Seasonal Guide

Activities and programs to help NYC families keep kids active, engaged, and having fun – all year round!

Keeping kids engaged outside of school can be a full-time job. Luckily, New York City offers many free and low-cost options – no matter the season. Whether you’re looking for things to do as a family or for safe activities and programs your child can do independently, this page is a great place to start.


Seasonal Activities

Here are some ideas for things to do as a family throughout the four seasons in New York City. Or, for days you want to stay inside, be sure to check out our Free Events section where you can find virtual events you can attend from home.

 

Fall
For nature-lovers in New York City, autumn means one thing – the reds, oranges, and yellows of the changing leaves! Here are NYC’s best parks for fall foliage, where you can find hikes, events, and more. And NYC Parks also hosts events for holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Winter
Colder weather doesn’t mean there is less to do! With sledding, ice skating, and plenty of holiday celebrations and holiday lighting displays, winter is a great time to be in the City. And check out NYC Parks’ Winter Fun Guide to explore more ways to celebrate winter in the City!
Spring
Spring is a great time to get outdoors in New York City! Cherry blossoms flower all over the city – from streets to parks to botanic gardens. Here are a few great places to see the blooms. And on April 22nd, celebrate Earth Day with events throughout the boroughs. And check out NYC Parks’ Spring Fun Guide to explore more ways to celebrate spring in the City!
Summer
From public beaches to free pools, you and your family CAN stay cool in NYC this summer! (You can even learn to swim for free with a rec center membership, which is free for kids.) For some entertainment, check out summer’s free outdoor movies and free outdoor concerts.

Year-Round Programs

There are plenty of things for kids to do in NYC, no matter the season! Here are some free and low-cost options for year-round kids’ programs.

 

Recreation Centers
New York City’s recreation centers have indoor pools, weight rooms, basketball courts, dance studios, art studios, game rooms, and libraries. They provide lots of programs, have locations in all five boroughs, and offer free membership for kids!

Swimming
Learn to swim! Swimming lessons are free with recreation center membership, which is free for kids! Some locations have indoor pools that can be used all year round.
Sports
NYC Parks offers many Youth Sports Programs and Instructional Clinics for kids eight and older. Sports include baseball, softball, tennis, golf, basketball, cycling, soccer, flag football, street hockey, and track. Recreation centers require membership to participate, but all youth get free memberships.
Media Education
From help with homework to programs for young filmmakers, music producers, designers, photographers, and engineers – there are media programs for every ability and interest. Kids and teens media programs are free with recreation center membership, which is free for kids.
Outdoor Play
The Kids in Motion program by NYC Parks offers hours of free activities in NYC’s playgrounds, including organized sports, games, fitness demos, board games, water games, and more! Programs happen in all seasons but winter, and no registration is needed.

After School

New York City offers many fun and enriching programs for kids during the hours they are not in school. Here are some options.

 

Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD)
Search for programs at Discover DYCD using the “Afterschool programs” filter.
The NYC Parks After-School Program
The NYC Parks Afterschool Program provides children ages 6 to 13 with academic support and physical activity in a safe, structured environment. Recreation centers require membership to participate, but all youth get free memberships.
Enrichment Programs Offering Afterschool Activities
You can also search Growing Up NYC’s list of City Programs using the “enrichment” search filter. This will help you find larger umbrella programs that offer a number of engaging, high-quality afterschool activities for young people in all five boroughs of New York City.

Featured this week

Little boy and girl experiment with paints in a studio

 

Free Afterschool Educational Activities, Healthy Snacks, and More

NYC Parks Afterschool Programs are for children ages 6 to 13 on weekdays from 3:00pm to 6:00pm. Programs are based on monthly themes with activities from sports and fitness, arts and culture, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics).  Recreation centers require membership to participate, but all youth get free memberships.
 

Learn more


Places to Go

When you want to just get out with your family and explore, New York City has you covered.

 

Public Parks
There are 1700 parks in NYC! Get to know as many as you can, from small neighborhood parks to the big and famous ones like Central Park in Manhattan and Prospect Park in Brooklyn. There is so much for kids and families to explore.
Outdoor Spaces with Free Days and Times
Even places that may normally charge admission will sometimes have special times when you can attend for free. For example, check the websites of the New York Botanic Garden, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Queens County Farm Museum, or the Brooklyn Bridge Park Environmental Center to learn more.
Museums
Many museums in New York City are always free – or offer free days or times. Find out which ones with this Free NYC Museums list or this list of city-owned institutions (but be sure to double check with the museum to get the most up-to-date information). If you have a library card, you can also use Culture Pass, which gets you free admission to dozens of museums and other cultural institutions.
Outdoor Art
There is public art all over New York City. From inside subway stations to installations in parks like the High Line and Madison Square Park, there is always something to see.

Featured

 

Explore the Bronx Zoo for Free

The Bronx Zoo spans 265 acres and is home to more than 6,000 animals. From Tiger Mountain to World of Reptiles, there is plenty to see. Don’t forget cach the penguin and sea lion feedings twice a day.

– Free all day each Wednesday. Advanced tickets are required. The Wednesday Ticket Store will open on Monday at 5:00pm for that Wednesday’s reservations.

– Use your IDNYC to sign up for a free one-year membership to the Bronx zoo and other attractions.

 

Plan your visit


Free Events

There are many free and low-cost kid-friendly events across all five boroughs of New York City. Here’s where to find them…

Start by checking these organizations to see what’s happening! Here are links to their events pages. On their calendars, you can often filter events by age, location, and more.

 

Libraries
New York City’s public libraries offer a huge variety of virtual and in-person events. Try The New York Public Library (which serves the Bronx, Staten Island, and Manhattan), The Brooklyn Public Library, or the Queens Public Library.
Parks
New York City Parks host many free and low-cost events throughout the boroughs. You can filter results by “Best for Kids” and “Free Events”.
Arts and Culture
Many museums and cultural institutions have family days and kid-friendly events, like the MoMA, the Jewish Museum, the Morris-Jumel Mansion, the National Museum of the American IndianThe Rubin Museum. The Brooklyn Museum even hosts monthly Salsa dance parties for all ages!

Resources & Support

If you need help finding and paying for child care, feeding your family, getting extra cash for utilities, finding someone to talk to, or more, the resources below can help you and your family.

 

Child Care
Find child care options so you can know your child is safe when you’re working or busy.
Emotional & Mental Health Support
NYC Well can help you, a family member, or a friend find someone to talk to in a crisis and find longer-term support. Call: 1-800-NYC-WELL | Text:  “Well” to 65173 | Chat: Chat online
Food
If you need access to food, the City has food assistance programs that can help.
Cash Assistance
Get cash to help pay for food and other essentials.
Access to Services
Browse programs in NYC that can help you with food, money, housing, work, and more on Growing Up NYC Programs.
Employment
Get help training for and finding a job with Working NYC. Explore programs and jobs.
Covid-19
Find pandemic resources and get back to doing what you love, and keep your friends, family, and community safe by getting a COVID-19 vaccine (for ages 12 and older).
Resources for Young Children
The Early Childhood Family Toolkit helps you keep your young kids learning, playing, and growing healthy.