Our family recently spent a week in NYC when our daughter Makayla and her high school marching band played in the Macy’s Day Parade. While Makayla and her bandmates were going after their dream of playing in the parade, we explored the city. Though NYC can be expensive we did find free things to do in NYC with kids.
Check Out These 10 Free Things to Do in NYC with Kids
Visit the Forbidden Planet
Located in the heart of Union Square, Forbidden Planet is one of the most unique shops in the city. Whether you are looking for toys, graphic novels, comics, games or movie memorabilia, Forbidden Planet has them all.
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the free things to do in NYC with kids that is a great learning experience. Though there are paid guided tours, there is also a free self-guided walking tour that will show you many points of interest and the history behind them.
Unique Store Browsing
There are so many wonderful and unique stores to explore in NYC.
Watch a Street Show
Most everywhere you go in NYC you can find people performing street shows. Remember, tipping is allowed!
Central Park has numerous things to do and see. One thing we did during our visit to Central Park was visit Belvedere Castle. It is one of five visitor centers in Central Park and has the highest views of the park and the adjacent cityscape.
Ride the Staten Island Ferry
From the deck of the Staten Island Ferry, you will have a perfect view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. This free 5-mile, 25-minute ride will also provide amazing views of the New York harbor and the lower Manhattan skyline.
Strand Book Store
The Strand Book Store is a Greenwich Village institution that was opened in 1927 by Ben Bass, and the Bass family still operates the Strand today. The Strand is 18 miles of books which includes over 2.5 million new, used, and rare books.
Listen to Subway Entertainment
In just about any subway station you will find a subway performer. The performers aren’t just limited to musicians, you can also find magicians, poets, and dancers just to name a few.
Macy’s Day Parade
If you are in NYC on Thanksgiving, one of the biggest and best free things to do in NYC with kids is the Macy’s Day Parade. Watching Makayla and her bandmates realize their dreams by marching in the Macy’s Day Parade was definitely the highlight of our trip.
Count Yellow Taxis
You can do this activity with your kids at any time or anywhere while you are in NYC. Everywhere you look in NYC, you will see Yellow Taxis. There are currently over 13,000 licensed taxicabs and over 50,000 taxicab drivers providing transportation for passengers in all five boroughs via street hails.
Finding Free Things to Do in NYC with Kids
We have by no means covered all of the free things to do in NYC with kids but we’ve highlighted 10 of the things we enjoyed on our trip. With a little research, you will be able to find even more free and fun things to do while visiting NYC.
If you have any more ideas, please share them below! We’d love to know about more free things to do in New York City!