UPPER WEST SIDE

This family-friendly cultural hub always has something going on in Lincoln Center, Central Park, or one of the hands-on-museums. Also see our guide to midtown plus upcoming events.

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EVENTS

Jazz at Lincoln Center Family Concerts: Who Is Thad Jones

10 Columbus Circle
Mar 25

Learn about the trumpeter-composer-bandleader Thad Jones in this hour-long interactive performance. Recommended for ages 5–12, but children and adults of all ages are welcome.

At the lovely Rose Theater in the Shops at Columbus Circle (where you can also explore Art Camp) with a stunning view of Central Park.

Also at 3 pm.

American Folk Art Museum

2 Lincoln Square (Columbus Avenue at W 66th Street)
Mar 24

This cozy museum hosts rotating  exhibits featuring Americana art that often includes engaging colors, patterns and animals. See works by self-taught artists in a variety of genres including sculptures, quilts, wood carvings and weathervanes.

CURRENT EXHIBITS:

🧵 Lively paintings & fancy slippers in Morris Hirshfield Rediscovered
🖼  Collection highlights in Pushing Boundaries: 60 Years of AFAM Exhibitions

🌳 Across the street from small Dante Park and happening Lincoln Center.

Tue-Sun 11:30 am–6:00 pm

New York City Ballet Family Saturday: A Timeless Tale

20 Lincoln Center Upper West Side
Feb 25

Discover how New York City Ballet artists with excerpts from classic fairy tale ballet The Sleeping Beauty. Hear from dancers and learn how they tell a story through dance

Try some some moves from the elegant seats in an engaging, interactive program.

Learn more choreography at the Children’s Workshop afterward.

The Sleeping Beauty

65th Street & Broadway
Feb 18

This enchanting full-length ballet is one of New York City Ballet’s grandest spectacles of dance, featuring luxurious sets and costumes, Tschaikovsky’s glorious score, and a cast of fantastical characters.

This elaborate production features over 100 dancers, including young students from the School of American Ballet in George Balanchine’s enchanting The Garland Dance (set to the famous waltz your kid will recognize from the Disney cartoon).

Streamlined into two acts (Act I: 1 hour 12 minutes, Act II: 55 minutes) with drama, speed and energy and a memorable villain.

A formal performance meant for kids who can stay still and quiet for 2+ hours. Consider New York City Ballet Family Saturday: A Timeless Tale on Feb 25 relaxed experience in the same grand theater with the same excellent dancers.

Ages 3+ can join Children’s Workshops before some performances.

Philharmonic Families

65th Street & Broadway
Feb 12

Explore a section of the orchestra in an intimate New York Philharmonic concert designed for ages 3-6. Enjoy music, games, movement, singing, and humor. Pre-concert activities begin an hour before each concert.

Also at 3 pm

Broadway Playhouse

129 West 67th Street
Feb 12

Learn about the lives and songs of noted Broadway composers and lyricists in a fast-paced, funny interactive concert for kids featuring talented performers.

Includes mini-musicals, sing-alongs, games and more musical fun in an intimate theater – some kids end up on stage. One of our our favorite series.

Get three shows for $60 with a series subscription.
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NYC Must-See Week

Throughout NYC
Feb 12

Jan 17-Feb 12, snag 2-for-1 tickets to many of NYC’s iconic attractions, museums, tours and performing arts. Use promo code  MSW23 online for most venues; see nycgo.com for details.

Save on these family faves – click on links for more info.

MUSEUMS

* Cooper Hewitt
* Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
* Museum of Broadway
* Museum of Modern Art
* The New-York Historical Society
* New York Botanical Garden
* New Museum

EXPERIENCES

* Artechouse
* Beat The Bomb (Super VIP Mission Experience only)
* Museum of Ice Cream
* The Rink at Rockefeller Center
* RiseNY
* Spyscape

VIEWS

* Empire State Building
* One World Observatory
* Top of the Rock

Also save with 2-for-1 Broadway tickets and prix-fix Restaurant Week meals. Plus see pay-what-you-wish admission hours to save all year long.

 

 

New York City Ballet Children’s Workshops

65th Street & Broadway
Feb 18

NYCB Teaching Artists guide children in a ballet warm-up and movement combination, concluding in a lively performance for accompanying family and friends, in the company’s rehearsal studios. No prior dance training needed.

See and learn more dancing at Family Saturdays at the theater.

😷 Masks required. Attendees required to present either proof of full vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test (PCR test administered within 48 hours of the event or a rapid antigen test administered on the day of the event).

New York City Ballet Autism-Friendly Access Workshop

65th Street & Broadway
Feb 4

Join the artists of New York City Ballet in movement workshops designed especially for autistic children and their families. During these one-hour events, children will be guided in a ballet-based warm-up and choreography inspired by some of the ballets currently being performed this season. Workshops feature live piano accompaniment and a designated quiet space will be available. A visual story will be sent prior to the event. No prior dance experience is necessary. Siblings are encouraged to participate.

Space is limited; online registration required.

Storytime in the Lobby: Drag Queen Storytime with Yuhua Hamasaki

334 Amsterdam (@ West 76th Street) Upper West Side
Jan 31

Join free storytime in the JCC  Manhattan’s pop-up library, in the lobby, with Yuhua Hamasaki, a Chinese-American immigrant who loves to spread knowledge, kindness, and compassion with some help from glitter and shiny earrings. Star of VH1’s RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10, Yuhua Hamasaki has been entertaining for almost a decade.

Under Momentum

65th Street & Broadway
Feb 18

Kinetic Light artists Alice Sheppard and Laurel Lawson showcase a suite of dance solos and duets exploring momentum, speed, balance, and the pull of gravity—all performed on a series of curvaceous wedged ramps. This presentation intentionally and joyously reveals disability as a creative force. Dance lovers of all ages are welcome to attend.

😷 Masks & proof of vaccination required.

MUSEUMS

Cathedral of St. John the Divine & Peace Fountain

1047 Amsterdam Avenue at West 112th Street Upper West Side

The largest Cathedral in the world, built in 1892, is open for visitors  Monday-Friday 9:30 am–3 pm and Saturday–Sunday 9:30 am-5 pm. Timed tickets strongly encouraged.

Explore rotating art exhibitions that span centuries, celebrating the creativity of 17th century weavers to modern painters and everything in between. 48 relief panels on the giant bronze front doors depict scenes from the Old and New Testaments and the Apocalypse.

Outside, see charming small bronze animal sculptures created by K-12 students from NYC and tri-state area around a 40-foot high bronze sculpture by Cathedral Artist-in-Residence Greg Wyatt. Depictions of a giant crab, nine giraffes, a double helix, Albert Einstein, the sun and satan represent the eternal conflict between good and evil.

Pick up at cappuccino, croissants & Eastern European treats at the funky Hungarian Pastry Shop across the street.

Sharks

West 81st Street & Central Park West

Get up close with dozens of life-sized models of spectacular, surprising, and often misunderstood sharks. Go inside the jaw of an megalodon, see fossils, touch models of teeth, hunt like a hammerhead and more in touch-free interactive displays. Take a photo inside a giant jawbone and turn yourself into a shark on augmented reality screens.

Lots of scary teeth and models, but also info on the rarity of shark attacks to reassure.

Timed tickets required. See our complete guide to the Natural History Museum.

American Folk Art Museum

2 Lincoln Square (Columbus Avenue at W 66th Street)

This cozy museum hosts rotating  exhibits featuring Americana art that often includes engaging colors, patterns and animals. See works by self-taught artists in a variety of genres including sculptures, quilts, wood carvings and weathervanes.

CURRENT EXHIBITS:

🧵 Lively paintings & fancy slippers in Morris Hirshfield Rediscovered
🖼  Collection highlights in Pushing Boundaries: 60 Years of AFAM Exhibitions

🌳 Across the street from small Dante Park and happening Lincoln Center.

Tue-Sun 11:30 am–6:00 pm

Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM)

212 West 83rd Street between Broadway & Amsterdam

Explore interactive, educational, well-designed exhibits for babies to pre-teens.

HIGHLIGHTS:
🎨 Immersive Inside Art: Create, Climb, Collaborate
🐒 Spacious Adventures with Dora and Diego
🇺🇸 Right to Vote (with a Presidential desk)
⚡️ Comic-book inspired Superpowered Metropolis.

⭐️ Tons of educator-led experiences and special guest artist including weekly themed art projects, art scavenger hunts, storytime, dance-time & music.

Daily 10 am – 5 pm

American Museum of Natural History

West 81st Street & Central Park West

This giant (45 fascinating halls) treasure trove of wonders delights lovers of animal & nature of all ages.

HIGHLIGHTS: 

🪐 Rose Center for Earth and Space
🐋 94-foot-long blue whale in the Hall of Ocean Life
💎 Sparkly Halls of Gems and Minerals,🦖dinosaur fossils galore

CURRENT EXHIBITS:

🦈 Interactive Sharks
☄️ Planetarium Show Worlds Beyond Earth
🦫 IMAX Beavers, 🎄Origami Tree

⭐️ Gets crowded on weekends and holidays, but there is always a quiet nook to explore. It’s getting even bigger with new openings in February.

Daily 10 am – 5:45 pm

New-York Historical Society

70 Central Park West at 77th Street

Learn about the layered, diverse history of NYC at this fascinating museum.

HIGHLIGHTS:

🇺🇸 Hand-on Children’s History Museum on the bottom floor
🔆 Digital design-your-own Tiffany lamp
🎥  Multi-media films New York Story and We Rise

CURRENT EXHIBITS:

🚂 Tracks and detailed figures galore in Holiday Express: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection
🥯 Interactive, immersive “I’ll Have What She’s Having”: The Jewish Deli

⭐️ Join weekly history-themed storytimes and other family programming.

Wed–Thu 11 am – 5 pm
Fri 11 am–8 pm (pay-what-you-wish 6-8 pm)
Sat–Sun 11 am – 5 pm

“I’ll Have What She’s Having”: The Jewish Deli

70 Central Park West at 77th Street

Examine how Jewish immigrants, mostly from Central and Eastern Europe, imported and adapted traditions to create a uniquely American restaurant in an interactive, immersive exhibit –  and pose with cut-outs of favorite foods.

Explore the food of immigration, the heyday of the deli in the interwar period, delis and Broadway, stories of Holocaust survivors and war refugees who worked in delis, the shifting and shrinking landscapes of delis across the country, and delis in popular culture. See neon signs, menus, advertisements, deli workers’ uniforms, and video documentaries.

Pick up a copy of a kid-centric guide to the exhibition in the gallery. Don’t go into this exhibit hungry or you won’t last long. Deli-themed menu options, including a pastrami on rye sandwich and smoked white fish dip, available at museum restaurant Storico.

Holiday Express: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection

70 Central Park West at 77th Street

See historic toy trains, figurines, and miniature models from the renowned Jerni Collection. Look for fun details in a variety of toy train stations dating from the turn of the 19th century to the WWII era, plus toy rides including a miniature Ferris wheel, carousel, blimp ride, and roller coaster. Giant screens display animations and fun facts about the toys.

Pick up a train-themed I Spy scavenger hunt and look for special trains, airplanes, animals, and more.

See our guide to New-York Historical Society – don’t miss the interactive DiMenna Children’s History Museum in the basement and make-your-own-Tiffany Lamp on the fourth floor.

Wednesday–Thursday 11 am – 5 pm
Friday 11 am–8 pm (pay-what-you-wish 6-8 pm)
Saturday–Sunday 11 am – 5 pm

World of Marzell’s Big Apple, Musical Tree & Music Box

Broadway & 63rd Street Upper West Side

Dante Park hosts three interactive installations by DIX au carré and urban art designer Felix Marzell. Take a break inside the Big Apple. Crank the handle and sing along to some all-time festive classics karaoke-style with The Music Box. Take center stage, follow the notes, and play Jingle Bells for all to hear at a Musical Tree.

OUTDOORS

Hippo Playground

Riverside & 91st Street

Frolic and splash with beloved hippo statues in this well maintained playground in lovely Riverside Park featuring swings, wooden and metal play equipment, slides, a spray shower, picnic tables, benches, sand pit, a drinking fountain, bathrooms and summer weekday art projects.

Belvedere Castle

Mid park around 79th Street Upper West Side

One of the most iconic features in Central Park, this miniature castle is located atop the huge rock outcrop known as Vista Rock, the second highest natural point in Central Park.

The whimsical structure, designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted in 1869, provides the highest and best views of the Park and the adjacent cityscape – plus has bathrooms, water fountains, some informational displays plus medieval-esque staircases and doorways for playing princess/knight.

Download the Belvedere Castle Audio Guide  (available in English, Spanish and American Sign Language for info about the architecture and history of the castle.

EAT

Levain Bakery

351 Amsterdam at West 77th Street

Everything is baked on-site throughout the day at this legendary bakery, from an array of rustic breads to the world-famous, super-gooey, six-ounce cookies in five flavors: Two Chip Chocolate Chip, Walnut Chocolate Chip, Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip & Oatmeal Raisin (plus a gluten-free chocolate chip option).

Other options include sour cream coffee cake, brioches, whole wheat walnut raisin rolls are also yummy (and a little healthier).

Outposts also in Harlem, the UES, NoHo and Williamsburg.

Daily 7 am – 9 pm

Alice’s Tea Cup

102 West 73rd Street at Columbus Avenue

Enjoy scones in rotating flavors as magical as the decor, sandwiches, salads and treats with optional fairy wings and glitter at a whimsical tea house inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Choose from hundreds of teas served in charming mismatching pots and cups.

Gets crowded on weekends; reservations recommended. Go early to beat the crowds (or take the scones to go for a Central Park picnic).

Also in the East 60s.


Wednesday–Sunday 11 am – 6 pm

Storico

170 Central Park West at 77th Street

Feast on antipasti, artisanal pastas, paninis and other Italian-inspired inventive, ingredient-driven dishes, plus mac & cheese and grilled cheese – at a classy yet kid-friendly eatery within the engaging New-York Historical Society (museum admission not required).

Indoor and outdoor seating available. Look for special menu items related to current exhibits.