30 Favorite Places to Have Fun Indoors in New York City

Stores, Restaurants, Play Spaces, Museums & Cultural Programs for Indoor Fun

[UPDATED: JANUARY 7, 2013]

We recently asked readers to recommend some of their favorite places for families in New York City. This week we'll be posting some round-ups that include your favorite places and ours. We've already posted 20 favorite family-friendly restaurants and now we're sharing 30 fun spots for indoor play when the weather is too cold, hot or rainy. Make this your to-do list for the winter and you're guaranteed to keep busy and entertained, no matter how brutal the weather gets.

Got a favorite place that didn't make the list? Please add it to the comments below—we'd love to hear additional suggestions!

Stores and Restaurants:

Toys R Us Times Square A trip here is like visiting an amusement park. From the 60-feet Ferris wheel to the life-sized T-Rex dinosaur, there's plenty to keep your kids occupied for a while. Little ones will enjoy the train table and gigantic Barbie dollhouse.

Barnes & Noble A wonderful spot for reading new books and playing with toys. Several locations offer children's events such as storytime too.

Scholastic Store Sadly this store closed in January 2015

The Shops at Columbus Circle You can run around the large space, snack on delicious desserts at Bouchon Bakery, wander around the stores or eat/shop at Whole Foods Market.

The Apple Store Check out the latest Apple products, play computer games and even attend free workshops for kids.

IKEA Cheap! Ferry! Fun! Free! (unless you buy something) Kids love exploring the store and playing in the staged areas. And kids' meals in the restaurant are seriously cheap (and even free on Tuesdays).

Someplace Special in the Bronx. Great place for kids' haircuts and a warm spot to play in the winter. Open Sundays and Mondays only.

The Moxie Spot Unfortunately, Moxie spot closed in December 2014.

World Financial Center has lots of great restaurants and stores. Plus, they offer free arts programming for kids and adults. Can't beat that!

Books of Wonder Excellent place and educational at the same time. They have wonderful books, great staff, and lots of special events such as storytime and author signings. It's so cozy, warm and welcoming.

Play Spaces:

Unfortunately Wiggles & Giggles Playhouse no longer offers open play hours.

New York Public Library for parents and children alike. There are tons of family programs in addition to the free rentals of books, movies and CDs to keep us entertained.

City Treehouse This super-fun play space in Chelsea features a two-story treehouse, along with several water features for interactive play.

ACT Indoor Playstation A large gym with slides, balls and safe places to crawl for kids under 5. Plus, the open sessions are only $6 per child!

Astoria's awesome Kids Playhouse is one of the cheapest play spaces in NYC. It's spacious, clean and full of different activities to occupy kids of all ages. It's also a popular spot for birthday parties.

Museums and Cultural Programs:

The Discovery Room at American Museum of Natural History where the kids can touch and play with everything in the room, and get a behind-the-scenes look at science. They also have storytime for preschool age children.

Brooklyn Children's Museum My kids never want to leave with all the different things to discover at this museum! One of our favorites is the pizza parlor. There's also a special area just for kids under 5, with lots of interactive fun.

The Skyscraper Museum and Museum of American Finance are fun and a bit off the beaten track so they are usually less crowded than other popular museums.

Another favorite is the New York Transit Museum—my three sons are huge train fans and have spent hours exploring the vintage subway cars.

Guggenheim Our four-year-old son was just amazed with the structure and the art. We also really enjoyed all the kiddie activities they organized on Family Day!

Egyptian Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art One of our favorite spots at the Met. Mummies, tombs, fancy jewelry and a little bit of open space.

Madame Tussauds Check out your family's favorite celebrities at Times Square's wax museum.

New York Hall of Science A great place to hang out all day. We also love the outdoor playground in the summer.

New York Chinese Cultural Center This fabulous institution offers great family activities and events.

Dweck Center at Brooklyn Public Library for free public programs such as dance performances and children's theater.

FDNY Fire Zone Kids can climb on a fire truck, try on gear and learn all about fire safety from a real fireman at this hands-on exhibit.

The Forbes Galleries on Fifth Avenue at 12th Street. Malcolm Forbes' personal collection of 12,000 toy soldiers is enough to make kids go bonkers. And best of all? Admission is free!

The Children's Museum of the Arts is always great for indoor fun, especially the Ball Pond.

The YMCA offers many classes for kids such as swimming, dance and karate. Our family membership allows the adults and children to remain active with all the classes offered, as well as the gym. There are many locations throughout the city.

For more indoor fun, check out our Indoor Activity Guide.
 

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location: 
Toys R Us
1514 Broadway
10036 New York , NY
Phone: 646-366-8800
40° 45' 24.3576" N, 73° 59' 8.6352" W
New York
Shops at Columbus Circle
10 Columbus Circle
10019 New York , NY
Phone: 212-823-6000
40° 46' 4.548" N, 73° 58' 56.46" W
New York
Children's Museum of the Arts
103 Charlton Street
10014 New York , NY
Phone: 212-274-0986
40° 43' 38.5428" N, 74° 0' 28.8036" W
New York
IKEA
One Beard St.
11231 Brooklyn , NY
Phone: 718-246-4532
40° 40' 19.9488" N, 74° 0' 39.618" W
New York
Apple Store
1981 Broadway
10023 New York , NY
Phone: 212-209-3400
40° 46' 30.324" N, 73° 58' 57.576" W
New York
Someplace Special
503 West 236th St.
10463 Bronx , NY
Phone: 718-432-6622
40° 53' 11.7492" N, 73° 54' 26.1648" W
New York
World Financial Center
200 Vessey St
10281 New York , NY
Phone: 212-417-7000
40° 42' 50.3928" N, 74° 0' 55.1268" W
New York
Books of Wonder
18 West 18th St
10011 New York , NY
Phone: 212-989-3270
40° 44' 19.6836" N, 73° 59' 36.3408" W
New York
ACT Indoor Playstation
1047 Amsterdam Ave
10025 New York , NY
Phone: 212-316-7530
40° 48' 15.1596" N, 73° 57' 46.2312" W
New York
Wiggles & Giggles Playhouse
875 West 181st St
10033 New York , NY
Phone: 212-543-2393
40° 51' 6.444" N, 73° 56' 30.0804" W
New York
American Museum of Natural History
200 Central Park West
10024 New York , NY
Phone: 212-769-5100
40° 46' 51.5676" N, 73° 58' 23.3112" W
New York
Museum of American Finance
48 Wall St
10005 New York , NY
Phone: 212-908-4110
40° 42' 22.2804" N, 74° 0' 33.0264" W
New York
The Skyscraper Museum
39 Battery Place
10280 New York , NY
Phone: 212-968-1961
40° 42' 19.1484" N, 74° 1' 2.8812" W
New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave
10028 New York , NY
Phone: 212-535-7710
40° 46' 57.2448" N, 73° 57' 55.6992" W
New York
New York Transit Museum
Boerum Pl & Schermerhorn St
11201 Brooklyn , NY
Phone: 718-694-1600
40° 41' 25.1988" N, 73° 59' 22.722" W
New York
Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Ave
10128 New York , NY
Phone: 212-423-3500
40° 46' 58.7244" N, 73° 57' 31.9212" W
New York
Madame Tussauds
234 West 42nd St
10036 New York , NY
Phone: 866-841-3505
40° 45' 23.0112" N, 73° 59' 17.9052" W
New York
New York Hall of Science
47-01 111th St
11368 New York , NY
Phone: 718-699-0005
40° 44' 52.4436" N, 73° 51' 6.6312" W
New York
New York Chinese Cultural Center
390 Broadway
10013 New York , NY
Phone: 212-334-3764
40° 43' 6.1572" N, 74° 0' 9.5616" W
New York
Brooklyn Public Library - Central Library
10 Grand Army Plaza Dweck Center
11238 Brooklyn , NY
Phone: 718-230-2100
40° 40' 20.1216" N, 73° 58' 4.926" W
New York
Forbes Galleries
60 Fifth Ave
10011 New York , NY
Phone: 212-620-2200
40° 44' 6.0576" N, 73° 59' 41.2872" W
New York
Brooklyn Children's Museum
145 Brooklyn Ave
11213 Brooklyn , NY
Phone: 718-735-4400
40° 40' 27.8616" N, 73° 56' 38.1552" W
New York
Kids Playhouse
34-17 Steinway Street
11103 Astoria , NY
Phone: 718-806-1288
40° 45' 22.1508" N, 73° 55' 16.59" W
New York