25 Things to Do for Mother’s Day 2018 in New York City

Family Events, Garden Brunches and More Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day with Kids in NYC
Whip up something yummy at the Taste Buds Mother's Day brunch. Photo courtesy of Taste Buds

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 13, 2018, and mothers everywhere (is it fair to say especially in NYC?) deserve to have a great weekend—and an edible, or at least Instagram-worthy, breakfast in bed. 

Depending on the success of that breakfast in bed, you might also want/need to grab brunch before launching fully into the day—and we found some great options in Manhattan and the rest of the city (not to mention delicious special events, below). Then, tummies pleasantly sated, you'll be ready to focus on the 25 excellent options we found to enhance your Mother's Day celebration.

1. Get a head start on next year's breakfast in bed by springing for a Mother's Day-themed cooking class (moms—or dads—and kids cook together). Taste Buds Kids teaches enterprising young chefs how to make yummy scones and sun tea. Older kids can sign up for the more intensive Mother's Day Brunch class. The perfect recipe for Mother's Day success!

2. Rent bikes and scoot outside to explore a nearby park. Governors Island is a great biking destination for kids, as the isle is 100% car-free. You can bring your own bike or rent one on-site. If you go, you may notice it looks more colorful than usual, thanks to remnants from the May 12 Holi Fest (also a "don't miss"). And maybe someone in the family will adopt a rose bush in your honor!

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Enjoy a special day at the New York Botanical Garden with family performances and more. Photo courtesy of the garden

3. Toast moms everywhere at the New York Botanical Garden’s annual Mother’s Day weekend-long Garden Party. On the Daffodil Hill Stage, live music and kid-friendly science performances include bluegrass tunes from Moonshine Falls and performances by Mad Science.

4. Revive your roller disco moves by going skating at one of these roller rinks around New York City.

5. Commune with the butterflies at the Natural History Museum before they flutter off for the summer.

Enjoy Wave Hill's brunch and Mother's Day party, a memorable family experience. Photo courtesy of Wave Hill

6. Leave the city behind to celebrate Mother Nature at Wave Hill’s annual Mother’s Day party. The pricey (fancy!) brunch often sells out, but you can order a tasty box lunch in advance and picnic on the grounds, or bring your own!

7. Scarf down a delicious farm-to-garden brunch at Queens Botanical Garden. Then race around the grounds, or allow the kids to do that, on your behalf.

8. Solo parenting? You're not "alone." Mommy Poppins has some thoughtful advice to help get you through the day. And you might also want to give the kid(s) a chance to prepare a gift in advance: take them to learn how early Americans used herbs and flowers and create sachets, and then let them wrap the results to present on May 13.

9. Pack everyone into the Zipcar or onto the train for one of these 25 awesome spring day trips.

10. Score a day pass to hit up one of these private NYC pools for a family swim.

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Spend Mother's Day enjoying food at the Kids Food Festival. Photo courtesy of the festival

11. The Kids Food Fest at the World Trade Center is on all weekend, May 12–13, and makes a fab Mother's Day outing. Cavort with Master Chef Kids alums (including this season's sisters from NYC, Olivia and Remy), or sign up in advance for one or two of the hands-on workshops.

12. Take in some family theater or a show. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Ballet Hispanico, The Jungle BookNeverland: Peter Returns, and Symphonie Fantastique, among others, all play Sunday. Or sit the kids in front of the Puppetsburg show while you sample a curated swath of wines at Some Good Wine near Washington Square Park.

13. Visit a brand new playground—at least, new to your family. We love Rockefeller Park, and these Central Park playgrounds make for the perfect, post-picnic stop!

14. Take your kids to play some miniature golf, and don't let them win for once. It's your day!

15. Sample the chocolate and learn the history behind your favorite sweet at Jacques Torres' Choco-Story New York, which also promises a memorable experience with classes taught by a professional chocolatier. Mothers and kids (ages 8+) can schedule a beginner chocolate making class, where they can sample their own handiwork and take their creations home. The "Museum" also offers cookie decorating for children under the age of 8.

16. Have a little chat with Harriet Tubman (or a reasonable costumed facsimile) at the New-York Historical Society's Living History event. Impress the kids by asking Harriet about her adopted daughter, Gertie!

17. Visit the zoo—maybe one you've never experienced. The Bronx Zoo is awesome, the Central Park and Prospect Park Zoos are sweet. But how about breaking with tradition and visiting the zoo in Queens or Staten Island? (Of course, if those are your go-to zoos, try the Bronx, Central Park or Prospect Park!)

18. Experience the rawther fancy atmosphere of high tea at one of these NYC destinations.

19. Try making a Mother's Day pillow or paper bouquet at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. 

20. Spend an artful morning at the Whitney Museum of American Art's Mother's Day Tour and Brunch, exploring the new Grant Wood Exhibit, American Gothic and Other Fables.

Sample some of the most creative food NYC has to offer at Smorgasburg. Photo courtesy of Smorgasburg

21. Picnic at Prospect Park after picking up something scrumptious at the weekly food extravaganza, Smorgasburg.

22. Check out the Ropes Course at Alley Pond in Queens, or head out on the park's scheduled "Super Hike."

23. Hit the lanes at kid-friendly Brooklyn Bowl and take in the music of Bob Marley (No Mama No Cry?).

24. If the weather holds, try one of these outdoor weekend festivals in Central Park: Japan Day or the (somewhat pricey) Mother's Day Celebration at the Central Park Zoo.

25. Head to one of these nearby indoor water parks, where you can lounge (indoors) next to the pool or hit the steam room, all on a day pass.

Need more ideas? Check out our Spring Fun Guide, or the just-released May GoList