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Unexpected Fun in NYC

Unexpected Fun in NYC

37 things to do in New York City that are unique, unusual, and off the beaten path

We live near (what is arguably) the greatest city in the United States, with its dozens of museums and cultural institutions, landmarks, and historical sites. Yet, sometimes it can feel like you visit those kid-friendly locations too often already, and the thought of schlepping the kids there for the nth time is draining. Let’s face it: You and your kids are bored—itching for a new adventure. Now what?

We scoured the city and created a scavenger hunt of 37 unique, unusual, or off-the-beaten-path things to do, see, or explore with your kids. If you post photos of your adventures on Instagram, make sure you tag us @NYMetroParents, and let us know if you find anything we should add to our list!

Hang with Animals without Going to the Zoo

wild monk parakeets brooklynSteve Baldwin 

From seeing wild monk parakeets on a Wild Parrot Safari in Brooklyn (pictured) to hanging with adoptable cats in one of the city’s cat cafés, we found eight places you can hang out with animals in New York City outside of the zoo.


Activities for the Adventurous

100 gates project lower east sideNina LoSchiavo

Seven places in NYC you can adventure to with your kids, including playing in a junkyard, canoeing in the Gowanus Canal, and going on a graffiti art walk (pictured).


Do It for the ’Gram

black tap milkshakesCourtesy Black Tap

We’re all about social media these days, Instagram in particular, so why not hunt down these NYC Insta-worthy spots for your feed, from over-the-top milkshakes (pictured) to mosaics on building façades.


Explore Nature

randalls island urban farmCourtesy Randall’s Island Park Alliance

Picnicking; check. Riding bikes; check. Spending the day in Sheep’s Meadow; check. You’ve done those, but have you explored an urban farm (pictured), explored Central Park’s North Woods, or foraged in a city park? Check out six unexpected ways to explore nature in NYC.


Uniquely New York

yonah schimmel's knish bakeryKatelin Walling

Eight off-the-beaten-path things to do with your kids that are unique to the city, including eating knishes, seeing real gold bricks, and learning how pianos are made.

Main image: Snap a photo with Fearless Girl in Manhattan's Financial District before she leaves in February 2018.
Katelin Walling



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Katelin Walling

Author: Katelin Walling is the former editorial director for NYMetroParents. She has been writing about parenting, health, finance, education, fun things to do in NYC and the surrounding area, and more for nearly 10 years. She also has 20+ years of child care experience and was a babysitter in NYC for 8 years. Katelin graduated from the University of Maine in 2011 and attended the NYU Summer Publishing Institute during the summer of 2011. To unplug in her free time, she can often be found reading, knitting (or general crafting), or whipping up a vegan treat—all with a cup of coffee nearby. See More

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