Free and Cheap Indoor Movies for NYC Kids
[UPDATED: JANUARY 14, 2013]
During the winter, families try to pack their free time with stimulating activities to keep out the stir-crazy. Museums, shows and of course movies are always a good bet. But before you go into hock taking the kids to your local cineplex, did you know that you can catch family movies for free (or on the cheap) throughout the year? Here are six great places where you can see no-cost or inexpensive flicks, making your "free" days a little freer.
The Moxie Spot – Cobble Hill
81 Atlantic Avenue near Hicks Street
We recently wrote about what a great place this is to play. Its jam-packed calendar includes a Family Film Night on Fridays at 6:15pm. Catch a couple of shorts followed by a family feature, like The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Lion King or Winnie the Pooh. Although the screenings are free, families are encouraged to buy dinner.
Museum of Modern Art – Midtown West
11 West 53rd Street Fifth and Sixth Avenues
On select Saturdays at MoMA, families can enjoy a children's film, followed by a discussion with a museum educator. The screenings are free and include admission to the museum for up to two adults and three kids. All programs have a suggested age range. Complimentary tickets are given out on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the show.
Sony Wonder Technology Lab – Midtown East
550 Madison Avenue between 55th and 56th Streets
We're longtime fans of this no-cost, interactive museum. In addition to all of its cool technological attractions, Sony Wonder has an awesome HD theater, which screens features like The Polar Express and Alice in Wonderland, and episodes of Sesame Street, Dora and other preschooler favorites. Screenings are free, but the theater only has 73 seats, so it's first-come, first-serve. Visit the website for the schedule.
Another great place to find free movies is your local library. Lots of branches show a variety of films for children and toddlers. See all children's activities on the NYPL calendar or the Brooklyn Public Library site. The Queens Library system also shows free movies. Check its event calendar for details.
Museum of the Moving Image – Astoria
36-01 35 Avenue between 36th and 37th Streets
Most screenings are free with admission: $12 for adults, $6 children ages 3-18, free for kids under 3.
This Queens institution underwent a massive renovation in 2011, and one of its additions was a state-of-the-art, 267-seat theater. Although not all of the screenings are for families, many are kid-friendly, especially the ones shown in conjunction with its The Art of Rise of the Guardians exhibit, which is on view through March 3. Visit the website for the schedule. Note: Some screenings cost extra, but most are free with admission.
AMC Theatres – Citywide
Did you know you can pay just six or seven bucks (depending on neighborhood) for screenings that start before noon at all NYC AMC Theatres year-round? Well it's true. We covered this and other deals in our Free and Cheap Summer Movies post. 3D and IMAX cost extra.
Also, see our post about Film Festivals for NYC Kids, which includes info about Lincoln Center's Family Film program ($6 per ticket), Film Forum Jr.: Classics For Kids and Their Families ($7 a ticket) and other low-cost movie series for children.
Find out about lots of other great indoor places in our Indoor Activity Guide.