New York City Family-friendly activities

Our most recommended New York City Family-friendly activities

NYC: Empire State Building Tickets & Skip-the-Line

1. NYC: Empire State Building Tickets & Skip-the-Line

Choose between a General Admission ticket to the 86th floor outdoor observation deck or a Combination Ticket with access to the newly renovated 102nd floor, showcasing floor to ceiling windows. You can also upgrade your experience with an Express Ticket. The New Empire State Building Experience not only gives you access to the legendary New York City landmark, allowing you to soar 1,054 foot (320 meters) high and enjoy magnificent 360-degree open-air views of New York City and beyond. You'll also see Grand Staircase with a two-story architectural model of the building and newly renovated interactive galleries that take you on an incredible journey from the building’s construction to its current place in pop culture. Explore the site in the 1920s, Construction, Opening Day, Modern Marvel, Otis Elevators, World’s Most Famous Building, King Kong, and Celebrity exhibits. The 80th Floor also features a range of exciting art exhibits. Be sure to see the building's iconic Art Deco Fifth Avenue lobby. The Empire State Building's 86th Floor Observation Deck is the highest 360-degree open-air observatory in New York, outfitted with heaters to keep the cold at bay. The Empire State Building is more than a spectacular view - it is the most Instagrammed landmark in the USA. Your entrance also includes a downloadable multimedia experience, available in 9 languages. This app also includes videos, image galleries, quizzes, and maps showing nearby points of interest. Be sure to see the building's iconic Art Deco Fifth Avenue lobby as you exit this remarkable building.

NYC: Top of the Rock Observation Deck Ticket

2. NYC: Top of the Rock Observation Deck Ticket

Take in a 360-degree panorama of New York from 850 feet (260 m) in the air at the Top of the Rock. Explore 9,500 square feet of unobstructed outdoor viewing space, the most of any New York observatory. Take in the daytime scenery, see the sunset, or admire the city sparkle by night from new heights.  Upon arriving at 30 Rockefeller Center, take time to admire the stunning, shimmering Swarovski chandelier on your way to the mezzanine level. Here is an exhibit where you can see historic artifacts and a short film about Rockefeller Center’s construction during the Great Depression. Head up to the Top in less than 1 minute with a ride up 850 feet (260 m) on the Sky Shuttle. Explore 2 floors with expansive indoor and outdoor viewing areas. Finally top off your visit with breathtaking views of Central Park, Empire State Building, downtown Manhattan, One World Trade Center, and multiple bridges from the completely open-air deck on the 70th-floor.

NYC: 9/11 Memorial & Museum Timed-Entry Ticket

3. NYC: 9/11 Memorial & Museum Timed-Entry Ticket

Benefit from contactless entry to the National September 11 Memorial Museum with your pre-purchased timed-entry ticket. Enjoy complimentary access to the 9/11 Memorial, the Survival Tree, and the Memorial Glades The 9/11 Museum The museum displays over 10,000 monumental artifacts linked to the events of 9/11 and is made up of three permanent exhibition sections: • The Historical Exhibition has three parts: the Day of 9/11, Before 9/11 and After 9/11. It tells the story of what happened on 9/11, including the events at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the story of Flight 93.  • The Memorial Exhibition "In Memoriam", commemorates the lives of those who perished on September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 and provides visitors with the opportunity to learn about the men, women and children who died. • The Foundation Hall is a room of massive scale, which houses both the last column and the slurry wall.  The 9/11 Memorial (Free Entry) The “National September 11 Memorial” is a tribute of remembrance and honor to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center site, the Pentagon, as well as the six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993.  The memorial’s twin reflecting pools are each nearly an acre in size and feature the largest manmade waterfalls in North America. The pools sit within the footprints where the Twin Towers once stood. The names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed into bronze panels edging the memorial pools.

New York One World Observatory: Skip-the-Line Ticket Options

4. New York One World Observatory: Skip-the-Line Ticket Options

Ascend via SkyPod to the top of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere in less than 47 seconds at 28 mph. SkyPod provides a virtual time-lapse visual experience showing how New York City has changed from the 1500s. Skip the ticket line and even opt to also skip the elevator line. At the observatory, elevate your senses as you take in the iconic sights, surrounding waters, and panoramas of the Manhattan skyline and beyond. Then look toward the horizon and feel the city’s invincible spirit while taking in the stunning views.  Engage with City Pulse and One World Observatory's global ambassadors as they share stories of this amazing city. Step onto the expansive Sky Portal and take a walk high above the streets of New York. Dine or drink at the café, bar, or restaurant. Upgrade to Combination or All-Inclusive Tickets and enjoy skip-the-line access to the elevators. Access expedited security via the priority security line. The Digital Skyline Guide, an interactive, virtual reality iPad guide to New York City, is also included. 

New York City: American Museum of Natural History Ticket

5. New York City: American Museum of Natural History Ticket

Enjoy a day of family-friendly activities at the American Museum of Natural History, in New York City. Located just across from Central Park, the museum is home to over 32 million specimens. Benefit from all-day entry and use the option to upgrade your general entry ticket to include special exhibitions. Explore all permanent exhibitions as well as the Rose Center for Earth and Space. Wander around 45 Museum Halls to learn about dinosaurs and diamonds, and everything in-between. Look out for the iconic Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton and Easter Island head that inspired characters in the film "Night at the Museum." Connect to the museum's WiFi and download the free Explorer App to your smartphone. The app offers turn-by-turn navigation, behind-the-scenes stories about exhibits, quizzes, and more. See the exhibition highlights at your own pace with the museum's self-guided tours of popular collections. Special Exhibitions: • Sea Lions: Life by a Whisker Dive into the world of a rare Australian sea lion pup and meet the people who are trying to save her species in this immersive giant-screen film. Discover a classic coming-of-age tale that takes place in a colony of sea lions living between a jagged cliff face and a roaring ocean, in an environment as harsh as it is beautiful. • Sharks: Older than dinosaurs—and more threatened than threatening—sharks are spectacular, surprising, and often misunderstood. Dive into the world of this amazingly diverse group of animals in the new exhibition, Sharks. • Worlds Beyond Earth: Worlds Beyond Earth tells the story of the surprisingly dynamic nature of the worlds that share our solar system and the unique conditions that make life on Earth possible. Captioning devices are available.

From Manhattan: 4-Hour Dyker Heights Holiday Lights Bus Tour

6. From Manhattan: 4-Hour Dyker Heights Holiday Lights Bus Tour

Experience Christmas in New York City on a comfortable bus tour of Dyker Heights, world-known for its luminous light displays. Witness the festive decoration tradition that the residents have kept alive since the 1980s. Drive from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Enjoy this lively Italian-American neighborhood with your tour guide. Due to narrow streets, buses are not allowed in Dyker Heights, so hop off the bus and follow your guide to the two most illuminated streets in the area. See Lucy Spata's house, which started the tradition of Dyker Lights in the '80s. Walk along the most spectacularly decorated houses. Next, stop at the Brooklyn Bridge in DUMBO/Brooklyn Heights. Enjoy the view of the Manhattan Skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge for about 25 minutes. Return via the Manhattan Bridge. End the experience at Bryant Park, where you can admire the famous winter market or take a spin on the Ice Rink.

NYC: Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes

7. NYC: Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes

Head to New York’s famous Radio City Music Hall for a night to remember with this outstanding ticket to the annual Christmas Spectacular. Join the Rockettes, Santa Claus, and the Toy Soldiers in this once-in-a-lifetime NYC Christmas experience. See the Radio City Music Hall stage transform into a giant, magical canvas before your very eyes! Extending beyond the stage and onto the ceiling and walls, be amazed as the magic of Christmas surrounds you. Enjoy the legendary Parade of the Wooden Soldiers, Santa's magical ride to his workshop at the North Pole, where playful rag dolls come to life, plus the re-enactment of the first Christmas in the Living Nativity.

NYC: Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Admission

8. NYC: Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Admission

Visitors to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum can experience a legendary aircraft carrier, the first space shuttle, the world’s fastest jets, and a Cold War-era submarine. Discover a museum that employs history and technology to inspire and advance innovation by developing the next generation of leaders in science, technology, engineering, and math. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is dedicated to the exhibition and interpretation of history, science, and service from its home on board the aircraft carrier Intrepid, a National Historic Landmark. The former aircraft carrier USS Intrepid was launched in 1943 and fought in World War II, surviving five kamikaze attacks and one torpedo strike. The ship later served in the Cold War and the Vietnam War. It was decommissioned in 1974, and today is berthed on the Hudson River. You get the chance to visit 4 decks of this great ship: • Hangar Deck: A great place to start your visit and our main indoor exhibit space, the hangar deck takes you through both the hardware and humanity of Intrepid • Flight Deck: Get an up-close look at more than two dozen authentically restored aircraft, look inside the Restoration Tent, and take a walk through history on Intrepid's island and bridges. - Gallery Deck: Located between the flight deck and hangar deck, the gallery deck features the combat information center (CIC), squadron ready room, and marine berthing • Third Deck: Learn about shipboard life in Intrepid's restored galley, enlisted mess, and crew berthing The Space Shuttle Pavilion showcases Enterprise, the prototype NASA orbiter that paved the way for the space shuttle program. Dynamic exhibit zones feature original artifacts, photographs, audio, and films that immerse visitors in the science and history of Enterprise and the space shuttle era.

NYC: Circle Line Landmarks Cruise Skip-The-Box-Office

9. NYC: Circle Line Landmarks Cruise Skip-The-Box-Office

Take in many of the iconic sites of midtown and lower Manhattan on a semi-circle boat cruise. Enjoy magnificent views of the world's most recognizable skyline and get a close-up look at Lady Liberty and Ellis Island from the water. See the sights with a local tour guide who brings to life the breathtaking sights and the fascinating history behind the Big Apple. Sail down the Hudson River, cruising around the Battery, and up the East River. Pass under the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg Bridges to the United Nations building before heading back to Pier 83, the starting point for your tour.

NYC: Circle Line Best of NYC Skip-The-Box-Office Cruise

10. NYC: Circle Line Best of NYC Skip-The-Box-Office Cruise

Enjoy a relaxing cruise of New York Harbor and Manhattan Island as you discover the secrets of the city. You will circle Manhattan, passing 3 rivers, 7 major bridges – including the world-famous Brooklyn Bridge – 5 boroughs, and more than 101 sights in New York’s legendary skyline. Get up close to the Statue of Liberty and see Manhattan just as the great explorers would have seen it at the end of their long ocean journeys. Tour the city by water and see the outer boroughs drift by. Fun and knowledgeable tour guides will bring the city that never sleeps to life, telling fascinating stories about the breathtaking sights as you sail. See it all as you marvel at the best that New York has to offer. Cruise highlights include close-up views of the Statue of Liberty, Randall’s Island, High Bridge, Columbia University, Harlem, Gracie Mansion, South Street Seaport, Brooklyn Bridge, Yankee Stadium, The Cloisters, Grant’s Tomb, and The Little Red Lighthouse.

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Frequently asked questions about New York City

What top attractions are a must-see in New York City?

What are the best day trips and excursions from New York City?

The best day trips and excursions from New York City are:

Boston

Family-friendly activities: Things to do in New York with kids

Going for a family trip to the Big Apple? You’ll find fun and fantastic things to do in New York with kids. The city that never sleeps has something for every age, every personality, and every bedtime! Introduce them to Spiderman, Mickey, or Elsa in Times Square. Ride the Cyclone or win a teddy bear on the boardwalk on Coney Island. Experience old-school entertainment with story time at the New York Public Library or the Strand. Or go big with the latest Broadway kids spectacular or family-friendly performances at Symphony Space. Take a stroll through Central Park and ride the carousel or learn about hieroglyphics at the Obelisk. Find pure enjoyment and entertainment with a dash of learning in every part of New York City.

Visit the Children’s Museum of Art: Let your little artists shine

Everyone can be an artist at the Children’s Museum of Art. Even in the Gallery where established artists are exhibited, kids are encouraged to create art inspired by what they see. There are activities for kids as young as 10 months old up to the teenage years. Let your kids express themselves and maybe learn skills they didn’t know they had. And there’s more than just painting – they can try sewing, sculpting, animation, photography, sound recording, and more. Watch your kids’ creative juices flow!

You’ll be glad to know that there’s a storage area for coats and strollers as strollers are not allowed inside. There is limited food and drinks available for sale, so you can bring in your own food and drink. Baby changing facilities are also available.

Visit the NYC Fire Museum: See what it’s like to be a firefighter

Take your kids to the Fire Museum where they can mix fun with a bit of education on safety. Old fire engines and helmets and interactive exhibits will provide kids and adults with lots of fun. This stop will be a winner especially if you have a kid that wants to be a firefighter. Or perhaps you’re the one who wanted to be a firefighter in younger years? Putting on firefighter gear will be the highlight of your day then! You can even buy firefighter gear for your little firefighter in the museum’s souvenir shop. Besides the fun part, kids will also learn how to keep safe during a fire emergency. You can expect to spend about an hour or two inside the museum.

You can use strollers inside the museum. Note that you can’t bring food or drinks inside the exhibition area.

Visit Intrepid Air, Space, & Sea Museum: Let your kids experience it all

More than just a floating museum, the Intrepid is a fully interactive experience. Give the kids a new appreciation for all things flying. Then check out the space shuttle Enterprise and the Concorde or tour a nuclear submarine. Military buffs can see planes from the Armed Forces and push the controls inside a Bell helicopter. For a more immersive experience, there are flight simulators – see if they can handle the G-Force or move like a Blue Angel!

There is no coat check, so be prepared to carry everything with you. Strollers are allowed, but you should be aware that there are multiple levels and narrow passages. If you get hungry, there’s a restaurant with a kid’s menu and vending machines outside.

Visit Gulliver’s Gate: Feel like giants

Spark your kids’ curiosity and wonder in a miniature New York City. This may be a dreamland for kids who love dollhouses and Legos. The artists made sure to sneak in surprises, such as Spiderman on the Brooklyn Bridge, firemen rescuing a kitten in a tree, and a tightrope walker inside Grand Central Station. As they look for these Easter eggs, they may learn about everyday life in the city. There are other cities too, including landmarks across Asia, Latin America, and Europe. See if they can find Pokémon on Mount Fuji or decide whether the ropes will work on the Tower of Pisa.

This attraction is suitable for all kids, although you may want to watch the little ones around the miniatures. There is a coat check, for a small fee, that takes bags and strollers. Strollers are allowed inside, and there are baby changing facilities. Note that food and drinks, as well as selfie sticks, are not allowed.

Other Sightseeing Options in New York City

Want to discover all there is to do in New York City? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about New York City

Make sure to download the app before you arrive and bring earphones. It’s an emotional experience. An amazing tribute to all the first responders and all who lost their lives.

The 9/11 museum is great, but if you want to buy a ticket, buy it directly from the museum's website. GetYourGuide charges $4 more and doesn't offer as many entry times.

Jorge was a fabulous tour guide. He is extremely knowledgeable and entertaining. I recommend this tour.

Wonderful monument to a terrible occasion. Well worth the time. Very moving.

Increíble. Un poco largo pero no desilusiona. Super recomendada