10 Free Things to do with Kids in New York City

New York, the Big Apple – the city that never sleeps! Here is our list of free things to do with kids in New York City and most of these activities are not just for kids either! Even the seasoned New Yorker should be encouraged to give these attractions another quick look! Having featured in so many great movies, New York is an instantly familiar city. Have fun getting to know it better with your kids!

1. Staten Island Ferry

Take the kids on a 25-minute trip across the water from Lower Manhattan to Staten Island. See some of the best sites that New York has to offer such as the famous Statue of Liberty, the stunning views of New York Harbor and the majestic Manhattan skyline. All free of charge!

2. Central Park

Of course all parks are free but this one has to be the most famous! A hive of activity all year round with playgrounds, wonderful buildings such as Bethesda Terrace & statues such as ‘Alice in Wonderland’ & ‘Strawberry Fields,’ for Beatle, John Lennon. Enjoy free swimming at Lasker Pool in the summer months & storytelling at the ‘Hans Christian Anderson’ statue.

3. NYC Toy Stores

Ok, obviously toys are not free but I have chosen these three toy stores because they offer a whole experience & a lot more than a simple toy sale.


Image: S.Schwaiger TripWow

FAO Schwarz is the toy shop you always dreamed of as a kid! Lots of toy demonstrations, people dressed as wooden toy soldiers & amazing oversized animals! Not to mention the giant piano Tom Hanks jumped across in the movie ‘Big.’

The Scholastic Store in SoHo is a big, colourful delight that regularly hosts craft workshops, movie screenings & other free kid-friendly events!

Brooklyn Superhero Supply Store is worthy of a mention for its originality & good work! You can pick up x-ray goggles, capes & tins of immortality! Customers are asked to promise at the door to use purchases only for the forces of good & profits go to 826NYC which teaches writing to kids. Founded by author, Dave Eggers.

4. Brooklyn Children’s Museum

Free every Thursday from 3 to 5pm, this museum is full of fun, educational exhibits that teach kids about world cultures, history & science. There’s also a lovely area specially geared towards the under-fives. They have the most amazing website so even if you’re not in New York, you can take a look!

5. Brooklyn Bridge

One of the most recognisable parts of the New York City skyline, it’s free to walk the elevated pedestrian walkway for a stunning experience of New York City. The bridge has featured in so many movies & television shows making it a real part of New York City history.

6. New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center

The centre regularly hosts free performances & exhibitions for everyone with an interest in the arts. The current free exhibition is ‘Somebody Come & Play’- celebrating 45 years of Sesame Street, allowing visitors to meet the characters, take part in art projects & enjoy some storytelling. (Running until Jan. 31st)

7. Columbia Astronomy Public Outreach

Curious older kids and teens can attend free public lectures here, followed by a full 90 minutes of rooftop stargazing, hosted by Columbia University’s astronomy department. Past Friday-night sessions have included “How Big Is the Solar System?”, “How Is a Hubble Image Made?” and “Where the Ocean Meets the Sky.”

8. Flushing Meadows- Corona Park

World trade globe Flushing meadows, queens, nyc free things to do with kids in new york city


The city’s second-biggest park contains the amazing Unisphere, a mammoth steel globe created for the 1964 World’s Fair. You can also explore one of the park’s six playgrounds, take a stroll along the Flushing Bay Promenade, or fly a kite or model airplane.

9. South Street Seaport

An entertaining area with exciting, free seasonal events & entertainment for all ages. You can also inspect the historic ships docked at the pier.

10. Times Square

You can’t really visit New York without taking a photo in this busy, bright hub of excitement! Recent additions such as the stairs above the TKTS booth and a pedestrian plaza along Broadway have aimed to improve the overall sightseeing experience of this landmark area.

You might also like Free Family Things to do in London 

What did I miss? I’m sure you can recommend some more free things to do with kids in New York, so please let us know below!!

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Mum, Sharon, loves to write about travel and technology.