NYC Winter Fun List: 40 Things To Do With Kids
Being cooped up in a tiny apartment with your kids hanging off the furniture (and you) is no way to spend the winter, especially after enduring months of stay-at-home orders. 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 a list of 40 awesome spots where kids can run, jump, bounce, learn, create, and get cultured.
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 a venue that appears too crowded, try using the “nearby” search feature on our Event Calendar to find something else to do. Keep in mind, many indoor attractions now require advance ticket purchases or timed-entry reservations, so plan accordingly.
Kids can climb the walls, literally, at Brooklyn Boulders two NYC outposts.
Indoor Places to Play This Winter
1. Give rock climbing a try at one of the two Brooklyn Boulders locations within city limits.
2. Try for a strike at one of NYC's numerous bowling alleys.
3. Even if you missed the chance to sleepover at FAO Schwarz, the toy store is a fun anytime destination to dance on the giant piano, take a socially distant selfie with a toy soldier, and browse the aisles.
RELATED: 20 Indoor Places to Play for Free
Artechouse transports visitors to a magical, blue-hued wonderland with its immersive art experience. Photo by Jody Mercier
4. Step into the blue-hued world of Celestial at Artechouse in Chelsea, then grab a snack in the heated outdoor dining section of Chelsea Market when you're done.
5. Grab a cup of joe and let the kids run around at Good Day Play Cafe in Park Slope.
Songs around a campfire are part of the cool CAMP experience. Photo by Jody Mercier
7. Check out the interactive CAMP Store in the Flatiron District or one of its other locations in Hudson Yards and Brooklyn's City Point. Not only can you score some cool gifts, but your kids will have tons of fun romping around the themed play spots.
8. Get your game on with teens and tweens at virtual reality wonderland VR World in Midtown Manhattan. Currently, only ages 9+ are admitted, and it's 21+ after 5pm.
9. Explore the Museum of Modern Art and take in all its family-friendly perks and priceless works of art.
Creative hub Playday has opened a new Cobble Hill location, where it offers the same classes, camps, and programming as its first LIC location. Photo by Diana Kim
10. Head to Playday's newest location in Cobble Hill, where children can choose from a full roster of art classes, including weaving, still life drawing, and embroidery.
11. Live in Queens? The creative hub is still humming along at its original spot in Long Island City.
12. Wander around a relatively peaceful Grand Central and explore some of the family-friendly fun within.
Edge offers a breathtaking, unobstructed view of the city from the Western Hemisphere's highest open-air observation deck. Photo by Jody Mercier
14. Snap a quirky selfie and allow your eyes to be tricked at the mind-bending Museum of Illusions.
15. The Flatiron Lego Store is just a subway ride away.
Powerhouse@IC has a well-stocked, diverse children's section.
16. Browse the shelves at Powerhouse Books' newest location.
18. 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.
19. Enjoy an afternoon at the Brooklyn Children's Museum, currently open weekends-only.
The American Museum of Natural History is full of permanent exhibits and limited-time exhibitions to entertain you time and again this winter.
21. Indulge in some over-the-top suburban fun at the long-awaited American Dream Mall. Ride the rides at Nickelodeon Universe, the waves at DreamWorks Animation Water Park, or the slopes at Big Snow. You can also hit the links with the Angry Birds or, you know, just shop in a super-sized candy store.
22. 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.
A tea party at Let's Dress Up is a perfect way to ward off winter's chill.
24. Reacquaint yourself with the galleries at the Brooklyn Museum, then grab a snack from the newly installed high-tech vending machines.
25. Head to the New York Ninja Academy in Midtown, where kids can run, jump, and kick to their heart's content.
Hit the local sledding hill for hours of fun when the flakes fly. Photo by Jody Mercier
Outdoor Places to Play For Winter Fun
26. Suit up and slide down one of the city's best sledding hills.
27. Take a twirl on an outdoor skating rink.
28. Trek through Bronx gem 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 Jody Mercier
30. Plan an outdoor art day trip to explore larger than life sculptures and breathe some fresh air.
Industry City boasts the largest outdoor dining area in NYC, plus ice skating, roller skating, quirky art, and much more.
31.Visit Brooklyn's bustling Industry City, with the city's largest outdoor heated seating area, tasty dining options, and lots of fun outdoor spaces to explore.
32. Make your plans now to hit the slopes at one of these Northeast ski resorts welcoming visitors.
33. Skiing too technical for you? Try snow tubing.
The rooftop at 230 Fifth is a stunning spot for an alfresco meal.
34. Book a table to dine in a cabin, igloo, yurt, or space pod, and support a local restaurant in the process.
36. See how many of these 40 outdoor winter activities you can conquer.
Hot chocolate bombs are a fun, tasty kitchen activity. Photo by Ally Noel
At-Home Activities for Winter Fun
37. Whip up a batch of homemade hot cocoa bombs to enjoy when the flakes start to fly.
38. Build an epic indoor fort and set up shop inside for the day.
39. Pull out the mismatched Lego pieces and try one of these 100 projects.
40. Give your brain a workout with these 64 science experiments that use common, everyday supplies.
This post, originally published in January 2010, is updated annually. Unless noted, photos courtesy of their respective venues