Your May Must-Do List: Free & Fun Things to Do with Kids in NYC

People watching DUMBO drop Phil Greenberg
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The April showers have done their thang, and NYC is in full bloom, with lots of happenings throughout May. This month, celebrate Mother’s Day, Cinco de Mayo and Memorial Day with events around town, and check out returning interactive exhibits like H20 at CMOM and a bigger and better Candytopia. Need more things to do? Check out our recs of the best things to do with kids this spring in NYC, our favorite spring day trips near NYC and find out how to donate the toys, clothes and books from your spring cleaning purge.

Photo by Karl Fredrickson on Unsplash

photo: Karl Fredrickson on Unsplash

Cherry Blossom Festival on Randall’s Island

Randall’s Island Park Alliance hosts its popular annual Cherry Blossom Festival on May 1. Come appreciate the park’s sizable collection of cherry trees and other spring blooms and enjoy activities including paper flower making, face painting, kite flying, crafts, games and performances.

Noon – 3 p.m.
Sun. May 1
Fields 62/63
Randall’s Island

See Free Music All Over Park Slope

The Brooklyn Conservatory of Music’s Open Stages music festival is a celebration of community, culture, and Brooklyn’s vibrant music scene. Fifteen stages—including stoops, school lots, parks, gardens, and sidewalks—will host more than 150 musicians throughout the day, including Latin jazz performers, marching bands, experimental musicians, kids’ groups, hip hop DJs, and much more.

Event details.

Kid at CMOM water exhibit

photo: CMOM

Dynamic H2O Returns to CMOM

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s splishy, splashy, seasonal exhibit, Dynamic H2O is back! Starting Saturday, May 7, children and their caregivers are invited to let the sunshine in while learning about New York City’s amazing water system. Featuring a 22-foot-long water table, filled with waterfalls, spinners, spouts, and shoots, the outdoor installation includes 800 sq. ft. of hands-on interactives. Included with museum admission.

The museum is open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Wednesday – Sunday.

Tickets: $15/kids and adults; $12/seniors, free/infants and members
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
212 W. 83rd St.
Upper West Side

city parks puppetmobile performance
CityParks Puppetmobile

Catch a Show From the Puppetmobile in a Park Near You

The CityParks PuppetMobile is the oldest continually operating company of its kind in the country. From May to October you can catch an updated version of Little Red Riding Hood, “Little Red’s Hood.” (She’s a city dweller obsessed with her smartphone.) Performances are free in parks in every borough, in English, Spanish and Mandarin.

See when the Puppetmobile will be in a park near you!

Check Out UNIQLO NYC Night at The Museum of Modern Art

Thanks to UNIQLO, NYC residents get in free to the museum the first Friday of every month. Visitors have extended-hours access to enjoy MoMA’s must-see dynamic collection and temporary exhibitions. (The second-floor café and Museum store also remain open late.) Free tickets for New Yorkers must be reserved in advance, and are released on MoMA’s website one week in advance of each UNIQLO NYC Night, and are subject to proof of residency.

Event details.

kids celebrating cinco de mayo

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Queens

This free celebration in Flushing is on Saturday, May 7, which is probably better for your schedule.

Event details.


MakeInspires workshop in chelsea

photo: MakeInspires 

A STEM Pop-Up Comes to Chelsea Market

MakeInspires is dropping into Chelsea to offer STEM-focused, hands-on workshops and programming exploring future technologies to Chelsea Market’s Makers Studio from April 25 to June 8. MakeInspires’ interactive classes help students ages five to 17 develop skills in technologies and industries while cultivating their computational reasoning, critical thinking and creative design skills. Courses and workshops tackle topics such as 3-D printing, robotics, circuits and video game creation. Workshops are $32-$39.

Through June 8
Chelsea Market
75 Ninth Ave.

People watching DUMBO drop

DUMBO Drop is Back

Thousands of toy elephants parachute from rooftops surrounding Washington Street during  #DUMBODROP, a fun community event with music, food, crafts and more. Even better: proceeds from the event benefit the neighborhood’s Title 1 schools. Expect performances on three stages, 20 free kids activities in the Archway, pop up performances throughout the neighborhood, and special family-friendly menus at 30+ restaurants.

May 21

Event details.

Unisphere in Flushing meadows corona park

photo: Wikimedia CC/Jim Griffin

Go On the World’s Fair Waffle Walk

Join a free guided walk around Flushing Meadows Corona Park for a look at over a dozen of the remaining sites and structures from the 1939/40 and 1964/65 World’s Fairs. In honor of the famous culinary World’s Fair treat,  snack on free tiny versions of the Belgian Waffle (while supplies last) as a welcome to the first docent-led World’s Fair walk of the season.

Event details.

The Intrepid Museum
The Intrepid Museum

Do Fleet Week on the Intrepid

The sailors are coming to town, and the Intrepid welcomes them (and you) with events from May 27-30. Things kick off on Friday with the annual free movie night on the flight deck. (Crimson Tide will be screened.) Throughout the weekend, you can explore a variety of displays, activities and demos from the military, including the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard and even some antique military vehicles. The weekend will conclude on Monday, May 30 with the Museum’s annual Memorial Day ceremony.

May 27-30
Pier 86
W. 46th St.
Midtown West

Family at Candytopia NYC

photo: Candytopia 

A New Candytopia Debuts

An all-new iteration of the Instagram playground dedicated to celebrating all things sweet (and sour) returns to New York City.  The updated 2022 experience is 24,000 square feet with 17 different interactive environments, Instagram-worthy photo opportunities, and delectable tastes of a variety of treats. Completely new experiences include an infinity mirror room, Ring Swing Garden, Sugar High Theater and an indoor zipline.  Returning favorites include the signature Candytopia marshmallow pit, a New York-inspired candy art gallery and a state-of-the-art candy confetti room—complete with confetti-farting pigs.

Opens April 29
Tickets: $36/adults; $29/ages 4-12, free/kids three and under
111 W. 32nd St.
Penn Plaza

Memorial Day Concert at Green-wood Cemetery

You can bring a blanket and a picnic to this concert that’s a popular tradition at Green-wood Cemetery.

Event details.

People marching in Memorial Day Parade
Wikimedia CC

Memorial Day Parades

If you love a parade, you have some choice in NYC. Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge is said to hold the oldest Memorial Day Parade (155 years and counting), and the biggest happens in Little Neck-Douglaston Queens.


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