49 Best Things To Do this Winter in NYC 2024

Artechouse transports visitors to a magical wonderland with its immersive art experience. Photo courtesy Artechouse
Artechouse transports visitors to a magical wonderland with its immersive art experience. Photo courtesy Artechouse
1/14/24 - By Jody Mercier

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 49 awesome things to do in NYC this winter. 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 Guide to Indoor Family Fun or enjoy the great outdoors with the picks in our Winter Fun Guide.


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Best Things To Do in NYC this Winter with Kids

1. Go Bowling

Try for a strike at one of NYC's numerous bowling alleys.

2. FAO Schwarz

FAO Schwarz is a fun anytime destination to dance on the giant piano, take a selfie with a toy soldier, browse the aisles, and see a few amazing magic demos.

3. Rock Climbing

Give rock climbing a try at one of these rock-climbing gyms within city limits.

4. Visit a Play Cafe

Grab a cup of joe and let the kids run around at a play cafe.

5. Lunar New Year Parade

Line the streets of Chinatown to cheer on the dragon dancers and usher in the Year of the Dragon at the annual Lunar New Year Parade on Sunday, February 25. FREE

RELATED: 26 Free Indoor Places to Play in NYC

One World Observatory
One World Observatory is an indoor observation deck experience that offers plenty of cool tech to engage with. Photo by author

6. Visit an Observation Deck

Play tourist, and check out the best observation decks in NYC. Choose views from the Top of the Rock, which just debuted a new attraction, The Beam, the Empire State Building, One World Observatory, Edge at Hudson Yards, or Summit One Vanderbilt.

7. Check Out a World-Class Museum

Explore the Museum of Modern Art and take in all its family-friendly perks and priceless works of art. The Met is always a crowd-pleaser and has a brand-new FREE play space. The Whitney is perfect for older kids.

8. Experience Immersive Art

Step into the immersive art experience at Artechouse in Chelsea or visit the colorful Hall des Lumières in Lower Manhattan. A brand-new option, Mercer Labs, just opened, and we can't wait to check it out.

9. Indulge in a Sensory Experience

Head to Soho for a day of slimy fun at the Sloomoo Institute or visit the nearby Museum of Ice Cream and think warm, sticky, ice-cream-melting thoughts.

10. Orchid Show at NYBG

Escape the chill of winter with the NYBG's annual ode to orchids. This year's show pays homage to Florals in Fashion and opens on Saturday, February 17.

RELATED: No-Car Skiing Day Trips: NYC-Area Ski Trips Without a Car

Things to do in NYC this winter: Museum of Illusions
The photo-ops at the Museum of Illusions will puzzle your senses. Photo by author

11. Enter the Museum of Illusions

Snap a quirky selfie and allow your eyes to be tricked at the mind-bending Museum of Illusions.

12. Play at Camp

The store with the magic door is currently hosting a Trolls experience at its flagship Fifth Avenue location in the Flatiron District. You can also see what's going on at its Hudson Yards, City Point, and Columbus Circle outposts.

13. Virtual Reality

Get your game on with teens and tweens during a virtual reality outing at one of these virtual reality arcades.

14. 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, plus it's opened new outposts in Park Slope and on the Upper West Side.

15. See the Greatest Show on Earth

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey makes a triumphant return to touring and stops at the Barclays Center from Thursday, February 22-Sunday, February 25 with an all-new, animal-free show. 

RELATED: 25 Exercise Games and Activities to Get Kids Moving

Things to do in NYC this winter: Powerhouse@IC
Powerhouse@IC has a well-stocked, diverse children's section. Photo by Diana Kim

16. Hang Out at a Bookstore

Browse the shelves at one of our favorite bookstores, Powerhouse Books in Industry City.

17. Grand Central

Outside of rush hour, you can wander around a relatively peaceful Grand Central and explore some of the family-friendly fun within.

18. Industry City

Brooklyn's bustling Industry City is always fun with lots to do (and eat); if you go on a Thursday, head to the skating rink where you'll pay only $10 for ice rink admission and rentals.

19. Build Legos

The Flatiron Lego Store is just a subway ride away, and the flagship Lego wonderland awaits at Rockefeller Center.

20. Visit a Children's Museum

Enjoy an afternoon at the Brooklyn Children's Museum. Been there, done that? Head to the Boogie Down to see the FREE Bronx Children's Museum.

21. Kids Week at the Intrepid

There's no better place to spend a day of February break than at the Intrepid's annual action-packed Kids Week. Make sure to explore all the history of this storied museum while you're there.

RELATED: 25 Winter Day Trips near NYC for Families

Best things to do in NYC this winter: Spyscape Museum
Guy Fawkes masks, often associated with the hacker group Anonymous, are displayed in a Spyscape exhibit about hacking. Photo by Ros Muggeridge

22. Spyscape Museum

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.

23. Explore AMNH

The American Museum of Natural History never disappoints. While you're there check out the Gilder Center and the newest exhibit, The Secret Life of Elephants.

24. Trampoline Park

Have kids beat the winter doldrums by jumping and playing at one of these indoor trampoline parks.

25. Visit the Brooklyn Museum

Reacquaint yourself with the galleries at the Brooklyn Museum.

26. Camptopia

It's never too early to start thinking about summer camp and this Mommy Poppins-sponsored camp fair lets families meet reps from tons of local camps while enjoying hands-on activities. Book your spot now for this event on Sunday, February 4. 

RELATED: 25 Best Things To Do in NYC with Kids this January

Things to do this winter in NYC: Let's Dress Up
A tea party at Let's Dress Up is a perfect way to ward off winter's chill. Photo by the author

27. Play at Let's 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.

28. Be a Ninja for a Day

Head to the New York Ninja Academy in Midtown or Brooklyn Ninja Academy where kids can run, jump, and kick to their heart's content.

29. Outdoor Art Parks

Plan an outdoor art day trip to explore larger-than-life sculptures and breathe some fresh air.

30. Take the Family to a Broadway Show

There are quite a few family-friendly shows on Broadway, and you can book discounted tickets directly from our calendar! Make it a full-day adventure by exploring Times Square.

31. Bessie's Big Shot

Grab your tots and head to the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre for this all-new production starring one high-flying cow.

RELATED: Cross-Country Skiing Near NYC: Where to Hit the Trails with Kids

Things to do in NYC this winter: Go sledding
Hit the local sledding hill for hours of fun when the flakes fly. Photo by author

32. Go Sledding

Suit up and slide down one of the city's best sledding hills.

33. Indoor Water Park

If you have kids who love to swim year-round, there are plenty of indoor water parks just a short drive from NYC.

34. Book a Staycation

Have a holiday at one of these family-friendly hotels without even leaving New York.

36. Museum of the City of New York

Visit the charming Museum of the City of New York for family-friendly exhibitions and programming.

37. Bryant Park Ice Bumper Cars

Bryant Park's popular annual attraction returns bringing with it a smashing good time. Be sure to book tickets in advance!

RELATEDFree Times to Visit NYC Museums, Gardens, and Zoos

 Glide, at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Enjoy a scenic skate underneath the Brooklyn Bridge while enjoying a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline. Photo by Diana Kim

38. Glide on Ice Skates

Take a twirl on an outdoor ice skating rink, including the new rink Glide, at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

39. Van Cortlandt Park

Trek through the Bronx gem of Van Cortlandt Park to hike some of the prettiest trails in or out of the city.

40. Take a Hike

Plan a day trip to explore the trails in Westchester's Minnewaska State Park or New Jersey's High Point State Park.

41. Indoor Batting Cages

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.

42. Astra Lumina

The Queens Botanical Garden has been transformed into a celestial night walk with this awesome installation, which lights up select nights through Sunday, February 11. 

RELATED: Skiing, Snowboarding, and Winter Sports Guide

Best things to do in NYC this winter: Statue of Liberty
See NYC's leading lady without all the tourists. Photo by author

43. Visit the Statue of Liberty

Hop aboard the ferry to visit the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty Museum.

44. Hop On a Train For a Daycation

Explore one of these nearby towns or attractions, even without a car.

45. Spend the Day Outside

See how many of these 40 outdoor winter activities you can conquer.

46. 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.

RELATED: 14 Inexpensive Winter Weekend Getaways Near NYC for Families

Things to do in NYC this winter: Ski at Mount Peter
Mount Peter, in the heart of the Hudson Valley, is a great place for beginning skiers.

47. Hit the Slopes

Make your plans now to hit the slopes at one of these local-ish ski areas.

48. Go Snow Tubing

If skiing is too technical for you, try snow tubing.

49. American Dream Mall

Indulge in some over-the-top suburban fun at the action-packed American Dream Mall. Ride the rides at Nickelodeon Universe, the slopes at Big Snow, 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.

This post, originally published in January 2010, is updated annually.

Unless noted, photos courtesy of their respective venues