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Free Kids’ Activities to Beat Winter Blues

Are you feeling a little cooped up? Are your kids itching to get out? We’ve got five low-cost or free indoor activities in New York City for you to try this winter.

January 14, 2020 | HF Healthy Living Team

Brrr… it’s cold outside! New York City is a great place to be when the weather is nice, but it also holds delights when it’s too cold (or too hot!) to go outside. Try one of these low-cost or free indoor activities the next time you need to get out of your apartment.

Take a Trip to Grand Central Station

You’ve probably passed through Grand Central Station many times on your way to somewhere else. But if you’ve seen this historic station only from the subway, you haven’t had the full experience.

Now more than 100 years old, Grand Central Station offers so much more than a train ride. Check out the “starry sky” ceiling before you go shopping or get a bite to eat. Don’t miss the “Whispering Gallery” downstairs (in front of The Oyster Bar), an archway that lets you “whisper” to someone standing all the way on the opposite side.

For a small fee, you can also take a tour of the station—on your own or with a guide. Learn more here.

Learn at an Urban Park Ranger Nature Center

Did you know that within many of New York’s largest parks are Urban Park Ranger Nature Centers that serve the public with activities, education, workshops for the whole family, trail maps, and more? Now you do! If you feel like venturing outside, many of the centers also offer walking tours.

Visit your nearest Urban Park Ranger Nature Center today for a different view of some of your favorite parks.

Find Peace at an Indoor Public Space

Do you need a quiet space to meditate, read, play a board game, chat with a friend, get out of the cold, or simply find some peace? You can do all that and more at one of New York City’s many free indoor public spaces, also called atriums. Many of them even offer free Wifi, or snacks for an additional fee. Get a list of the atriums in Manhattan here.

Need a little more green in your winter? Try the Lowline Lab, an indoor plant laboratory. It’s free on the weekends and offers youth education and other involvement opportunities.

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Visit a Museum

New York is a city of museums—not only are there more than 100 museums across all five boroughs, but many of them are considered the best in the world. And did you know? Lots of New York City museums are completely free, or are free on certain days or for certain hours (excluding any special performances or exhibits).

So when you feel the winter boredom setting in, get out and explore a few of these free options:

… and many more. Get a complete list of free or partly free New York City museums here.

Play at Chelsea Piers

While not free, Chelsea Piers is a cost-effective way to get exercise or get active this winter. This 28-acre indoor and outdoor fitness facility on the west side of Manhattan can give you and your family the chance to ice skate, run, rock climb, swim, and much more. Prices vary by activity, and you can pay just for the drop-in activities you’re interested in. Learn more about drop-in activities at Chelsea Piers here.

Looking to do more this winter? Even outside? Check out these other activities going on around the city.


© 2020 HF Management Services, LLC.

Healthfirst is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Healthfirst group of affiliated companies.

This health information or program is for educational purposes only and not intended to treat, diagnose, or act as a substitute for medical advice from your provider. Consult your healthcare provider and always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions.

“Free NYC Museums,” NYC: The Official Guide. Accessed December 31, 2019.

“Guide to Grand Central Terminal,” NYC: The Official Guide. Accessed December 31, 2019.

“Nature Centers,” New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Accessed December 31, 2019.

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