New York City can feel a bit overwhelming with kids. There are a lot of great and fun things to experience in NYC with kids that they will remember forever. NYC is great for a short weekend trip or long 4-5 day vacation.
What to do in NYC with Kids
- Statue of Liberty- the Statue of Liberty is a must with kids. You first get to ride a ferry over to Ellis Island and this is always the fun part for kids. You can explore the grounds and take in the beautiful NYC skyline. If you want to go up in Lady Liberty’s crown you need to make reservations about a month in advance because this attraction fills up quickly and only a few are allowed to go up at a time.
- Top of the Rock– we were told by a friend to choose this observation tower over The Empire State Building, and it did not disappoint. The Rockefeller Center is perfect to view a 360 degree view of all of NYC. You can see central park, the empire state building, the Hudson river, the 9-11 Memorial building and all the taxi’s and people rushing around NYC. The observation deck is very spacious and you don’t feel like you’re fighting for a spot to take the perfect picture. My kids loved feeling the wind through their hair and looking down at all the people and cars.
- American Museum of Natural History– this museum was pretty impressive and huge. You definitely could get lost for hours exploring all the exhibits. This museum can be done pretty cheap. They have a “suggested” price of $20 a person but you are free to pay as little or as much as you’d like. We ended up just paying $20 for my family of 5, because it was easy and I had a $20 bill in my pocket.
- Central Park Zoo– tucked in beautiful Central Park is the Zoo. It seems like my kids can never get enough of exploring zoo’s and aquariums. This zoo is small but a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
- New York City Broadway– One of my little girl’s most memorable experiences has been going to a broadway show. I took her to see Wicked and she was enthralled with every song. The 2017 line-up for broadway shows is fun and exciting and features a lot of kid friendly shows. To name a few The Lion King, Aladdin, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, and Wicked. I found a great app TodayTix, where you can get tickets at low prices the day of the show. You can also put your name in a lottery system for a set number of discounted tickets. Find the broadways direct lottery here.
Free or Nearly Free fun for kids in NYC
- Central Park– Walking through Central Park is a pretty sureal experience considering minutes ago you were engulfed in the sights and sounds of a busy city. This is a perfect place to pack a lunch, sit on the grass with a blanket, and let the kids get all of their energy out. The park is full of fun areas on which to climb and explore.
- World Trade Center Memorial-this memorial is humbling and breathtaking. It only takes a short amount of time to visit and is free to the public. You can visit the museum and see all of the artifacts from the Twin Towers, but just know that it costs money. This is a great history lesson for the kids and a great opportunity to teach them while you are there.
- Times Square– in my opinion the best time to visit is in the evening/night. The lights and sounds are what makes the experience. There are so many street shows to see along times square. The street shows always appreciate tips.
- Today Show-something my little girl loved during our recent visit was watching the filming of the Today Show and being on live TV. You have to wake up pretty early, we were there by 7am. They have cardboard paper with markers so you can customized your sign and make it right after you go through security. We staked out our spot and were lucky enough to be on TV quite a few times. It was really fun for her and her friends to watch the screens and see themselves on TV. Free fun and you get famous at the same time. The best time to be there is between 7-9a, they usually come outside around 830a and that’s the most likely time to be TV, you could also stay for the later broadcast with Kathie Lee and Hoda 11-12p.
- Toy Stores- most of the kid friendly stores in NYC are much bigger than the stores are elsewhere. They usually have a huge display to look at or play with. Just to name a few around are The Disney Store, Toys-R-Us, The American Girl Store, and The Lego Store. Most of these stores can be found around Times Square or on 5th Avenue.
- Tip for all museums: If you are already a member of any museum wherever you live you can show your membership, and they usually will let you in for free. Many museums all across the country participate in this program.
- New York City Public Library-Let me tell about the largest library my kids have ever seen. Between books, performances, and exhibits this library has something for everybody. The Library also offers a wide variety of drop-in classes and workshops for all ages. Let your kids explore books, e-books, puzzles and much much more.
- Grand Central Station-riding the subway or train is always entertaining and why not start at the most iconic train station in NYC. The subway is a great way to travel throughout the city without tiring the kids out too much by all the walking. My kids loved riding underground and playing on the subway cars. This is fairly inexpensive and a great way to travel around.
New York City is a place that you can visit over and over and never go to the same place twice. If you have small children a stroller might be a smart idea, even though the streets are busy. Feel free to add in the comments other tips or places that you have visited.