Midwinter Break: 30 Fun Things To Do With NYC 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 kicks off on Friday, February 12, 2021, with Lunar New Year and continues through Sunday, February 21, giving kids 10 full days of school-free (or screen-free!) playtime. To help you make the most of the February vacation, we've rounded up 30 things to do with kids across all five boroughs.
The extra days off also make it a perfect opportunity to book a couple of nights away as a family with these budget-minded getaways or pile onto the train or into the car for a day trip to a top kid spot.
Editor's note: While we are trying to promote safer activities that occur outdoors or with social distancing guidelines in place, please keep your family and others safe by always wearing a mask and maintaining an appropriate distance. If you arrive at an event that appears too crowded, try using the “nearby” search feature on our Event Calendar to find something else to do. Keep in mind, reservations are required for many of these events, so plan your outings in advance, and be sure to click through to our listings for all the details, including address, time, and pricing.
Recess d.u.m.b.o offers open play hours by reservation.
Indoor Places to Play During Midwinter Break
1. Burn off some energy at one of these indoor play space s open now in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens.
2. Gather the family to knock down some pins at one of the city's best bowling alleys.
Kids can get their hands dirty at the Brooklyn Children's Museum during a play session, but be sure to book your spot in advance. Photo by Winston Willams/BCM
3. Reserve a play session slot at the Brooklyn Children's Museum, which offers extended hours during the break.
4. Take a trip to the Queens Museum. With plenty of open space for the kids to move around and no-cost admission, break week is a great time to cross this museum off your list.
It's always 86 degrees at Aquatopia. Photo by Matt Nighswander
5. 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 in the Hudson Valley.
6. Park Slope's Puppetworks presents the classic tale of Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp adapted for audiences of all ages. The marionette performance is accompanied by music from Aram Khachaturian's "Gayane" ballet suite.
Come face-to-face with T. rex at the American Museum of Natural History.
8. Act fast to snag tickets and bring your slime lovers to the Sloomoo Institute in Soho.
Immerse yourself in the world of Classic Blue at Artechouse.
9. Feeling blue? Stop by Artechouse's latest installation, Celestial (which closes February 21), where you'll find yourself transported to a world inspired by the color Classic Blue. The 40-minute journey guides visitors through the lofty gallery at the Chelsea Market with a stunning light show celebrating all things blue.
10. Honor Black History Month at the Brooklyn Children's Museum's Black Future Festival.
See Kaws' larger than life work at the Brooklyn Museum exhibit dedicated to the boroughs native son. Photo by Ros Muggeridge
12. Get crafty at one of these 20 arts and crafts studios where you can take classes in drawing, textiles, slime-making, origami, jewelry-making, and more.
Monuments Now takes over Socrates Sculpture Park with larger-than-life installations.
Outdoor Things To Do During Midwinter Break
14. Celebrate the Year of the Ox in Queens during Lunar New Year at the Garden, where guests can buy a lucky new year plant, pick up an activity kit to take home, and commune with nature. FREE
15. Take advantage of the lunchtime hour and dine in an igloo, cabin, yurt, or another creative outdoor setup.
Hit the slopes at Camelback for a Midwinter Break getaway. Photo by Matt Nighswander
16. Gear up for some winter fun at these downhill destinations.
17. Another winter getaway activity: snow tubing! It's easier than skiing and requires much less gear.
18. Participate in The Great Backyard Bird Count by observing and recording the birds you spot wherever you are.
RELATED: Winter Fun Guide for NYC Kids
Pray for a snow day so you can hit the sledding hills!
19. If the fresh powder flies in the city, check out one of our favorite sledding hills.
20. Explore the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, where kids can roam around the Discovery Garden using their senses to investigate a whole host of plant species. Bonus: Winter weekdays are pay-what-you-wish!
21. Shred at one of these snowboarding parks within driving distance.
Industry City's outdoor ice rink is a fun seasonal diversion.
22. Lace-up your skates and enjoy the crisp winter air at one of NYC's outdoor ice skating rinks.
23. Speaking of outdoor skating, Industry City has is a great place for a spin, plus it boasts loads of tasty food options and the city's largest outdoor heated dining area, making it a great all-day Midwinter Break destination.
24. Enjoy some inspiring outdoor art at the large-scale installation Reverberation in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
25. Visit the New York Botanical Garden, where there are plenty of areas for kids to run, discover, and explore nature.
Celebrate the Lunar New Year online with some of the city's top cultural institutions. Photo by Janet Bloom
Virtual and At-Home Activities For Midwinter Break
26. Lunar New Year kicks off the break this year on Friday, February 12, and though most of the live events have been postponed, you can still catch many celebrations online.
27. Enjoy a flick from the comfort of your living room. The BAMKids Film Festival features nine days of digital entertainment, including family-friendly shorts, dance parties, performances, art workshops, and more.
28. Stage a family game night with these brainy picks and puzzles.
29. Log onto the NYPL website to take advantage of its FREE programming, from e-books to storytimes and more.
30. Get crafty with cocoa and make these easy hot chocolate bombs.
Unless noted, all photos courtesy of the respective venues
A version of this story was published in 2018; it is updated annually.