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Guide to New York City for Families

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With its swanky restaurants and hopping nightlife, New York may seem geared toward adults, but there are countless activities that will thrill youngin's and adults alike. Here are the best of them.

Good for
  • Family
  • History Buff
  • Nature Lover
  • Thrifty Traveller

10 Places

3 City Tips

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Map

10 Places

FAO Schwarz

Gift & Speciality Shops

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Parks

New Victory Theater

Theatres

American Museum of Natural History

Natural History Museums

Serendipity 3

Restaurants

Historic Richmond Town

History Museums

Governors Island National Monument

Historic Sites, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Grand Central Terminal

Architectural Buildings, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Books of Wonder

Gift & Speciality Shops

Central Park

Parks, Scenic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Suzanne R's City Tips

  • Kids love the bright colors and "ABC's" of the subway. Pick up a pop-out map at any newsstand and let them try their hands at navigating.
  • Public restrooms can feel scarce in New York. You can usually rely on there being a nearby hotel, though. Or, look for large department stores and Starbucks.
  • The subways make for great scavenger hunts. While riding or waiting for trains, look out for interesting artwork on the walls and in the tunnels.
  • FAO Schwarz
    Gift & Speciality Shops
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    What's not to love about giant store filled with life-size stuffed animals and just about every toy imaginable? Plus, you can bound around on that enormous piano like Tom Hanks did in "Big" (then take them home and watch the movie!)

    Good for
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    Tips
    • The store is not cheap, but if you should purchase something, it's helpful to know that they offer free shipping.
    • The best time to visit is before lunch, especially on weekdays. It's a madhouse on weekends, so try to avoid the store then, or arrive early.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #27 of 920 Shopping in New York City
    • You go for the experience... 17/12/2018
    • Poor management, again. 16/12/2018
    • FAO Schwarz
    Address:
    30 Rockefeller Plaza
    Rockefeller Center
    New York City, NY 10112-0015
    Phone:
    +1 646-809-9536
    Hours:
    Sun
    11:00 - 20:00
    Mon - Thu
    09:00 - 21:00
    Fri - Sat
    09:00 - 22:00
    Other:
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park
    Parks
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    You'll like it for the expansive (and stunning views of the bridges, Statue of Liberty, and Manhattan skyline. The kids will like it for its uber-cool playground, a 1.6 acre space featuring a "Water Lab" (with jets, a water channel, and smooth boulder rocks), "Slide Mountain" (a climbing structure with fast slides), "Sandbox Village," (the biggest sandbox in Brooklyn replete with pioneer-village) and "Swing Valley" (with swings, Tarzan ropes, and six-seaters).

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The playground is at Pier 6, but it's worth exploring the other piers as well. You'll find everything from sports courts to a roller rink to a small beach.
    • After running around the playground stop for a ride on the expertly-preserved Jane's Carousel, a beautiful vintage model encased in glass and right on the water.
    • Fuel up on delicious ice cream at Ample Hills Creamery on Pier 5.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 205 things to do in Brooklyn
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A Lovely Day Out. Great Place for Photoshoots 08/12/2018
    • Not Only…..But Also 29/11/2018
    • Brooklyn Bridge Park
    Address:
    334 Furman St
    Brooklyn, NY 11201-9750
    Phone:
    +1 718-222-9939
    Other:
  • New Victory Theater
    Theatres
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    The only theater in the city devoted to kids, this off-Broadway spot has a lively schedule of puppet shows, musicals, dance performances, and storytelling sessions.

    Good for
    • Family
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • If you spring for the orchestra seats, the kiddos have a good chance of being called up on stage.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #269 of 1,141 things to do in New York City
    • Great theater and show! 09/12/2018
    • get there while you can 09/12/2018
    • New Victory Theater
    Address:
    209 West 42nd Street
    between Seventh and Eighth Avenues
    New York City, NY 10036
    Phone:
    +1 646-223-3010
    Hours:
    Sun - Mon
    11:00 - 17:00
    Tue - Sat
    12:00 - 19:00
    Other:
  • American Museum of Natural History
    Natural History Museums
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    The revered AMNH is a must-visit in New York. Situated on right on Central Park, the stately (and enormous) building houses a scientific playground, with gems and dioramas and, of course, that famous dino skeleton.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Thrill Seeker
    Tips
    • After running around the museum, stop for a delicious dessert at nearby Cafe Lalo.
    • Tours are a great way to learn more about the museum. They begin 15 minutes after each hour outside the African Mammals Hall on the second floor.
    • While there is a stated admission price at the museum, it is actually a suggestion. Entrance is by donation, unless you're visiting the special exhibits of the planetarium.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #20 of 1,141 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great museum! 18/12/2018
    • expected more 18/12/2018
    • American Museum of Natural History
    Address:
    79th Street
    Central Park West
    New York City, NY 10024
    Phone:
    +1 212-769-5100
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:45
    Other:
  • Serendipity 3
    Restaurants (American)
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    You will wait in line at the famed dessert spot, but the kids will love the experience once inside. Decor is fanciful and feels a like part old-fashioned ice cream parlor, part Mad Hatter tea party, and the menu offers American standbys like burgers and hot dogs. But let's be honest: You came for the dessert, and dessert you shall have.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Family
    Tips
    • Frozen hot chocolates are the thing here. They are huge, so order to share. That way you can try other desserts too (two words: Humble Pie!)
    • There is almost always a wait here, but if you come in late morning, you might just beat some of the crowds.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2,015 of 10,446 restaurants in New York City
    • A classic!! 17/12/2018
    • Great place for a sundae 17/12/2018
    • Serendipity 3
    Address:
    225 E 60th St
    New York City, NY 10022-1442
    Phone:
    +1 212-838-3531
    Price range:
    US$20 - US$40
    Hours:
    Sun - Thu
    11:30 - 00:00
    Fri - Sat
    11:30 - 01:00
    Other:
  • Historic Richmond Town
    History Museums
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    It may be a bit of a trek to Staten Island, but for history lovers, Historic Richmond Town is a fun destination (plus an opportunity to say you've hit another borough!). The living history museum features more than 30 original historic structures, plus many artifacts, photographs, and archival collections dating back to the 17th century. Kids will love interacting with the "townspeople" and exploring New York's oldest continuously working farm.

    Good for
    • History Buff
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • One daily tour is included with admission. Note that you must be on a tour to visit the farms.
    • Admission is free every Friday.
    • Historic Richmond Town often holds unique events, like the All-American Drive-In. Check the website when planning your visit to see if anything's going on.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #14 of 47 things to do in Staten Island
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Disappointed 20/10/2018
    • A delightful trip to the past just an hour away from the modern madness that is Manhattan 26/09/2018
    • Historic Richmond Town
    Address:
    441 Clarke Ave
    Staten Island, NY 10306-1125
    Phone:
    +1 718-351-1611
    Price range:
    US$8 - US$8
    Hours:
    Wed - Sun
    13:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Governors Island National Monument
    Historic Sites, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    This outdoor oasis is a great place for the kids to run and for you to escape the throngs of the city for a bit. It offers vast green spaces and some of the best Statue of Liberty views to be had. Plus, there is a sculptural mini-golf course.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Although food purveyors now abound on the island, they might not all be appealing to picky eaters. It's a good idea to bring along some snacks (and then definitely get ice cream).
    • The bike rental shop on the island offers an array of bikes and accessories, including child seats, kids' bikes, and 4- and 6-person surreys.
    • The ferry departs from downtown Manhattan (next to the Staten Island Ferry) and is free before noon on weekends.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #71 of 1,141 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A Forgotten Part Of Manhattan 15/12/2018
    • Great History and Views 07/12/2018
    • Governors Island National Monument
    Address:
    New York Harbor
    Ferry Terminal
    New York City, NY 10004
    Phone:
    +1 212-440-2200
    Hours:
    Sun - Thu
    10:00 - 18:00
    Fri - Sat
    10:00 - 19:00
    Other:
  • Grand Central Terminal
    Architectural Buildings, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    The extravagant transit hub is awe-inspiring for visitors of all ages. There is something incredible about staring up at that zodiac ceiling amid the buzz of people around.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Visit the Whispering Corners, the archways on the lower level in front of Oyster Bar. The audio anomaly allows people standing in opposite corners to hear one another.
    • The downstairs food court is a fun place for kids to visit, offering selections like Two Boots Pizza and Junior's Cheesecake.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #10 of 1,141 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Stunning 18/12/2018
    • I Had No Idea 18/12/2018
    • Grand Central Terminal
    Address:
    89 E 42nd Street
    New York City, NY 10017-5503
    Phone:
    (212) 340-2583
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    05:30 - 02:00
    Other:
  • Books of Wonder
    Gift & Speciality Shops
    Suzanne R Says:

    This vast and lovely children's bookstore is revered by New York parents and kids for good reason. It's warm and welcoming, with a wide selection of books, including some out-of-print titles. The seating area with its throw pillows just screams "sit and read here," and the famous Oz section exhibits original kid-lit illustrations.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Family
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Weekly storytimes are on Fridays at 4pm and Sundays at noon,
    • In addition to story hours, the store hosts a number of high-profile authors for special events. Check the website when planning your visit.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #85 of 920 Shopping in New York City
    • Large selektion of books 02/11/2018
    • It's alright 25/09/2018
    • Books of Wonder
    Address:
    18 W 18th St
    New York City, NY 10011-4607
    Phone:
    +1 212-989-3270
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 19:00
    Other:
  • Central Park
    Parks, Scenic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    It would be hard to have a family guide without mentioned Central Park, a veritable fairyland for children and adults alike. There are countless playgrounds, plus boating (both model and real) and a fantastic zoo.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Favorite playgrounds include Adventure Playground at 67th St., Heckscher off Central Park South, and Ancient Playground near 85th St.
    • If you plan to visit the zoo, you can save by purchasing your tickets online.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 1,141 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Girls trip to nyc 18/12/2018
    • A New York Must See 18/12/2018
    • Central Park
    Address:
    59th to 110th Street
    Manhattan Borough, from Central Park West to 5th Avenue
    New York City, NY 10022
    Phone:
    (212) 310-6600
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    06:00 - 01:00
    Other:
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