New York City is a very family-friendly winter vacation destination.
The city offers endless activities for kids including ferry rides to the Statue of Liberty, elevators to the top of the Empire State Building, and an abundance of kid-friendly restaurants.
NYC also checks off the boxes for what parents are looking for in a family vacation: educational opportunities, memorable experiences, and affordable activities.
Many parents think of New York City as a spring or summer destination, but the City can deliver an equally family-friendly vacation experience during the winter.
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a week-long winter vacation, or a quick 3-day getaway from the suburbs, choose NYC as your family vacation destination this winter and you’re sure to hear that elusive “You’re the best Mom/Dad” from your kiddos.
Here are 5 family-friendly indoor and outdoor winter activities in New York:
1. Children’s Film Festival
Does Friday night in your household mean carryout and movie marathons? Ramp it up a notch when you bring your family to the New York International Children’s Film Festival. Every February and March, the Festival welcomes 25,000+ children, parents, and movie-lovers and offers screenings of 75+ new films from around the world, special programs for ages 3-18, and much more.
The festival runs from late February to mid-March and is guaranteed to not only entertain your children but to also educate them. They will be introduced to other cultures and traditions as well as the industry of filmmaking. Save money on a taxi and enjoy a casual stroll that is just over 10 minutes from the Washington Square Hotel to the festival.
2. Mega Indoor Recreation Center
If your kids are starting to feel the burn out of the museum crawl, that’s okay – they’re kids! They’ll appreciate it someday, but for now, re-energize them with an afternoon at New York’s Ultimate Playground, Chelsea Piers.
Located on the scenic Hudson River Park between 17th Street and 23rd Street, the facility is a short 15-minute ride or 20-minute walk from the Washington Square Hotel. The 80,000 square foot facility is sure to warm up little fingers and toes with drop-in activities such as rock climbing, gymnastics, batting cages, bowling, and golf.
3. Ice Skating at Central Park
If you’re in New York City in the winter, then you must experience ice skating in Central Park. There are two venues located in Central Park: the Wollman Rink (located on the East side, near the Central Park Zoo) or the Lasker Rink (located mid-Park between 106th and 108th Streets). Both skating rinks are a quick subway ride from Washington Square Hotel.
They are much less crowded than the Rockefeller Center rink, and a walk through the park in winter is a real treat. Nothing beats an hour on the ice for a family-friendly winter activity.
Your kids will love looking at the looming skyscrapers overhead as they spin and twirl around the rink. Skates are available for rent at both locations.
The Wollman Rink is open during the day and into the evening hours as late as 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. The Lasker Rink is open during daytime hours, 6:00 -11:00 p.m. on Fridays and 1:00 -11:00 p.m. on Saturdays.
4. Frozen Hot Chocolate
After warming up on the ice rink, cool down nearby with a world famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate from Serendipity 3.
This Instagram-worthy treat is a year-round tradition enjoyed by locals and tourists alike and served in Serendipity 3’s cozy boutique style café located between 2nd & 3rd Avenues (take the same subway you journeyed on to Central Park when you return home to the Washington Square Hotel).
The memorable dessert is made of whole milk, crushed ice, whipped cream, and a secret blend of no less than 14 kinds of chocolate. Order a couple of these, and that might just be the moment your kids thank you for an awesome NYC winter vacation.
5. Kid-Friendly High Tea Spots
Experience the whimsy and warmth of an afternoon tea, known as high tea in NYC, with your children. There are teas and goodies all around the city appropriate for children and parents of all budgets.
Travel to the Upper East Side via the subway for a visit to Madeline’s Tea at the Carlyle. Bemelmans Bar is a masterpiece of murals and decor decorated by Lugwig Bemelman, the creator of the children’s books. Your children will love the kid-friendly foods and Madeline dolls, books, and napkins.
Alice’s Tea Cup provides families with an enchanting experience at their 2 NYC locations. Your children can borrow or buy a set of butterfly wings in the gift shop to join in the fancifulness. There is no tipping, and the fairy dust is included.
There is an abundance of memorable, affordable, and family-friendly winter activities in NYC. Help your children experience the warmth this city has to offer during the cold months. After a busy day filled with laughter and memories that will last a lifetime, the staff at Washington Square Hotel are eager to invite you to stay in our cozy rooms, perfect for the whole family.