Spring Break staycation? What to do with kids in NYC

Jacob made the high school baseball team: yeah! Now we can’t go anywhere for spring break: boo!!

I thought maybe we’d get a 2-day reprieve and head to D.C. or Philly but looks like we’re stuck in Jersey, tethered to a baseball diamond. But I’m not going to complain because we’ll always have Manhattan.

Manhattan skyline on carpoolcandy.com

For those of you staying in the tri-state area for spring break– or if you’re traveling to New York in the next few weeks or even this summer– I’ve compiled a “best of” post of my favorite family activities– and accompanying food of course– in New York City. Enjoy!

Museum of Moving Image on carpoolcandy.com

Museum of the Moving Image—  We discovered this little gem tucked into a residential neighborhood in Astoria, Queens last year. Totally worth the extra 15 minutes on the subway from the city. The building is super modern and all white– like you’re on the set of a space movie…

Museum of Moving Image on carpoolcandy.com

The museum lobby & cafe

…and has an amazing permanent collection of cool modern art and sculptures, and old TV, radio and film equipment. You see the evolution of still and video cameras, microphones, and sound systems.

Costume collection at Museum of Moving Image on carpoolcandy.com

Yup, that’s Mork from Ork’s space suit, Eddie Murphy’s Beverly Hills cop getup, and snazzy costumes from the movie Chicago.

Other galleries include old TV’s of every size (like walking through a time warp,) pop culture toys, special effect artifacts (Freddy Krueger’s giant sweater  and the Exorcist‘s motorized mannequin of Linda Blair whose head spins around,) and make up, costumes, and actual scripts from recognizable movies and TV shows like Taxi Driver and Seinfeld.

Animation stations at Museum of Moving Image on carpoolcandy.com

Several interactive exhibits kept my kids busy, like making 3-5 second videos that can be turned into a flip book, computer animation programs, and changing music, sound effects, or dialogue from famous TV shows and movies in real sound booths. My kids were fascinated by the playable, old school video games like Tetris, Genesis, or Frogger, and I got nostalgic playing Atari tennis.

I highly recommend you pair your visit with a meal at nearby Bare Burger for delicious organic burgers, fries, shakes, and even salads. For more info on the museum click here.

kids walking in central park nyc on carpoolcandy.com

You can never go wrong in Central Park. You’ve got carriage rides, the zoo, the carousel and plenty of space to run around.  Click here for info on walking tours that look pretty cool.

new york historical society museum for kids

In the shadow of the Natural History Museum on the Upper West Side is the New York Historical Society Museum. Don’t miss the short film about the history of New York in the lobby theater, and then briefly check out the eclectic exhibits– from art (paintings, photography and sculpture) to culture (Tiffany lamps to vintage trains and toys.)

At the Children’s History Museum on the lower level of the building, kids can explore the history of New York through the eyes of children of the past. My boys were completely engaged in the interactive exhibits on voting history, kids’ role in the media, and how children lived at the turn of the century.

The kids museum offers great free programs so check the calendar before you go. There are also two scavenger hunt lists kids can fill out as you walk through the building, which keeps them involved.

Jacob creates his own 1930's headline

Jacob creates his own 1930’s headline

After the museum, the kids will deserve a burger at Shake Shack a block away… or take a short walk to Sugar and Plumm— a bistro with Parisian flair– on 79th and Amsterdam, which features gourmet delights like buckwheat savory crepes and chicken and waffles. Or just skip right to dessert: sundaes, fresh-baked cookies and cakes, chocolate, and gelato. Jacob and I split a banana/Nutella crepe and cappuccino macarons that were sublime…

Sugar and Plumm NYC with kids

….but Eli and Aden went for the fancy candy. For more info on the museum and eats click here.

Sugar and Plumm NYC with kids
If your family is less culture and history, and more outdoorsy, check out the newer part of the High Line near Tribeca. The scenery is pretty and the people watching irresistible.

Highline NYC on carpoolcandy.com

Free High Line walking tours and programs– including poetry readings and wildlife talks– begin in April. Strolling makes me hungry, so put your name in at Bubby’s High Line– home of delicious pancakes and burgers– and then walk up an appetite.

Of course, there’s always lunch and a show. Last spring break, I took the kids for sushi at Haru in Times Square and then to see Wicked, which we all liked, despite Jacob’s expression in this photo.

Kids at Wicked NYC spring break on carpoolcandy.com

I get that Broadway is not Jacob’s thang, so this year I’m giving him a pass and taking Aden and Eli to see Matilda. Eli and I read the book recently and have been listening to the CD in the car to prepare. Very excited!

nyc chinatown file
One activity we haven’t tried yet is exploring Chinatown. My kids are obsessed with Asian food (it’s always about the food) and loved walking around Chinatown on a road trip to Toronto a few summers ago, so it seems crazy not to check it out in our own back yard.

Please let me know in the comments if you recommend any specific sights or restaurants great for kids in Chinatown, or anywhere else in Manhattan.

Happy Spring!

3 responses to “Spring Break staycation? What to do with kids in NYC

  1. So helpful, we are around for Spring Break and will definitely be checking out some of your recommendations Thank you!

  2. Don’t forget Little Italy for delicious pastries and pasta!

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. great pics and great post! have an awesome “staycation” with all your boys! 🙂