Published in New York Family on Feb 10, 2020

The Upper West Side is a great place to raise children or to have a family day out! Since it’s right next to Central Park, it’s away from the Midtown Manhattan fuss, and at the same time, close enough to all the family-friendly places you definitely want to visit! Browse through our must-see guide of the Upper West Side and have a blast with the family.

American Museum of Natural History
200 Central Park West

The biggest advantage of the Upper West Side is the American Museum of Natural History! This is the place where you can enjoy time with your children night or day. Whether you visit interesting exhibits or spend a night with the polar bears, the AMNH always has new and exciting programs for the whole family. 

Central Park
14 East 60th St

It doesn’t need explaining why Central Park is the best outdoor place to spend time with your children. Fresh air, multiple playgrounds, and open stage performances are only a small portion of all the family-friendly outdoor activities in the park, not to mention, sports and games you can play with the little ones. Central Park has nurtured New Yorkers’ need for nature for more than 150 years and is still the best place to see animals and go bird watching.

Belvedere Castel, Central Park

Children’s Museum of Manhattan
212 W 83rd St

Children’s Museum of Manhattan is dedicated to “helping the youngest citizens grow and develop into their best selves.” All activities in the museums are organized around the arts, sciences, and humanities, with the sole mission of educating kids in a fun and friendly way. Visitors are welcomed to experience more than 80 workshops, classes, and performances free with admission to the Museum each week.

DiMenna Children’s History Museum- New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West

Explore history with your children through the DiMenna Children’s History Museum, where 350 years of cultural heritage and American history are introduced through digital games and activities. Targeted towards children between 8 and 13, the Museum focuses on the life stories of youngsters who once lived in New York City. Famous figures like Alexander Hamilton, the first immigrant who became a U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, and James McCune Smith, the first African American medical doctor, will inspire both you and your child.

Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th St

Thalia Book Club Camp, All Write! Arts education programs, Global Arts Class, or Cultural Field Trip — the choice is yours! Symphony Space is there to provide all kinds of activities to develop your kids’ interests and passions. Symphony Space’s mission is to provide you and your family with more magical moments that harness the power of the arts.

Vital Theater Company
410 W 42nd St

This community of actors, dancers, and singers believe that a shared theatrical adventure profoundly influences children’s lives. These artists strive to create engaging stories that invite the young audience to ask questions, make discoveries, and get involved in discussions.

“If one adult is inspired,

if one child’s imagination is awakened,

if one student is empowered,

our theatre is important and vital.”

by Vital Theater Company

Upper Westside
Vital Theater Company

Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center Plaza

Here it is the Mecca of all arts, Lincoln Center. Dance, theater, and musical activities designed especially for young viewers. Programs in English and Spanish show the beauty of diversity and create safe spaces for self-expression. Organizers try to build a music-loving community for kids by igniting their imagination with various activities. This season encourages kids to discover the world and enjoy international performers. Follow #LCKids to keep up with the latest LC events.

77th/79th Street Greenmarket
Columbus Avenue & 77th St

Located behind the American Museum of Natural History, the Greenmarket stretches from 78th to 81st Street. Get your all-natural produce every Sunday for a well-balanced diet. From grass-fed beef to homemade apple cider, and a full assortment of fruit and vegetables you can find everything you need. Plus, visiting the Greenmarket with your kids is a great way to introduce them to natural ways of growing food and where it comes from.

PIER i CAFE
West 70th St in Riverside Park South

Open-air, scenic river views, and a children’s menu are just a few reasons to choose Pier I Cafe. This seasonal outdoor café is located on the shore of the Hudson River, in Riverside Park South. The coffee bar is basically in the park, where children can play as you sip your favorite latte. Enjoy the casual atmosphere and fresh food with friends and family from April to November.

Upper West side
Pier I Cafe

Amorino
414 Amsterdam Ave

Want to try the best Italian ice-cream and macaroons in the area? Go to Amorino gelato shop and indulge your senses. Fresh ingredients, exotic fruits, and natural flavors will make your children want more. Amorino started as a small corner shop in Italy and grew into an international chain that we know today. Amorino’s philosophy is based on the use of Non-GMO natural products to ensure the best tasting dessert for its customers.

The Baseball Center
202 W 74th Street

Are your kids interested in sports? Professional athletes will commit to inspiring young players and creating a team environment. Your child will enjoy the tight-knit community while building healthy habits. 

Hippo Playground
W. 91st St &, Riverside Dr, Riverside Park

Another great place for active children is the Hippo Playground. Try various games and water activities to teach the little ones about these semi-aquatic, herbivorous animals. Hippo Playground provides a relaxation station and park house, swings with safety surfacing, wooden play facilities and slides, different play equipment, a spray shower, and picnic tables. The large hill on the east side of the playground is a popular sledding area for neighborhood children during the winter.

Upper West side
Hippo Playground

Good Enough to Eat
520 Columbus Ave. at 85th St.

This all-natural diner is proud to serve its customers “Made From Scratch” meals, which means they never buy anything pre-made – just Non-GMO ingredients. All soups and sauces are fresh and locally made by the Kitchen Team. Good Enough to Eat is famous for its homemade bakery-bread, biscuits, cakes, pies, and cookies straight out the oven for you and your children.

Albee Baby
715 Amsterdam Ave

If you are up to some new baby gear, Albee Baby is the place to visit with your little ones and test all top-shelf brands before making your choice. Albee has toys, furniture, bedding, layette, and much more.

West Side Kids
498 Amsterdam Avenue

Toys for kids of all ages (including dads). West Side Kids is known as “the” neighborhood toy store for Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Cheer and smiley assistants are there to help you select the right toy for your child at any age.