Midwinter Break: 25 Fun Things To Do in NYC With Kids

Hit the bowling lanes for an afternoon of fun during Midwinter Break. Photo by Sara Marentette
Hit the bowling lanes for an afternoon of fun during Midwinter Break. Photo by Sara Marentette

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.

Lucky for us, most NYC museums, outdoor ice skating rinks, and playgrounds are open and make fun any day destinations.

The extra days off are also a perfect opportunity to book a getaway, and we've got picks for budget-minded escapes, family-friendly Catskills resorts, and cozy bed and breakfasts nearby.

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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 d.u.m.b.o. offers open play by reservation
Recess Dumbo offers open play hours by reservation.

2. Head for an Indoor Play Space

These indoor play spaces are spread across Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens, and offer ample room to run and burn off some energy.

3. See Disney at The Met

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.

4. Explore The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure

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

5. See the Sharks

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.

6. See Beauty and the Beast

Park Slope's Puppetworks presents the classic tale with its famed marionettes and a "live" Beast.

7. Smash and Crash in Bryant Park's Bumper Cars

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!

RELATED: Parks and Playgrounds Guide for NYC Kids

It's always 86 degrees at Aquatopia. Photo by Matt Nighswander

8. Head for a Water Park

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.

9. Get Creative at The Paint Place

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. 

10. Governors Island Ice Sculpture Show

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

11. See the Orchid Show

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.

12. Head to the Catskills

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.

13. Explore a Winter Garden

These cool indoor public spaces offer respite from the elements, plus fun perks like kid-friendly eats, artwork, and more.

RELATED: 25 Free Things To Do in NYC This Winter

The Lunar New Year Parade ushers in Midwinter Break—and the Year of the Tiger on Sunday, February 20. Photo courtesy of Better Chinatown

14. Catch the Lunar New Year Parade

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.

16. Kids Week at the Intrepid

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

17. Hunt for Hot Cocoa

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.

RELATED: NYC Winter Fun List: 40 Things To Do With Kids

Spend Midwinter Break skiing
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.

21. See Wake Up, Daisy

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. 

22. Put Your Library Card to Work

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.

24. Explore SUMMIT One Vanderbilt

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

Hit the sledding slopes if the snowflakes fly during Midwinter Break
Pray for a snow day so you can hit the sledding hills! Photo by Sara Marentette

25. Hit the Sledding Hills

If the fresh powder flies in the city, check out one of our favorite sledding hills.

Bonus: Cross Something Off Our 100 Things List

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.

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