Midwinter Break: 25 Fun Things To Do in NYC With Kids
Time seems to be both standing still and flying by, but for many families, the February Midwinter Break is a great time to slow down and create some special memories. The NYC public school Midwinter Break runs from Monday, February 21-Friday, February 25, 2022. Sandwiched between two weekends, that means you've got nine days to fill with kid-friendly fun! To help you make the most of the February vacation, we've rounded up 25 things to do with kids across all five boroughs.
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Be sure to check with each venue for its COVID guidelines and requirements before heading out to any event, and read more about local public safety protocols here; some events are getting canceled or postponed at the last minute due to the latest COVID surge, so always confirm details before departing.
1. Go Bowling
Indulge in some family-friendly competition at these local bowling alleys.
Recess Dumbo offers open play hours by reservation.
These indoor play spaces are spread across Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens, and offer ample room to run and burn off some energy.
Richly colored tapestries and delicate porcelain are displayed alongside artifacts from the Walt Disney Collection in this pop-culture-meets-fine-arts display at The Met.
The Met isn't the only local museum hosting a Disney-themed exhibition: The National Jazz Museum in Harlem offers visitors a history of the genre with the help of Joe Gardner of Soul fame, shining a light on cool artifacts like Duke Ellington's white grand piano.
Get an awe-inspiring look at sharks at the American Museum of Natural History. Photo courtesy of AMNH
Head to the kid-favorite American Museum of Natural History to take a deep dive into the world of sharks with this exhibition that aims to answer whether they are hunters or the hunted.
Park Slope's Puppetworks presents the classic tale with its famed marionettes and a "live" Beast.
Book your tickets in advance for the chance to climb aboard the limited-time-only ice bumper cars at Bryant Park. If your kids are too little, consider skating instead—it's the only FREE rink in the city!
It's always 86 degrees at Aquatopia. Photo by Matt Nighswander
Fish out your bathing suit and head to an indoor water park. There are plenty well-suited for a day trip, such as the massive ones at Kalahari Resorts or Aquatopia in the Poconos, or you can plan a multi-day adventure to Rocking Horse Ranch or The Kartrite.
Foster creativity by enrolling in a three-hour drop-off session at The Paint Place, where instructors lead kids ages 6-11 through a variety of projects.
If you haven't explored winter fun on Governors Island, this is a great excuse to hop on the ferry and see what the wintertime buzz is all about.
The Orchid Show brings some tropical appeal to the winter season at the New York Botanical Garden. Photo by Jody Mercier
For a taste of the tropics without leaving the five boroughs, head to the New York Botanical Garden's Annual Orchid Show, which opens Saturday, February 26.
Book a stay at one of these family-friendly Catskills resorts. Whether you're craving winter sports or water park thrills, we've got a pick for you.
These cool indoor public spaces offer respite from the elements, plus fun perks like kid-friendly eats, artwork, and more.
The Lunar New Year Parade ushers in Midwinter Break—and the Year of the Tiger on Sunday, February 20. Photo courtesy of Better Chinatown
Chinatown is the place to be on Sunday, February 20, when the Lunar New Year Parade marches through the neighborhood's streets to usher in the Year of the Tiger with a colorful pan-Asian procession and throngs of cheering spectators.
15. Hit the Pool
No, not the wet-and-wild kind—the bright and artistic kind! Artist Jen Lewin's popular exhibition returns to the city following last year's Domino Park run at Industry City, where it lights up the night sky daily.
This is one of our favorite annual traditions and we're so please it's back! Not only can you explore the World War II-era aircraft carrier, but its hanger is turned into a veritable wonderland of kid-friendly activities, experiences, and live entertainment.
A blooming hot cocoa is a destination-worthy treat at Dominique Ansel Workshop. Photo by Jody Mercier
If the cold's too much, head to one of these cafes, bakeries, and chocolatiers for a steamy hot cup of cocoa-y goodness.
18. Hit the Ice
Lace up your skates and enjoy the crisp winter air at one of NYC's outdoor ice skating rinks, including new options at Manhattan West, Brooklyn Commons, and on the roof of the Brooklyn Children's Museum.
19. See Air Play
Live performances are back at The New Victory and this one is bound to be a blast with the globetrotting Acrobuffs taking flight and defying gravity.
Hit the slopes at Camelback for a Midwinter Break getaway. Photo by Matt Nighswander
20. Hit the Slopes
Gear up for some winter fun at these downhill skiing destinations or shred at one of these snowboarding parks within driving distance.
The beloved Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater reopens just in time for break, brining with it a new puppet adaptation of Sleeping Beauty, in which its home 'hood plays a starring role.
Not only are NYC's public libraries cool spots to hang out—but having a library card grants you gratis access to more than 66 cultural institutions. Be sure to reserve your FREE passes for February break now, though!
Camelback offers snow tubing after dark. Photo courtesy of the Camelback Lodge and Indoor Water Park
23. Go Snow Tubing
Snow tubing is another great winter getaway. Bonus: It's easier than skiing and requires much less gear.
One of our favorite family-friendly openings in 2021 this observation deck boasts stunning views and cool, reflective artwork.
RELATED: Winter Fun Guide for NYC Kids
Pray for a snow day so you can hit the sledding hills! Photo by Sara Marentette
If the fresh powder flies in the city, check out one of our favorite sledding hills.
If you've done all of the above, maybe it's time to revisit our list of the 100 things to do with NYC kids before they grow up!
Unless noted, all photos courtesy of the respective venues
A version of this story was published in 2018; it is updated annually.