25 Fun Things To Do with NYC Kids on Columbus Day

Candytopia, a colorful candy wonderland, will thrill kids and adults alike. Photo by Jody Mercier
What's Open on Columbus Day, October 8, in NYC for Kids, Families

New York City kids have been in school for less than a month and weary parents are staring down another off-day. But don’t panic. There are plenty of New York City kid spots and activities ready to entertain you and your brood on Columbus Day, October 8.

Fall weather offers the perfect chance to hit one of New York City’s many destination playgrounds, of course, but we’ve also scoured our event calendar and museum listings, and combed through our day trip guides to put together a list of 25 things to do with the family on Columbus Day. Read on, desperate parent, read on.

1. Celebrate the country's native people with a Native American Heritage family fest at the Museum of the City of New York.

2. Book your ticket for an Instagrammable sweet outing at Candytopia.

3. Take a hike on one of these seven nature trails within city limits.

RELATED: Best Free Halloween Events for Kids in New York City


Test out the Native American snow goggles at the National Museum of the American Indian. Photo by Jason DeCrow/AP Images for Smithsonian's National Museum of the Native American

4. Visit the always-free Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, right here in NYC.


Get the perfect pumpkin and a candy apple too at Outhouse Orchards. Photo by Alexandra Sledge Dispenza

5. Pick the perfect pumpkin with a day trip to one of these nearby farms or local NYC pumpkin patches

6. Walk The High Line, end to end, and snag an ice cream from Ample Hills as a post-hike treat.

7. Get up close and personal with sharks at the recently-opened New York Aquarium Ocean Wonders: Sharks! exhibit.

8. Grab your bike (or rent one) and hit one of these family-friendly local paths.

9. Tackle a corn maze; there's even one right here in Queens.

10. Act now and book your tickets for Harry Potter: A History of Magic at the New-York Historical Society.

RELATED: October GoList: Best Things To Do this Month in NYC with Kids


There's something for everyone at Koreatown's many eateries. Photo by Nathan Linegar via Instagram.

11. Explore a new-to-you neighborhood like Koreatown or one of the other enclaves we've scouted for you, including Long Island City, Queens, or Battery Park City.

12. Read our post on seeing the Bronx Zoo like a local then head there to make some furry friends and enjoy its Boo at the Zoo festivities.

13. The Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, and Queens Zoo are also open on Columbus Day.


The Staten Island Zoo makes for a great day trip. Photo by Julienne Schaer

14. Another oft-overlooked option: the Staten Island Zoo, which is hosting a special Autism-friendly morning of fun.

15. Or try one of these nearby petting zoos for fall fun on a real farm.

16. Take it indoors and rediscover the halls of the American Museum of Natural History and check out the seasonal Butterfly Conservatory.

17. Catch the fun, and FREE, Staten Island Ferry and stick around on the island for a day of gratis admission to the Staten Island Children's Museum.


Step into a color wonderland at the Color Factory. Photo by Janet Bloom

18. Enjoy the colorful surprises and fun treats at Color Factory in Soho.

19. Venture out of the city for one of these 30 fall day trips.

20. Get creative in the kitchen with one of these apple filled recipes after a trip to a local orchard.


Catch the marching band during the Columbus Day Parade. Photo courtesy of Marine Corps New York.

21. Everyone loves a parade. Catch the Columbus Day Parade as it marches north along Fifth Avenue between 44th and 72nd Streets.

22. Finalize your Halloween costume and event schedule.

23. Celebrate Columbus Day in Prospect Park with special events for kids all afternoon. Burn off the rest of their energy with one the park's top playgrounds


Peek at the fall foliage at Wave Hill, plus falcons and more birds of prey. Photo by Joshua Bright/courtesy of Wave Hill.

24. Head to beautiful Wave Hill to take in some seasonal nature, meet some birds of prey, and enjoy a falconry presentation.

25. Hit the slide at one of our nine favorite Central Park playgrounds. Stick around afterward to explore a new-to-you corner of the park.

This post is updated annually.