Best Kid-Friendly Activities: Best things to do in New York City with kids

New York City is a bustling metropolis that offers endless opportunities for fun and excitement, making it a perfect destination for families with kids. From iconic landmarks to interactive museums, the city has something for every age group, making it a must-visit for families.

Planning a trip to New York City with kids? Here are some top attractions, activities, and tips to make the most of your visit.

Why Visit New York City with Kids?

The city’s vibrant energy, diverse culture, and endless possibilities make it a prime destination for families looking for a thrilling adventure. From iconic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty to world-renowned museums such as the American Museum of Natural History, New York City offers a unique blend of culture, history, and entertainment for all ages.

Best Attractions for Kids in New York City

  1. Central Park – A sprawling oasis in the middle of the city, offering playgrounds, boat rides, and open spaces perfect for a picnic.
  2. American Museum of Natural History – A kid-friendly museum that offers interactive exhibits and a dinosaur fossil collection.
  3. Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island – A must-visit for families to learn about the city’s history and take in breathtaking views of the skyline.
  4. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum – A military and maritime history museum that showcases real-life aircraft and a space shuttle.
  5. Bronx Zoo – One of the largest zoos in the world, offering a chance to see over 600 species of animals.
  6. Children’s Museum of Manhattan – A hands-on museum that encourages kids to learn through play and exploration.
  7. Top of the Rock Observation Deck – Get a bird’s eye view of the city from the top of the iconic Rockefeller Center.

Best Activities for Kids in New York City

  1. Broadway Shows – Treat your kids to a magical experience with a Broadway musical or play.
  2. City Sightseeing Bus Tour – Hop on and off at various attractions and get a guided tour of the city.
  3. Brooklyn Bridge Bike Tour – Take a scenic bike ride across the iconic bridge for stunning views of the city.
  4. Food Tours – Sample delicious food from different neighborhoods and learn about the city’s diverse food culture.
  5. Kayaking in the Hudson River – A unique way to see the city’s skyline and get some exercise.

Where to Eat with Kids in New York City

  1. Ellen’s Stardust Diner – A diner with singing waiters and a fun atmosphere that kids will love.
  2. Serendipity 3 – Famous for their frozen hot chocolate and eclectic menu, this is a must-visit for any family.
  3. Shake Shack – A popular burger chain with delicious food and a fun outdoor seating area.
  4. Chelsea Market – A food hall with a variety of options, perfect for families with picky eaters.
  5. Max Brenner Chocolate Bar – A chocolate lover’s paradise, offering delicious desserts and a unique dining experience.

Tips for Traveling to New York City with Kids

  1. Plan Ahead – Research and book tickets for popular attractions and events in advance to avoid long lines and disappointment.
  2. Use Public Transportation – The city’s subway system is the best way to get around with kids, as it is efficient and cost-effective.
  3. Take Breaks – With so much to see and do, it’s important to take breaks and rest to avoid overexerting yourself and the kids.
  4. Be Flexible – Don’t be afraid to deviate from your itinerary and explore unexpected opportunities or attractions.
  5. Have Fun! – Remember to relax, have fun, and make unforgettable memories with your family in the Big Apple.
 

Key Takeaways:

  • Explore Central Park for outdoor activities and family-friendly attractions like the Central Park Zoo.
  • Visit popular museums such as the American Museum of Natural History and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan for educational and interactive experiences.
  • Experience the city’s vibrant culture through Broadway shows, food tours, and iconic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.

What are the Best Attractions for Kids in New York City?

New York City is a bustling metropolis with endless activities and attractions for kids. In this section, we will highlight the top attractions that are perfect for children. From outdoor adventures to educational experiences, there is something for every child in the city. Let’s explore the best things to do in New York City with kids, including iconic landmarks such as Central Park and the Statue of Liberty, as well as hidden gems like the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.

1. Central Park

  • Visit the Central Park Zoo for an interactive wildlife experience.
  • Explore the Central Park Conservatory Garden for a tranquil retreat amidst vibrant flowers.
  • Enjoy a rowboat ride at the Loeb Boathouse to appreciate the park’s beauty from the water.
  • Experience the Alice in Wonderland sculpture which enthralls kids with its whimsical charm.
  • Participate in the Central Park scavenger hunt for an exciting and educational adventure.

2. American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History in New York City offers an immersive learning experience for kids. It features captivating exhibits like the Hall of Biodiversity and the Rose Center for Earth and Space, providing interactive educational opportunities. A visit to this museum can inspire a love for science and history while engaging children’s natural curiosity.

While at the American Museum of Natural History, make sure to check out the Discovery Room, where kids can participate in hands-on activities and even interact with live animals, creating a memorable and educational experience.

After exploring the museum, take some time to visit nearby attractions like Central Park or enjoy a family-friendly meal at one of the local eateries. For more information on things to do in New York City with kids, check out this reputable source.

3. Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

When visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island with kids, follow these steps:

  1. Plan ahead and book tickets in advance to avoid long waiting times at the ferry and entry points.
  2. Consider the ages and interests of your kids to make the visit engaging and educational.
  3. Explore the museums and exhibits of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, providing historical context and interactive experiences for kids.
  4. Enjoy the scenic ferry ride, capturing breathtaking views of these iconic landmarks.

True story: During our visit, my kids were fascinated by the Statue of Liberty’s size and history, and they loved exploring the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, connecting with the past in a meaningful way.

4. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum offers an engaging experience for kids with its collection of historic aircraft, spacecraft, and the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier. Kids can explore interactive exhibits, simulators, and even climb aboard the Concorde. The museum hosts family-friendly events and educational programs, making it an exciting and educational destination for children.

Fact: The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum welcomes over one million visitors annually, making it one of the most popular attractions in New York City.

5. Bronx Zoo

  • Explore the diverse wildlife at the 5. Bronx Zoo, including the Congo Gorilla Forest and the Butterfly Garden.
  • Attend engaging sea lion feedings and watch the amazing birds of prey flight demonstrations.
  • Participate in the Children’s Zoo activities, offering close encounters with animals and a petting zoo experience.
  • Enjoy the Wild Asia Monorail and get a glimpse of Asian animals in their naturalistic habitats.
  • Take part in educational and fun-filled 4-D theaters and carousel rides within the zoo premises.

6. Children’s Museum of Manhattan

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan offers a variety of interactive exhibits, workshops, and performances for kids. It is an excellent location for hands-on learning about art, culture, and science. For the best experience, consider joining a guided tour to gain in-depth knowledge about the exhibits.

7. Top of the Rock Observation Deck

  1. Head to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck and marvel at the breathtaking panoramic views of New York City.
  2. Take in the stunning sights of Central Park, Empire State Building, and the Statue of Liberty from the Top of the Rock Observation Deck.
  3. Explore the interactive exhibits and the outdoor observation deck on the 70th floor.
  4. Capture the perfect family photo with the cityscape as your backdrop.
  5. Conclude the visit with a memorable sunset view of the city.

The Top of the Rock Observation Deck, located at Rockefeller Center, offers an unparalleled view of the city, making it a must-visit attraction for families exploring New York City.

What are the Best Activities for Kids in New York City?

New York City is a vibrant and bustling metropolis, filled with countless activities and sights to explore. But when it comes to planning a trip with kids, it can be overwhelming to decide which activities are the best fit. In this section, we will highlight some of the top activities for kids in New York City, including exciting Broadway shows, informative city sightseeing bus tours, adventurous bike tours, delicious food tours, and thrilling kayaking adventures in the Hudson River. Get ready to create unforgettable memories with your little ones in the Big Apple!

1. Broadway Shows

New York City’s Broadway shows offer captivating performances suitable for families. Popular options include The Lion King, Aladdin, and Frozen, providing an enchanting experience for kids and adults alike. With elaborate sets, stunning costumes, and talented actors, these shows create unforgettable memories for young travelers.

2. City Sightseeing Bus Tour

  1. Research: Choose a reputable City Sightseeing Bus Tour company offering a kid-friendly itinerary.
  2. Comfort: Ensure the bus has air conditioning and comfortable seating specifically for kids.
  3. Safety: Prioritize tours that have seat belts and child safety features.
  4. Entertainment: Look for tours with live guides or audio commentary tailored for kids.

Pro-tip: Don’t forget to pack snacks and games to keep kids entertained during the City Sightseeing Bus Tour.

3. Brooklyn Bridge Bike Tour

A bike tour of the Brooklyn Bridge is an exciting way to explore New York City with your family. Follow these steps to make the most of your experience:

  1. Make sure each family member has their bike and safety gear ready.
  2. Start the tour from the Brooklyn side to enjoy breathtaking views of Manhattan.
  3. Take breaks and adjust the pace to accommodate everyone, and don’t forget to stop for photos.
  4. Teach your kids fun facts about the bridge and the surrounding landmarks to keep them engaged.
  5. End the tour with a special treat at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Remember, safety is the top priority, so make sure everyone follows traffic rules and stays hydrated during the adventure.

4. Food Tours

When exploring the food scene in New York City with kids, prioritize interactive and educational experiences that cater to their palate and curiosity.

  1. Research: Look for food tours that are specifically designed for children, with interactive elements and food options that are kid-friendly.
  2. Book in Advance: Reserve a food tour that includes stops that are suitable for kids and manageable walking distances.
  3. Engagement: Choose food tours that offer activities such as food tasting, storytelling, or cooking demonstrations to keep kids entertained and engaged.
  4. Local Favorites: Opt for food tours that showcase iconic New York City foods and provide a cultural experience.

5. Kayaking in the Hudson River

Kayaking in the Hudson River with kids can be an exhilarating experience, offering a unique perspective of New York City’s skyline. Here are some steps to ensure a safe and enjoyable time:

  1. Find a reputable kayaking rental service with child-friendly equipment.
  2. Verify the weather conditions and dress children in appropriate gear.
  3. Provide clear safety instructions to the kids before embarking on the adventure.
  4. Stay together and maintain constant supervision during the activity.

Remember, safety is paramount, but don’t forget to have fun and create lasting memories with your little adventurers!

Where to Eat with Kids in New York City?

When exploring the bustling city of New York with your little ones, finding the right places to eat can be a challenge. Luckily, there are plenty of family-friendly options to choose from. In this section, we will highlight some of the best restaurants in New York City where you can enjoy a delicious meal with your kids. From classic diners like Ellen’s Stardust Diner, to indulgent dessert spots like Serendipity 3 and Max Brenner Chocolate Bar, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s dig in and discover the top places to eat with kids in the Big Apple.

1. Ellen’s Stardust Diner

  • Make sure to visit Ellen’s Stardust Diner during off-peak hours to minimize wait time
  • Indulge in their classic American diner fare while enjoying live entertainment
  • Don’t miss the opportunity to sing along with the talented waitstaff performers

Did you know that Ellen’s Stardust Diner is renowned for its singing waitstaff and retro ambiance, offering a one-of-a-kind dining experience for families?

2. Serendipity 3

Serendipity 3 is a well-known family-friendly restaurant located in New York City, known for its delicious desserts and savory dishes. Their menu highlights their renowned Frrrozen Hot Chocolate and other indulgent treats, making it a must-visit for both children and adults.

3. Shake Shack

Shake Shack, with multiple locations throughout New York City, serves up a diverse menu of delicious burgers, hot dogs, frozen custard, and shakes. This family-friendly establishment has a laid-back atmosphere, making it the perfect choice for a casual meal with children.

4. Chelsea Market

Explore the diverse range of food options and unique shops at Chelsea Market, located in the Meatpacking District. It’s a great place to visit with kids, offering a vibrant atmosphere and delicious treats such as artisanal chocolates, freshly baked bread, and gourmet sandwiches.

5. Max Brenner Chocolate Bar

Visiting the Max Brenner Chocolate Bar in New York City with kids can be a delightful experience. Treat yourself to a variety of chocolate-themed treats and drinks. Don’t miss out on trying their famous chocolate pizza for a unique and delicious dessert.

Keep the kids entertained with interactive chocolate-themed activities. The whimsical and enticing ambiance is designed to captivate young visitors. Be sure to try their signature hot chocolate while indulging in their delightful chocolate creations!

Tips for Traveling to New York City with Kids

Traveling to New York City with kids can be a fun and exciting experience, but it also requires some extra planning and preparation. In this section, we will discuss some helpful tips for making the most of your family trip to the Big Apple. First, we’ll dive into the importance of planning ahead and how it can save you time and stress during your visit. Then, we’ll cover the benefits of using the city’s public transportation system to get around with your little ones in tow. Let’s get started!

1. Plan Ahead

Planning a family trip to New York City requires careful preparation to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience.

  1. Research attractions and activities suitable for children of different ages and interests.
  2. Book tickets for popular attractions in advance to avoid long wait times.
  3. Consider the weather and pack accordingly, including appropriate clothing, snacks, and entertainment for the kids.
  4. Plan your itinerary to include breaks and downtime for the little ones.
  5. Look for family-friendly dining options and make reservations if necessary.

Exploring the Big Apple with kids can be incredibly rewarding when planned ahead, providing unforgettable memories for the entire family.

2. Use Public Transportation

  • Research: Before your trip, make sure to explore the subway and bus routes online.
  • Obtain MetroCard: To have easy access to public transportation, purchase a MetroCard.
  • Plan Routes: Utilize public transportation by mapping out routes to attractions and eateries.
  • Check Schedules: Avoid unnecessary waiting by verifying schedules and routes beforehand.
  • Travel Light: For easy maneuvering on public transportation, consider using lightweight and foldable strollers.
 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are some must-see places for families in NYC?

The Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life, Washington Square Park, Bryant Park, and the New York Public Library are all popular attractions for families.

2. How can I save money on flights to NYC?

Consider using deal-finding techniques and discount cards to find cheap flights to one of the city’s three major international airports: JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark.

3. Where are the best places to stay in NYC?

Midtown, Times Square, and the Upper West Side are all great options for families looking for a place to stay in the city.

4. What are the top kid-friendly attractions in NYC?

The Museum of Ice Cream, FAO Schwartz, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Harry Potter Store are all popular options for families with kids.

5. Are there any fun outdoor activities for families in NYC?

Yes, visitors can enjoy biking trails, the Staten Island Ferry, and exploring the newly opened Little Island in the Hudson River.

6. Is there an all-in-one guide for families visiting NYC with kids?

Yes, the American Museum of Natural History offers sleepover options for families, allowing them to experience a real-life version of the movie “Night at the Museum,” and the Wanderlust Crew has a detailed 7-day itinerary for families visiting NYC.