Fun Family Things to Do in New York City This Weekend

New York Public Library
New York Public Library

New York City is filled with so many places to visit and fun cultural experiences. There are a variety of family friendly activities from sightseeing to museums to exploring the rich diversity of cultures in the city. 

If you are looking for the perfect fun family weekend in New York City, look no further! We’ve listed out some of the best family things to do, free family activities, awesome museums, and unique outdoor adventures that you and your family can enjoy in the Big Apple. 

What Are the Best Family Things to Do in New York City?

New York City has so many great attractions that it can be hard to choose where to go and what to see. Let us direct you towards some of the best spots to take your family this weekend.

The Empire State Building is a fan favorite. You haven’t experienced New York City until you see it from the top of the 102th floor of one of the most famous buildings in America. The tickets are a little pricey, but it is an experience your kids will never forget.

Empire State Building
Empire State Building

The New York Public Library is a great place to explore with your family. Take pictures outside by the lion statues guarding the second largest public library in America. Check out its historical collections, find Winnie the Pooh, and search the stacks for any book imaginable.

New York Public Library
New York Public Library

Wander through Grand Central Terminal with dozens of trains coming and going. It’s a great place for people to watch and the kids can gaze up at the impressive display of constellations on the enormous ceiling. 

Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal

The New York Botanical Gardens are also a must-see all year round. With an impressive array of flowers, botanical sculptures, and a fun maze to run through, you and your family will have the time of your lives. 

New York Botanical Gardens
New York Botanical Gardens

Are There Free Family Activities in New York City?

Despite being chock full of tourist attractions that you have to pay for, there are plenty of things that you can do for free in New York City. You can explore the city with your family all without having to pay a dime!

One of the best free adventures to take in New York City is the Staten Island Ferry. It runs every half an hour on the weekends and provides you with a breathtaking view of New York Harbor and Lady Liberty herself. The ferry travels between Staten Island and Manhattan and you can even bring your bikes aboard to increase your adventure.

Staten Island Ferry
Staten Island Ferry

You don’t have to spend money to window shop and New York City has some of the coolest flagship stores to wander through. Take the kids to Rockefeller Center where you can peruse the American Girl store and see the plethora of historical dolls. Cruise through the Lego Store and gape at the awesome constructions and more Legos than you’ve ever seen in your life.

If it’s Christmas time, behold one of the largest Christmas trees set up right in the middle of Rockefeller Center with a skating pond just beneath where ice skaters spin and twirl in the chilly winter air. (You will have to pay to skate on the rink, but it doesn’t cost to watch!)

Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center

What Museums Are Good for Families in New York City?

If your family can’t get enough of history and science, there are plenty of museums in New York City to check out. We’ll list a few here, but there are much more to explore as well.

The American Museum of Natural History does not disappoint. Its life-size skeleton replicas of dinosaurs and whales are just the start of your museum tour. In the Hall of Biodiversity, you can learn all about species you never even knew existed. If you’re feeling really adventurous, your family can spend the night sleeping in the museum. 

American Museum of Natural History
American Museum of Natural History

The South Street Seaport Museum is another perfect spot to take in the harbor and maritime history of New York City. You’ll learn all about boating, historical maritime practices, and get the chance to explore five historic vessels. Additionally, you can have the chance to sail around the harbor like a true ocean goer. 

South Street Seaport Museum
South Street Seaport Museum

What kid doesn’t love fire trucks? The New York City Fire Museum has everything a firefighter-to-be would want to explore including vintage fire trucks, the history of New York firefighters, and a historic venue that is over one hundred years old. 

New York City Fire Museum
New York City Fire Museum

What Are Some Unique Outdoor Activities for Families in New York City?

If you are looking to enjoy the fresh air of New York City instead of being cooped up inside, check out some of these amazing outdoor activities to do with your family. 

Central Park is a must-see with dozens of sculptures and monuments, over twenty playgrounds, a marionette theater, and the Central Park Zoo. You could spend your entire day exploring the park and still leave more activities for the next day. If you rent bikes to ride through Central Park, you’ll be able to see more of it in a day!

Central Park
Central Park

Rockefeller Center isn’t the only place to host a skating rink in the winter. Bryant Park has an amazing skating rink set up once the weather turns cold. Even though there is a limit to how many people can be on the rink, it is open early in the morning and closes late at night. Plus, you can sip some hot cocoa while you wait!

Bryant Park Ice Skating
Bryant Park Ice Skating

Summary

Whether you visit the Big Apple in the winter to go skating at Bryant Park and check out the Christmas tree in Rockefeller or in the summer to explore Central Park and take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry, New York City has so much to offer.

From free activities to outdoor fun to museum exploration, your family will fall in love with the East Coast city that is teeming with rich diversity, history, and culture. While you’re there, don’t forget to grab a slice of New York pizza!

See Also

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Hi and welcome to my travel blog! Based in London, I work in investment banking in a quantitative field and although I am not part of the travel industry, I have a ton of passion for travel. My blog is a reference guide for my fellow travelers with the same passion as me. Hopefully the blog is easy to navigate and my aim is to bring the most relevant and interesting information before you begin your journey!