8 Free Attractions for Kids in New York

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A stay in New York can quickly snowball into a really pricey affair.  There are just so many fabulous things to see and do and it’s difficult to resist the lure of the numerous great attractions in this magnetic and captivating city.  Luckily, there are a few free attractions for kids in New York where you can take your family for a memorable time and they won’t cost you a cent.

Here are our recommendations for 8 free attractions for kids in New York:

Bryant Park

Free Attractions for Kids in New York, Bryant Park

Photo by Jean-Christophe BENOIST / CC BY 3.0

A nice park for kids, this is especially great in the summertime.  There are open air movies on Monday evenings as well as circus workshops, shows, and story-reading sessions.  There is a cool merry-go-round with lots of animal characters.  More happens at weekends, but it is still a nice place on any day of the week.

Hudson River Park

Free Attractions for Kids in New York, Hudson River Park

View to the Empire States Building over Greenwich Village from Hudson River Park. Photo by By Wusel007 / CC BY-SA 3.0

As well as being able to walk along the edges of the river, if your kids are into fishing they can see what they can catch – for free!  And, equipment is provided!

Bronx Zoo

Bronx Zoo

If you all love seeing a wide variety of animals, head to the cool Bronx Zoo on a Wednesday.  Admission fees apply on other days of the week, but Wednesdays offer free entry, although donations are welcome.  Your kids can see animals as diverse as gorillas, tigers, lions, birds, snow leopards, lizards, and penguins.


There are several good city beaches where you and the kids can relax in the sun, play games, and run around.  Coney Island, Jones Beach, and Rockaway are some favourites.


The Staten Island Ferry gives you terrific views of several key city features, such as the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, and the famous Manhattan skyline.  The return journey will take around an hour and it won’t cost a penny.

St Patrick’s Cathedral

Free Attractions for Kids in New York, St. Patrick's Cathedral

Photo by Jean-Christophe BENOIST / CC BY 3.0

A fascinating Gothic gem, you can admire this wonderful building from the outside and then go inside to marvel at the ornate interiors.  There are also free tours at certain times of the week, perfect for teaching young visitors more about this famous landmark and its history.

Socrates Sculpture Park

A fun and interesting open air museum, there are loads of intriguing sculptures for you to see as well as other displays of pretty art work.

Belvedere Castle

Free Attractions for Kids in New York, Belvedere Castle

Photo by Stig Nygaard / CC BY 2.0

A cute mini castle within the massive Central Park, your younger kids can have fun exploring the Castle and looking out over the park from the two balconies.

Museums / Galleries / Exhibitions Etc.

New York is home to a plethora of museums, galleries, and similar that cater to a broad range of interests.  Some of these are free to visit at all times, whilst others have special periods where there are no admission charges.  Some to check out with the family include the National Museum off the American Indian, Queen’s County Farm Museum, and the New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex (free at all times), the Federal Reserve Bank (advance registration required), Queens Botanical Garden (free on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons), the New York Hall of Science (free on Frday afternoons and Sunday mornings), and the Museum of the Moving Image (free on Friday evenings).

There are loads of free playgrounds across the city too, as well as several terrific parks.  Even just strolling around the busy streets can be an amazing experience for kids!

Make the most of your family vacation and give your kids lots of interesting activities to complete whilst away as well as a lovely reminder of their trip when they return home with the Kids’ Travel Guide – USA and New York.  Your kids can learn more about the city and country in general, and can complete loads of fun quizzes and puzzles as well as documenting all the fab new things that they see and all their marvellous experiences.

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