More than ever, local families will be looking for things to do in New York City when schools are off for spring break. As an alternative to packing up and decamping the City, take advantage of safe and responsible ways to find family fun in the five boroughs. That may be indoors and out, at familiar institutions and in far corners where you might never have ventured. We’ve got a dozen ideas to at least provide a starting point.
1. Muster up for the reopening of the Intrepid Museum (March 25), an aircraft carrier with displays of fighter planes, sailors’ quarters and a prototype of a space shuttle. Meanwhile, museums such as MoMA , the Met and the Whitney have instituted free or pay-what-you-wish entry for kids; you may also find exhibits at smaller museums—like City/Game and New York Responds at Museum of the City of New York (Fridays–Sundays only)—easier to manage and able to pique kids’ interests.
2. Hone skills that never go out of style, with a class on how to build a fire at Willowbrook Park (March 27; ages 8 and up) or basket-making at Historic Richmond Town (March 27 and April 3; ages 15 and up). There are plenty of virtual opportunities as well: some favorites include the cooking classes at Dynamite Shop (March 22–April 3; ages 7–15) and the Queens Theatre Education at Home (March 29–April 2; all ages).
3. See the first pitches of the new baseball season as the New York Yankees host the Toronto Blue Jays in the Bronx (April 1, 3 & 4). These will be the first baseball games in front of NYC fans since late 2019.
4. Get on your bikes (or the City’s bikes) and ride, perhaps along Manhattan’s Hudson River Greenway; from Cunningham Park to Alley Pond Park in Queens; or in and around Brooklyn’s Shirley Chisholm Park—which, in warmer seasons, has a bike “library” from which to borrow (the program is closed for the moment).
5. Discover bright art ideas at Domino Park, home to Reflect, a new installation that responds to movements on its surface with flashes of light, or at the Seaport District, where Electric Dandelions turn from daytime sculptural flowers into an engaging light show at night. Artechouse also has a visually dynamic show, Geometric Properties, that brings math into the mix. After, pop upstairs to enjoy the culinary offerings at Chelsea Market.
6. Go on a historical and educational adventure by touring the Dyckman House (Thursdays & Fridays only), which is reckoning with its past involving slavery, or King Manor Museum, dedicated to an early proponent of the anti-slavery movement.
7. Make a special trip to enjoy a less-heralded international cuisine, like Guyanese in Richmond Hill, Sri Lankan in Tompkinsville, Somali in Harlem, Paraguayan in Sunnyside or Albanian in the East Village. Or go to one of the City’s Chinatowns, to eat some of the best and most famous food in NYC.
9. Put all your eggs in one basket at the Queens County Farm Museum, which holds its traditional Barnyard Egg Hunt. Young kids will especially enjoy the search and the open spaces (March 27 & April 3).
11. Head to a cool sneaker store, some of which are like mini museums; a design or art supply store, to stockpile items for kids’ creative projects; or any of the City’s great bookstores, because books are indeed magic.