Gotham, the city that never sleeps, and concrete jungle don’t necessarily bring up kid-friendly images of New York, but don’t cancel that family vacation just yet! New York has it all and that includes plenty of things to inspire, entertain, and keep your kids from getting bored on vacation!
We often get asked whether it’s a good idea to take kids to New York City and whether there are any kid-friendly activities. And the answer is always yes! Bring the kiddos!
- Take a city bus tour to see the city at a glance
- See a show on Broadway – Lion King, Aladdin, Frozen, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Dear Evan Hansen, Hamilton, and Wicked are great options for the kids.
- Take in the views at the Top of the Rock or the Empire State Building
- Take a ferry from Battery Park to the Statue of Liberty
- Walk through the craziness of Times Square
- Play a game of chess alfresco in Bryant Park
- Explore Central Park – rent a bike, get ice cream at Bethesda Fountain, go down the granite slide, rent a boat outside the Loeb Boathouse, in the winter go ice skating
- Watch a tennis match at the US Open
- Shop at the Lego store and Harry Potter store
- In the summer make a trip out to Coney Island for some old-fashioned beach fun
- A visit to the zoo in Central Park is always fun, or for real zoo-aficionados head to the Bronx Zoo
- Ride on Jane’s Carousel in Dumbo (Near the end of the Brooklyn Bridge)
- Find the Whispering Gallery in Grand Central Station
- Take a carriage ride through Central Park
- 9/11 museum
There are quite a few museums for kids in New York that are educational and FUN! Or at least they’ll think it’s kinda fun!;) These are my favorites:
- American Museum of Natural History – Be sure to watch the Night at the Museum Movies before you go!
- The Children’s Museum of Manhattan – Located in the Upper West side
- Children’s Museum of the Arts – Great for all ages
- The New York Transit Museum – A good excuse to head into Brooklyn and let’s be honest, what little kid doesn’t love trains!
- The Met – Something for everyone in the family
- New York Aquarium – Check out the new shark exhibit!
Mid-day Treats – New York City has a lot of terrain to cover. All of these stops are the perfect break for your kids to rest their little legs.
- Try a cronut from Dominique Ansel Bakery – (can even use door dash to have it delivered to you and avoid the wait!)
- Hit up Black Tap for a burger and a crazyshake!
- Serendipity 3 – Try the frozen Hot Chocolate at this whimsical location.
- Dylan’s Candy Bar – Yes it’s a tourist trap, but it’s the closest thing your kids will get to a real life Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory.
- The Waffles and Dinges truck is parked in Central Park and is the perfect treat after running around.
- Your little girls (and little boys!) will love tea with Eloise at the Plaza. It’s ‘rawther’ fancy and they even serve cotton candy on pretzel sticks!
- A stop at Milk Bar for cereal milk, cereal ice cream, and delicious cookies or stop at Do for edible cookie dough
- Try a NYC hotdog or pretzel from a street vendor
- NY is famous for their bagels and they make for an easy breakfast on the go
- Grab a slice of Pizza at Joe’s Pizza (the restaurant that fires Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) in the Spiderman movie)
- Alice’s Tea Cup – A fairy dust filled cafe perfect for a tea party
Planning a trip to New York?
If you’re traveling to New York City, I’ve created the perfect itinerary for first-time visitors that includes a wonderful mix of tourist sights and local favorites. This itinerary makes sure you aren’t spending wasted hours going back and forth across the city and allows you to maximize your limited time.
If you’re a first-timer to the Big Apple, this itinerary and travel guide will help you check off the boxes for all of your must-see activities. If this is your second or even 25th visit, you’ll find great recommendations for restaurants, activities, and local favorites that will help you to pretend you’re a New Yorker (even for just a little while!).
Looking for more New York Travel Tips? You’ve come to the right place.