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New York City Family-friendly activities

Our most recommended New York City Family-friendly activities

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

1. 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.

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

2. 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: Museum of Ice Cream Entry Ticket

3. NYC: Museum of Ice Cream Entry Ticket

Walk through the pink doors of the Museum of Ice Cream and enter a world of pure imagination. Satisfy your inner child and your actual kids with exhibitions featuring various installations designed to engage and delight children of all ages. Time your visit the museum on a weekday for a more peaceful experience. Once inside, explore imaginative, multi-sensory exhibitions that bring to life your most delightful dreams. Savor the sweetest treats on a magical floating table, slide down an epic three-story slide, take a celestial ride on a pink Museum of Ice Cream subway, and follow the buzzing sound to a giant "Queen Bee" hive. Taste the museum's signature flavors and ice cream treats along the way, before taking a dive into the world's largest sprinkle pool. Take all the Instagram-worthy pictures that your heart desires. When you finish your experience, be sure to explore the museum's whimsical shop. The Museum of Ice Cream is not a traditional museum — every installation is interactive, meaning touching isn't only allowed, it's encouraged. Alternatively, grab your partner, friend, or family member for an exclusive Night at the Museum experience at The Museum of Ice Cream. Start off the night with a signature cocktail and ignite your senses through a theatrical experience. After hours, enjoy a full tour of the museum's 13 magical installations, along with special activities and treats designed to celebrate love in all its forms. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a pink super-cone.

NYC: Top of the Rock Observation Deck Ticket

4. 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.

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

5. 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 skip the elevator line.  At the observatory, located atop One World Trade Center, elevate your senses with 360-degree views of the New York skyline from the highest point in the city. Take in the iconic sights, surrounding waters, and panoramas of the Manhattan skyline and beyond.   Engage with City Pulse and One World Observatory's global ambassadors as they share stories of this amazing city. Stop by the restaurant, cafe, or bar to enjoy themed dining options and seasonal beverages from 101 stories in the sky  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

6. 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.

American Dream: Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park Ticket

7. American Dream: Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park Ticket

Enjoy a day at the largest indoor theme park in the Western Hemisphere at the Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park, located inside American Dream, New Jersey's newest indoor entertainment and shopping center, just 4 miles outside of New York City. Every day is a great day to visit, with unlimited access to all the rides, live Nickelodeon character appearances, all in a comfortable climate-controlled environment. Enjoy family-friendly rides for the young and the young at heart. Create unforgettable memories for the entire family on: • Bikini Bottom Crosstown Express: spinning and reeling through the streets of Bikini Bottom • Nickelodeon Slime Streak: a twisting, turning coaster through the Nickelodeon Universe • Spongebob's Jellyfish Jam: a thrilling family swing ride • Legends of the Hidden Temple Challenge: The world's tallest adventure ropes course • Rugrats Reptar Go-Round: a double-decker, all-ages merry-go-round For the more adventurous, test your limits on the thrill rides. The tallest, the steepest, and the longest rides in the world loop and swoop you across the park with views of Manhattan at every turn: • The Shellraiser: featuring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, this coaster holds the record for the world's steepest drop • Nickelodeon Skyline Scream: the world's tallest indoor spinning drop tower • The Shredder: the world's tallest and longest free-spinning coaster • Sandy's Blasting Bronco: an out-of-control coaster that blasts you forward, backward, and upside-down • Kraang Prime Pandemonium: swing back and forth in her giant slimy tentacles • Timmy's Half Pipe Havoc: a giant skateboard ride providing the ultimate in air time • Aang's Air Gliders: soar and spin like an Airbender • Jimmy Neutrons Atom Smasher: you control the level of thrill from a gentle cruise to a topsy-turvy tumble There are also rides just for tots, made especially for kids, promising magical journeys with their favorite characters for an experience they will never forget including Fairly Odd Airways, Pup Pup & Away, Blue's Skidoo, Blaze's Monster Track Rally, Dora's Sky Railway, Paw Patrol Adventure Bay, Ren & Stimpy's Space Madness, and Shimmer & Shine Jumping Genies.

4-hour Harlem Gospel Tour in New York City

8. 4-hour Harlem Gospel Tour in New York City

Experience an alternative tour of New York in this 4-hour tour of Harlem and the Upper West Side. Meet at the Sheraton New York Hotel at 08:30 AM. From here, be transported by your local guide to the church where the service is held. On the way, pass major landmarks, such as Saint John the Divine Cathedral, Columbia University, Sugar Hill, Morning side Heights, and Hamilton Terrace. Enjoy inspirational and uplifting gospel music. Characterized by its repletion, group participation, strong harmonies, and vibrant energy, the sound of a gospel choir can't fail to put you in a delightful mood. This is a unique chance to glimpse a community service and take part in an extraordinary form of celebration. After mass you will be driven back to Sheraton, where your tour will end. Continue your New York sightseeing filled with joy!

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: Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Entry Ticket

10. NYC: Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Entry Ticket

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.

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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:

Washington, DC

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

Definitely one of the most organized, informative and well-designed museums I’ve ever been to. Hard to say that I “enjoyed” visiting a venue that memorializes one of the most horrific events in our nation’s history, but I will definitely say that it is an experience that cannot be missed. It is a very moving experience and one that truly reinforces the notion that we must always remember and never forget what happened that dreadful day.

Mike was awesome! He was very informative from the time the tour started to the time it ended. He gave plenty of time to see everything and take pictures. The bus was very comfortable and it had a restroom that was really convenient. I would definitely recommend this tour, it is definitely worth it!

Just brilliant, best show out there. Brilliant actors would 100% go again!!

Express skip the line was absolutely worth the money.

Beautiful views of NYC. Fun and knowledgeable guide.