Activities for free in NYC? Does it exist?! It’s no secret that New York City can be an expensive place to raise a family or visit for vacation. However, after almost ten months “Maneuvering Manhattan”, I’ve found some great outdoor spots for entertaining the kids and spaces big enough for the stroller. Beep, Beep COMING THROUGH! Apart from the city’s amazing outdoor parks, here are just a few of our go-to places, that are free, clean, and totally kid friendly.
Bronx Zoo is an amazing place to take the kids, but the costs add up for a family of four. Unless you go on a WEDNESDAY! On Wednesday, the Bronx Zoo is completely free admissions or a small recommended donation. Although you can expect a lot of crowds, you avoid the hefty ticket prices of $36.95 for adults or $26.95 for kids! We went on a day it was drizzling and felt like we had the whole park to ourselves. We opted for an All Access ticket which was only $14.95, and those exhibits were even more empty! You can bring your own food, snacks, and they have many water fountains to fill your own water bottle. Stroller and double stroller rentals are also available. Definitely a good sunny or rainy day option!
LOCATION: 2300 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10460
Bryant Park Activities
We love venturing down to Bryant Park and taking advantage of all the FREE activities around the perimeter of the park. You can choose from a bevy of child friendly board games to play, compete in golf, and even do crafts! It is such a fun family day. There are tables set up everywhere to eat a packed lunch or grab bites from many of the kiosks.
LOCATION: Midtown Manhattan (40th & 6th)
Kid friendly isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you hear Times Square, but it’s a FREE sensory experience for the kiddos and they’ll love it. Watch the street performers or take a tour through the M&M World or Hershey’s Chocolate World. Watch out for the creepy characters dressed up as your child’s favorite animated friends. They will ask for a photo-op and then hound you for money. Just people watch and enjoy the circus.
LOCATION: Midtown Manhattan ( 45th & 7th)
Central Park is obviously my favorite place to take the kids and I will be doing a full blog post on that later. That being said, I do want to mention our this FREE playground inside the park. Adventure Playground, is a beautifully designed play ground with slides, sand, climbing structures and water features when it turns summer. Pack some snacks, sand toys, and set up shop as the kiddos will want to play there all day.
LOCATION: Upper West Side on 67th and Central Park West
Hudson River Piers
My son and I love going to Pier 97 on Hudson River Greenway. We bring our breakfast and watch the large boats pass by. From cruise ships, barges, water taxis and old ships, he doesn’t tire watching them all float down the river. The pier has plenty of space to bring scooters, strollers and all the superheros a boy could need.
LOCATION: Upper West Side/Hudson River Greenway
Lincoln Center Grounds
The grounds of Lincoln Center are enormous and a great place for the kids to walk or scoot around. We take a snack and sit around the fountain, or I let them run around the outdoor amphitheater.
Lincoln Center also hosts amazing performances that are free to the public! Check out their calendar HERE for the next outdoor concert!
LOCATION: 10 Lincoln Center Plaza
Movies Under the Stars
Although, I haven’t experienced Movies Under the Stars, this ranks high on my to-do lists! If you are visiting NYC or live here, check out the schedule for this summer’s shows below!
These are just free outdoor activities I recycle throughout the week, but there are so many more free things to do with kids in NYC. My personal favorite is Central Park and I will be sharing all of our beloved activities, play grounds, and sites to see in the cities best attraction. Post coming soon!