Traveling to New York with Kids: Five Tips

New York City has known many faces over the years, often simultaneously. Yet, unlike large amusement parks in Florida, New York is hardly seen as a “kid-centric” locale for a family trip. That doesn’t mean you need to put off seeing the Big Apple for retirement, however. In fact, New York boasts many amazing spots that are fantastic for kids and the parents who love them. Here are five great ideas for sightseeing and activities that will make your New York trip fun for the whole family.

#1 Visit Central Park

From the famous Strawberry Fields to the wide open spaces and room to run, “The Park,” as it is known to locals, offers kid-specific activities all year long. In the warmer months simply having a picnic and letting off steam is a great start. Then head to the Tisch Children’s Zoo, at 5th Avenue and West 64th Street, just north of the Central Park Zoo. In the winter, don’t forget that famous Wollman Rink, also located near the Zoo on the east side of the Park, that offers skating for all ages, classes and rentals from November to March.

#2 Museums

Wait, what? Kids and museums don’t go together unless some kind of boring school trip is involved, right? Wrong. Two of New York’s most famous museums, the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art offer kid-specific activities, tours and hands-on learning, I mean PLAY. Even if you are not into a formal program, buying postcards or guidebooks of pieces that you want to see and staging a “scavenger hunt” of sorts will keep them entertained while you enjoy the art.

#3 Get a Good “View”

There are several great places to “see” New York in its entirety and many kids will jump at the chance to make such a large city seem more manageable from above. The Top of the Rock Observation Deck at Rockefeller Center is a great choice with cheaper entrance fees and shorter lines than the Empire State Building. As a bonus, older kids will love taking the NBC Studios tour that will bring them to the sets of Nightly News and Saturday Night Live, among others.

#4 Eat!!

If New York is known for nothing else, it is known for its food, just check out any special on the Food Network for proof. The City offers dining options from five star delicacies to some of the best coffee you will ever get out of the back of a truck. There is literally something for every palate (picky or sophisticated) and often all in one place. For a special treat for the PB&J crowd, consider Peanut Butter & Co. located on Sullivan Street in Greenwich Village. The entire restaurant is dedicated to peanut butter and serves everything from ants on a log to peanut butter blended with ingredients like chocolate and cinnamon (you can purchase jars to take home as well).

#5 Toys, Toys, Toys

It does not need to be Christmas to enjoy the spirit of fun in New York. FAO Schwartz has been delighting kids and adults alike since 1862. Located right on 5th Avenue, the shopping capital of New York, FAO Schwartz offers more toys than any kid is likely to see in six stores back home. Their famous Grand Hall is decorated with more than 20,000 colored lights, a dance-on piano and is home to their candy store, FAO Schweetz. No kid-friendly trip to New York is complete without a visit to this landmark that will literally take your breath away whether you are 2 or 102 – just bring your wallet.

As you can see, being a tourist in New York with kids can be just as fun and diverse as one without. Kids love fun and frivolities, something that New York has in great supply. Arm yourself with a few great ideas, a light heart and a good pair of walking shoes and your trip to New York with your kids will be just as dynamic and exciting as one offered by a mouse.

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