Storytimes are a wonderful option when looking for an activity that is educational, social and low cost. There are a variety of locations that hold regular storytimes for free and locations that hold special story times that may cost a nominal fee. Another advantage of most storytimes is that you don’t have to plan ahead which so nice when you are trying to work around an unpredictable nap schedule. Go alone or with a friend to one of the storytimes listed below. Be sure to verify on the website or by calling that the storytime before heading to one of the storytimes listed below just in case a time has been changed.
Take Advantage of Your Local Public Library
The New York Public Libraries are am amazing resource for NYC parents. Not only do they host storytimes, but they also offer fun educational events, movies and celebrations all for free. In general you can just show up, but some of the special events may require you to call and register in advance. There are a few story hours that have become so popular that they are first come, first serve so try to arrive a few minute early if possible. On the nypl.org website you can search by a specific branch or by program type. At the “main branch” on 5th Avenue and 42nd Street you can find the Children’s Center at 42nd Street which hosts numerous story hours and special events. If the weather is nice you can spend some time in Bryant Park and ride the carousal.
Bookstores, Toy Stores, Museums and More Cater to young visitors with Craft and Storytimes
Storytimes may be the main attraction or an enjoyable break for the kids from a bigger adventure. During the summer months some storytimes are moved outside.
- American Museum of Natural History: Every Monday morning during the school year (except holidays) at 10:30am and 11:15am preschoolers are invited to visit the Discovery Room for a free story time. There is a different theme each week and each session kicks off with some free play followed by a story, song and visit to the related Museum Hall.
- Barnes & Noble: Visit their website and search for ongoing and special storytime events at a Barnes & Noble nearest you. Here are a few of the regularly schedule story hours:
- Upper East Side, 150 E. 86th St.: Story Time on Sundays at 11am and Wednesdays at 10am for all ages
- Tribeca, 97 Warren St. : Story TIme on Saturdays at 11am
- Books of Wonder, 18 West 18th Street: The selection of books is unbelievable! In addition to numerous special author events it also hosts regularly scheduled story times on Sundays at noon and Fridays at 4:00pm.
- FAO Schwarz, 767 Fifth Avenue: Story time here is magical, but you do have to navigate all the way to the second floor where it is hosted three times a day in the Barefoot Books department at 11:00am, 1:00pm and 3:00pm.
- Giggle: Shop for some necessities for yourself or pick up some gifts then enjoy story time every Tuesday at 4pm at both locations. Soho, 120 Wooster Street, and Upper East Side, 1033 Lexington Avenue at 74th St.
- Karma Kids, 104 W 14th Street: Yoga moves, songs and even puppets make this a fun story time for kids up to 6 years old. Join the fun Wednesdays at 11:30am and Fridays at 3:00pm.
- McNally Jackson ,52 Prince Street: The cozy children’s section is ideal for both the baby story time for ages two and under on Fridays at 4pm and for kids ages 3-8 on Saturdays at 11:30am.
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art: For children ages 3-7, the Met offers a story time followed by a treasure hunt in the galleries every weekday at 10:30am and again at 3pm on Wednesday in the Children’s Reading Room at the Nolen Library. Free with paid museum admission.
- The Mount Vernon Hotel and Garden , 421 E 61st Street: This quaint museum hosts a story time for ages 2 to 6 at 10:30am on the 3rd Friday of each month (excluding August). During the summer months it is held outside in the gazebo of their 18th Century garden. Free with museum admission.
- NYU Bookstore, 726 Broadway: Kids are invited to this story time every Wednesday and Friday at 11am.
- Poets House, 10 River Terrace at Murray St: In the Children’s Room toddlers can enjoy Tiny Poets Time, songs and poetry readings on Thursdays starting at 10:00am.
- The Scholastic Store, 557 Broadway: This is such a fun store to browse with the kids and they have story times every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdat at 11am. On Saturdays at 3pm, there is a different themed event each week, including author readings, character visits and crafts based on a featured book.
- The Strand, 828 Broadway: Every Thursday at 3:30pm the staff reads from a favorite book and visit the calendar of events for special Saturday events for kids.
- Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue: This is such a hidden treasure and on the second Saturday of each month at 11:00am children ages 5 and up are invited to free storytime then on the third Saturday of every month they have a sing-a-long at 1:00pm for $7.
- Yorkville Creperie, 1586 York Ave.: Stories & Songs plus a juice box and snack for $10 on Tuesdays & Thursdays at 11am.
Jessica Murphy is the publisher of the Macaroni Kid NYC Downtown newsletter and website. Each week she publishes a list of family-friendly events going on in Manhattan along with articles covering topics such as show reviews, product reviews, recipes and more. She has been living in Manhattan for the last 13 years. Before becoming a parent Jessica and her husband Bill loved walking the streets of NY, running in Central Park, eating out, going to shows and having fun. Once they had children they continued doing these things, but of course the types of shows, restaurants and distance of each outing had to change. Jessica is excited to publish Macaroni Kid and hopes it enables you to plan some fun filled family adventures.