50 Free Places To Play With Kids in Westchester and the Hudson Valley
Our favorite price is free. And who doesn’t love a good bargain? Especially to help offset the high costs of vacation, camps, child care, and holidays: Finding activities in Westchester that are both fun and free is like winning the lottery.
We’ve rounded up 50 freebie things to do in Westchester and the Hudson Valley. From outdoor adventures and museum access to STEM fun and seasonal excursions, we’ve combed the area to give you plenty of options. Be sure to bookmark this for year-round reference—your family will never be bored (or broke) again!
Keep in mind that for many of these venues, advance reservations might be required. Also, check directly with each regarding COVID-19 policies.
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Free Fun at Farms and Nature Centers in Westchester
1. Visit the Farm
Hilltop Hanover Farm in Yorktown Heights is free to visit (fees apply for select events and pick-your-own produce).
2. See the Raptors and Turtles
Take a romp through the Discovery Playground, roam the trails, and walk to the pond in search of turtles at the Greenburgh Nature Center.
3. Be a Marine Biologist
Explore the aquaria and touch tank at the Marine Education Center.
Set on 777 acres, Muscoot Farm is a sweet spot to visit with young children. Photo courtesy of the farm
4. Visit a Historic Farm
See what the animals are up to and view the historic buildings and tools at Muscoot Farm in Katonah, where admission is free.
5. Choose Your Trail
Explore the grounds of Teatown, with trails that are suitable for all abilities.
6. Contribute to Scientific Research
Support local scientific research by signing up your teen (ages 16 and up) to study the Hudson River.
7. Meet the Animals in Winter
Admission to Stone Barns Agricultural Center is free in winter.
8. Get Up Close and Personal with Alpacas
Schedule a tour of Rock Ridge Alpacas and get to know these fascinating farm animals.
The sprawling Untermyer Gardens offers free admission and plenty of family-friendly programming. Photo by the author
Free Fun at Parks, Playgrounds, and Gardens in Westchester
9. Discover a Hidden Gem
Stroll the beautiful, tranquil gardens of Untermyer.
10. Skip the Admission Fee
Benefit from free admission to select historic sites on one of the National Park Fee-Free Days.
11. Spend the Day at Bear Mountain
There’s loads to do on the grounds of Bear Mountain—whether viewing fall foliage, sledding, or visiting the trailside zoo (though technically free, there’s much to justify the voluntary donation). A parking fee applies.
12. Picnic and Stroll the Grounds
Roam the gardens and have a picnic at Caramoor.
13. Follow the River
Take a stroll on the Westchester RiverWalk, which you can pick up in Tarrytown, Croton, or Peekskill.
14. See Dinosaurs in a Garden
Romp with the dinosaurs and stroll through the lovely gardens of Lasdon Park.
15. Pedal the Parkway
Hop on your bikes and cruise the car-free Bronx River Parkway during Bicycle Sundays from May–October.
16. Follow a New Path
Burn some calories on one of these great bike paths throughout the county.
17. Throw a Line
18. Play a Hiking Game
A trip to Kaaterskill Falls produces postcard-worthy views without the cost of a getaway.
19. Visit a Waterfall
Commune with nature on a venture to any of these area waterfalls.
20. Cross the River in Dutchess County
Traverse the Walkway Over The Hudson, the breathtaking 1.28-mile long pedestrian bridge that’s hailed as the “world’s longest elevated park.” Keep an eye out for occasional events, like stargazing.
21. Cross the River in Westchester
Cross the Hudson along the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, which features scenic overlooks and public art.
22. Try a New Playground
Be intrepid—explore a playground you haven’t yet romped through.
23. See the Cherry Blossoms
Glory in the beauty of spring with a photo-op where cherry blossoms are in bloom.
24. Cool Off in Summer
Cool down in one of these spray grounds and splash pads.
25. Bundle Up for Snow Fun
Go sledding on one of our great hills.
Skate for free on the pond at Sal J. Prezioso Mountain Lakes Park in North Salem. Photo courtesy of Westchester County Parks Department
26. Go for a Spin on the Ice
Take a spin around an outdoor skating pond.
27. Learn to Ski
Take advantage of free (or cheap) ski programs in the Northeast.
Free Fun at Museums, Historic Sites, and Cultural Spots in Westchester
28. Soak Up Cultural Enrichment
Keep an eye out for the periodic Pelham Art Center community free days.
29. Visit the Neuberger
The Neuberger Museum of Art periodically offers free-admission days, such as daily throughout summer 2021 and, previously, on the first Saturday of any month.
30. Save the Date
Mark your calendar for free admission to participating sites on Smithsonian Museum Day Live in September.
31. Save Money with Your Library Card
Check your local library for year-round free museum passes.
32. Play Farmer
Sign up for John Jay Homestead’s Red Barn Discovery Center private experience.
33. See the Stars and the Galleries
The Hudson River Museum offers free admission on Friday and Saturday evenings in summer, including planetarium shows and gallery visits.
34. Discover a New Artist
Catch the changing exhibits at a local gallery.
35. Learn About Harness Racing
36. Explore American History
For a slice of local American history, take a self-guided tour of St. Paul’s Historic Church.
37. Follow the Signs
Experience the Museum in the Streets, scavenger-hunt style, in Hastings-on-Hudson.
38. Take a Tour of West Point
Learn about military history and cadet life at the West Point Museum.
39. Roam the Ruins
Free Fun at Libraries in Westchester
40. Work That Library Card
41. Sign Up for the Summer Reading Game
Join the libraries’ annual Summer Reading Game, a fun way to promote reading throughout the summer. A new theme is chosen each year, with events, prizes, and challenges.
42. Grab and Go
Many libraries continue to offer grab-and-go kits that are available for pickup on select dates. Did you know you could participate in another branch’s programming? Branch out!
Shopping at Stew Leonard's is a theme-park like experience with free, family-friendly events throughout the year. Photo courtesy of the store
Stores, Malls, and Downtowns to Explore for Free Fun in Westchester
43. Bop While You Shop
Enjoy the music and motion entertainment provided by the mechanical characters throughout Stew Leonard's. We love Chiquita Banana and the Farm Fresh Five! Free kids’ activities are offered throughout the year.
44. Hit Up the Sidewalk Sales
Check the lineup at seasonal sidewalk sales and community days throughout Westchester. In addition to shopping for bargains, free entertainment and activities for children are often provided as an added draw.
45. Join Mall Events
Area malls often host free family events, like the Palisades Center’s Tykes Tuesdays.
Free Theater, Music, and Film
46. Catch a Flick
In the summertime, many local parks and venues become a stage for free outdoor movies, such as Peekskill movie nights.
47. Put on Your Dancing Flip-Flops
... as well as free summer concerts, magic shows, and theatrical performances.
The Keeler family in Putnam Valley traditonally puts on a spectacular, free holiday light display. Photo courtesy of the family
Free Holiday and Seasonal Festivities in Westchester
48. Let There Be Light
49. Light Up the Holidays
Join a tree- or menorah-lighting event, like the Bedford Menorah Lighting, which typically includes entertainment, refreshments, and giveaways.
50. Soak Up the Holiday Spirit—Year-Round
Subscribe to our newsletters to stay abreast of holiday parades, Easter egg hunts, New Year’s Eve ball drops, Earth Day festivities, fireworks, seasonal festivals, and other free attractions. We also frequently post roundups of free things to do with kids by month or season. Think of all the money you can save with a free newsletter subscription!
Many more free programs can be found year-round on our Activities Calendar.
This post has been updated for 2021.