30 Favorite Places to Have Fun Indoors in New York City
[UPDATED: JANUARY 7, 2013]
We recently asked readers to recommend some of their favorite places for families in New York City. This week we'll be posting some round-ups that include your favorite places and ours. We've already posted 20 favorite family-friendly restaurants and now we're sharing 30 fun spots for indoor play when the weather is too cold, hot or rainy. Make this your to-do list for the winter and you're guaranteed to keep busy and entertained, no matter how brutal the weather gets.
Got a favorite place that didn't make the list? Please add it to the comments below—we'd love to hear additional suggestions!
Stores and Restaurants:
Toys R Us Times Square A trip here is like visiting an amusement park. From the 60-feet Ferris wheel to the life-sized T-Rex dinosaur, there's plenty to keep your kids occupied for a while. Little ones will enjoy the train table and gigantic Barbie dollhouse.
Barnes & Noble A wonderful spot for reading new books and playing with toys. Several locations offer children's events such as storytime too.
The Shops at Columbus Circle You can run around the large space, snack on delicious desserts at Bouchon Bakery, wander around the stores or eat/shop at Whole Foods Market.
The Apple Store Check out the latest Apple products, play computer games and even attend free workshops for kids.
IKEA Cheap! Ferry! Fun! Free! (unless you buy something) Kids love exploring the store and playing in the staged areas. And kids' meals in the restaurant are seriously cheap (and even free on Tuesdays).
Someplace Special in the Bronx. Great place for kids' haircuts and a warm spot to play in the winter. Open Sundays and Mondays only.
The Moxie Spot A restaurant/playspace on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. Open every day, kid-friendly menu, designated play area and lots of special events such as movie night and bingo night. The staff is great and it's clean enough not to worry if the kids are rolling around on the ground. Great birthday party locale too!
Books of Wonder Excellent place and educational at the same time. They have wonderful books, great staff, and lots of special events such as storytime and author signings. It's so cozy, warm and welcoming.
Wiggles & Giggles Playhouse This bright and inviting spot is owned by a neighborhood mom. They offer drop-in playtime, as well as classes for both kids and adults.
City Treehouse This super-fun play space in Chelsea features a two-story treehouse, along with several water features for interactive play.
ACT Indoor Playstation A large gym with slides, balls and safe places to crawl for kids under 5. Plus, the open sessions are only $6 per child!
Astoria's awesome Kids Playhouse is one of the cheapest play spaces in NYC. It's spacious, clean and full of different activities to occupy kids of all ages. It's also a popular spot for birthday parties.
Museums and Cultural Programs:
The Discovery Room at American Museum of Natural History where the kids can touch and play with everything in the room, and get a behind-the-scenes look at science. They also have storytime for preschool age children.
Brooklyn Children's Museum My kids never want to leave with all the different things to discover at this museum! One of our favorites is the pizza parlor. There's also a special area just for kids under 5, with lots of interactive fun.
Another favorite is the New York Transit Museum—my three sons are huge train fans and have spent hours exploring the vintage subway cars.
Guggenheim Our four-year-old son was just amazed with the structure and the art. We also really enjoyed all the kiddie activities they organized on Family Day!
Egyptian Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art One of our favorite spots at the Met. Mummies, tombs, fancy jewelry and a little bit of open space.
Madame Tussauds Check out your family's favorite celebrities at Times Square's wax museum.
New York Hall of Science A great place to hang out all day. We also love the outdoor playground in the summer.
New York Chinese Cultural Center This fabulous institution offers great family activities and events.
Dweck Center at Brooklyn Public Library for free public programs such as dance performances and children's theater.
FDNY Fire Zone Kids can climb on a fire truck, try on gear and learn all about fire safety from a real fireman at this hands-on exhibit.
The Forbes Galleries on Fifth Avenue at 12th Street. Malcolm Forbes' personal collection of 12,000 toy soldiers is enough to make kids go bonkers. And best of all? Admission is free!
The Children's Museum of the Arts is always great for indoor fun, especially the Ball Pond.
The YMCA offers many classes for kids such as swimming, dance and karate. Our family membership allows the adults and children to remain active with all the classes offered, as well as the gym. There are many locations throughout the city.
For more indoor fun, check out our Indoor Activity Guide.