20 Fun Things To Do with NYC Kids on Election Day

No school means the kids get to vote with you! Photo by Kate Lewis Andrews
What's Open on Election Day, November 6, 2018 in NYC for Kids, Families

New York City kids get a day off from school on November 6, 2018, and it might just be the perfect day for an accompanying adult to call in sick (or civic!). Fall weather usually provides perfect temps for hitting up one of New York City’s many destination playgrounds, and we’ve also scoured our event and museum listings, and combed through our day trip guides to put together a list of 20 great things to do on Election Day—even though this one is "only" a midterm. 

If you're among the many (if not most) parents who have to work one way or another on Tuesday November 6, check out our directory for the many mini camps around the city offered on Election Day. And while you're at it, peruse our November GoList, our Fall Fun Guide, and our list of free family events in November for an action packed November beyond Tuesday.

Read on for 20 ideas on how to spend the day—and maybe hold a family vote to choose one or two.

1. Visit Federal Hall (26 Wall Street) where the first United States Congress met, George Washington was inaugurated President in 1789, and the Bill of Rights was passed. Even though the building is not the same (this one was built in 1842) you can catch a glimpse of the Bible George Washington used on his inauguration day, and take a photo with George's statue on the front steps.

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

3. Take a guided tour of the Metropolitan Museum's American Paintings and Sculpture—offered FREE with museum admission on Tuesdays at 12:15pm.

Check out the cool sculptures made all from cans and bring a few cans of food to donate at Brookfield Place's Canstruction. Photo courtesy of Brookfield Arts

4. Check out the crazy canned food sculptures that make up Canstruction at Brookfield Place (bring along some cans of food to donate), and then hit some of the cool playgrounds and attractions in Battery Park City.

RELATED: November GoList: Best Things to Do This Month in NYC

Watch the Sea Lions perform at The Prospect Zoo. Photo by Louise Finnell

5. Visit the Bronx Zoo, the Central Park Zoo, the Prospect Park Zoo, or the Queens Zoo. The New York Aquarium is open on Election Day, too.

6. Toss a little history into the mix on a walking tour that explores the early days of Wall Street and the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam.

7. Head to the rink at Bryant Park to get lessons from professional skating coaches. If the weather doesn't comply, don't worry: Bryant Park's winter village offers loads of fun. If you're desperate to skate anywhere, whatever the weather, see our guide to nine outdoor rinks around the city.

8. Modern dance fans will find Simone Forti's Dance Constructions fascinating. Take a peek at Body Isek Kingalez's mesmerizing City Dreams while you're at the Museum of Modern Art.

RELATED: Guide to Thanksgiving and the Big Parade in NYC

Get up close with the butterflies at the American Museum of Natural History. Photo by D. Finnin.

9. The Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History re-opened in October, and remains one of those do-at-least-once-in-NYC activities. If you haven't been, now's your chance!

10. Explore the democratic process and civic engagement by voting on a new name for a museum animal and writing to elected officials about our dreams for our communities at the Brooklyn Children's Museum's Election Day celebration.

11. Prospect Park rolls out the red carpet on Election Day, inviting kids to vote for their favorite candidates, and offering animal encounters and nature programs. Or burn off energy at any one of Prospect Park's top playgrounds

12. If the weather takes a turn for the worse, or even if it doesn't, check out our list of the top 13 indoor play spaces in New York City.

13. The Museum of the Chinese in America and the Museum of the American Indian are both open on Election Day. Visit one or both!

Visit I Lift My Lamp Beside the Golden Door by Dorothy Iannone at the Highline. Photo by Timothy Shenck

14. Stroll the High Line and keep an eye peeled for artist Dorothy Iannone's homage to the Statue of Liberty, titled I Lift My Lamp Beside the Golden Door. Bring a copy of Emma Lazarus' famous poem with  you and talk about what it means to you.

15. Barnes and Noble stores all over the city are hosting Mini Maker Faires with hands-on activities for kids than range from Virtual Reality to 3D printing.

16. Staten Island's Snug Harbor goes all in for election day, with a walk-in workshop that invites kids to create campaign stickers.

17. Jump on the slides at one of our nine favorite Central Park playgrounds. Stick around afterward to explore a new-to-you corner of the park.

18. The Museum at Eldridge Street hosts a special neighborhood walking tour & scavenger hunt that takes you to some of the spots that Lower East Side kids in the early 1900s knew and loved.

19. Your library is open! The Manhattan main branch hosts The Lions Lego Zone. Check out what's going on a your local branch, of just check out some books about America and the Democratic process.

20. VOTE! You are allowed to bring children under 18 with you into the voting booth in every state in the country. And you can even let them cast your ballot for you (after you fill it in). What's not allowed? Selfies. Wait till you're outside to snap a commemorative photo.

A version of this post was published in 2016; it has since been updated. Andy Fenwick contributed additional reporting.