New York is not normally a city that you would associate with children. But dig a little deeper and you will find there are plenty of activities for kids in the Big Apple. The best part? Many are FREE. Here’s a quick list of the best free (or really cheap) things to do with kids in New York.

1.   The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MOMA)

New York’s most impressive museum has a “suggested donation” for entry. You can pay anything you like to enter – even if anything is nothing.

What can you see here? The collection galleries house Art from 1880 to 1950 including the work of Henri Matisse, and Claude Monet’s Water Lilies. Rotating exhibitions cover everything from sculpture to visual art and architecture.

Where is it? Midtown Manhattan in New York City, on 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

Interior of The American Museum of Natural History, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan

Sculpture garden at the MOMA

2. Central Park

An oasis of green in the middle of a grey metropolis, Central Park is a New York must-see. It’s free to wander through the park and it will take you hours to see all of it.

What can you see here? Central Park Zoo is must for Madagascar fans. Check out the chess and checkers house at the South end, the boathouse and Belvedere Castle in the middle and the Peter Jay Sharp Children’s glade and 110th Street playground in the North. In winter you can ice-skate in the park – a true New York experience.

Where is it? Central park is boarded by 5th Avenue and Central Park West. It runs from 59th Street to 110th Street.

Manhattan NYC Central park with family group of people walking on sidewalk to great lawn grass on road in autumn fall season

3. Natural History Museum 

Love Night at the Museaum? This is the place to go. General admission to the Natural History Museum is $23 for adults and $13 for kids. BUT if you go to the ticket counter at the museum you can actually pay anything that you want.

What can you see here? Dinosaurs! Exhibits on climate change and the history of our planet.

Where is it? Central Park West & 79th St, New York, NY 10024

Interior of The American Museum of Natural History, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan

4. The High Line 

The old elevated railway line that runs through Chelsea has been converted into an incredible park. Packed full of plants and art, it’s a great space to walk with kids.

What can you see here? Stunning gardens, great artworks and in the summer they host free activities for kids.

Where is it? The High Line runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues.

Little girls and mother enjoy sunny day on New York's High Line

There are lots of places to stop and soak in the Manhattan view along the High Line

5. Staten Island Ferry

You’ve probably heard of this ferry from dozens of films based in New York. The ferry transports commuters between Manhatten and the boroughs. The trip is about 25 minutes long.

What can you see here? The Staten Island Ferry offers spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty and the city of Manhatten.

Where is it? The Ferry operates between the St. George FerryTerminal on Staten Island and the Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan.

Staten Island Ferry with Statue of Liberty in the background

The Staten Island Ferry has been a municipal service since 1905, and carries over 21 million passengers annually.

6. Brooklyn Bridge

It costs you nothing to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge but you will gain incredible memories with your family.

What can you see here?: Great views of New York. Head to the Brooklyn Bridge Park after your wak and you will find several playgrounds on the waterfront.

Where is it? The Brooklyn Bridge is s in two adjacent neighborhoods. One is called Downtown Brooklyn, the other is called DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass)

View from the pedestrian walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge. Connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn and is one of the biggest suspension bridge in the world.

View from the pedestrian walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge. Connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn and is one of the biggest suspension bridge in the world.

7. Coney Island

Head over to Coney Island for a day by the seaside. Walk the boardwalk and take a dip in the ocean. The island has more than 50 separate rides and attractions

What can you see here?: This is where P. T. Barnum, of The Greatest Showman fame, made his trade. Expect circus shows, wonderful rides and grand parades.

Where is it? Coney Island is located in the borough of Brooklyn. To get there take the D, Q, N or F train to Stillwell Avenue. This takes about 45 – 60 minutes from midtown Manhattan.

View from the Coney Island boardwalk of the amusement park Wonder Wheel.

View from the Coney Island boardwalk of the amusement park Wonder Wheel.

8. Governor’s Island 

The ferry to Governor’s Island, in the heart of New York Harbour, will set you back $2, but once you are there you’ll find plenty to do for free.

What can you see here? Governor’s Island has a 2.2 mile bike path, 30 acres of parkland, mini golf, spectacular views and a spooky ghost tour.

Where is it? To get to Governor’s Island take the ferry from Battery Maritime Building, Slip 7 Lower Manhattan.

Tourists in Governors Island