25 Free Activities to Check Out During Midwinter Break

Midwinter Recess Things to Do, Free Activities, Family-Friendly Activities
Year of the Pig at the Time Warner Center. Photo by Janet Bloom

Midwinter break always seems to sneak up on me. We're barely into a post-holiday groove and yet again we've got a full week off from school to fill. While we've already rounded up 35 fun-filled activities for the week, many of them come with a high price tag. To give your budget a bit of relief, we've got 25 more ideas for the February school break that are completely FREE. Visit our Free in NYC Guide for more money-saving options for school break...or any day.

Some of these picks happen every day, while others are one-time events. Click through the links for full details.

1. Head to Prospect Park for a week full of fun, including the Backyard Bird Count, checking out discovery packs, and hearing talks about wildlife habitat building.

RELATED: Inexpensive Midwinter Break Camps


Check out Discovery Days at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Photo courtesy of BBG

2. Visit the kid-friendly Brooklyn Botanic Garden for February Break Discovery Days where you can use your senses to explore the ecosystems in the lush (read: warm) conservatories.

3. Join the Urban Park Rangers for Kids Week Activities, which will introduce your kids to the wildlife right here in the city.

4. Visit NYC's only free skating rink for a Read to Skate storytime. Not only can you nab a free book and enjoy storytime, but you can earn a free skate rental, too.

5. Speaking of storytimes, there are no-cost readings at a variety of spots in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.

RELATED: NYC Stores Offering Free (or Cheap) Classes for Kids


Arlene Shechet’s Full Steam Ahead is on view this month at Madison Square Park. courtesy of Madison Square Park

6. Explore artist Arlene Shechet's Full Steam Ahead in Madison Square Park.

7. Visit the New York Botanical Garden, which offers free grounds admission for NYC residents. While it won't get you into the orchid show, it will grant access to the family-friendly Everett Children's Adventure Garden.

8. Do some window shopping at these 14 funky stores. It doesn't cost anything to look or snap a few pics for your Instagram feed!

9. Or visit an off-beat, only-in-NYC museum. Several are completely FREE.


Explore the innovations of native people at the National Museum of the American Indian. Kayak Photo by Jason DeCrow/AP Images

10. Visit the always-free National Museum of the American Indian.


Spend a day at the Sugar Hilll Museum, then explore the neighborhood! Photo by Janet Bloom

11. Another fun spot with gratis admission (at least for the kids!) is the Sugar Hill Museum of Art and Storytelling.

12. Drop into another of New York's many cultural hubs during FREE hours.

13. Or plan in advance and reserve a Culture Pass with your library card.


Fort Greene Park has amazing sledding hills. Photo by Kate Lewis Andrews

14. Pray for a big storm so you can burn off some energy at one of these fabulous sledding hills

15. If Staten Island Chuck is right and spring comes early, hit up The High Line for a family-friendly stroll. Check out the changing face of the skyline with the rising Hudson Yards.

16. Use that adventure as inspiration for a Draw NYC program at the Chelsea Market.

17. Set sail on the FREE Staten Island Ferry.

18. Another unique form of public transit: Hop aboard the Roosevelt Island Tram and soar above the city streets and the East River. This costs the price of MetroCard swipe, but the views are priceless and there's plenty to explore across the river.


Head to Flushing to experience the vibrant Lunar New Year Parade and Festival. Photo by Julienne Schaer for NYCGo

19. Celebrate the Year of the Pig with the big Lunar New Year Parade and Festival on Sunday, February 17.

20. Learn the ins and outs of ballet with a special The Beauty of Ballet performance at the Queens Theater. FREE, but reservations are required.

21. Celebrate Black History Month at the Paley Center for Media's Family Screenings, which pay homage to important moments in African-American television history, plus Motown's 60th anniversary.

22. Get some face time with the animals at NYC's only working farm, the Queens County Farm Museum.

23. Catch a performance during the New York Half Moon Sword Dance Festival, which offers performances throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan.


CAMP is an all-around winning destination for kids and adults. Photo by Janet Bloom

24. Check out the interactive CAMP Store in the Flatiron District before it abandons its Base Camp theme next month!

25. Dance on the piano at FAO Schwarz or visit one of these other stores where kids play for FREE.