40 Best Things To Do this Winter in NYC 2023: Our Winter Fun List
When it comes to the best things to do this winter in NYC one thing is certain: Being cooped up in a tiny apartment with your kids hanging off the furniture (and you) is no way to spend the season. We know it can be hard to put on all that winter gear, head out into the cold, and hit up one of the dozens of daily kid-friendly events happening in NYC, but we're here to help. To inspire winter fun, we've compiled this list of 40 awesome things to do. Our picks include spots where kids can run, jump, bounce, learn, create, and get cultured.
Still not willing to open that door? Try one of these indoor craft projects at home as a family to keep those little hands busy or tackle one of our indoor snow day boredom busters. Of course, you can find more fun, seasonal ideas in our Indoor Family Fun Guide or enjoy the great outdoors with the picks in our Winter Fun Guide.
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1. Go Bowling
Try for a strike at one of NYC's numerous bowling alleys.
2. Hang Out a Toy Store
FAO Schwarz is a fun anytime destination to dance on the giant piano, take a socially distant selfie with a toy soldier, browse the aisles, and see a few amazing magic demos.
RELATED: 20 Indoor Places to Play for FREE
Kids can climb the walls at Brooklyn Boulders or another indoor rock climbing or bouldering gym in NYC.
3. Climb Some Walls and Boulders
Give rock climbing a try at one of these rock-climbing gyms within city limits.
4. Let Kids Have Fun at a Play Cafe
Grab a cup of joe and let the kids run around at a play cafe.
5. Check Out a World-Class Museum
Artechouse transports visitors to a magical wonderland with its immersive art experiences. Photo courtesy Artechouse
6. Experience Immersive Art
7. Indulge in a Sensory Experience
8. Go "Camping"
9. Lose Yourself in Virtual Reality
Creative hub Playday has Cobble Hill and LIC locations. Photo by Diana Kim
10. Visit an Art-centric Play Space
Head to Playday's location in Cobble Hill, where children can choose from a full roster of art classes, including weaving, still life drawing, and embroidery. Live in Queens? The creative hub is still humming along at its original spot in Long Island City.
11. Explore Grand Central
Wander around a relatively peaceful Grand Central and explore some of the family-friendly fun within.
12. Skate and Play
Brooklyn's bustling Industry City is always fun, but we're hosting a skate-and-play session every Thursday all winter long where $20 nabs you rental skates, plus unlimited time on the rink and in the game room all evening long.
Summit One Vanderbilt's observation deck in NYC brings stunning skyline views inside. Photo by Diana Kim
13. Take in the Views
14. Build Legos
15. Go for a Spin
Hop on one of NYC's beautiful, spinning carousels. Many are open year-round and nestled in some of our favorite parks.
The photo-ops at the Museum of Illusions will bend your mind. Photo by author
16. Enter the Amazing World of Illusions
Snap a quirky selfie and allow your eyes to be tricked at the mind-bending Museum of Illusions.
17. Learn More About New York City
Visit the charming Museum of the City of New York for an array of family-friendly exhibitions.
18. Hit Some Balls
Get into shape for spring by honing your little slugger's swing at one of these batting cages. Be sure to book your session in advance.
Powerhouse@IC has a well-stocked, diverse children's section. Photo by Diana Kim
19. Hang Out at a Bookstore
20. Visit a Children's Museum
21. Explore AMNH
The American Museum of Natural History never disappoints.
Go under the sea at the Sea Life Aquarium at American Dream Mall. Photo by the author
22. Spend a Day at the Mall
Indulge in some over-the-top suburban fun at the action-packed American Dream Mall. Ride the rides at Nickelodeon Universe or the waves at DreamWorks Animation Water Park. You can also hit the links with the Angry Birds, explore the Sea Life Aquarium and Legoland Discovery Center, or, you know, just shop in a super-sized candy store or two-story Toys R Us.
23. Be a Spy For a Day
Plan a secret mission to the Spyscape Museum where young special-ops can try their hand at interactive challenges, learn all about true spy stories, and engage with high-tech interactives.
24. Jump Around on a Trampoline
Have kids beat the winter doldrums by jumping and playing at indoor trampoline parks.
A tea party at Let's Dress Up is a perfect way to ward off winter's chill. Photo by the author
25. Play Dress-up
Book an afternoon of princess play fun at Let's Dress Up which has locations on the Upper East Side and in Chelsea.
26. Visit the Brooklyn Museum
Reacquaint yourself with the galleries at the Brooklyn Museum.
27. Be a Ninja for a Day
Hit the local sledding hill for hours of fun when the flakes fly. Photo by author
28. Go Sledding
Suit up and slide down one of the city's best sledding hills.
29. Glide on Ice Skates
Take a twirl on an outdoor skating rink.
30. Explore Nature
Trek through the Bronx gem of Van Cortlandt Park to hike some of the prettiest trails in or out of the city.
See NYC's leading lady without all the tourists. Photo by author
31. Play Tourist
32. Take a Day Trip to See Art
Plan an outdoor art day trip to explore larger-than-life sculptures and breathe some fresh air.
33. Take the Family to a Broadway Show
Mount Peter, in the heart of the Hudson Valley, is a great place for beginning skiers.
34. Hit the Slopes
Make your plans now to hit the slopes at one of these local-ish ski areas.
36. Go Snow Tubing
If skiing is too technical for you, try snow tubing.
36. Take a Hike
Take a spin on the ice at the Governors Island Winter Village. Photo by Danielle Wilson
37. Spend a Day at the Governors Island Winter Village
There's a ton of stuff to do at the Governors Island Winter Village, including a 5,000-square-foot skating rink, seasonal activities, festive winter lights, games, and food and drinks alongside warming fire pits.
38. Book a Staycation
Have a holiday at one of these family-friendly hotels without even leaving New York.
39. Or Hop On a Train For a Daycation
Explore one of these nearby towns or attractions, even without a car.
40. Spend the Day Outside
See how many of these 40 outdoor winter activities you can conquer.
This post, originally published in January 2010, is updated annually.
Unless noted, photos courtesy of their respective venues