly novelties and playthings at Balloon Saloon
  28. Check out handmade toys, games and crafts from all over the world at the ethereal Playing Mantis
  29. Stop in for a free craft session or browse fun and funky Japanese fashions at Bit'z Kids
  30. Chow down on plates of comfort food and scrumptious pies at Bubby's.

Read all of our posts about exploring Tribeca with kids.

Area/Neighborhood: 
location: 
Washington Market Park
314 Greenwich Street
10282 New York , NY 40° 43' 0.6132" N, 74° 0' 39.0708" W
New York
Cercle Rouge
241 West Broadway
10013 New York , NY 40° 43' 10.8984" N, 74° 0' 20.9952" W
New York
Ninja New York
25 Hudson Street
10013 New York , NY 40° 43' 1.0668" N, 74° 0' 33.678" W
New York
Canal Park Play House
508 Canal Street
10013 New York , NY 40° 43' 28.8696" N, 74° 0' 34.8948" W
New York
Hook and Ladder Company #8
14 North Moore Street
10013 New York , NY 40° 43' 10.9092" N, 74° 0' 23.9832" W
New York
Pier 25
West Street and N Moore Street
10013 New York , NY 40° 43' 13.1844" N, 74° 0' 44.2044" W
New York
Duane Park
Hudson St & Duane St
10013 New York , NY 40° 43' 2.0604" N, 74° 0' 32.7816" W
New York
Church Street School of Music and Art
72 Warren Street
10007 New York , NY 40° 42' 54.4392" N, 74° 0' 36.6012" W
New York
Color Me Mine
92 Reade Street
10013 NY , NY 40° 42' 56.394" N, 74° 0' 27.8892" W
New York
Boomerang Toys
119 West Broadway
10013 NY , NY 40° 42' 58.608" N, 74° 0' 30.4272" W
New York
Manhattan Youth's Downtown Community Center
120 Warren Street
10007 NY , NY 40° 42' 58.734" N, 74° 0' 44.2728" W
New York
New Amsterdam Library
9 Murray Street
10007 New York , NY 40° 42' 49.1364" N, 74° 0' 31.3668" W
New York
Playgarden
95 Franklin Street
10013 New York , NY 40° 43' 5.2356" N, 74° 0' 18.4896" W
New York
Tribeca Performing Arts Center
199 Chambers Street Borough of Manhattan Community College
10013 New York , NY 40° 43' 2.5212" N, 74° 0' 43.8408" W
New York
Whole Foods
270 Greenwich Street
10007 New York , NY 40° 42' 55.9116" N, 74° 0' 41.2884" W
New York
Tribeca Treats
94 Reade Street
10013 New York , NY 40° 42' 56.5056" N, 74° 0' 28.1448" W
New York
Babesta
56 Warren Street
10007 New York , NY 40° 42' 53.6292" N, 74° 0' 33.3396" W
New York
Balloon Saloon
133 West Broadway
10013 NY , NY 40° 42' 59.9256" N, 74° 0' 29.2896" W
New York
Duane Park Patisserie
179 Duane Street
10013 New York , NY 40° 43' 2.604" N, 74° 0' 36.2952" W
New York
Playing Mantis
32 N Moore Street
10013 NY , NY 40° 43' 11.262" N, 74° 0' 27.54" W
New York
Bit'z Kids
275 Greenwich Street
10007 NY , NY 40° 42' 54.6732" N, 74° 0' 39.8376" W
New York
Bubby's
120 Hudson Street
10013 NY , NY 40° 43' 11.3124" N, 74° 0' 30.402" W
New York
Barnes & Noble
97 Warren Street
10007 NY , NY 40° 42' 55.9872" N, 74° 0' 40.2588" W
New York
Jem Fabric Warehouse
355 Broadway
10013 NY , NY 40° 43' 2.4816" N, 74° 0' 15.0084" W
New York
PS Fabrics
359 Broadway
10013 NY , NY 40° 43' 3.0396" N, 74° 0' 12.5424" W
New York
Brooklyn Robot Foundry Tribeca
528 Canal Street
10013 New York , NY 40° 43' 29.676" N, 74° 0' 36.9648" W
New York