NYC Bowling Alleys: Where to Bowl with Kids in New York City
Bowling is the perfect indoor activity when you find yourself with some spare time (sorry). It keeps you out of the cold during the winter and basking in air conditioning in summer. And starting around age 5, kids really get into it.
There are traditional bowling alleys (think leagues, snack bars, pro shops) in the outer boroughs, but in Manhattan, most are luxe lounges with amenities like bottle service, fine dining, dress codes and age restrictions. Don’t worry though: Kids can still bowl in the borough—you just have to know when to go. Bowling birthday parties are also great for the school-age set and most venues offer packages.
Read on for our roundup of bowling alleys (and lounges) in New York City.
Manhattan bowling alleys are scene-y and kids are not allowed after dark. Kids and families are welcome to the alleys during daytime hours before the age restrictions kick in. Although these alleys offer walk up bowling it is best to make a reservation if you want to bowl after 5 pm or in a large group. They offer great kids' birthday parties during specific times and will put bumpers up in the gutters to ensure no gutter balls—just ask. And like most things in Gotham, bowling is a little pricey and a little over the top, if you are looking for a more authentic bowling experience you may want to head to a different borough.
Frames Bowling Lounge – Midtown West
550 Ninth Avenue between 40th and 41st Streets
Low-key Leisure Time, the bowling alley in the Port Authority Bus Terminal, transformed into this swanky bowling lounge a few years back with a bistro, a game room and a dance club. Before 5pm, families are welcome to grab one of the 27 lanes. Food is available at the bistro but the menu is a little fancy for kids—the macaroni and cheese is made with Pecorino and truffles. Some kids may eat that but mine won’t.
Age Restrictions: 21 and up after 8pm daily
Family Special: One hour of bowling including shoes, one large pizza, chicken fingers, and soda or juice for $24.95 per person, minimum of four people, Monday through Saturday before 5pm and all day on Sunday.
Bowlmor Union Square – Union Square
110 University Place between 12th and 13th Streets
The granddaddy of Manhattan bowling alleys, Bowlmor has been around since the 1930s. (Back in the 1980s, the Stray Cats filmed their "Rock this Town" video here.) The Union Square location offers glow-in-the-dark bowling (a little overstimulating for me but my son loved it) in its multilevel, 42-lane alley. The food is good, too—the playful menu was conceived by chef David Burke.
Age Restrictions: Over 17 after 7pm daily
Family Special: None but keep an eye out for Groupons or other deals. I've used many here.
Bowlmor Times Square – Midtown West
222 West 44th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues
Ultra-cool and eye-popping, the midtown Bowlmor features 50 lanes in seven NYC-themed lounges. Kids will love banging a giant gong in the Chinatown area or warming up by the fire in the Central Park section. There's also a massive two-story sports bar onsite and Chef Burke’s delicious food can be delivered to your lane. Advance reservations suggested.
Age Restrictions: 21 and up after 8pm daily
Family Special: None but like the Union Square location, you'll often find Groupons or other deals.
Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge – Midtown West
624-660 West 42nd Street near 12th Avenue
This swanky Hollywood import offers 26 lanes of bowling plus billiard tables and local art on the walls.
Age Restrictions: 21 and up after 5:30pm Monday through Friday; after 7pm on weekends
Bowlmor Chelsea Piers – Chelsea
Chelsea Piers, Pier 60 at 23rd Street and the West Side Highway
Formerly known as 300 New York, national chain Bowlmor took over this alley in summer 2013. You'll find all the usual Bowlmor amenities including 40 lanes with flat-screens blaring music videos, and superior bar food. There's still a video game area though you can no longer win tickets to redeem for prizes. Unfortunately 300 New York's free summer bowling program for kids has been discontinued.
Age Restrictions: 21 and up after 10pm
Sadly, Harlem Lanes closed in August, 2012.
Brooklyn Bowl – Williamsburg
61 Wythe Avenue between North 11th and North 12th Streets
A true hipster haven with 16 lanes of bowling, live concerts and great eats like French bread pizza and fried chicken by Blue Ribbon. Most of the time it's adults only but there are family hours on weekends.
Age Restrictions: 21 and up except noon to 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Sometimes there are also free family concerts.
Strike 10 Lanes – Mill Basin
6161 Strickland Avenue near Mill Avenue
Formerly known as Gil Hodges Lanes, this bowling alley offers leagues for adults and children, Friday night glow bowling and other fun.
Family Special: Two hours of bowling for up to five people including shoe rental for $59.99 Monday through Friday, and for $79.99 before 6pm on Saturday and Sunday. Be sure to check the website for other specials.
Melody Lanes – Sunset Park
461 37th Street near Fifth Avenue
Arcades, great deals and after school leagues for kids at this 26 lane joint. Glow in the dark bowling, too.
Family Special: Every night between 5 and 6:30 pm $15 per person will get you 2 games, shoes and popcorn and soda for the kids. 1 adult, 1 child minimum. Information here.
Shell Lanes – Gravesend
1 Bouck Court near MacDonald Avenue
Locals have been bowling at this 32-lane alley for more than a century! There's an arcade room and leagues for kids, too.
Maple Lanes Sadly, Maple Lanes closed in June, 2013 after 53 years!
Jib Lanes – Flushing
67-19 Parsons Boulevard near Jewel Avenue
Sister alley to the now-closed Maple Lanes, Jib boasts a pro shop, cafe, lessons for kids and free workshops and the same fun cosmic bowling with a dj that Maple offers. They also offer great specials including packages for families.
Family Special: They offer tons of lane rental packages for families and other specials that vary by time.
Whitestone Lanes – Flushing
30-05 Whitestone Expressway between Farrington Street and Linden Place
Bowling available 24 hours a day in this colorful and bright bowling alley with a snack shop, bar and pro shop.
Family Special: $19 all you can bowl specials available for $19 in the wee hours during the week and 8 am on weekends. Click here for information.
Astoria Bowl – Astoria
19-45 49th Street between 19th and 20th Avenues
Formerly known as Maric Lanes, this traditional bowling alley lies in the shadow of LaGuardia Airport pretty far from mass transit. (Thankfully there's a parking lot.) You'll find an enclosed bar, snack shop and league bowling, even for kids.
Rab’s Country Lanes – Staten Island
1600 Hylan Boulevard between Raritan and Delaware Avenues
Huge bowling alley with over 40 lanes and three private party rooms for birthdays, leagues for kids and this cool lazer maze that you can navigate like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible.
Find more indoor fun in our Inside Activity Guide.