New York City is really popular for most working class or single adventurous millennial. The concept of highly urbanized and abundance of high – end shops attract tourists in the city of New York.
This has discouraged a lot of families who are often traveling with their kids that New York is not a good place for them to take the vacation. But little did they know that, New York can be a great place for families who have little kids and teenagers to enjoy, take an adventure and relax! We’ve got a list of the best things to do in New York with kids.
Tips for you to prepare your travel to NYC with kids:
Tip # 1 Try a Guided Tour
Most travelers often prefer to go on backpack traveling or try to explore new places by themselves without the help of travel tour companies because this limits their time to enjoy. But if you are traveling to New York with kids, a tour guide will give an ample of information and trivia to kids. This will also make parents to easily manage their kids because most youngster would listen to strangers more than their own parents or nannies (that is reality though haha).
Tip # 2 Early Booking
As most travel blogs and well – seasoned travelers advice, in order to get the best price and best accommodations, you should always book ahead of time. You will have more time to prepare at the same time.
Tip # 3 Be Reminded of Requirements and Restrictions
There are tours, hotels, amusement parks that may require height, legal and age restriction to your reservation, so be careful and make sure your kids are qualified to take the guided tour so you would not ruin your schedule or pay for something that your kids are not even allowed to participate.
We searched and compiled tips and interesting information for you to enjoy and make the best out of your New York City with kids vacation!
Suggested Places You Want to Catch in NYC
The following are few of the best things to do in New York City with kids and teens:
Pizza Tasting Bus Tour
Well, what best way to explore New York City is through its big servings of food! This trip will allow you to visit famous pizzeria restaurants around the busy city.
And yet again, who does not like chocolates! Every one of us is sweet tooth loving creatures. Even mom and dads would surely love this guided tour in Brooklyn. Aside from learning from trivia about chocolates, you will be able to sample different chocolate delicacies all over Manhattan (New York City)!
Cupcake and Ice Cream Tour
Another tour that can spoil your sweet tooth craving is the Greenwich Village cupcake and ice cream tour in Manhattan. You will be able to visit 6 or more cupcake and gelato / ice – cream shops around New York City.
Aerial Tour of New York City
Well, for this tour you need to spend more than usual. But definitely this is a tour that will definitely interest your kids. It is an aerial tour around the city of Manhattan. Even after your vacation, your kids will definitely retell your helicopter tour around the city that never sleeps.
Behind the Scenes Disney Tour
Your kids will surely enjoy a trip down to Disney studios. Kids are always interested in a magical experience which their favorite TV channel and movies Disney brings. I am sure you, parents are also excited about this experience as well. Reliving the child in you! You will be able to know more about your favorite Disney characters, trivia, how they are made and the creators behind these. Plus you might be also lucky to meet Disney actors who played in their famous film and TV series.
Financial District New York City Tour
It may sound absurd but there is a fun guided tour about the Financial and famous business areas in New York City for kids. It is also a good parenting technique to integrate fun and learning with your kids. To bring your kids and appreciate the business centers and to teach them more about the financial side of the city will open their eyes and awareness in their future career.
New York City Tour
You can tour around the famous landmarks. You will also get to know few interesting history and trivia of the NYC. You can save time to take taxi, train or public bus to explore the whole city because the guided tour will be more convenient for parents to keep track of time for the city tour.
Tour guides can also provide facts and other information about the city for your kids to be interested to know about.
The 30 Best Things To Do In New York With Kids
Now, that you finally decided your vacation in the city that never sleeps? It is always a good thing to grab your things and just fly to a country and explore the city by yourself to learn more about it. The city is highly urbanized, crowded and a bit busy which may consume a lot of your time being stuck in heavy traffic if you do not really know a lot about Manhattan.
We suggest that you can check out guided tour in Manhattan with kids like New York City Pass for convenience and less hassle.
We dig the internet and consulted people who have visited New York City many times and compiled a list for you on what are the top 30 things you can do in New York City with kids.
#1 Climb The Empire State Building
The Empire State Building has gained popularity in the late 1990’s with the Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks film, “Sleepless in Seattle”. Ever since, local tourists and foreign vacationers would want to climb the 86th floor of the Empire State Building and feel the romantic vibe brought about by the film in the 90’s.
The building is open for tourists all year from 8AM to 2AM! So you can still visit the top roof twice: one in the day light and another at night to see the glittering lights of the city.
The building is a famous building you have to take a lot of time to wait for your turn to reach the top. Otherwise, you can reserve ahead and purchase express tickets in advance or by purchasing tickets in advance online.
#2 Bring Your Kids to Children’s Museum of Manhattan
As early as possible we need also to teach our kids to appreciate art. Parents may start by bringing kids to museum like the Children’s Museum in Manhattan The Museum is open from 10 Am to 7PM on Tuesdays and Friday, while On Sunday, the museum only start accepting tourists around 10AM until only 5PM in the afternoon. This is highly recommended for those visiting Manhattan with kids. The museum closes every Monday for necessary maintenance, inventory, and cleaning.
There is also an art exhibit for kids’ ages 2 to six based on the famous Nickelodeon show Dora and her cousin Diego the explorers.
#3 Quick Breaks at the Artie’s Delicatessen
Of Manhattan, the whole family can enjoy a delicious snack beside the building museum just at the Broadway & 83rd and after that go to Riverside
#4 Visit Natural History Museum
You can also bring your kids to appreciate natural historical events and artifacts which are displayed in the Natural History Museum in NYC. The museum was used many times a setting of a Ben Stiller’s comedy movie trilogy of “The Night of at the Museum”, which kids really enjoyed watching. You can check out honest reviews about the museum. It allows tour all week from 10 in the morning to 5:45 in the afternoon.
The Museum has old artifacts, precious treasures, and offer new technology such as IMAX screens film presentation, holograms of America’s history and as well ancient animals. For lesser hassle entrance in the museum you can book ahead of time online.
#5 Take a Picture of the Brooklyn Bridge
The famous Brooklyn Bridge is open to everyone else. As part of your remembrance of your Manhattan tour (your photo of the or with the famous bridge will also make a great souvenir), you just have to get the perfect spot for taking your Instagram worthy picture. This is a must do things when visiting Brooklyn with kids.
#6 Stroll Around Central Park
Your kids would really recognize the Manhattan Central Park. This is where the famous Universal Studios movie Madagascar and Penguins of Madagascar. This is where the settings of the funny and adorable residents of the zoo take an adventure together. This will be a memorable tour for your kids. Aside from the well – taken care animals in Manhattan Central Park Zoo, the amusement animal park also offers bike rental, carousel, skating rinks, slides and other rides, mini animal parades, and theatre for your kids to enjoy. You just better prepare extra budget for souvenirs for your kids to take home with them.
#7 Take a Picnic at The Highline Park
You and your kids can enjoy a nice meal at The Highline Park and Walking Path which is open all week from 7 in the morning up to 10 in the evening. There is a wide lawn for your family to take a picnic. There are food carts and stalls around the park where you can conveniently buy from hot dogs, drinks, burgers and a lot more. The park also offers different antics and features everyday like park public shows, music and a lot more.
#8 Discover New York Hall of Science
Kids often spark interests in Science and Technology. Bring your kids at the New York City Hall of Science to know more about Astronomy, Science, Physics, Huma Body, Space, Math Technology and a lot more! The hall offers different activities that might as well draw kids’ interests by displaying different exhibits, workshops and other Visual presentations.
However the New York Hall of Science is only available in the months of April, up to August, and month of September (open all week from 9:30 in the morning to 5:30 in the afternoon).
#9 Relive Candyland in Dylan’s Candy Bar
To make a more exciting vacation tour when visiting Manhattan with kids, you might want to include in your tour by bringing your kids to Dylan’s Candy Bar. Of course you do not want to encourage your kid’s sugar rush but sometimes, it is okay to reward your kids with sweets. The candy stores offers variety of candies and sweets like cotton candies, chocolate bars, ice creams, and a lot more!
Store hours are limited only:
- Monday till Thursdays from 10 in the morning to 9 in the evening
- Friday and Saturdays from 10 in the morning till 11 in the evening
- Sundays from 11 in the morning to 9 in the evening
There are also souvenirs you can buy from the candy shop which you can take home with you. There is also fun areas in the shop where you can take your pictures with.
#10 Cruise by Staten Island Ferry
Another way to explore the city of Manhattan is by a boat ride in the Staten Island Ferry. The schedules of ferries are every 30 minutes interval. The ride is a bit pricey but the scenery and how you explored the NYC is worth it. It is another unique way to perhaps let your kids enjoy a city tour.
You will be able to pass by the magnificent Statue of Liberty, Manhattan bridge, famous restaurants and shops, Whitehall of NYC, Manhattan Skyline, city’s important Skyscrapers and a lot more.
#11 Visit Brooklyn Children’s Museum
The same way as the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum is only open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 10 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon. The museum also conducts also its maintenance on Mondays.
The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is the first children museum in the entire city. This was put up way back 1800’s to cater to kids’ hunger for information and fun facts. There museum has various rare fossils, interesting ancient artifacts, fun figures, fascinating tunnels and the learning never ends. All the display collection in the museum will surely stimulate interests of your kids about history and Science. Recently, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum has more than 30,000 rare collections to showcase. This one of the best things to do in Brooklyn with kids.
#12 Stroll at Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo is only open to public from late month of March up to month of November, which is open for visit from Mondays to Fridays. This is to keep the animals warm during the winter time so they have to close the animal park on the remaining months. You can bring your kids there from 10 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon only.
The Bronx is the largest zoo in whole United States of America which keeps and take care over 4, 000 animal species. Animals which are naturally living in south African country, local animal breeds, and some creatures from all other parts of the world.
There are also special schedules where you can actually witness feeding time of lions and other creatures; you might want to check from their online ticket reservations
#13 Be Amazed on Exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibits masterpieces from various artists in the past as well as the modern contemporaries.
Your kids will be amazed at real life mummies, and Egyptians artifacts display in the museum. The museum also has valued procession of ancient Kings and Vagabonds. The trivia and information from the trip on tis museum will be valuable and useful for kids subjects at school, for sure. Because of the unique and wide collection of the museum there are a lot of tourists who wanted to visit it os you might want to purchase tickets in advance to get cheaper price and skip the long lines.
#14 Take Selfies of Famous People at the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
You want to have pictures of the most popular people around the world? You have to bring your kids to the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. You will be surprised how the wax figures of famous people resemble the real life celebrities! The wax figures are planned and well – crafted by the best wax sculpture makers.
Wax Figures varies from famous TV host like Jimmy Fallon, famed political person Barrack Obama, movie icon George Clooney, popular couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, music legend Elvis Presley, historic hero Abraham Lincoln, and a lot more!
The wax museum is operating from May to September only. It opens from 9 in the morning until 10 in the evening, all week.
#15 Climb the Statue of Liberty
You should never miss to climb the most famous landmark in New York City, the Statue of Liberty. Your kids will surely enjoy climbing up the towering sky scrapper and enjoy the scenic urban view of the city. The Statue of Liberty is so famous, you might want to book ahead of time to skip the long crowded line who would also wish to climb the huge statue.
#16 Ride a Boat going to the Ellis Island
Before you are able to climb the Statue of Liberty, you must travel and ride ferry going to the Ellis Island. Your kids will surely enjoy the boat ride and adventure climbing stairs (or you may take the elevator) going up the Statue of Liberty. Ferry boat schedule is every day from 8:30 in the morning up until 5 in the evening.
#17 Participate in Art Activities at the Children’s Museum of the Arts
You can involve your kids in discovering their own talent in arts. The Children’s Museum of Arts in NYC allows kids to create crafts, paint, and make animation pieces of their own design.
The museum is open from Sunday to Monday and closes at Tuesdays. You can visit the museum from 10 in the morning only until 5 in the afternoon.
#18 Eat out at the Max Brenner Chocolate Bar and Restaurant
After a long adventure and tour of the New York City, you should bring your kids in Max Brenner Chocolate Bar and Restaurant. The restaurant offers variety of sumptuous food and sweets as well. The restaurant is also famous for its delicious shakes and blended ganache.
The restaurant has a lot of loyal customers so you might want to go there earlier to get a table. Max and Brenner Chocolate Bar and Restaurant is open from all week from 9 in the morning until 12 midnight (or depending on the last customer served)
#19 Have Fun in Chelsea Piers
Your kids will surely enjoy their visits at the Chelsea Piers. The amusement center has a lot of various fun arcades, ice skating rinks, bowling alley, gymnastic areas, bounce castles, wall climbing facilities, humongous trampoline, basketball courts, soccer fields, and a lot of fun filled activities your kids will surely enjoy.
The Chelsea Piers is open depending on the season and peak of customers, so you have to call the amusement park ahead of time through contact number 212-336-6100.
#20 Enjoy a day at the Brooklyn Bridge Park
The Brooklyn Bridge Park covers over 84 acres of land area. You can bring your kids here for picnics or refreshing are. What used to be an industrial area is now converted and developed into a beautiful garden and park. Locals often take a break in this park and enjoy the fresh air for lunch, reading abook or a quick nap in the afternoon. This is a perfect place to rest and take a break from your busy tour schedule of the whole Manhattan.
#21 Go to Coney Island
You and your kids will definitely enjoy the day at the Coney Island. The tourist spot is located on the seashore at the Brooklyn neighborhood. A lot of tourists prefer visiting the Coney Island in summer. The shoreline can span up to 2 and ½ mile beach line. You can also ride the iconic 1900’s huge Ferris wheel at the Luna Amusement Park. There are also amusement rides, slides and new machines slots your kids can enjoy playing.
#22 Visit the New York Aquarium
The New York Aquarium is perhaps the oldest aquarium in the United Sates of America. It was once located at the Castle Garden Battery Park in Manhattan in the late 1800s. But after year 1950’s, the local government decided to transfer it to Coney Island’s beach shore in Brooklyn.
The park has various coral, fishes, sharks, walrus and other sea creatures. The New York Aquarium also showcases Aqua – theatre shows.
You can take your kids there by riding subway, for about 45 minutes from midtown. The aquarium park is only open from Mark to November.
#23 Revel in Nintendo World
What kind of kids these days who does not know anything about digital games? Probably, it is possible if you and your family have been living under a rock for ages. Kidding aside, bringing your kids to Nintendo World will surely make your kids’ dream come true. You will be fulfilling their longtime dream! Their favorite Pikachu Characters play different sample Nintendo games, and more. Your kids will be able to take photos of It is like a dream land to them, where they will be able to learn more things about their favorite Nintendo games, characters, and consoles. But of course it would be more fun and fulfilling to them if you will allow them to purchase plush toys of their favorite Nintendo game characters, buy hard to find game apps and, upgrade their game consoles.
Nintendo World is the gaming paradise of the world. Entrance to the Nintendo Store is free but s we have told you earlier, you have to complete your child’s dream, to owning any of the items sold in the store. The Nintendo World store is open Mondays to Sundays from 9 in the morning to 7 in the evening.
#24 Visit the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
The Museum of Modern Art or also known as MOMA has the largest collection and display of modern art pieces. The art masterpieces range from paintings, musical compositions, to sculpture made by new artists. The Museum of Modern Art also is able to keep precious art work made by famous painters, Vincent Van Gogh, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso which are now worth millions of dollars.
What so nice about the museum is that your kids under 10 are all free to enter and appreciate the art work there every Fridays and is one of the best things to do in New York with kids.
The museum is open on:
- Saturdays to Thursdays from 10:30 in the morning up to 5:30 in the afternoon
- Fridays from 9 in the Morning to 4 in the afternoon
#25 More Museum tour at the Guggenheim Museum
The Guggenheim Museum has diverse and intrinsic masterpieces collection by Frank Lloyd Wright, but it is a good experience for your kids as well to see a different kind of art gallery.
There are also times the museum is able to exhibit art works from famous artsists in the pasts like Picasso, Cezanne, Monet and Renoir.You can purchase tickets in advance.
#26 Explore the One World Observatory
The One World Observatory is located in Westfield World Trade Center. You can enjoy a good meal there but expect that it is a little bit expensive there. There are a lot of tourists who climbs the One Observatory to have a better view of the entire New York City so you might want to book a priority pass (especially during freezing winter time, you do not want your kids to wait on long lines wahile waiting for your turn and freeze to death outside)
#27 Pay Respect at the 9/11 Museum
To teach your kids empathy and respect to the fallen heroes of 9/11 tragedy on the original World Trade Center (which was used to be the tallest building in the world), ou can bring them there. This will be also a way to pay tribute and remember the camaraderie how people from all walks in life and from different nations helped each other during the tragic World Trade Center attack.
#28 Learn at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
You can bring your kids at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, where they can discover more about the American and Maritime history. The military museum was built 1980’s and was closed temporary for restructuring and refurbishing. And on year later months in 2008, the military and maritime museum opened again to public. You kids will surely enjoy looking at and riding different military vehicles from military jeeps, submarines, planes, tanks, and more.
#29 Watch a Broadway show at Broadway Theatre Manhattan
Kids love musical shows such as The Lion King, Aladdin, Phantom of the Opera, or Wicked.
You can bring your kids at the Broadway Theatre in Manhattan where they have scheduled shows of various famous Broadway theatre shows. This is hands down one of the best things to do in New York City with kids.
#30 Take a walk at the Hell’s Kitchen District
The Hell’s Kitchen is also known as the Clinton. This is western side of New York City. The area is filled with a lot of shops and restaurants where you can take your whole family for a nice meal. What used to be a neighborhood of poor people is now filled with business centers. The area is also close to Broad way Theatres and Actors Studio.
Remember, these are 35 of the few selected things you can do in New York City but you can search the internet for more awesome Manhattan adventure. Better yet, ask friends and family members who have actually managed to tour around the Brooklyn area.