Things to Do in NYC with Kids that the Whole Family Can Enjoy

Planning a vacation to New York City? Our local experts put together a list of our top things to do in NYC with kids.

Consider adding a few of these kid friendly attractions to your vacation itinerary.

Offering possibly more top-notch attractions than any other American city, New York is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

NYC boasts an incredible variety of entertainment- meaning endless possibilities for your whole family to have an unforgettable vacation.

If you’re traveling with kids but don’t want to miss out on any of the must-see landmarks and things to do, these attractions are just right for you.

Offering the best of New York’s sightseeing, entertainment, and educational displays, there’s something at each of these kid friendly attractions for everyone to enjoy.

Save on Admission to Kid Friendly Attractions

Many of these great kid friendly attractions are available on the New York City Explorer Pass®.

Choose as you go from dozens of top New York attractions and save up to 50% off combined admission vs paying at the gate. Or, build your own pass and save up to 25% off.

See all available passes, attractions & prices – Learn more.

A few fun things to do in New York with kids available on the New York City Explorer Pass include…

  • The RIDE
  • Tour of Yankee Stadium
  • BEAST Speedboat Ride
  • Empire State Building Observation Deck
  • Luna Park at Coney Island
  • and more…

THE RIDE

THE RIDE NYC is one of the most fun, action-packed bus tours of the city

Watch as the streets of New York City turn into a stage for some of the most talented street performers.

This 75-minute tour takes place on a custom-built tour bus features stadium seating and huge windows for the best views and features two comedic hosts who provide context to the sights you’ll see with historical facts, fun trivia, and even karaoke.

Yankee Stadium: Classic Tour

Kids love going behind the scenes on a Yankee Stadium tour

Even if the Yankees aren’t your favorite team, you’ll gain a new appreciation for the New York Yankee franchise and the legendary Yankee Stadium on this fully guided tour.

You’ll learn all about the fascinating history of the stadium itself, the Yankee dynasty over the years, and get to see memorabilia that belonged to some of the greatest players in history to play at Yankee Stadium. –A must-see experience for baseball fans of all ages!

Madison Square Garden Tour

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Even if you’re not a sports fan, the famed Madison Square Garden is one of the premier entertainment and sporting venues in the country. Take a tour of this landmark building and get the inside scoop on the long and storied history of one of New York’s most important buildings.

Explore the home of the New York Knicks, the Rangers, and the Liberty as you learn about the records and achievements of each sporting franchise.

Then, take in the “Garden 366” retrospective, an exhibit that details the history of this complex from sporting events to concerts and beyond. Be sure to check out the “Defining Moments” exhibit, too!

BEAST Speedboat Ride

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Got thrill-seekers in the family? If so, then this is the thing to do for them. You and your family will love a jaunt aboard the Beast Speedboat Ride, the fastest cruise in NYC. Everyone raves about this high-speed sightseeing cruise, which zips you around the New York Harbor and the Hudson River in record time.

This thrilling 30-minute ride takes you past all the best landmarks of NYC and even includes a stop at the Statue of Liberty for you to take pictures. Reaching speeds of up to 45 mph, this ride is perhaps best for older kids.

Top of the Rock

One of the most exciting things to do in NYC with kids is the Top of the Rock observatory deck

Take an exciting ride in the Sky Shuttle elevator, complete with a light show, up to the 67th, 69th, and 70th floors of 30 Rockefeller plaza to get the best sweeping views of New York City.

Kids and adults alike will enjoy the informative multi-media exhibits detailing the history of Top of the Rock. You’ll get the chance to walk across the interactive Beam Walk inspired by the famous photo of the building’s construction workers eating lunch while sitting on a construction beam 69 floors above Manhattan.

Empire State Building

traveling to nyc with kids? check out the empire state building observatory deck

Visit one of the most recognizable and iconic landmarks in the world, the Empire State Building.

Kids will love learning about how the building, erected during the Great Depression, symbolized hope for a prosperous future for the United States during a time of great strife.  Once at the top, you’ll get 360-degree open-air views of New York City from the building’s 86th floor 1,050-feet above ground. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see views from up to five surrounding states.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Ferry

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Visit two of the nation’s most historic and iconic landmarks via one enjoyable ferry ride.

The history of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are commonly taught to young school-age children in America, so your kids will most likely appreciate these symbolic monuments with you.

As you arrive at Ellis Island by ferry, you’ll experience what 12 million immigrants once felt as they began their journey to becoming Americans.

Once on Ellis Island, you can check out the Immigration Museum or eat at the Island’s restaurant. Bring your camera for this ferry ride that is also one of NYC’s best tours!

American Museum of Natural History

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As one of the largest museums in the world, the American Museum of Natural History truly is an exciting place for the whole family. If your kids have seen “A Night at the Museum” (which takes place on this very site), they’ll be thrilled before you even get there.

Two of the museum’s most celebrated components are its famous collection of dinosaur fossils and the “Milstein Hall of Ocean Life” exhibit, which features a 94-foot whale model. Kids will also enjoy hands-on exhibits in the “Discovery Room,” designed specifically for children ages 5-12.

There are also budget-friendly dining options on site, including the Museum Food Court, which is great for families.

Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum

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This educational, renowned tourist attraction happens to be a fantastic place for kids. The USS Intrepid is the centerpiece of this museum that houses 30 restored aircraft, a submarine, and a British Airways Concorde Jet.

While adults enjoy the museum’s exciting display of 20th century history, kids love exploring the newly restored aircraft and hands-on exhibits. The whole family will be fascinated by the story of the recovered Gemini III space capsule, told through interactive displays in “The Space Zone.”

Don’t leave before checking out one of the Intrepid’s high-tech jet plane simulators!

Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Times Square

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Come to Ripley’s, where the weird and the wonderful coexist in perfect harmony. Located in the heart of Times Square, this iconic attraction features a variety of bizarre artifacts, kooky legends, and funky performances that the whole family will enjoy.

With more than twenty galleries filled with unbelievable things to do and see, you’ll find plenty to explore at this one-of-a-kind institution.

Don’t miss performances by the “Sideshow Wonders,” including the Incredible Lizardman and his sword-swallowing, bug- and fire-eating, and many more amazing acts.

Bike Rentals

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Renting a bike is the perfect means to engage active kids and see NYC in an eco-friendly and fun way.

Skip the hassle of traffic and the confusion of the subway and explore Manhattan’s many marvels via bike – truly a unique experience! Pedal around Central Park, across the Brooklyn Bridge, around the New York Harbor, and get a chance to the iconic New York skyline from a whole new perspective.

A complementary bike map will help you plot out a course, and friendly advice from rental staffers will get you going on your way. See NYC and get some fresh air at the same time!

New York Botanical Garden

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Explore the wonders of nature in the heart of the country’s most densely populated city. Spend a few hours away from the hustle and bustle of NYC life with a visit to the ever-popular New York Botanical Garden, a beautiful greenspace nestled in the Bronx.

Kids will love the activities and interactive elements of the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, and everyone will enjoy breathing in the intoxicating scents of fresh flowers and blossoming trees.

With over 1 million plants populating this urban paradise, you’ll never run out of exciting new wonders to observe.

Clipper City Tall Ships

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Who doesn’t love historical vessels? Hop aboard this famous Tall Ship and step into history as you board this majestic schooner, modeled on nineteenth century ships but built with modern comfort in mind.

In addition to the general excitement of exploring the nautical elements of this 200-ton beauty, you’ll also be able to experience an enchanting cruise around Manhattan.

Prepare for stunning views of New York’s most iconic landmarks, from the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island to the Brooklyn Bridge and beyond.

Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Tour

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For a complete, expert-led tour of New York City, a hop-on hop-off bus tour is the perfect way to check off all the most popular sights.

You’ll see all the most important monuments and iconic landmarks of New York City along the way and you’ll have the freedom to hop-on or off at an of the sights you want to explore anywhere between Uptown and Downtown Manhattan.

THE TOUR

Custom made buses let you get a whole new perspective on new york city on THE TOUR

For an action-packed and exciting take on a classic New York City bus tour, THE TOUR offers visitors a unique way to see and experience the highlights of NYC.

This 90-minute tour is led by an entertaining tour “NAVIGATOR” who will take you through the streets of Manhattan while providing historical insight while audio and visual components add to the experience.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

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While the Met’s massive collection may seem overwhelming to families, it’s actually really accessible for kids of all ages. Using the detailed maps and exhibit guides provided at the front desk (also available online in advance), you can plot a course to see everyone’s favorite exhibit.

From the marvels of Ancient Egypt to the lush colors and beautiful portraits of the Impressionist period, there’s something to inspire and enchant every viewer.

As a bonus, kids get in free! Don’t forget to stop by the gift store – with its excellent collection of books and educational toys, it’s a great place to get the kids a souvenir they’ll really treasure.

Luna Park at Coney Island

looking for things to do in New York City with kids? Head to Luna Park at Coney Island and try out all of the fun rides.

Get four hours of unlimited rides at Luna Park on the historic boardwalk of Coney Island.

Luna Park has rides the whole family can enjoy, from the mre adventurous Sling Shot and Thunderbolt Rollercoaster, to the more tame B&B Carousel, there’s fun for everyone.

Let’s Recap

There you have it – some of our favorite things to do in NYC with kids.

Plan to add a few of these attractions to your vacation itinerary and we are sure you will have a fun time during your trip to New York.

Remember, you can save on combined admission to many of these popular family friendly attractions and more.

New York City Explorer Pass

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