35 Things To Do During a Spring Staycation With NYC Kids
Spring is in the air and spring break is on the horizon. In a normal year, you might be planning a far-flung vacation at an all-inclusive resort. But 2021 is the year of the spring break staycation, so we've pulled together a gold mine of activities for families looking to keep busy during spring break—and beyond—in the Big Apple.
If a little getaway is in order, be sure to check out our list of 15 family-friendly hotels for a New York staycation, and bookmark our Spring Fun Guide for season-long inspiration.
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 a venue that appears too crowded, try using the “nearby” search feature on our Event Calendar to find something else to do. Keep in mind, many indoor attractions now require advance ticket purchases or timed-entry reservations, so plan accordingly.
Explore the lush Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and spy the Cherry blossoms in bloom. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens
Outdoor Adventures for a Spring Break Staycation
2. Go on a public art crawl to see Talking Heads, Electric Dandelions, and more in Lower Manhattan.
5. Head to the Queens Zoo to enjoy the animals, aviary, petting zoo, farm, and more.
RELATED: Spring Break Camps for NYC Kids
Reacquaint yourself with old friends in the Children’s Zoo at the Bronx Zoo. Photo by Julie Larsen Maher for WCS
8. Get up close and personal with the residents of the Bronx Zoo, or explore the rest of Bronx Park.
9. Ride the Staten Island Ferry, and then get off and explore the neighborhood.
10. Another neighborhood with its own unique transportation: Take the tram to Roosevelt Island.
11. Visit City Island for a taste of New England's shore towns without the travel.
13. Check out NYC's only working farm at the Queens County Farm Museum.
14. Enjoy an alfresco meal, no heater required, at one of these local restaurants with fun outdoor dining setups.
15. Still haven't made it to a drive-in movie? The Skyline Drive-In is going strong on the Greenpoint waterfront.
Reflect at Domino Park is fun for all ages with its light-up circles that respond to footsteps. Photo by the author
Parks and Playgrounds to Explore During a Spring Break Staycation
16. Dance over Reflect in Domino Park.
17. Explore all the family-friendly destinations Prospect Park has to offer.
20. Take a trek to Riverbank State Park, where you'll find lots of recreational activities for kids and families and plenty of sports fields and courts.
22. Explore the hidden areas of Central Park.
23. Once the temperature soars—and the sprinklers spring to life—get yourself to the brand new mega splash pad at the foot of the Unisphere.
24. Go birdwatching in the Central Park Ramble to see if the celebrity snowy owl sticks around for a second season.
25. Keep an eye on Lincoln Center's Restart Stages, a sprawling outdoor performance venue that opens Wednesday, April 7, bringing live performances back to the arts complex.
KAWS: What Party, at the Brooklyn Museum, features larger-than-life sculptures, furniture, pop art-inspired pieces, and more. Photo by Diana Kim
Indoor Things To Do During an NYC Spring Staycation
32. Go for a strike at one of these family-friendly bowling alleys for NYC kids.
34. May brings the return of the Macy's Flower Show, with a "Give. Love. Bloom." theme in 2021.
35. IRL performances are slowly percolating. See Puppetworks performances of Aladdin & the Wonderful Lamp, The 3 Wishes & The 3 Little Lambs, The Wizard of Oz. New York Theater Ballet presents LIFT Lab Live throughout April.
A version of this article was first published in April 2009, but it is updated annually.