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10 Fun Things to Do with Kids in New York City

Looking to enjoy the Big Apple in a way that’s fun for the whole family? From late-night dining to outdoor fun, there’s so much families can enjoy in New York. Here are 10 fun things to do with kids in New York.

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1. Things to Do With Kids in New York: Ping Pong

1. Things to Do With Kids in New York: Ping Pong

SPiN New York made ping pong cool, courtesy of co-owner Susan Sarandon and designer Todd Oldham’s hipster cache. Unfortunately, it’s a members-only club – and family membership costs $900/year! It’s a great thing to do with kids in New York. 

For less hassle, book a free table at Bryant Park during its April through November open season. (Photo courtesy of BryantPark.org)

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2. Things to Do With Kids in New York: The Museum

2. Things to Do With Kids in New York: The Museum

Heres’s something to do with kids in New York. But, let’s be honest: a three-hour art-gallery tour featuring paintings of “random old fashioned stuff” (to quote one youngster I know) doesn’t top every kid’s wish list. We’ve always had more luck engaging our child with contemporary art, and consider the New Museum a NYC must-see. Located in the Bowery district, a short walk from Soho, it’s known for its adventurous and global collection, which encompasses many different media. Bonus: Kids under 18 are always free. (Photo courtesy of NewMuseum.org)

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3. Things to Do With Kids in New York: Strand Bookstore

3. Things to Do With Kids in New York: Strand Bookstore

Thinking of things to do with kids in New York City? If your family loves reading, eschew the big box book chains for something more New York: The Strand. Established in 1927, this family-owned new, used and rare-books emporium boasts “18 Miles of Books” in a 55,000 square foot space.

Tell your tween to look up between book searches: celeb sightings at this literary hotspot include (*sigh*) Robert Pattinson and Orlando Bloom. (Photo courtesy of Strand)

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4. Things to Do With Kids in New York: Ride the Subway

4. Things to Do With Kids in New York: Ride the Subway

Hel-lo: it’s New York! You can’t go home without riding the subway while on this side of the world. Yes, it’s safe… and the people watching is better (and cheaper!) than on those double-decker tourist buses. No wonder it made it on our list of must-sees in New York. 

Where else will you see subway break-dancing? (Photo by Anthony Modesto, nycsubway.org)

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5. What to Do With Kids in New York: Central Park Zoo

5. What to Do With Kids in New York: Central Park Zoo

Visit Central Park Zoo in New York with the kids. Budget time for two or three visits if possible, since this massive green-space occupies 845 acres of midtown-to-uptown Manhattan. Smaller kids will have fun playground hopping like locals, while older kids may prefer exploring by rental bike instead.

Perennial park faves include the Central Park Zoo and the bronze Alice in Wonderland statues. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz, © NYC & Company)

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6. Things to Do With Kids in New York: Times Square

6. Things to Do With Kids in New York: Times Square

Lit up in all its nighttime glory, Times Square is a can’t-miss attraction. Take the kids to Times Square in New York City. Toys “R” Us Times Square is open until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, making it the perfect destination for little night owls. The in-store Ferris wheel is 60-feet high and animatronic dinosaurs, an in-store candy store, and miles of retail display also beckon.

It’s American retail merchandising at its finest. Your kids will love it…and against your better judgment, you will too! (Photo by Joe Buglewicz, © NYC & Company)

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7. What to Do With Kids in New York: Evolution

7. What to Do With Kids in New York: Evolution

Don’t forget to go shopping with the kids in New York. Soho lost its boho cred years ago, but tiny pockets retain their edge…. Case in point, the wildly eccentric natural history shop Evolution, where taxidermy bats and squirrels are displayed alongside human skeletons and tiny meteor rocks.

If you visit, be prepared to stay a while, and possibly to dig out your credit card. You may find yourself being talked into buying a mythical jackalope! (Photo courtesy of NYCtourist.com)

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8. Things to Do With Kids in New York: Handmade Ramen Noodles

8. Things to Do With Kids in New York: Handmade Ramen Noodles

Stumped on what to do with the kids in New York? Foodies-in-training will love peering through a “secret” window downstairs at Ippudo New York, in the hopes of spying the resident ramen master hand-making his artisanal craft noodles.

Upstairs, the trendy eatery’s East Village location, blaring music, communal tables – and a long line-up to get in – channel a nightclub vibe. It’s not conventional “family dining,” but teens and tweens will dig it, and I’ve seen happy toddlers boppin’ to the music on previous visits. (Kid fave: fluffy white chicken-filled Hirata buns – made in-house, of course. (Photo courtesy of Ippudo NY)

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9. What to Do With Kids in New York: American Museum

9. What to Do With Kids in New York: American Museum

It’s one of the United States’ foremost museums and one that appeals to all ages. Consider letting teens explore on their own, with a family meet-up later at the museum‘s Starlight Café. That’s why it made it on our list of things to do with kids while in New York. 

Explorer: The American Museum of Natural History, an iPhone app complete with tours and maps, makes it easier for your kids to plan a course of attack. The app’s GPS directions will come in handy if they get lost in Brain: The Inside Story while trying to find the Butterfly Conservatory. (Photo courtesy of American Museum of Natural History)

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10. Things to Do With Kids in New York: Family-Friendly Hotels

10. Things to Do With Kids in New York: Family-Friendly Hotels

Manhattan is known for tiny, expensive hotel rooms. But here are three good bets for families. Check for deals online and jump when you find them – NYC hotel rates are higher than average. But it’s still a fun thing to do with kids when travelling to New York. 

Doubletree Guest Suites Times Square: By-request baby-proofed rooms; Kids’ Club

Le Parker Meridien (Midtown): Roomy; onsite swimming pool!

Hotel Beacon (Upper West Side): Kitchenettes; in-building laundromat; family neighbourhood. (Photo courtesy of ParkerMeridien.com)