Things to do with your kids in New York
It is possible to perform most of the New York tourist attractions with children.
Indeed, if they are young (6 years or less), the majority of these attractions will be Free for them. If they are older, I advise you to find out about the New York City Pass and New York Pass in order to benefit from very advantageous reductions. You will be able to visit the American Museum of Natural History, the MoMa, the Met and many other must-sees that you can find in detail in my article detailing what to do in New York.
Also, here is a selection of the most family friendly places, so that you can fully enjoy the city together.
A day cruise, to see the main attractions
In order to discover several places at the same time without tiring yourself too much (especially if you have small children), taking a cruise can be THE right plan.
Many companies organize daytime tours, ranging from 1 hour to 2:30 hours. You decide which attractions you want to see and how much time you plan to spend in the boat.
That said, perhaps prefer a short cruise, to avoid impatient or hungry children!
La Circle Line Landmark Cruise, lasting 1h30, and the Circle Line Liberty Cruise, an hour, are good options. Indeed, they are quite fast but allow to pass near a multitude of tourist places. You can admire the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street and Battery Park.
Your cruise will include many comments and anecdotes about the different monuments that you may see. Also, rest assured: in summer, you can enjoy the air conditioning inside the boat.
Meet at Pier 83 of the Circle Line Terminal, located at the corner of 12th Avenue and 43rd Street, in order to board. Be a little early to make sure you get a seat.
Finally, don't forget to bring hats, sunscreen, and a bottle of water if you're heading to New York in the summer. The sun can be stronger than it looks. Your camera will also be very useful to you, in particular to capture the Statue of Liberty up close!
Coney Island and Luna Park, for your entertainment
As I told you about in my article on what to do in New York, Coney Island is the perfect destination if you plan to have fun with your family for a day. Located about 1 hour from Manhattan, it will change your scenery and entertain you for sure.
Also, go to Luna Park to board various attractions. Then, feast on one of the famous hot dogs from Nathan's.
If you're not an amusement park lover, that's okay - instead head to the beach to enjoy a breath of fresh air.
Note that Luna Park is open every day from June to August as well as weekends from March to May and September to October. To get to Coney Island, take the subway (lines F, D, Q, N) to Coney Island Stillwell Avenue station.
The Top of the Rock and its panoramic view
The 360 ° view from the Top of The Rock, located at 70nd floor of Rockefeller Center, is unmissable and will amaze your children, whatever their age.
Go there when the sun goes down, so you can have a blast before going to dinner (or right after).
Also enjoy the ice skating rink at the bottom of Rockefeller Center in winter. The latter has become a real icon of the city!
Count $ 25 per adult and $ 16 per child aged 6 to 12. That said, admission is included with both New York City passes, don't forget!
The Children's Museum of Manhattan, for learning while having fun
Equally interesting for young and old alike, the Manhattan Children's Museum is a very fun way to learn.
The main themes revolve around education, the world, health and culture. Also, the latter are visited via painting workshops, exhibitions or performances such as dance or puppet shows.
Note that one floor is dedicated to the famous Dora the Explorer, which your child might be interested in if they are a fan.
Note that it is not allowed to enter the museum with food or drinks. However, your ticket allows you to enter and exit the museum as many times as you want during the day. Enough to take a lunch break before continuing your visit.
Meet at 212 West 83rd Street, and count $ 12 for one entry, or $ 8 if you're a senior.
A Broadway Musical
Whether you come to New York with or without a child, a visit to Broadway is a must. However, doing it with children is almost essential!
You can see there The Lion King, Aladdin, Frozen and many other comedies that are on the bill.
Also, I advise you to book your seats in advance and on the internet, in order to save time and money. Indeed, ticket prices very often increase as the performance date approaches.
Madame Tussauds wax museum
Just like the Tussauds museum in London, the New York museum exhibits wax replicas of over 200 celebrities American and international.
You will be able to take a picture of yourself alongside Marylin Monroe, Justin Bieber, the Dalai Lama or Michael Jackson for example.
Count $ 36 for those over 13, and $ 29 for children aged 4 to 12.
Again, don't forget that this museum is included with the New York Pass. However, if you do not wish to take a New York Pass or New York City Pass, I advise you to buy your tickets online, in order to benefit from a 10% reduction, while saving time.
Must-see children's stores
Sadly, the world's largest toy store, the Toys 'R' Us located in Times Square, closed late last year. There are other addresses, however, including 901 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan. In particular, you will find a wide, very wide range of toys, many of which have not yet been released in France.
That said, if you want a little more originality, visit Fao black, a New York brand that can boast of being the largest toy store in the world.
Fao Schwarz, the kingdom of children in New York
Competitor of Toys 'R' Us, Fao Schwarz has three floors spread over 4600 square meters, at 767 5th Avenue.
Barbie dolls, books, gadgets, books, stuffed animals ... Not to mention the candy necklaces, chocolate bars of all kinds, here is something to make your children dream, and make you travel in time!
Also, do not miss the reading sessions scheduled for children every day at 11 a.m., 13 p.m. and 15 p.m.
Le giant piano on the ground is also worth the detour: do not hesitate to jump on it to play music! Entertainment is also offered around the latter, from Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m., and Sunday at 11 a.m.
The Lego Store, for DIY enthusiasts
If your kid enjoys construction games, take them to the Lego Store at 200 5th Avenue (near the Flatiron building), or Rockefeller Center, located at 620.
My favorite ? The one located in Rockefeller Center, where you can admire a miniature of the famous building, all in Lego!
You will find a wide choice of loose bricks in all colors, as well as many Lego figures representing Disney characters and others, such as Mickey, Ariel or even Homer Simpson.
Nintendo World, for all "geeks"
Also located in Rockefeller Plaza, Nintendo World brings together a bunch of stuffed animals, clothes, gadgets and of course Nintendo video games, spread over two floors.
You can also play Nintendo 3DS or Wii U and hang out… There is even a Pokémon Center !
Needless to say, this 1000 square meter store will entertain your children as well as yourself!
Build a Bear: Make a unique teddy bear
If your children are young, or if they just love cuddly toys, don't hesitate to go to Build a Bear, located at on 5th Avenue, at 350. They will be delighted!
Indeed, this store will allow them to choose a teddy bear, before customize themselves. Thus, they will be able to dress it, choose its accessories and even the sound that it will emit.
The perfect occasion for a birthday or Christmas present!
M & M's World, the must for foodies
M & M's World, I repeat, is a must-see, no matter how old your kids (or yours) are!
Discover new flavors (peanut butter, puffed rice, mint-chocolate and many others) and leave with a bag of Customized M & M's with your name or a small logo on it. Do not forget either your friends who remained in France, who could very well be jealous!
The Disney Store and its magic
You probably know the Disney Store. This is a real paradise for fans of characters like Mickey, Frozen, The Lion King or Aladdin.
Also, you will find gadgets of all kinds, such as disguises, soft toys, toys and other souvenirs.
Note that the store located in Times Square is often very popular. So prefer to go there early in the morning, in order to be able to move around more quietly.
Macy’s et sa parade de Thanksgiving
Finally, if you are in New York with your children during Thanksgiving, do not miss the very famous 4 km parade, which will end in front of the Macy's sign.
The latter attracts approximately 3 million viewers every year in the streets, and has many floats, balloons and brass bands. Enough to illuminate the eyes of your children!
The parade starts around 9 a.m. in Central Park. Also, if you want to see the start, I highly recommend getting there around 6am so you can get a good seat. However, you will be able to sleep a little longer if you only attend at the end, in front of Macy's.
Parks and playgrounds for children in New York
New York City has plenty of kids' play areas in every neighborhood. Also, here is a small selection of the most famous and enjoyable.
Central Park and its activities for children
In order to take a break between shopping or sightseeing, Central Park is the ideal place for everyone.
You can rest or have a picnic lying in the grass, while trying to take pictures of the squirrels circulating freely in the park.
Then, several activities are available to you. Indeed, you can rent rollerblades in summer, and go ice skating in winter. To do this, go to the Wollman Rink ice rink, located in the park.
Other activities are also available, such as cycling, climbing and even a boat trip!
You can also take your children to the zoo du parc, located at 830 5th Avenue. This will allow you to observe the 200 or so species that are found there, including sea lions. You can then rest for a few moments in the (open-air) zoo cafeteria. Count $ 7 per child and $ 12 per adult.
Don't miss the Victorian gardens, a small amusement park located on Wollman Rink, the Central Park ice rink. The latter offers several attractions for children, such as turnstiles or a small train.
Finally, go visit the statue ofAlice in Wonderland, located at the intersection of 5th Avenue and 74th Street.
Prospect Park, for its calm
After crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, why not enjoy a moment of calm at Prospect Park? The latter is the perfect place to have a picnic in the countryside.
Huge 35-hectare park where you can go horseback riding, the Prospect Park also has a lake with pedalos available. Enough to spend the afternoon there to change the city tours a bit!
Bleecker Street Playground, for foodies
Located in Manhattan, The Bleecker Street Playground is a play area open from morning to night without interruption, and offers many toys for children from 00 to 6 years old. It includes a large sandbox and several games.
Moreover, this playground is a good plan for gourmets… Why? It is located just in front of the famous Magnolia Bakery pastry, what take the opportunity to take a little pleasure break at the same time!
Pier 25 Play Area, for its view
On the banks of the Hudson River and open all day, the Pier 25 Play Area is also very popular with residents. Indeed, it offers a superb view of the famous One World Trade Center as well as on the skyline in general.
Also, it is perfectly suited to families with children of different age groups since it contains several play areas intended for young and old.
You will particularly appreciate the small course of 19 hole golf course, the climbing wall, the water activities offered in summer and the toilets available! Not insignificant when you take a break between two attractions. You can also buy drinks and snacks if you're feeling hungry.
Catering and gourmet break
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., for Forrest Gump fans
If you have kids over 12, you can go to any New York restaurant. However, if the latter are younger, consider the easy option: large restaurants or chains.
Indeed, the latter will often have a much shorter queue (or not at all), and generally have the necessary for booster seats for chairs or changing tables.
Also, Times Square's Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant is a fun option, especially if you and your kids have seen the movie. It will also allow you to enjoy the neighborhood at night, whose lights will shine brightly.
You will of course find seafood including the famous shrimps, burgers and others.
Don't forget to go through the restaurant shop, to take home your little Forrest Gump souvenir!
Alice's Tea Cup, Merveilles tea room
Whether you are an Alice in Wonderland fan or not, you will love to visit Alice's Tea Cup!
This superb little tea room is very cozy, and will transport you to the magical world of Alice for a snack break.
You can have breakfast, brunch or a snack at the three addresses. That said, going there for a snack is the point. Enjoy scones, sandwiches, lemon tarts or even cupcakes… My favorite? The carrot cake on several floors, for a tenfold pleasure.
Note that the brand is present at three different addresses, as follows:
- 102 West 73rd Street (Chapter 1)
- 156 East 64th Street (Chapter 2)
- 220 East 81st Street (Chapter 3)
Serendipity 3 and its delicious Frrrozen drinks
If Serendipity offers a wide selection of dishes including salads, pancakes, omelets or burgers, we go there especially for its " Frrrozen drinks" page (in French).
The latter, which have become in a way the emblem of the brand, are just as appetizing as they are tasty.
Make your way to 225 East 60th Street to try it out for yourself. Your kids will love it for sure, and so will you! My favorite ? The “Frrrozen Hot Chocolate”, classic but unmissable!
What means of transportation to take in New York with children?
In order to get from attraction to attraction, there are also buses circulating in the city, including the famous Bus Hop-on Hop-off, which will be offered for one or two day (s) when you purchase a New York Pass. The latter will allow you to benefit from a guided tour of the city, while going down and up when you want.
Then, to simply stroll or go to a restaurant, for example, you can take the subway, which serves New York City efficiently and quickly.
However, many tourist families prefer to travel by taxi in New York. Indeed, this option is practical and secure if you are going out with children. In addition, it will not be very expensive if there are several of you.
Accommodation: prefer apartment rentals
Finally, regarding accommodation, it is often difficult or expensive to book several hotel rooms when traveling with the family. And then, concerning the organization, it is still something else!
Also, I advise you to consult sites like Airbnb, Vrbo or Friendly Rentals, where you will find a wide choice ofapartments at prices often more interesting than hotels. These accommodations are mostly owned by individuals, with whom you can correspond before making your choice, and who could even give you some good advice.
Do not hesitate to consult the opinions that the accommodation in question may have obtained, which will give you a more precise overview and help you make your choice.
This is certainly the most practical and economical option knowing that it will allow you to all be in the same accommodation and to cook there.
You are now ready for new adventures, and I hope the whole family will enjoy them and come home with great memories! Have a nice trip !