Spring Break 2023: 50 Awesome Things To Do in NYC With Kids on Vacation
Worried about keeping the kids entertained over NYC's spring break? We've got it covered for you. If you're sticking around the city for a spring staycation, there's plenty to keep every age group busy. From exploring our favorite kid-friendly museums to playgrounds worthy of a subway schlep, and destination-worthy tourist attractions, we've rounded up 50 things to do with kids in New York City during the upcoming public school spring break.
New York City's spring break runs from Thursday, April 6 - Friday, April 21, 2022. Some of our picks only take place on specific dates; others run the entire duration, but all are engaging ways to get out and celebrate spring.
If you're hoping to get out of town, be sure to visit our Day Trips Guide for some inspiration or consider booking a last-minute spring break vacation on the cheap.
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1. Treat Yourself to a Relaxing Hotel Stay
Enjoy a New York staycation at one of these family-friendly hotels.
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2. Enjoy Spring Blooms
Hit the Bronx's bucolic Wave Hill to take in spring's brilliance.
The Queens Botanical Garden offers plenty to see and do to celebrate spring's arrival. Photo by Sydney Ng
3. Explore Nature
The Queens Botanical Garden is another underrated delight to catch spring's beauty.
4. Make Some Aquatic Friends
Explore Ocean Wonders: Sharks! at the New York Aquarium or see Spineless.
5. Show Off Your Easter Sunday's Best
Don your finest bonnet and strut your stuff at the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival, one of our favorite FREE annual parades.
6. Browse Books and Tour the Library
Besides checking out books, there's a ton to see and do at the New York Public Library's Main Branch in Midtown.
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Krispy Kreme's new Times Square mega-shop is a sweets lover's dream come true. Photo by Jody Mercier
7. Give Into Your Sweet Tooth
Indulge yourself with some sweet treats in Times Square. Visit M&Ms World, Hersey's Chocolate World, or Krispy Kreme's 4,500-square-foot doughnut wonderland.
8. See a Drive-in Movie
Catch a movie in your car at the Skyline Drive-In on the Greenpoint waterfront, which offers family-friendly movies with the Manhattan skyline as its backdrop. Don't have a car? No problem—seating on lawn chairs is also available, weather permitting.
9. Channel Your Inner Picasso
Drop-in for a unique art class with inspiring teachers at Playday Cobble Hill or Playday LIC.
10. Take a Cruise
What better way to enjoy spring in NYC than a cruise up the Hudson River on one of the Circle Line's Spring Fling Day Cruises.
Find a moment of peace and head to the newly expanded Japan Village at Industry City for tea, a meal, groceries, books, and more. Photo by Ros Muggeridge
11. Hang Out at IC
Explore Brooklyn's booming Industry City with its cool eats, newly expanded Japan Village, a family-fun game room, Powerhouse@IC bookstore, and more.
12. Shop and Eat at Hudson Yards
Explore Hudson Yards, including the outpost of play space/toy store CAMP, Dylan's Candy Bar, and José Andrés Mercado Little Spain to take out amazing Spanish food.
13. Head to the Zoo
Explore the Bronx Zoo like a local and get a behind-the-scenes look at the zoo with these animal encounters, or try a ropes course at the Tree Top Adventure, reopening just in time for break.
14. Test Your Need for Speed
The New York International Auto returns from Friday, April 7-Sunday, April 16. Head to the Javits Center to explore the latest in automotive innovation and enjoy freebies, cool cars to climb in, and more.
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The Sloomoo Institute offers some hands-on sensory fun for all ages. Photo by Jody Mercier
15. Play Like a Kid
Enjoy some ooey-gooey playtime at Soho's Sloomoo Institute or the Museum of Ice Cream.
16. Explore an Unfamiliar Enclave
Explore a new-to-you corner of NYC. We have in-depth Kids' Neighborhood Guides for communities in all five boroughs, including Chelsea, the East Village, Gowanus in Brooklyn, Bay Ridge, Long Island City, Queens.
17. Frolic in a Ball Pit
We're not talking those primary-colored plastic orbs; no, head to SUMMIT One Vanderbilt for an elevated ball pit experience, in every sense of the word.
Legoland Discovery Center is one of the myriad attractions for families at the American Dream Mall. Photo by Jody Mercier
18. Hang it the Mall
Head to the American Dream Mall where kid-friendly attractions abound, including Sea Life Aquarium, Legoland Discovery Center, and Nickelodeon Universe.
19. Get Active
Grab your bike, scooter, or walking shoes to check out the Empire State Trail. Pick it up in Lower Manhattan and make your way all the way to the Canadian border...if you dare.
20. Visit NYC's Iconic Landmarks
Play tourist for a day and visit Lady Liberty or one of our other top attractions to visit with kids.
21. See a New Classic
Catch Wake Up, Daisy at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater for a modern-day, marionette interpretation of Sleeping Beauty.
RELATED: New York City Parks and Playground Guide
Wander above the city on The High Line. Photo by Sydney Ng
22. Walk the High Line
Head to The High Line for a spring walk or visit the floating park, Little Island, nearby.
23. Check Out a New Playground
Visit the brand new Battery Playscape in Lower Manhattan.
24. Explore Brooklyn's Favorite Park
Spend a day in nature at Prospect Park and enjoy nature walks, bird watching, or hit up one of the many playgrounds—we've even ranked our favorites!
25. Enter the Kaleidoscope
See spring in full bloom by booking tickets to New York Botanical Garden's Orchid Show. Time your visit right to see the spectacular blooms all across this family-friendly garden.
Take a hike in The Greenbelt on Staten Island. Photo by Mommy Poppins
26. Step Off the Beaten Path
Explore some outer-borough gems like Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, The Greenbelt in Staten Island, or one of these other underrated NYC parks.
27. Revisit Our Favorite Playgrounds
See how many of these best of the best kid- (and mom!) tested playgrounds you can visit during one spring break.
28. Romp in Central Park
Spring weather is the perfect time to reacquaint yourself with Central Park's fun, hidden finds.
29. Take a History Lesson
Historical fun awaits at the Morris-Jumel Mansion, Manhattan's oldest house, where George Washington once plotted his attacks on the Redcoats.
30. Step Into an Immersive Art Gallery
Revel in Magentaverse, the newest immersive audio-visual installation at Artechouse, a one-of-a-kind gallery space.
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Need a little break from NYC? Then head into VR World and choose an adventure. Photo by Jody Mercier
31. Experience Virtual Reality
Immerse yourself in Midtown's gamer haven, VR World, or Brooklyn's Beat The Bomb.
32. Attend a New Basquiat Exhibit
Check out the new Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibit, curated by his family, and featuring 200 never-before-seen or rarely exhibited pieces from the well-known local artist.
33. Discover a New Green Space
Enjoy the warm spring weather at the recently renovated sections of Bushwick Inlet Park where almost 2 acres of green space have been added, including a new sprayground for children.
34. See the Cherry Blossoms
Nothing says spring like cherry blossoms. Head to the many parks and gardens all over the city to enjoy the blooms while they last.
35. Learn About Photography and Architecture
Older kids get a kick out of exploring Fotografsika, the photo-centric museum housed in a stunning landmark building on Park Avenue South.
Bouldering is beginner-friendly and kids as young as age 3 can scale the walls at The Cliffs at Harlem. Photo by Jody Mercier
36. Seek New Adventures
Or check out the supersized bouldering gym at The Cliffs at Harlem or visit its outpost in Gowanus.
37. Or Try Rock Climbing
Give rock climbing a try—NYC has a few kid-friendly indoor rock climbing centers with drop-in hours.
38. Take Your Teen to Broadway
Big kids will love the raucous musical Six, at the Lena Horne Theater. It's essentially a pop-concert performed by the six ex-wives of King Henry VIII.
39. And Your Little Ones, Too
The entire family can enjoy the Broadway production of the long-running hit,The Ling King, with its gorgeous costumes and rousing music.
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Join an Easter Egg Hunt in the city.
40. Hunt for Easter Eggs
Get your goodies before the Easter Bunny hops out of town by stopping at a treat-filled hunt.
41. Brunch with Easter Bunny
After finding all your treats, recharge with brunch with the Easter Bunny.
42. Virtually Soar Over NYC's Landmarks
Check out RiseNY where you soar over New York City and journey through time on this indoor simulation ride that offers a bird's eye view of city landmarks and seasonal events, as well as showcasing some local history and pop culture.
43. Roller Skate at Rockefeller Rink
The famed rink at Rockefeller Center opens its retro roller skating rink just in time for spring break.
Daring performers push the boundaries of possibility under the big top at Flip Circus. Photo by Gwen Tundermann
44. Run Away to the Circus
Or just attend the Flip Circus to see jugglers, acrobats, aerial artists, magicians, and motorcyclists. Catch it in Yonkers over break or Staten Island just before!
45. Stay Active and Play Some Tennis
Prep for the upcoming tennis season by checking out Court 16 in Long Island City.
46. Play Indoors On a Rainy Day
Head to the Children's Museum of Manhattan for a day of fun, or enjoy one of our favorite indoor play spaces.
47. Explore a Museum Within a Museum
The DiMenna Children's History Museum at the New-York Historical Society is perfect for school-aged children with interactive exhibits and a diverse selection of historical artifacts.
48. Catch a Magic Show
Be amazed by the sleight of hand feats performed by Apolino the Magician at the Brooklyn Magic Shop.
49. Enjoy a Puppet Show
Brooklyn's Puppetworks is playing Little Red Riding Hood premiering Saturday, April 8.
50. Tackle That Bucket List
Or cross something off your bucket list: Print out a copy of our 100 things to do with NYC kids before they grow up and get going!
This post, originally published in April 2010, is updated annually. Unless noted, photos courtesy of the venues