There are barely any words needed to describe…it’s fair to say it speaks for itself. The life, buzz, music, lights and perfect chaos of the city makes it one of the best to visit in the US. It’ll be easy to want to stay there forever! But until then, we thought it would be useful to come up with the ultimate travel guide for New York with kids.
From the best attractions to visit to most family-friendly areas to stay in, we’ve got you covered. Let’s get started.
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Best time to travel to New York
Spring is definitely the best time to visit New York with kids. The weather starts becoming much more enjoyable from April, and improves consistently until the summer. However, differently to summer, spring has a lot less tourists and crowds in the streets and public transport – making your stay run much smoother. You’ll be able to hop on and off subways with young ones faster and be more comfortable overall.
As you may expect, New York becomes a tourist hot spot in the summer, with good reason. The weather is perfect for spending time outdoors and there are endless events to attend to, especially in the parks. Speaking of parks, Central Park is amazing during the summer – an easy (and free) reliable option when looking for things to do with kids in New York. However, it does get incredibly busy, making it difficult to juggle kids with huge crowds, noise, traffic, long lines to the best attractions and mountainous prices.
Fall is also an amazing time to visit New York with kids. The changing colors of the leaves make the city glow like none other, and the tourist season starts to decrease…as well as the prices. New York in the fall is romantic and a great to spend with the family. When going to New York in the fall, we recommend taking day trips upstate to truly appreciate its magic.
We all know that New York is fantastic during the winter, especially during the last weeks in the year. There simply isn’t anywhere else in the world where you can find the same fairytale story than with the lights, music and atmosphere of the city. On the other hand, this also means that New York becomes an incredibly popular place to come to – this often gets reflected in its incredibly high prices, heavy crowds, and difficulties when moving around. The weather isn’t on our side either, you can expect snow, and even blizzards.
Where to Stay in New York with Kids
To make the most out of your visit to New York with kids, Midtown is definitely where you want to stay. Close to Times Square, the Theater District and other landmarks like the Rockerfeller center and the Moma. Everything is within a few subway stops away! There are hundreds of dining options to consider, shows on Broadway to watch, and hotels to choose from.
Upper West Side
The Upper West side is one of the safest areas to stay in with New York. It’s surrounded with beautiful green parks, playgrounds and wonderful museums like the American Museum of Natural History to visit with kids. In this area, you can be sure to always find incredible accommodation options. This neighbourhood is also covered with public transport at every corner, making it easy to get around to other popular spots and attractions.
Upper East Side
The Upper East Side is known for its wealthy residences and residents. It’s in the middle of the best museums in the city, as well as the beautiful Central Park and the Carl Schurz Park. Don’t forget to visit the East River! It’s one of the best spots to visit with kids in New York.
How to get around New York with Kids
Subways and buses
One of the best ways to experience New York is through its public transport. Subways, specifically. New York subways will get you to all the main attractions quickly and efficiently. They run at all hours of the day, and are very reliable. We recommend travelling by subway if you have slightly older kids; New York subways aren’t stroller friendly since they have no stairs, and you’ll be asked to fold them up while riding.
Taxis and Ubers
Yellow taxis are legendary icons of New York. They’re easy to travel with, and you’ll have no problem finding any at any point of the day. In yellow taxis and private hire cars, remember that there are no car seats but kids under the age of are allowed to sit on the lap of an adult. However, Ubers do come with car seats, just make sure to press the ‘car seat option’ when you order it.
How Much Time to Stay in New York with Kids
To be honest, it’s impossible to say what’s the right amount of time to spend in New York. Some would say that staying there for a lifetime isn’t even enough! But for us, when travelling with kids, staying in New York for a week is more than enough. You’ll have enough time to discover the best of the city by day and by night
Things To Do in New York With Kids
Visit Central Park
Going to Central Park is without a doubt one of the best things to do in New York with kids, It’s a great way to spend a couple of hours surrounded by nature and greenery; a completely different landscape from the concrete jungle New York City has earned with the years. All around the year, there are plenty of things to look out for; concerts, outdoor movie screenings, festivals, bike riding, etc. Personally, we love packing ourselves a simple lunch and taking it with us when the weather is warm. The kids are very easily entertained watching everything that happens around them!
Central Park also happens to be the place to go to for the zoo. We’ve been a couple of times, and must say that it’s always a treat. We recommend coming in the morning since it’s a lot less crowded, and will find it a lot more enjoyable to look around.
Website: Central Park Zoo Address: 64th Street & 5th Avenue New York, NY 10065 Hours: 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM Cost: Adult $13.95 Senior $10.95 Child (3 to 12 years old) $8.95 Child (under 2 years old) Free
American Museum of Natural History
To us, The American Museum of Natural History is one of the most ideal museums in the country to go to with kids. There are countless interesting artifacts and exhibitions that kids love to learn about, especially the dinosaur skeletons. Among the many things you can expect to see from the natural world are ancient fossils, a biodiversity exhibition of American national forests, and a vast array of incredible human origins and cultural halls. Here, we recommend visiting the Hall of Plains Indians, it’s one of our favourites – and so much more. There’s also an impressive amount of kids’ activities and programs you can check out such as they offer such as booklets or guided tours; make sure to ask for them at the reception. They can keep them going for hours!
Website: The American Museum of Natural History Address: 200 Central Park West New York, NY 10024-5102 Hours: Wed - Sun 10:00 AM –5:30 PM Cost: Adult $23 Child (3 to 12 years old) $13 Student (with ID) $ 18
Children’s Museum Of The Arts
The Children’s Museum of the Arts is one of our favourite museums to visit when we’re in New York with kids. Unlike other museus, this one allows kids to explore their creativity with original, colorful and creative exhibitions. Many collections and displays are made by amazing intellectuals that combine art, technology and science to create works that are not only interactive and entertaining, but that are also a commentary on our society and way of living. Remember to stop yourself every now and then to truly grasp what the exhibitions are about!
Website: The Children’s Museum of the Arts Address: 103 Charlton Street, NYC Hours: Currently unavailable Cost: Free for kids!
Go to a Broadway show
There’s nothing more iconic than going to a Broadway show when visiting New York with kids. There are so many amazing shows to choose from that you’ll probably have a hard time choosing. Our personal favourites to see with our kids are the Lion King, Wicked and Beetlejuice; they’ve got great storylines and are even entertaining for us as well.
Visit the Statue of Liberty
When visiting New York with kids, taking a ride to see the Statue of Liberty is a must. The statue is great in itself of course, but the true highlight is actually the boat ride that takes you there. Kids love riding boats in the first place; we recommend saving the trip for a sunny day or even for the sunset for a dramatic view of the skyline.
Since it’s a pretty popular attraction to visit, we recommend allowing plenty of time for your visit, and prepare to wait some time in lines in case you run into them. This means bringing snacks and toys along with you to keep the kids entertained.
Watch a Game At The Yankee Stadium
Whether your kids are into baseball or not, watching a Yankee game is one of the top ways to feel the energy of the city. Make sure to check the schedule for any upcoming games, and definitely don’t hesitate to book some tickets. To make your experience even better, don’t forget to dress in Yankee attire from head to toe! As you may expect, there are caps, hoodies, t-shirts and baseball balls you can purchase at the souvenir shops. You’ll look like true New York locals! Last but not least, eat some corn dogs as you watch.
Found in Brooklyn, Coney Island is one you’ve seen endlessly in movies. Essentially, it’s a giant entertainment and amusement area that gathers over 50 rides, attractions and delicious food stalls. The most popular places to visit are the Wonder Wheel and Luna Park, so be prepared to see a lot of people and buzz. You’ll run into loud vibrant street performers and the Mermaid Parade in the summer too, so make sure to keep your eyes open for that. Besides the entertainment and eclecticness, Coney Island carries a lot of history, so we recommend you to do your research so you can take in the full experience.
New York Botanical Garden Edible Academy
One of the best (yet underrated) things to do in New York with kids is to visit the New York Botanical Garden Edible Academy. Located at the wonderful New York Botanical Garden, the Edible Academy is an incredible initiative that allows kids to learn everything about growing their own garden, vegetables, and fruits for more sustainable cities. This is super important to us since we truly believe kids have the most capacity to shift the world into a better place, so it’s great to come visit places like this during our travels. What do you think about it? Let us know in the comments!
Empire State Building
The Empire State building, as you may already know, is an incredible skyscraper dating back to the 1930s. It’s become part of New York’s beloved skyline, as well as the one of the best viewpoints to watch the city who never sleeps. It’s one of New York’s most loved and visited attractions so make sure you get your tickets for the observation deck in advance. Our kids love the King Kong story, so coming to the Empire State building is always a huge treat for them.
Website: Empire State Building Address: 20 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001, United States Hours: Open at midday (12:00 PM) Cost: Adult $42 Child $36 Senior $40
Rose Center for Earth and Space
The Rose Center for Earth and Space is an amazing museum for kids when visiting New York. It contains a great deal of interactive exhibits about the cosmos, space and astronauts; the perfect place for curious kids. It’s actually located within the American Museum of Natural History, which makes it incredibly convenient if you’re thinking of visiting the museum on the same day. Kids have a thing for space for some reason, so you won’ have to worry about them being entertained for a couple hours…you can’t imagine how much they’ll love coming here.
Website: Rose Center for Earth and Space Address: 200 Central Park West New York, NY 10024-5102
Things To Eat in New York City
Doughnuts. New York is much more enjoyable when you’re holding a doughnut in your hand, it’s simply a fact. And kids are obviously very much on board with this – we can assure you won’t run into any fussy eaters when you propose a doughnut snack break.
One of the best experiences we’ve had with our kids is eating hot dogs on genuine New York street food stands. There’s just something about New York’s hot dog stands that make them taste so magical! We always recommend ordering some with ketchup, lots of pickles and onions. There’s not a better combination.
Everyone knows that even though pizzas are Italian, some of the best are found in New York. The city is quite famous for them, so you’ll have a great time trying to discover the best ones in town. As you may already know, there are barely any kids who would refuse a slice of pizza, so you can be sure they’ll enjoy it.
Bagels are iconic to New York. What goes inside them is really up to the lucky person who will be eating them – from chili sauce, to cream cheese, to egg, to peanut butter and jelly, salmon…the list never ends. What we know for sure, is that your kids will be begging for more.
Don’t ask us why New York cheesecake is so good, we have no idea. What we do know, is that it’s one of the most delicious desserts you must try when you’re in the city. We suggest trying it with berries, strawberries or chocolate sauce; it adds a delicious touch.
New York is simply a magical place, so we hope you love it as much as we do. Let us know about your experience in the city that never sleeps in the comments below!