Hop the ferry to Governors Island for a special day with mom. Photo by Matt Nighswander
Hop the ferry to Governors Island for a special day with mom. Photo by Matt Nighswander

20 Things to Do for Mother’s Day 2021 in New York City

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 9, 2021, and mothers everywhere (especially in the midst of a pandemic) deserve a great weekend—and an edible, or at least Instagram-worthy, breakfast in bed.

Depending on the success of that meal, you might also want/need to grab brunch before launching fully into the day, and we found some great options citywide. When tummies are pleasantly sated, you'll be ready to focus on the 25 excellent options we found to enhance your Mother's Day celebration.

Editor's note: While we are trying to promote safer activities that occur outdoors or with social distancing guidelines in place, please keep your family and others safe by always wearing a mask and maintaining an appropriate distance. If you arrive at an event that appears too crowded, try using the “nearby” search feature on our Event Calendar to find something else to do.

1. Get Your Hands Dirty

Visit the Urban Farm at Randall's Island during Exploration Days, where the whole family can meet the chickens and check out the farm's crops, including rice paddies and herbs.


2. Bike Together

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. Who knows, maybe someone in the family will adopt a rose bush in your honor.

RELATED: Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms as a Family in NYC

The Native Plant Garden at NYBG
Enjoy a special day at the New York Botanical Garden. Photo by Jody Mercier

3. Enjoy Some Outdoor Art

Take mom to the New York Botanical Garden to view Yayoi Kusama's newly opened exhibition: Kusama: Cosmic Nature featuring the artist's whimsical sculptures scattered throughout the garden. Advance reservations required.

4. Go Skating

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

5. Fly Solo

If you're facing Mother's Day as a solo parent, 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 kids a chance to prepare a gift in advance, like picture frames or paper flowers.

6. Get (Slightly) Out of Town

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

RELATED: Best Carousels in NYC: 13 Merry-Go-Rounds City Kids Love

Family picnicing at Wave Hill for Mother's Day
Enjoy Wave Hill's craft and Picnic Day for a memorable family experience. Photo by Joshua Bright

7. Craft and Picnic at Wave Hill

Leave the city behind to celebrate Mother Nature at Wave Hill. Enjoy a family art project together (reservations required). Then pick up a tasty lunch at the cafe for a picnic on the grounds, or bring your own!

8. Take in Some Family Theater

The Wizard of Oz featuring an original score and marionettes plays at Park Slope's Puppetworks.

9. Go Out and Play

Visit one of the 10 newly renovated playgrounds around NYC, like Bensonhurst Park Playground and Joseph C. Sauer Park in the East Village.

RELATED: 15 Best Places for Family Playtime in NYC

See the blossoms at the Queens Botanical Garden on Mother's Day
Blooms real and fake take over the Queens Botanical Garden during Flower Patch. Photo by Eryn Hatzithomas

10. Find Some Flowers

Head to the Floral Patch at the Queens Botanical Garden to view unique floral and garden installations that create a stunning immersive environment, not to mention a perfect backdrop for photos. Visitors can also take home their own pot of flowers and a floral-themed grab-and-go craft activity kit. Advance tickets required.

11. Have a Family Race

Conquer a (toddler-friendly) obstacle course with mom, make a craft, grab a goodie bag, and then stay on at Riverside Park to enjoy the rest of the day.

12. Celebrate the Return of the Flower Show

Make Macy's Annual Flower Show your destination to peep some flowers. This year's theme is a celebration of fortitude.

13. Make a Splash

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.

RELATED: Petting Zoos Near NYC Where Kids Can See Farm Animals

Mini-golf course at Brooklyn Crab
Hit the (mini) links with your little ones for a little putt-putt golf. Photo by Janet Bloom

14. Putt-Putt for the Win

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

15. Visit a New-to-You Zoo

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.)

16. Spring for a Splurge

Book a fancy Mother's Day cruise for the whole family with a full dinner and amazing Manhattan skyline views.

17. Visit a Farm in the City

Check out the Aviator Sports Center's Mother's Day event featuring farm animals, a hay wagon slide, a farm playground, and lots of open areas for picnics.

RELATED: Governors Island in 2021: Best Things To Do With Kids

Child drinking tea at Lady Mendls
Forget brunch and indulge in a fancy tea instead. Photo by Janet Bloom

18. Raise a Pinky

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

19. Visit a Museum

See what everyone's been talking about at the KAWS: What Party exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.

20. Challenge Yourself

Check out the rope courses and zip lines at one of the adventure parks in and around NYC.

Need more ideas? Check out our Spring Fun Guide or the just-updated list of the best things to do in May.

This post, originally published in 2013, is updated annually.

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