The holidays are a great time of year, full of joy, family time, presents, and celebrations. Unfortunately, it also puts a big dent in our wallets and with the kids home from school until after the new year, it can be difficult keeping them busy. Here are 20 budget-friendly ideas for a nice family day out:
(Open Daily from 5:30AM - 2:00AM)
89 E. 42nd Street (at Park Avenue), New York, NY 10017
The grandeur of Grand Central is attractive to just about everyone. The building itself is a great place to explore and take pictures. There are plenty of unique stores to browse through, including the New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex & Store, which houses a fun moving train set. Spend some time playing with new tech at the Apple Store or take a tour with Grand Central Tours.
62 Chelsea Piers, New York, NY 10011
Admission Varies According To Activity
25+ sports, semester-based programs for kids, adult classes and leagues, a membership-based gym and event spaces with Hudson River views. This sports and play center has various fun activities (like rock climbing, ice skating, and toddler gym) to choose from, making Chelsea Piers a go-to place, perfect for all ages.
(Open Daily 10AM - 5PM, CLOSED Jan 1 for New Years Day)
278 Spring Street, between Varick and Hudson Streets
Adult $8, Child age 2-12 $5, Students w/ ID $5, Seniors $5
The FDNY's original museum opened as the Fire College Museum in Long Island City in 1934. The current Museum houses a special memorial to the 343 members of the FDNY who made the Supreme Sacrifice on 9/11 and features a number of firefighting artifacts recovered from the World Trade Center site. Retired FDNY firefighters proudly volunteer to relate stories of New York City's "Bravest" and with the help of the Museum's stunning collection, tell how they got to be that way.
(Open Monday to Saturday 10AM-9PM, Sunday 11AM-7PM)
185 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10007
The World Trade Center Transportation Hub, also now known as The Oculus, is the design of Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava. This main station house is a great spot to tour with the kids to not only see something new, but also to explore our city's history.
(Open Monday to Friday 9:30AM - 5PM, Saturday & Sunday 10AM - 6PM)
47-01 111th Street Queens, NY 11368
Adult $15, Child age 2-17 $12 | Free General Admission Fridays 2PM-5PM, Sundays 10AM-11AM
Discover more than 450 interactive exhibits including Rocket Park Mini Golf, the award-winning 60,000 square-foot Science Playground, Design Lab—an innovative hands-on space that helps young visitors gain a greater understanding of the design and engineering process—and much more.This easily accessible learning ground is perfect for a day out with the kids!
6. Book Culture
(Open Monday to Saturday 9AM - 10PM, Sunday 9AM - 8PM)
450 Columbus Ave., between 81st St. and 82nd St., New York, NY 10024
With 3 locations across Manhattan, Book Culture is a perfect hideout spot for a quiet day out. With an amazing selection of books for any age and comfy reading nooks, this bookstore is every devoted reader's paradise!
(Open Daily 10:00AM-5:45PM)
Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, NY 10024-5192
Suggested General Admission $22
For an adventurous day into our earth's family tree, head to the American Museum of Natural History! The museum now features a new pale-ontological find, the Titanosaur and four new special exhibits, including Cuba! and Dinosaurs Among Us.
(Open Monday, Thursday to Saturday 10AM - 6PM, Tuesday & Wednesday 10AM - 7:45PM, Sunday 1PM - 5PM | Dec 31 10AM - 3PM | CLOSED Jan 1 & 2)
(Brooklyn Bridge Park Areas Open Times Vary Depending On Pier/Area | Playgrounds Open Dawn to Dusk | General Park Areas 6AM - 1AM)
1 Water Street (corner of Old Fulton and Water Street), address for Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory located at Fulton Ferry Landing
A world-class waterfront park with rolling hills, riverfront promenades, lush gardens, and spectacular city views -- great for a nice day out!
(Open Daily 10AM - 4:30PM)
2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York 10460
Adult $24.95, Child age 3-12 $17.95, Senior age 65+ $22.95 | Wednesdays Pay-What You-Wish Donation
The massive institution is home to more than 5,000 creatures in myriad exhibits, including an outdoor baboon reserve, a sea lion pool and an exhibit dedicated entirely to Madagascar, where you'll encounter little Ares, the newest Coquerel's sifaka lemur. Full of animals and wildlife, the Bronx Zoo is the ideal family day out spot!
(Open Daily Dawn to Dusk)
Silver Towers 620 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036
Created by Tom Otterness in 2006, the Tom Otterness Playground is a fun and silly place for kids to be kids. Whether sliding down the legs, climbing the thighs, or slipping backwards down the arms of the gigantic figure, this special park is perfect for a nice day.
(Open Dec 1 to Mar 31 Daily 7AM - 7PM)
Entrances and Exit along 11th and 12th Avenue, starting at Ganesvoort/Washington Street and ending at 34th Street/12th Avenue
Uniquely built on an abandoned railway track, the space is ingenious in its use of reclaimed industrial detritus, a necessity in footage-starved Manhattan. Where else can your kids walk through a field of wildflowers or go on a bug hunt as cabs zoom along the street below?
(Open Saturdays and Sundays 10:20AM - 11:30AM)
11 West 53rd Street, Main Lobby
Free tickets distributed at 10AM | Additional Adult $25, Seniors age 65+ $18, Students $14
Engage in lively discussions and fun activities while looking closely at modern masterpieces and cutting-edge contemporary art. Each month a new theme is introduced. Kids and adults participate. This program is for individual families of up to two adults and up to three kids.
(Open Daily 10AM - 5PM, CLOSED New Year's Day)
Inside the Park at 110th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues
Perched on the northern shore of the Harlem Meer, the Dana Center is Central Park's newest building, and the first to be built specifically as a visitor center. Adjacent to the Center is a small plaza, where many community programs take place. The Charles A. Dana Discovery Center is also the home of our catch-and-release fishing program, so don't be shy to borrow a fishing pole and bait!
(Open Tuesday to Sunday 10AM - 5PM, Thursday10AM - 6PM, CLOSED Dec 31 and Jan 1)
Adult $11, Child age 1-17 $11, Grandparent $10 | Free Admission Thursday 2PM - 6PM
With fun, educational exhibits that teach children about world cultures, history, science and nature, including live animals and a collection of 30,000 historical artifacts, even parents will enjoy it! There’s also a special area for children under five, with activities specially geared toward the youngest of youngsters and how they learn.
That's a wrap on our 15! We hope you're having a great holiday!