New York City is not the first place that comes to mind for a family vacation. It can probably seem intimidating visiting with kids for the first time, but after a few visits with our little one, I can tell you it’s not bad at all, and actually quite fun!
On the blog, I will share our guide to New York City with kids, so you can book that family weekend in New York City.
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Before you book that trip to New York City, let the kiddos read a book about what they can expect to see on their trip. Heres one I recommend below!
New York City is so amazing! No matter how many times we visit, we always find something new to discover. Till this day, our little one still says it’s her favorite city ever.
Maybe its the tall buildings or the bright lights, the awesome parks or the world class museums, but there’s just something about visiting New York City with kids that keeps you coming back for more!
This luggage scooter is the perfect way to get the kids excited for their trip. Not only will they carry their own luggage, but they will do it in style!
How to get around New York City with kids
During our visits to New York City, we use a combination of a bus tour and the subways. The Bus tours are very convenient, especially when traveling with kids.
Not only do you get to all the major spots, but you also learn a lot more of the city with the very knowledgeable tour guides. Best way to see the city with kids if it’s your first time.
Book your Bus Tours here:
Map of New York City
The subways are also very convenient and they literally have a stop just a short walk away from all the major hot spots in the city.
It only cost 2.75 each way no matter how far your going and they’re pretty reliable and safe! The best part is that when traveling with kids, up to three children 44 inches tall and under ride free when accompanied by a paying adult!
Top things to do in New York City with kids
Visit the iconic Times Square in New York City with kids
One of the first places that comes to mind when visiting New York City with kids is Times Square. I mean you can’t visit the city without a stop at this iconic square!
Kids are always so fascinated with this place! It could be all the bright lights or the tall buildings, but they just seem to be in awe every time.
There are so many fun things to do here, like the M&M and Hershey store, a broadway show, and seeing their faces on the giant screen! It was our little ones favorite thing to do in Times Square.
Let the kiddos be tourists as well with their very own camera. This one is small enough for their little hands! Purchase yours here:
Visit the Rockefeller Center
Make sure to take the kiddos to the Rockefeller Center, there is so much to do here. If your visiting in the winter, go ice skating at the rink, and take in the Rockefeller Christmas tree.
Don’t forget to visit the newly opened FAO Schwarz toy store and let the kiddos have the time of their lives on the BIG piano. You can also find the LEGO store here as well.
If you’re a fan of the Today show, wake up early and watch a live taping of the show, it was so cool!
Admire the New York City views at the Top of the Rock
While you’re at the Rockefeller Center, make sure to visit the Top of the Rock for the most amazing views of New York City!
Make sure to purchase your tickets ahead of time to avoid the long lines. Your timed entry ticket gives you access all the way to the top observation deck, just make sure to take the second elevator up to the top!
Book your Top of the Rock tickets here:
Catch a Broadway show
A visit to New York isn’t complete without taking in a Broadway Show. What’s more iconic than the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular during the holidays at the Radio City Music Hall.
Buy your tickets here:
Explore Central Park in New York City with kids
When visiting New York City with kids, make sure to block out a whole day at Central Park. Central Park is home to some 36 bridges, a zoo, skating rink, and amazing playgrounds for the kiddos.
Theres so much to see and do in Central park with kids, just make sure your kiddos are up for the walk. Otherwise you can go on a horse-carriage ride or rent bicycles, better yet bring a scooter for the little ones or a stroller. Check out this awesome folding scooter for the kiddos, its similar to the one we carry along when we travel.
With over 800 acres to explore, you would need a few days to see it all, luckily most of the main sights and activities are located within a close walking distance of each other.
Visit the American Museum of Natural History
New York City is home to some of the most amazing museums, but one of our favorites has to be the American Museum of Natural History. Kids are always so entranced with fossils and learning more about all living things.
The American Museum of Natural History is one of the largest in the world and has a vast collection of amazing things as well as a planetarium and a library. Definitely a must do when visiting New York city with kids!
This kids travel guide will come in handy on your trip to New York. Our little one loved learning more about the city and all the fun activities:
Visit the New York Public Library
I highly recommend a visit to the New York Public library. The library is a great place to let the kiddos unwind after a long day of sightseeing.
They have an awesome children’s Library on the ground floor, and the real Winnie the Pooh stuffed toys on display there. You can also explore the upper levels and be amazed with the various rooms in the library.
Visit the World Trade center
On your visit to New York City, you cant miss a visit to the World trade Center, especially the 9-11 Memorial. The kids may not grasp the tragedy that happened here, but they will for sure enjoy the fountains and the surrounding area.
You can also take them up the One World Observatory for some amazing views of the city. You can purchase tickets online to avoid the lines.
They will especially love the Murals located nearby. The murals which are free to view are one of the coolest areas in the city, with its colorful animated street art.
Visit the Oculus
Located right next to the 9-11 memorial is this amazing looking building that is actually a train station and shopping mall. The Oculus is a feast for the eyes, one of the most unique structures you will find in New York City.
This state of the art train station and mall is a perfect hangout, there are many cool shops and restaurants here and the main floor is the perfect spot to let the kiddos burn away all the extra energy!
Make sure to visit Eataly at the Oculus, you will find everything Italian here, from fresh produce, handmade pastas and a handful of restaurants serving the yummiest food.
Visit the Vessel
The Vessel is a structure and landmark located in the Hudson Yards public square.
The elaborate honeycomb-like structure rises 16 stories and consists of 154 flights of stairs, 2,500 steps, and 80 landings for visitors to climb. For those that can’t climb the steps, there is an elevator that can take you up.
It is completely FREE to enter the Vessel. You can either reserve your timed entry tickets online, or pick up tickets onsite, which they start handing out at 9:30 am.
New York City with kids
Cross the Brooklyn Bridge
You can’t miss a visit to one of the oldest bridges in the United States when visiting NYC.
Built in 1883, Brooklyn Bridge has become an icon of New York City, and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.
You can easily cross the bridge on foot, or rent a bicycle. It’s an easy one mile trek and totally doable with the kids. Just be prepared for crowds, especially when visiting in the summer.
The best time to visit Brooklyn Bridge crowd free would probably be early in the morning while everyone is still asleep. Either way it’s a must do when visiting New York City.
Let the Kiddos run around at Battery Park
Another amazing open space in New York City is Battery Park. From here you can get on the ferry to the Statue of Liberty or to Staten Island. There is also an amazing Seaglass Carousel here for the kiddos and a big open space for them to run around.
Visit Liberty State Park
The best views of the NYC Skyline can be found at Liberty State Park in Jersey City. This is also the best place to get views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis island up close! We happened to drive into the park on our way back home from a road trip, and it was the best road trip layover. The best part is parking is free!
This green oasis in the city is the perfect place to get away from the bustle of the city. The highlight is definitely the two mile long promenade, perfect for a long walk, jog, or even a bike ride. There are also many walkways and trails within the park.
Liberty State Park also has an amazing playground for the kiddos and a picnic area. This is one of the most beautiful parks we’ve seen, with the million dollar views of NYC!
From Liberty State Park you can catch a ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
Visit the Empire State Building
You can’t miss a visit to the iconic Empire State building in New York City with kids. The best panoramic views of the city can be found here and its so amazing!
Make sure to purchase your tickets ahead of time to avoid the lines, or get here early!
Book your Empire State Tickets here:
Visit Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park was one of our favorites because of the amazing play areas for the kiddos.
You will also find the Triumphal Arch here which celebrates the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration as President of the US in 1789.
Washington Square Park is an awesome place for families to relax for a moment while the kids play.
Light a candle at St. Patricks Cathedral
St. Patricks Cathedral is one of New York City’s famous landmarks. It reminds me of the churches in Europe, and is absolutely beautiful.
Visit St. Patricks Cathedral and let the kiddos light a candle. It’s one of our little ones favorite thing to do at every church we visit. Sit in one of the pews and just take in the beauty, it’s the perfect place for some peace and quiet in the city.
Visit Trinity Church
Make sure to visit Trinity Church, it is one of New York City’s oldest church and is absolutely beautiful. You can even visit Alexander Hamilton’s tomb, located in the cemetery adjacent to the church. Trinity Church is located on Wall Street, close to the 9-11 Memorial.
Take a stroll around New York City with kids
One of the best things to do in New York City with kids, is a simple stroll along the beautiful neighborhoods! Theres so much more to discover on foot in New York City.
Stroll through the Tribeca neighborhood and visit the original Ghostbusters firehouse. I’m a big fan of the movie and it was pretty awesome to see it in person.
Where to eat in New York City
There are so many choices in places to eat in the city that it can be overwhelming. We’re always on the go in NYC that we always choose easy to grab options.
Some of our favorite grab and go options are pizza from Famous Rays, a hotdog from Grays Papaya, or the yummy Gyros platter from the Halal guys located on West 53rd and 6th ave. We also love Maison Keyser and Pret A Manger for some yummy pastries and coffee on the go!
Some of our favorite restaurants in the city so far is Eataly, there’s one in the Flat iron district and one in the Oculus. We love Italian food and Eataly has it all.
We also love Momofuku noodle bar, there’s one in the shopping center at Columbus Circle. I’ve also heard great things about the Stardust Diner, where the wait staff are aspiring broadway performers, and you get some entertainment while waiting on your food.
The Shops at Hudson Yards also has many food options, we loved the burgers at Belcampo, and all the food choices at the Citarella food market.
Book a New York City Food Tour here:
I hope I have inspired you to book that New York getaway with kids! It’s such an amazing city to visit in any season.
If your planning a trip in the winter, make sure to check out our blog on things to do in New York city with kids during the holidays! Once you visit I’m sure it will be the best family vacation, and you’ll always long to come back.
*Check out this post for more inspiration on some family travel ideas in the US.
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