9 Things for NYC Families to Look Forward to in 2021

new york city view

We are all relieved to finally leave 2020 behind. To help you get excited for this new year, we’ve assembled a list of all the things to look forward to in 2021. For New York City families, there will be new places to visit and new experiences to share with the kids! From new theme parks like Legoland to new children’s books, there’s a lot that this year has to offer. Say goodbye to 2020, and say hello to all the things waiting for us in 2021!

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Things to Look Forward to in 2021


Legoland New York Resort

Due to the pandemic, Legoland New York Resort’s opening was postponed, but we can expect it to now open in 2021! The new theme park in Goshen includes seven different themed lands within the park. Some of the lands include LEGO NINJAGO World, with attractions based on the popular kids’ show, and LEGO City, which includes rides like Junior Driving School and Fire Academy. Visitors can expect a variety of LEGO-themed adventures awaiting them at the park. After taking a ride on The Dragon rollercoaster, you can visit the Palace Cinema and catch a Minifigure movie in 4D, then end the day at one of the many LEGO stores in the park! 

LEGOLAND discovery center
Courtesy of LEGOLAND Discovery Center

Legoland Discovery Center

LEGOLAND Discovery Center is opening in spring 2021 at American Dream. It’s going to be a fun-filled, indoor LEGO playground, offering interactive and educational activities for families with children ages 3-10.  LEGOLAND is a wonderful destination to spend around 2-3 hours of fun with the family. Keep reading to learn more about this awesome theme park!

New York Harry Potter Store

Harry Potter Store

Potterheads, get excited! The Harry Potter New York store is opening this year and will be the largest Harry Potter merchandise store in the world. Located on 935 Broadway and spanning three floors, Harry Potter New York will give an immersive wizarding experience. According to the website, there is no official opening date as of right now but you can currently shop some of the merchandise on their website until the opening. 

Little Island at Pier 55

Little Island at Pier 55 is scheduled to open in spring 2021 for all New York City families to visit. This seemingly floating park on the Hudson River is designed to be an oasis from urban life. The new public park will have a 700 seat amphitheater, a playground for the kids, and winding pathways that lead to beautiful lookouts. With its conscious landscape design, you can expect to feel at ease while spending quality time with your family. You may find that it’s the perfect place for your family to take a break from city life. 

new sea life aquarium opening

Sea Life Aquarium

Sea Life Aquarium, a worldwide chain of aquarium attractions, is set to open in spring 2021 at American Dream Mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The theme of the new Sea Life Aquarium is “the city under the sea.” That means the aquarium has more than ten exhibits that are all inspired by iconic New York landmarks. Wander through “Sharks Fish Avenue,” for some shopping. Then stop by “Jellies 54,” a jellyfish exhibit with mood lighting to match Manhattan’s famous Studio 54. Other exhibits include the “Ocean Tunnel” where you can take in views of “Clamhattan,” and the “Urban Jungle,” a peek into the rainforest.

Open Culture Program

If you’ve been missing live performances, art shows, and cultural events, you can look forward to the “Open Culture” program coming in March 2021. The “Open Culture” program is a bill that allows cultural organizations to stage ticketed events with an application process. Artistic events will be back in public outdoor spaces as a way to bring the arts and entertainment industry back to New York City even during a pandemic. 

Kusama: Cosmic Nature

Initially planned for 2020, Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition at New York Botanical Garden has been postponed to spring and fall of 2021. Kusama is a Japanese artist who is one of the most popular artists in the world. Through the exhibition, visitors will get a presentation of Kusama’s connection to nature. 

despicable me minions

New Movies Coming Out in 2021

2021 has plenty of films for the kids to get excited about! From live-action fairytales to animated adventures, this year will definitely bring some memorable family films. Some that we are most excited about include Raya and the Last Dragon (Disney’s first movie of the year coming out on March 5th) and Cinderella (a musical of the classic fairytale with a star-studded cast). And of course, we can’t mention family films without talking about Pixar. Luca, a Pixar coming-of-age animation that takes place in Italy, will be released on June 18th. This year also has lots of sequels to your favorites to look forward to like Hotel Transylvania 4, Boss Baby: Family Business, and Minions: The Rule of Gru. 

children's books

New Children’s Books Coming Out in 2021

For all the book lovers, here are some of the new children’s books coming out in 2021 that we are excited about. G My Name is Girl by Dawn Masi is a multicultural book to help your kiddo learn the alphabet. The Tree in Me by Corinne Luyken is a story about children finding their connection to nature. Milo Imagines the World by Matt De La Pena tells the story from Milo’s perspective as he realizes there is more to people than their appearance. In 2021, keep an eye out for the new children’s books that will hit the shelves — it may be your kid’s next favorite book!