50 Free Places To Play With Kids in Westchester and the Hudson Valley

There's plenty to explore at Lasdon Park and Arboretum and general admission is FREE. Photo by Marisa Iallonardo
There's plenty to explore at Lasdon Park and Arboretum and general admission is FREE. Photo by Marisa Iallonardo

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.

Looking for more free fun? Keep tabs on our Activities Calendar, which is always loaded with free (and low-cost) activities for all ages.

To get more free fun at home and in your town delivered to your inbox sign up for our newsletters and discover all the free events and activities near you in our Westchester Free Things To Do with Kids Guide.

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.

Admission is free at Muscoot Farm
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.

Boy walks through Untermyer Gardens where admission is free
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

Go fish!

18. Play a Hiking Game

Take a hike and take in the beautiful Hudson Valley landscape, especially lovely in fall. You can even play an adventure game to spice things up!

Explore Kaaterskill Falls for free
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.

Hockey player skates on the free Sal J. Prezioso Mountain Lakes Park pond
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

Visit the interactive Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in Goshen.

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

Take a short jaunt up to Cornish Estate in Cold Spring to see ruins without having to fly to Pompeii. Yet more ruins are worth exploring at the West Point Foundry Preserve.

Free Fun at Libraries in Westchester

40. Work That Library Card

The 38 branches of the Westchester Library System offer more than just books and storytimes. There are loads of free perks, and the best events are found in our Activities Calendar

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!

Kids pose in Halloween costumes outside Stew Leonard's
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.

Keeler family's free holiday light display
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

Take a driving tour of Christmas light displays in Westchester and the Hudson Valley.

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.

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