Our list of fun and low-cost things to do with kids in Manhattan this September includes Meet the Breeds, a Medieval Festival, and more fall fairs and festivals in Lower Manhattan, Midtown, Upper West Side, Upper East Side, Washington Heights, and beyond.
When the first of the month rolls around, head to Governors Island for the annual NYC Unicycle Festival, where you can watch races, exhibitions, and professionals showing off their skills, then test your skill at riding a one-wheeler. FREE!
Prudential Center, Newark, NJ (worth the trip!)
Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Big Bird, and the rest of the Sesame Street gang welcome Chamki, Grover’s friend from India, to their neighborhood, and together they explore the universal fun of friendship and celebrate cultural similarities, from singing and dancing to sharing cookies.
Trump Rink, Upper West Side
During the United Nations General Assembly, help bring some peace to the world (and to Central Park) by joining a Shinnyo Lantern Floating for Peace. The Buddhist organization Shinnyo-en organizes Lantern Floating Hawaii, one of the largest and most moving Memorial Day observances in the country, and now its organizing an equivalent in New York City, designed to bring together thousands of New Yorkers and international visitors to focus on peace at this pivotal time. The lantern floating is a symbolic tradition, in which participants float lanterns on water to honor those who have passed away and to represent the interconnection of the past, present, and future. Kids and parents can stop by all day to dedicate their lanterns, write notes on them, float them, and participate in other outdoor activities. FREE!
Participating museums throughout NYC and the U.S.
Smithsonian Magazine has designated the last Saturday of September the ninth annual Museum Day Live!, possibly the only time you’ll ever hope for rain in this city as it’s preferable to spend the entire day indoors! On Sept. 28, participating museums all across the country will emulate the spirit of the Smithsonian Institution’s Washington, DC-based facilities, which offer free admission everyday. What does that mean for you and the kids? Free admission to myriad NYC museums, all with great options for the youngest museumgoers along with their adults. Visit smithsonion.com/museumdaylive to download a Museum Day Live! ticket that will grant the ticketholder and a guest free access to any of the participating museums. One ticket is permitted per household, per email address. Participating museums in Manhattan include Asia Society Museum, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, El Museo del Barrio, Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, Museum of Chinese in America, Rubin Museum of Art, The Jewish Museum, and more. Visit the website for a full list of participating museums in the city.
Javits Center, Midtown West
The fifth annual AKC Meet the Breeds event comes to New York City this month, bringing the world’s largest showcase of dogs and cats. Presented by the American Kennel Club and The International Cat Association, the event will showcase more than 200 purebred dogs and cats, each in their own booths that will be decorated to show off the history and unique traits of each breed. In addition to meeting and playing with the animals (a special treat for kids), guests can enjoy a variety of games, giveaways, and demonstrations, including dog and cat agility competitions, trick dogs, and the always-popular feline fashion show. Unique pet-themed gifts will also be sold.
Fort Tryon Park, Washington Heights
Rub the rust off thy armor and brush up on ye jousting skills, because the Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park is back. The area around the Cloisters Museum will be transformed into a medieval market village decorated with bright banners and processional flags, where knights in armor, jugglers, jesters, musicians, storytellers, magicians, and puppeteers will perform and delight. Artisans such as a blacksmith and a wood carver will demonstrate their crafts, performers will be dressed in historical costumes (and fairgoers are encouraged to dress up, too!) and food and craft items will be sold. The afternoon will culminate with an entertaining jousting event between knights on horseback. FREE!
Riverside Park, Upper West Side
More than 1,500 walkers will join the Hearing Loss Association of America’s sixth annual New York City Walk4Hearing, a 5K fundraising event. The event’s goal is to increase public awareness about hearing loss, help erase the stigma associated with it, and raise funds for programs and services. In addition to the 5K (3.1 mile) walk, there will be children’s activities, refreshments, giveaways, free hearing screenings, prizes, and state-of-the-art hearing technology including captioned announcements delivered via smartphones. Funds raised by these walks support educational programs and services and critical national and local advocacy work.
As the city transitions into autumn, there are many festivals and fairs to enjoy with the whole family. Here’s a list of where you can take the kids to get festive.
Head out of the city this fall to pick your own apples at a nearby farm or orchard
Search our full calendar of events for even more fun family activities in the NYC area