If you’re like most people, you might picture New York City as an adult playground that does not cater to children. Believe it or not, there is actually plenty of fun things to do and explore in Newyork City for kids!
While I have personally traveled to the city multiple times, I wanted to bring in guest blogger Maya (Author of travel-by-maya.com ) to give us a local perspective as she shares her favorite things to do in the city all of which are family-friendly!
Disclaimer: laetlywithmeganrenee is not making any guarantees or promises regarding the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of the information presented. This blog contains my opinions and doesn’t reflect the opinions of any organizations I might be affiliated with. I was compensated for this post. This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
New York City, also known as the big apple, is a beautiful city full of culture, amazing food, and some of the best shopping in the world. The city is essentially made up of 5 boroughs, Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Stanton Island. In fact, the city is so diverse you can find up to 800 different languages spoken here!
The best times of year to visit with your kids is the spring and the fall. Summer months typically get extremely hot and humid making for uncomfortable walking experiences while the winter can be frigid, cold, and icy! Visiting in the spring and fall will give you sunny days with nice breezes and some of the best weather the city has to offer.
Times Square is the heart of the city, and it’s really fascinating to walk around here, taking in all of the people, the hustle of the people crossing the streets, and the bright lights! If you have toddlers in tow, we highly recommend traveling with your stroller because it’s a lot of walking at a fast pace.
In Times Square you can take beautiful pictures, and be sure to check out the Disney Store! It is one of the largest Disney store locations and sure to impress any child! If you have a Mcdonald’s loving kid, you can also check out one of the largest McDonalds in the world! But please, make sure you eat pizza at John’s of Times Square! Voted the best pizza in New York City, and many say the best pizza in the world! With extra thin crispy crust, plenty of cheese, and the most incredibly unique flavors this is a spot you won’t want to skip!
Central Park is a refreshingly quiet and peaceful place in the middle of the busiest cities in America. It offers 840 acres that span from 59th street to 110th street. Be sure to spend an afternoon here with a picnic lunch, soft blanket, and if the weather permits fly a kite! It’s one of those pastime experiences your kids will remember forever!
Central Park also offers some tourist activities you can do with the family! Maya says you can’t visit Central Park without exploring it through a bike tour! You can either rent a bike or join a group guided bike tour! If you rent a bike on your own, you’ll receive the bike, a helmet, a map, a lock, and a little basket to keep your belongings. There are multiple bike-renting spots in Manhattan, including at Central Park in the Colombus Circle (streets 57-59).
Maya’s Pro’s Tip: Buy your bike rental tickets online in advance, it will save you a lot of money, precious time (of walking around finding the best bike rental company for your needs), and you can get great prices as well!
Maya also suggests renting a boat or gondola in Central Park. You can simply rent a boat at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park for $15 an hour. During your ride, you can paddle around the lake, stop the boat and relax, take some pictures, enjoy the weather and enjoy the beautiful weather. As for the gondola, it’s more expensive, but it’s also a beautiful experience! It’s enjoying New York City with Italy vibes! You can rent a gondola for $45 an hour and enjoy the beautiful view and nature.
Walk The High-Line Park
The High-Line park is one of the most unique places in Manhattan and it’s also a locals popular spot in the city. The High-Line is a promenade that was built over the remains of the railway that worked in the city between 1934-1980. Instead of destroying the long massive train tracks, the New York City municipality decided to preserve and restore the tracks by turning them into a public park for people to visit.
The High-Line park is 1.6 kilometers long and is located near the Hudson River as a long promenade. Through the High-Line Park, there are a few viewpoints along 10th Avenue, which you can see from above and take cool pictures of the streets!
Most kids really enjoy these special street view spots because they can see the cars driving under the bridge, and feel like they are taller than everyone. This is also a fantastic location for family photos. If you happen to be here in the fall, this is the perfect opportunity to shoot your Christmas cards! Grab a local photographer and head over at sunset!
The Museum of Ice Cream
The Museum of ice cream is a well-known pop-up museum that we have seen in Los Angeles and San Fransisco. It’s filled with photo opportunities and sweet treats. They have a very energetic fun staff, making this a memorable experience for kids and adults alike. Since reservations are required you’ll have to plan ahead and purchase tickets online here.
The Statue of Liberty
Something everyone should see at least once, and an educational opportunity for the kids, visiting the statue of liberty is something you should add to your itenerary. You can take the ferryboat to Staten Island. The ferryboat departs from South Ferry, which is very close to Battery Park. The ferryboat ride takes 22 minutes and is completely free. You don’t arrive at the Statue itself, but you can see it from the boat and take nice pictures of it from the boat.
However, if you want to get up close and personal we suggest taking The Ferryboat to Liberty Island. The ferryboat to Liberty Island’s ticket includes an audio tour with valuable information about Liberty Island and about the statue itself but can also be quite boring and uneventful for kids!
Go on a Graffiti Tour in Brooklyn
Enter an exciting world of graffiti taggers and street artists. When we first hear the word graffiti, we think of vandalism and gang signs. But in Brooklyn, you’ll be surprised to find some beautiful works of art painted all throughout the city! This tour is recommended for teenagers and up since it’s a walking tour and lasts about 2 hours. This walking tour takes place every day at 10:30 am or 12:30 pm. The length is 2 hours and the cost is $32. Learn more here.
Visit the Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo is one of New York’s best attractions for families and kids, even though it isn’t mentioned in every travel guide. It is currently open during the covid-19 pandemic but you must purchase tickets online in advance. You are surrounded by woods, amazing animals, and atmosphere and you forget you are in the Bronx! The zoo is amazing.
Visit The Ground Zero Memorial
An educational experience recommended for ages 12 and up. The Ground Zero Memorial is the name that was given to the previous World Trade Center that was tragically destroyed on September 11, 2001.
Ground Zero is the ground level of the Twin Towers and is what was left after the attack. The memorial consists of two pools that are surrounded by waterfalls and there are 400 oak trees planted around the memorial. Every pool is surrounded by bronze boards that have the victim’s names engraved on them.
The entry to the memorial is free, but there is also an option to purchase a 45 minute guided tour in English for $15 per person. Also, next to the memorial is the 9/11 museum. The museum was built around the remains of the ruined Trade Center. Inside, you can find the original staircase which the survivors escaped through from the building. The 9/11 events are illustrated chronologically through audiovisual exhibits, and there are also life stories of the victims and an interesting collection of the items.
Purchase your tickets online to save time and avoid crowds here.
A Japanese ice cream shop serving inventive flavors in a fish-shaped waffle cone, Taiyaki is a hidden gem in NYC. Located in a small little shop in New York City’s Chinatown, you’ll find this unique yet delicious ice cream shop. If you’re bringing the kids, be sure to order the unicorn icecream!
Meet our guest blogger
Maya is a young travel blogger from New York City! She started her own travel blog travel-by-maya.com. Where she shares travel recommendations and tips that cater to the traveler seeking affordability. Maya gives her readers a down to earth perspective with all the essentials of traveling on a budget. Follow her on Instagram, or check out her blog at www.travel-by-maya.com
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