The Best New York City Activities for Families

The holidays are far behind us and you are struggling to find some family activities to break up the winter blues. New York City offers a ton of activities for families, even on the coldest days of winter. Here are some of the best New York City activities for families you can do this winter.

Ride the Staten Island Ferry

Nothing can beat a view of Manhattan by ferry, and the Staten Island Ferry is a great activity to do with your kids. The iconic orange ferries are free to ride, and are enclosed so riding them in the winter is no problem. You board at Whitehall Ferry Terminal, and then enjoy a twenty-five minute ferry ride across New York Harbor. The views of Lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, and the Verrazano Bridge are stunning and make for some incredible photo ops!

See a Star Show

Live star gazing around New York City is really difficult with all the city lights. The good news is there are planetariums where you can see amazing star shows. The most famous by far is the Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Natural History, where many of the shows were developed in collaboration with NASA. The planetarium is famed for its 3-D atlas of the universe, ranging from our solar system to the farthest reaches of the known universe. The planetarium’s Astronomy Live programs take you on an incredible tour of the universe that will amaze kids and adults alike.

Go Ice Skating or Sledding

On snowy days, there are plenty of spots in New York City to enjoy favorite winter activities like sledding and ice skating. In Manhattan, there are some great locations in Central Park, like Pilgrim Hill and Cedar Hill. St. Nicholas Park in Harlem and Highbridge Park in Washington Heights are also perfect for sledding.

Ice skating is another favorite winter pastime that you can enjoy in New York City. The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park is free admission, but gets extremely crowded. It’s best to go before 5pm on the weekdays and as early as possible on the weekends to avoid the huge crowds. Lasker Rink in Harlem is inexpensive and much less crowded than many of the other rinks. Some other prime ice skating destinations are Wollman Rink in Central Park and the Rink at Brookfield Place.

After a long afternoon of ice skating or sledding, take the family to one of the city’s famous hot chocolate joints to warm up. Some popular spots to indulge in this rich, decadent treat are Max Brenner and The City Bakery.

Winter Jam (Sunday January 27th)

If you are are lucky enough to make it into New York City this weekend, make sure to check out the 2018 Winter Jam. This free winter festival takes place on January 29th and is great fun for adults and kids alike. Snow machines create a winter wonderland around Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park. Some of the featured activities are Live Ice Sculpting, Sledding, Skiing and Arctic Golf. Winter Jam is truly a unique way to enjoy winter activities right in the middle of New York City.

Go For a Virtual Undersea Journey

The National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey opened last November in Times Square, and is a virtual undersea journey in the heart of Manhattan. The tours are self-guided, with state of the art technology that simulates the ocean floor. The journey begins at a Pacific Island coral reef, where you can observe dolphins and turtles. Then the daylight turns to night and the reef comes alive with glowing sponges and corals.

You then experience the black ocean floor and observe Humboldt squids as they fight for survival. You are then transported to a kelp forest at sunrise and interact with friendly virtual sea lions. At the end of the tour, there is an exploration hall, where you can learn more about the sea animals. Best of all, this unique and amazing experience can be enjoyed by kids of all ages!

There are always tons of things to do in New York City any time of the year. Beat the winter blues by taking your family on a day trip or weekend getaway of this amazing city. Now over to you: what is your family’s favorite winter activity in New York City?

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