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Kid-Friendly Museums on the Upper West Side blog image

Kid-Friendly Museums on the Upper West Side

November 15 2021

If it’s your first time in New York City, knowing what to see and what to skip can be overwhelming – especially if you have your family in tow. In the winter months when the weather is unpredictable, finding indoor activities for everyone to enjoy is often essential for a successful vacation.

The Upper West side is home to plenty of indoor activities for the whole family, with Broadway, endless shopping, and numerous museums to visit – but which are the best museums on the Upper West Side when you have hard-to-please kids with you?

Children’s Museum of Manhattan

Ranked as the second-best museum on the Upper West Side, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is a great way to spend a rainy day in New York – especially with young kids. The museum offers “five floors of fun” and was founded under the name GAME (Growth Through Art and Museum Experience). It is recommended to book your time slot in advance, and trips to the museum are free on the first Friday of the month from 5-8pm.

Hayden Planetarium

Space is cool no matter how old you are, and the Rose Center for Earth and Space is a great place to explore it while keeping your feet firmly on the ground. The building itself is impressive, with a six-story glass cube encasing an 87 ft sphere – that appears to float in the cube. In the top half of the Hayden Sphere, you will find the Hayden Planetarium - a theatre that houses a high resolution, fulldome video system to show space shows and replicate the night sky.

Liberty Science Center

If you’re looking for a hands-on Science Museum on the UWS there is no better place – especially if you’re trying to keep young kids entertained. The child-friendly day out offers activities for all the family to enjoy such as brain teasers, a planetarium and live animal exhibits aswell as different galleries explaining the science in the world around you.

Green statue of a man riding a horse outside a new york museum entrance

American Museum of Natural History

Situated just half a mile from the Beacon Hotel, the American Museum of Natural History is a quick 10-minute walk. The museum has 26 interconnected buildings and 45 exhibition halls as well as a planetarium and a library. There are over 34 million specimens exhibited inside and the museum covers over 2 million square feet – so you will need at least three hours to make the most of your trip.

Banksy’s Hammer Boy

While not a museum or gallery in itself, on a small section of wall at 233 W 79th Street you can find the 2013 artwork by British artist Banksy. The graffiti style piece is of a boy with a large hammer – as a lesser-known attraction it’s often without crowds or tourists and is a way to spark an interest in modern art. 

The Hotel Beacon is located in the heart of the Upper West Side and offers apartment style suites – perfect for families visiting the city! Learn more about our rooms and suites.