by Carol Cain, NYCity Mama
Rain, rain go away! There is nothing worse than being stuck in a hotel room or lobby, because the plans for the day have been rained on. This is especially inconvenient when traveling with kids. Having been there myself, and knowing how awful that could be, I am going to share some local knowledge on things to do in NYC, on a rainy day, that are either free or very inexpensive.
Bookstores: There are several bookstores in NYC that have weekly (free) events designed to entertain the little ones, often featuring popular children’s musicians, authors, or cartoon characters. The surrounding neighborhoods also have great restaurants and shops frequently enjoyed by the locals.
Scholastic Store in Soho has events going on every Sunday starting at 3:00PM. Not only are the events popular among locals, the store itself is a colorful, kid-friendly adventure wonderland. Soho is also a popular shopping destination and great place to mingle the chic and hip downtowners.
Bank Street Bookstore is a wonderful children’s bookstore located on the Upper West Side. Their events often consist of story time and concerts and they have a great selection of educational toys and books for children and parents.
Barnes & Noble, aside from having an in-store Starbuck’s coffee shop, it also has incredibly friendly and playful children’s area. It’s enough to visit the store and linger in the kid’s areas for some story time while waiting out the rain, but if you are lucky, you might also catch one of the many kid-friendly events they often host.
Museums: A lot of NYC museums have a day during the week where they offer either free admission, or a “pay-what-you-wish” office. This not only includes museums, but botanical gardens, zoos and aquariums as well. NewYorkology is a wonderful source for what museums are offering this option on what day.
Toy Stores: FAO Schwarz hosts story time as well as arts and crafts once a week at least, is located on famously posh Fifth Ave., and is a short walk from Central Park. Toys R Us, located in the heart of Times Square offers several floors of toy delights, but also has a wonderful merry-go-round right in the center of store!
Parks: The Audubon Center in Prospect Park, Brooklyn hosts free arts and crafts and other educational children’s activities, while while The Swedish Cottage in Central Park, in Manhattan, is home to The Marionette Theater which features shows several times a week for a low fee (reservations required).