Bryant Park is teeming with things to do with the kiddies, there are four seasons worth of fun at this iconic NYC park.
Most visitors know about Central Park in New York City, but they might not know about Bryant Park. What a treat! This park is teeming with things to do with the kiddies. If you plan on visiting New York City, here are our tips to plan a fun visit with kids to Bryant Park.
Related: Macy's flower show in NYC
Bryant Park History
This spiffy little park has nearly 10 acres of land for families to enjoy. it is located between 5th Ave and Avenue of the Americas between 40th and 42nd Streets. The first park at the site was opened in 1847, and was for a time manage by the city of New York. Even though it is still owned by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Bryant Park is now managed by the private not-for-profit organization Bryant Park Corporation.
In 1980, the park went through a huge restoration and is now both a National Register of Historic Places listing and a NYC landmark.
Activities at Bryant Park
The park is loaded with ways to PLAY. It's set up with chess, ping pong, a putting green and Pétanque.
Pétanque is a French game of “boules” (balls), where each player strives to throw metal balls as close as possible to a smaller wooden ball, named the “cochonnet”. Game strategies include “pointing,” when a player throws his ball to have it roll as close to the cochonnet as possible, and “shooting,” when a player aims for the ball of an opponent hoping to move him out of a favorable spot. If you're lucky a pro will look kindly on your kiddos and teach them the finer points of the game. But be warned, the locals take this seriously.
Don't worry, there are lots of kid-centric things to do at the park. You don't have to be a local to join the free fun. To find out what's on tap each week, visit bryantpark.org/activities/category/kids
Bryant Park Carousel
A trip won't be complete without a visit to Le Carrousel. The carousel was designed by Marvin Sylvor and installed in 2002. Specially created to complement the park's French classical style, this carousel is an homage to both European and American traditions. Its fourteen delightful animals, replicas of classic carousel creatures, revolve to the sounds of French cabaret music.
It's a gentle ride and a small structure, making it a delight for young children.
This pint-sized ride is ideal for the 6 and under crowd. Stroll up to Bryant Park, enjoy a bit of time walking on the plush grass and then head for a few rides on the carousel. The location also features a small children's library for some quiet time in between rides.
Get details on the Bryant Park Carousel here (41 West 40th St).
Bryant Park Movies
In the summer, you can catch a film on the big lawn. Grab a blanket and a friend, and head out on the lawn for the 29th season of the iconic Movie Nights. For the summer of 2022 they have 10 screenings on summer Mondays nights.
The lawn opens at 5pm for picnicking, and film begins at 8pm. No dogs allowed on the lawn. Movies include Beverly Hills Cop, Star Wars and Grease. Head to bryantpark.org/activities/movie-nights for more details.
Enjoying a Book at Bryant Park
Since the park is the backyard of the NY Public Library, the love of books spills outdoors. In the summer, there are literary events that are free to the public. In the Kids Corner there's a mini free library and they have story time during the week.
In addition to the free materials, you'll find organized book readings, author talks and even book clubs that meet at the park.
Winter Village at Bryant Park
The park hosts several events, including a seasonal "Winter Village." Modeled on Europe's charming winter markets, in 2002 Bryant Park introduced the Holiday Shops in an effort to bring people to the park even during the colder months.
The skating rink is a highlight of the winter fun. In the winter, the green space of the park converts to an ice rink with free admission. Ice skating at Citi Pond Bryant Park is a great alternative to Rockefeller Center. The 17, 000-square-foot rink is family friendly and thanks to Citi’s generosity, it continues to be free for all guests (you do have to pay to rent skates). Get details about the rink here: bryantpark.org/amenities/the-rink
After skating, families can spend some time at The Holiday Shops surrounding CitiPond with more than 125 retailers that offer unique boutique shops and specialty food stores. There are also several restaurants on the perimeter.
More Fun at Bryant Park
- Cultural Events: In the fall, Bryant Park holds a series of cultural arts performances that include fun events for kids, including workshops, hands-on activities, and more.
- Knitting: Bryant Park hosts a knitting group
- Fitness: In the summer, the park offers yoga and boot camp classes.
New York Public Library
The eastern half of Bryant Park is occupied by the Main Branch of the New York Public Library. Fun fact: an underground structure houses the library's stash of research books. The carousel sits on top at street level.
The library was renamed the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, and is the flagship building in the New York Public Library system. There are over 50 million books within the NYPL system, and this is one of the largest collections in the city's holding.
Fun Fact: Mayor Fiorello La Guardia nicknamed the Library Lions ( a great spot for a picture) Patience and Fortitude in the 1930s because he felt New Yorkers needed to possess these qualities in order to survive the Depression.
Get more details here: www.nypl.org/locations/schwarzman
476 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018
PLAN YOUR NYC VISIT
Check out our NYC page for things to see and do in NYC and don't miss these highlights.
- Visiting the renovated Empire State Building
- Favorite Family Friendly NYC restaurants
- Things to do with kids in NYC
Use Pinterest to save your favorite NYC outings. Be sure to follow our New York City board here.