Cooped up in a tiny apartment with your kids hanging off the furniture, and you, is no way to spend the winter. We know it can be hard to put on all that winter gear, head out into the cold, and hit up one of the million daily kid events happening in NYC, but we're here to help.
To inspire you, we've compiled a list of 50 awesome drop-in spots in the five boroughs, where kids can run, jump, bounce, learn, create, and get cultured. Some are even FREE.
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 one of our 40 Indoor Snow Day Boredom Busters.
Of course, you can always find more winter fun ideas in our Indoor Family Fun Guide, or even sign up for a new class.
1. Head to Museum of the Moving Image in Queens for its collection of fascinating cinematic props, ever-changing movie screenings, and cool teen-only design labs.
2. Try for a strike at one of NYC's numerous bowling alleys.
3. Go beyond bowling at Bowlmor Chelsea Piers, which also has a laser tag arena.
4. Give rock climbing a try at one of the two Brooklyn Boulders locations within city limits (Brooklyn and Queens) or another indoor climbing spot.
5. Pay for a day pass to an indoor swimming pool.
6. Even if it's too cold to skate outside, you still can twirl around an indoor ice rink.
7. Settle in for no-cost storytimes at NYC's best indie bookstores. FREE
8. Rack 'em up for a game of billiards at a family-friendly pool hall.
9. Get creative at the Children's Museum of the Arts.
10. Hit the trampolines at Staten Island's Fly High indoor bounce haven. (If you're driving, a new Sky Zone trampoline park also just opened in New Rochelle, which is about the same distance (40 minutes) if you're in Manhattan, or closer, if you're in the Bronx.)
11. Show off your best BMX or skateboard moves at Staten Island's 5050 indoor skate park, or learn to skate from one of these NYC spots.
12. Head to the New-York Historical Society for a history lesson in the art of ink and take your kids to a storytime if you've got some explaining to do. Check out all the exhibits in the excellent DiMenna Children's History Museum while you're there, and see the seasonal train display before it gets packed up in late February.
16. Put your trivia knowledge to the test with the Big Family Quiz Thing at Symphony Space.
17. Play a family game of laser tag or paintball at Indoor Extreme Sports in Long Island City or on Staten Island.
18. Become a pinball wizard at the Modern Pinball arcade in Kips Bay.
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A beauty salon is one of the many play stations at Twinkle Playspace in Brooklyn.
19. Run amok at a drop-in play space in Manhattan, Queens, or Brooklyn.
20. Head to Times Square's Madame Tussauds to play Ghostbusters in your own interactive adventure.
21. Don't forget the library! The Children's Center at 42nd Street, the central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library in Prospect Heights, and the Children’s Library Discovery Center in Jamaica, Queens, are all destinations that offer attractions beyond books. If you've been there and read that, consider a trip to the newly opened 53rd Street Library, which is ultra kid-friendly despite its Midtown location. Another fun option: Register in advance for Free Art Fridays at the Williamsburg Library.
22. Go underground to check out vintage trains and buses at the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn Heights.
23. Expand your culinary horizons with a trip to one of NYC's best indoor food courts.
24. Bring your aspiring fireman to Rockefeller Center's FDNY Fire Zone to learn about New York's Bravest. FREE
25. Drop into an open play session at board game mecca Brooklyn Strategist.
26. Get your giggle on with an outing to one of the many kid-friendly comedy shows playing this season.
27. Belt out your favorite songs at a family-friendly karaoke spot.
28. Catch the newly opened New York at its Core exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York, which hosts tons of enriching family programs complete with snacks for the kids.
29. Go on a hot cocoa crawl at the top spots in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn.
30. Learn the art of paper folding at Taro's Origami Studio in Park Slope, or one of these nearby drop-in art spots.
31. Take your tots to the Children's Museum of Manhattan before they age out. Remember, admission is FREE the first Friday evening of every month.
32. Snuggle with kittens at one of the city's cat cafes, such as Meow Parlour and The Cat's Meow, or hang at one of these indoor animal havens.
33. Grab a cup of joe and let the kids run around at Good Day Play Cafe in Bayside, Queens, or one of these five Brooklyn play cafes.
34. Pretend it's summer with a day trip to an indoor water park such as New Jersey's Sahara Sam's.
35. Enjoy a royal staycation by booking the Palace Princess Package at the Lotte New York Palace.
36. Try one of these low-key (and inexpensive) drop-in playdates with your toddler like the Little People Party in Williamsburg, Sundays at Senesh in Carroll Gardens, and ACT Indoor Playstation in Morningside Heights.
37. The Flatiron Lego Store is just a subway ride away and offers regularly scheduled building sessions. FREE...if you can convince your kids to leave empty-handed.
38. Take advantage of FREE visiting hours at your favorite museum or a new-to-you culture spot.
39. Enjoy an afternoon at the newly opened Spark play space in Dumbo, an offshoot of the Brooklyn Children's Museum.
40. Put those new year diets on pause to indulge in an outrageous dessert at one of these NYC eateries.
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Take cereal to whole new level at Kellogg's Cereal Bar. Photo by Mariko Zapf.
41. Too over the top? Go ultra simple—yet still oh-so-tasty—with a visit to the Kellogg's NYC cereal bar near Times Square.
42. Play tourist! Check out the incredible views from the Top of the Rock and the Empire State Building. You're only outside for a few minutes. For a completely climate-controlled view, visit One World Observatory.
43. Bask in the balmy indoor atrium at the Ford Foundation building or these other indoor public spaces. FREE
44. Get into shape for spring by honing your little slugger's swing at one of these nine batting cages.
45. The Museum of Natural History never disappoints. Don't miss the opportunity to see the latest exhibit, which celebrates Cuba's vibrant history.
46. Get geeky at the New York Hall of Science, or try a little makers workshop in its Design Lab.
47. Speaking of maker spaces, enjoy some drop-in maker fun at one of these eight spots.
48. Go beyond trains at Grand Central Terminal by searching for the dirt spot on the famous Constellation Ceiling, or by trying out the Whispering Gallery. FREE
49. Splurge on a mani at the Upper East Side's Milk & Cookies Spa, designed just for kids.
50. Let the kids get their crazies out at a local bounce house or ball pit.
Top image: Trampoline into a foam pool at Fly High. Photos courtesy of the venues.