February School Break: 35 Fun Things to Do with NYC Kids

Midwinter Break Recess New York City February Winter Vacation Best Things to Do

Kids can stop praying for more snow days. Midwinter recess kicks off for New York City public schools on Friday, February 16, aka Lunar New Year and continues through Sunday, February 25, giving kids 10 days of uninterrupted holiday playtime. To help you make the most of the February vacation, we've rounded up 35 things to do with kids across all five boroughs.

Lucky for us, NYC museums, ice rinks, parks, and other fun zones host a slew of special activities and promotions during the school break. Some of our picks take place on specific dates, others run the entire time, and all are great ways to celebrate the freezin' season.

The extra days off also make it a great time to book a couple of nights away as a family with these more budget-minded getaways, or to pile onto the train or into the car for a day trip to a top kid spot.

Remember you can always search our Event Calendar for more February break week happenings. (Tip: Search for a specific day or with the word "break.")

Read on for dozens of fun ideas. Be sure to click through the links for full details, including addresses, times, and prices.


Indulge your STEM fix at Kids Week at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Photo by Erika Kapin/courtesy of the museum

1. Head to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum for a slew of special Kids Week activities. This year's theme is Science is Everywhere. My kids and I make a point to visit annually. My son can never get enough of this WWII-era museum, and Kids Week activities, like maker stations and appearances by fun characters like Shimmer & Shine, make it fun for my girls, too! Be sure to visit our calendar listing for a money-saving coupon code!

2. Get outside and enjoy Kids Week activities with the Urban Park Rangers at nature centers across the city, including crafts, animal interactions, and outdoor tours. FREE

3. Burn off energy at a an indoor play space. We have roundups of all the options in Brooklyn, plus fun spots to romp in Manhattan and Queens.

RELATED: February GoList: Best Things to Do All Month


Get up close at the Lunar New Year celebration in NYC's Chinatown. Photo by Bob Dea for Better Chinatown

4. Take a trip to Chinatown to usher in the Year of the Dog with a Lunar New Year Firecracker Festival and Cultural Celebration on Friday, February 16 at 11am. There are plenty of other Lunar New Year happenings to check out over the course of the vacation, too. FREE

5. Or celebrate the city's diversity of Asian cultures with great eats and fun finds in NYC neighborhood like Chinatown, Sunset Park, Koreatown, Japantown, or Flushing, Queens. 

6. Catch Neverland: Peter Returns at Central Park's Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, or another puppet show.


The popular Hello From Japan returns to the Children's Museum of Manhattan. Photo courtesy of the museum

7. Revisit an old favorite with the third iteration of Hello From Japan at the Children's Museum of Manhattan. Acquaint yourself with the streets of Tokyo and enjoy the Japanese Snow Festival programming while you're there, including demonstrations in ice sculpting, taiko drumming, rice-snowman sculpting, and more.

8. Catch the New York Sword Dance Festival on February 17 or 18. Eight FREE performances will be held throughout the city.

9. Too old for kiddie gyms? Go bowling, play pool as a family, or take a dip at an indoor pool with a day pass.


The hand-on projects will keep kids engaged during Engineering Week at New York Hall of Science. Photo courtesy of NYSCI

10. We recently rekindled our love affair with the New York Hall of Science. And February break at NYSCI means learning about engineering through hands-on projects at Engineering Week, which kicks off with Civil Engineering Day on Monday, February 19.

11. You can also keep the wheels turning with some drop-in fun at one of these eight maker spaces.

12. Celebrate the Games in Pyeongchang with one of these Olympic-inspired ideas and tune in to watch all the action; the Games run through Sunday, February 25.

13. Forget dinner and then a movie; indulge in both at one of these theaters serving restaurant-quality meals with big-screen flicks for the grown-ups or family night.

RELATED: Winter Fun List: 50 Things NYC Kids Can Do Indoors


Lego Live! helps kick off the break week. Photo by David E. Frith for Lego Live!

14. Build to your hearts content at Lego Live, which takes over Pier 36 near the South Street Seaport from February 16–18.

15. Head to the New-York Historical Society to participate in a week of events honoring our nation's presidents. On select dates you can meet actors playing the part of historical figures like President and Mrs. Washington, Honest Abe, and famous African-American New Yorkers.

16. Warm up at one of our favorite hot cocoa spots in BrooklynQueens, or Manhattan. Chelsea's City Bakery is hosting its monthlong Hot Chocolate Festival in February with a new flavor each day.


The ever lovable and timeless My Neighbor Totoro comes to the Museum of the Moving Image. Photo courtesy of © 1988 Ghibil via the museum

17. Head to the Museum of the Moving Image for a screening of My Neighbor Totoro and stick around for some open studio time, where you can craft your own character and play with green screen animation. 

18. Spend an afternoon exploring the beautiful grounds of the New York Botanical Garden. In the Discovery Center, kids can explore the wonder of winter plants and animals that call the garden home, craft a bud necklace, count rings on a tree trunk, and create a field journal to fill with discoveries as you explore all that the natural, cultural gem has to offer. 

19. Hit a nearby slope for some downhill or cross-country skiing.

20. Take the kids on a snow tubing day trip—it's much easier than skiing. If the fresh powder flies in the city, check out one of our favorite sledding hills.

RELATED: Nearly 40 Free Things to Do this February with NYC Kids


Take a spin on the ice at the iconic rink at Rockefeller Center. Photo courtesy of Tishman Speyer

21. Twirl on the ice at one of NYC's outdoor ice skating rinks.

22. See some spectacular kids flicks at the New York International Children's Film Festival, which opens Friday, February 23.

23. 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 one at Kalahari Resorts, or you can plan a multiday adventure to Rocking Horse Ranch in the Hudson Valley, Aquatopia at Camelback Mountain, or Split Rock Resort.


Experience the thrill of being a quarterback at the NFL Experience. Photo courtesy of the NFL Experience

24. The Super Bowl may be over and done, but let your kid live out their NFL fantasy at the NFL Experience in Times Square. 

25. Go underground at the New York Transit Museum, where you can learn about inventor Alfred Beach's air-powered subway and perform experiments inspired by his work.

26. If you haven't visited the American Museum of Natural History lately, winter break is the perfect time to warm up in the Butterfly Conservatory or check out the new Our Senses exhibit.


Window to the Heart in Times Square. Rendering courtesy of Aranda\Lasch + Marcelo Coelho with Formlabs

27. Enjoy some glowing public art with the South Street Seaport's Sea of Light or Erwin Redl's Whiteout in Madison Square Park. Another cool piece? Window to the Heart in Times Square. FREE

28. Head uptown to visit the Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling, which has plenty of art to peep and interactive storytimes Thursday–Sunday.

29. Forget cat cafes, introduce your kid to man's best friend at Frolic on the Upper East Side.

Kids will be astonished by the out of this world acrobatics performed by the U.K.'s Barely Methodical Troupe. Photo courtesy of the troupe

30. Catch a kid-friendly stage performance of one of our favorite off-Broadway shows, Bromance, or catch Tada's newest production, The Perfect Monster. For younger children, The Snowy Day, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Please Bring Balloons, Sesame Street Live, and more winter shows are playing this break.

31. Everything old is new again. Explore the relocated outposts of Kellogg's NYC, which has moved to Union Square, or its former Times Square neighbor, Hershey's Chocolate World, which has new digs of its own.

32. Look up at the colorful balloon exhibition at the New York City Ballet's lobby at Lincoln Center. FREE

33. Commune with nature at Prospect Park's Audubon Center. Meet the resident animals, tour the grounds, and help with the Great Backyard Bird Count. FREE

34. Kids still have energy to burn? Hit Staten Island's Fly High trampoline park, or one of the city's bounce houses.

35. Cross something off your bucket list: Print out a copy of our 100 Things to Do With Kids Before They Grow Up and get going. Done all of those already? See if you've been to the best new family attractions that opened in 2017, or expand the borders and try our 100 Things to Do in New York State Before Kids Grow Up.

Top image of the Firecracker Festival in NYC's Chinatown. Photo by Bob Dea for Better Chinatown

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