The Best New York Family Hotels
As with restaurants, there are many, many great hotels in New York, depending on what part of town you prefer.
During the holidays, we really enjoy a break from the Midtown sidewalk crowds and head to the Upper East Side. We book The Carlyle or The Mark where we are close to Madison Avenue window shopping and Museum Mile.
In midtown, my kids love the St. Regis butler service. They quickly learn every door knock could be a tray of cookies, and we love the grandeur and architectural detail of the rooms.
For real space, you cant beat the Langham Place near Bryant Park with family suites that also offer kitchens and views of the Empire State Building.
Downtown has experienced a real Renaissance, so if you prefer easier access to SoHo, Chinatown, and Brooklyn, look at the new Four Seasons that has an indoor pool.
We love the city during the holiday seasons. to receive our upcoming holiday guide to London!
American Museum Of Natural History
Central Park West & 79th StNew York, NY 10024
This is one with scavenger hunts and the worlds largest collection of dinosaurs. Thats got to get the attention of your tots. Collect the Kids Guide and get ready for a fun-filled day.
Head to the Discovery Room where kids from 5-12 years get a behind-the-scenes look at scientific research and check out specimens and rare artifacts. Also, dont skip the Hayden Planetarium. Its one of the best in all of America.
Statue Of Liberty And Ellis Island
The city views from the boat ride and from Liberty Island are spectacular and standing close-up to the Statue of Liberty is a guaranteed thrill for everyone. For kids who are old enough the climb up the torch is an adventure to cherish. The same boats that go to Liberty Island continue to Ellis Island, a visit recommended for children old enough to appreciate the chance to walk in the footsteps of the millions who came to America from other lands. But be forewarned: Even advance tickets for the Statue of Liberty sell out months in advance, especially tours that include access to the Liberty torch . If you dont order tickets ahead, arrive very first thing in the morning or be prepared for long ticket lines and waits that can be hours for the timed departures.Boats leave regularly from 8:30am 5pm. Last boat back departs at 6:45pm.
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Getting Around Nyc With Kids
Use the subway.
Buy a Metrocard with $10 or $20 on it and download a subway map to your phone. The New York Subway MTA Map and Route Planner app has wheelchair symbols next to station names to indicate elevator access.
Take a lightweight umbrella stroller or a baby carrier if youre planning to use stations without elevators.
If you need to get a car somewhere, book one through Uber and request a car with a child seat. Taxis in New York City do not have or require children to be in car seats its not safe, dont do it!
Caz editors note
Where To Snag The Best New York Swag
There are several holiday markets throughout the city where families can browse and look at toys and Christmas crafts.
During really bad weather Grand Central offers one inside. My favorite is at Bryant Park because theres also an ice rink set up to enjoy before or after. Union Square in Columbus Circle both have outdoor holiday markets to, so depending on what neighborhood youre in a holiday market isnt far away.
The Fifth Avenue department stores create window displays for the holidays that draw crowds, but they are worth seeing. Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Lord and Taylor put out all the stops. Youll pass the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, too, as well as the holiday light display at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street.
When you are ready for something different, however, head straight to the closest Flying Tiger Copenhagen. These funky novelty stores from Europe with prices lower than IKEA is every childs shopping paradise. One is across from the Museum of Natural History.
Everything is inexpensive, and children can spend hours browsing and purchasing with a tab under $20. Or its the perfect place to fill your kids stockings if theyre not with you. Although the stores have been in Europe since the 90s, New York City and New Jersey are the only US locations.
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Consider Getting A Tourist Pass
Each New York City attraction discount pass includes a variety of fun family-friendly activities and attractions.
Here are just a few examples of locations you can visit either for free or at a discount with one of these tourist passes.
- Yankee Stadium Tour
- And More!
If you are planning on visiting more than one of these attractions, see our section below that details all the family-oriented attractions included New York City tourist pass.
Hop On The Staten Island Ferry
The Staten Island Ferry is entirely free for all travelers and it cruises right past Lady Liberty.
All you have to do is hop on the ferry and get a good seat to enjoy the view.
This is an especially good idea if youre looking for something fun to do at sunset, as the monument really shines as the sun goes down.
For more details about this opportunity, check our post about taking the Staten Island Ferry.
TIP: If you do have a bit of money to spend, you might also want to consider taking a professionally guided NYC boat tour or dinner cruise.
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The New Victory Theater
209 W 42nd StNew York, NY 10036 223-3010
This is a place of performing arts dedicated to entertaining kids. And its not for profit so youll be doing something good while having a great time. Its like an introductory class in theatre, dance and music for people of all ages.
The New Victory Theaters also has a touch of circuses, which is one of the best kids attractions in any city. You can also catch an autism-friendly show which comes with alerts before loud noises or low lighting.
Recommended Hotel Nearby:Bryant Park Hotel
National September 11 Memorial & Museum
While of heavy subject matter, the memorial and museum are a good history lesson for children and will help 9/11 seem more real. Keep in mind that this is a place of quiet and reflection. I personally think kids should be maybe 13+ to go to the museum. However, the memorial is appropriate for any age. Museum tickets do sell out quickly so I recommend buying your tickets in advance. You can purchase tickets here.
If you want to try something really interesting, you can book a tour with an actual first responder from 9/11 and hear first account stories of what it was like.
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The Museum Of Interesting Things: History Of Invention
The The Museum of Interesting Things is a traveling exhibit that presents artifacts and exhibits related to the history of invention. The exhibits and demonstrations feature many antiques and interesting items from the past. Items that can be included in the exhibition range from toys, cameras, and music devices to science and medical devices and nearly everything in between.
The traveling show is a self-proclaimed speakeasy and can be scheduled for private events and parties or can be found at 177 Prince Street once a month. The museums offices at 60 East 8th street can also be visited by appointment and here visitors can see special items that are not presented in the traveling show. Phone: 212-274-8757)
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Go To Grand Central Terminal
If youre looking for another fun and historic location to see, Grand Central Terminal is entirely free to visit and theres plenty to see and do here.
Grand Central Terminal is open after dark, so you might want to consider this as a nighttime activity and the food court has a lot of great options.
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Take A Sightseeing Tour
If youre interested in learning about New York City or seeing some historic sites, there are several types of tours you can take.
Our tours were recommended by Red Tricycle as one of the best tours for families in New York City!.
Alternatively, if you want to see as much as possible in a short amount of time, you might want to consider taking a hop-on, hop-off bus tour.
In addition to providing useful information and commentary about NYC, these tours also allow you to jump off and explore popular locations.
There are also boat tours that will give you a great view of the city skyline and landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty.
One boat cruise of note is the Beast a speedboat thrill ride that kids will love.
Finally, if your children are interested in hearing some spooky tales, you can also take a ghost tour that covers a lot of the creepy history behind New York City.
If You Recovered From Covid
If you recovered from a documented COVID-19 infection within the past 90 days , you do NOT need to get a test 3-5 days after travel. People can continue to test positive for up to 90 days after diagnosis and not be infectious to others. You also do not need to self-quarantine after travel. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms after travel, isolate and consult with a healthcare provider for testing recommendations.
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Go Ice Skating At Rockefeller Center
One of the most traditional things you can do in the winter in NYC is to go ice skating at The Rink at Rockefeller Center.
Open during the fall and winter months, locals and tourists alike cant pass up the charming opportunity to do a bit of skating in the big city. With the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in the background and lights decorating all around, you will be creating lasting family memories at this spot.
Of course, you arent expected to carry around your own skates through the streets of New York , so you can rent them on site for a small fee.
Visit The Statue Of Liberty
A trip to the Statue of Liberty is a fun activity for all ages.
Be sure to read our post about visiting the Statue of Liberty, which is full of tips on planning your visit.
Pedestal access is included with some family-friendly Statue of Liberty tours, making it easier to enjoy the trip to Liberty Island and learn a lot about the history of this landmark.
There is also a museum on Liberty Island which houses a lot of interesting artifacts including the original torch.
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Where To Stay In Nyc With Kids
I prefer to stay in a sublet so we have a kitchen and separate bedrooms.
If you want to stay around the middle of Manhattan in a hotel, the Homewood Suites by Hilton New York Midtown Manhattan Times Square-South is a bit bigger than most hotels and has a kitchen!
Times Square is where lots of travelers like to stay because its walking distance to Central Park and 5th avenue, but its also extremely busy and full of people, day and night.
For a quieter stay, Id suggest Chelsea, Tribeca, Brooklyn, the Financial District or the Upper East or Upper West Sides.
For more information on where to stay in New York with kids, check our partner Booking.com. Choose from the largest range of accommodation with free cancellation on most rooms, and in most cases you only pay when you stay.
New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Blvd
Corona, NY 11368 592-9700
If your kid cannot get enough of Legos then this place will make them giddy with joy. For starters, there is a scaled model of the five boroughs of NYC called The Panorama of the City of New York.
It was made in 1964 for the Worlds Fair that year and has been updated over time. The whole family can also attend workshops that will awaken the artist in all of you.
Recommended Hotel Nearby:Elmhurst Hotel
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Age : Enjoy Family Time Under The Stars With A Camping Adventure
Sitting around the campfire, smores, starry nightscamping in New York State will be remembered fondly for years to come by the whole family. Whether you prefer being surrounded by the impressive high peaks of the Adirondacks, fancy a deep-woods escape at Allegany State Park or lakeside fun in the Catskills, are looking to rough it, or want to rent a fully outfitted cabin, youll find something you love in New York State. Visit the Department of Environmental Conservation website to book campsites and rentals in State Parks. For those feeling a little fancier, glamping sites like Firelight Camps in the Finger Lakes and Collective Hudson Valley offer a nature experience that doesnt sacrifice luxury.
Age 1: Go City Slicking
While New York City is on many a bucket listand for good reason!Upstate New Yorks cities pack in plenty of big city fun on a more manageable scale. Buffalo, aka the Queen City, offers hip neighborhoods to explore, unique shops, a thriving art and food scene, as well as plenty of outdoor recreation at Canalside and Harborfront thanks to its location on Lake Erie. The birthplace of the ubiquitous Buffalo wing, it comes as no surprise that the city boasts a Buffalo Wing Trail. Rochester has an equally cool vibe that even the most over-it teen will appreciate. The George Eastman Museum will gain the appreciation of Insta-enthusiasts and one is never too old to visit the Strong Museum of Play. Beloved local hot spot Funk n Waffles pairs two things that are universally awesome: live music and delicious waffles that can be ordered with sweet or savory toppings. Sports fans will find a lot to love in Syracuse, so impress your teen with courtside tickets to see the Syracuse Orange play at the Carrier Dome. Destiny USA is much more than your average shopping mall with bowling, laser tag, go karts, and more on offer.
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Intrepid Sea Air And Space Museum
Allow several hours as theres a lot to seeexploring the historic aircraft carrier itself, nearly 30 vintage planes on the flight deck, a guided missile submarine, and the space shuttle Enterprise. The Exploreum on the hangar level is full of interactive fun for kids like climbing into a helicopter and steering the wings of a plane. Save time, skip lines, and buy tickets online in advance. But be forewarned: many enticing exhibits, guided tours, and the space shuttle pavilion require extra fees. However, there is plenty to do without the extras. The Intrepid is best suited to older children who can appreciate the history. There is lots of walking, much of it outdoors, so sunscreen and hats are advisable. The best way to get here is the #50 crosstown bus headed west, which brings you right to the door.Spring/Summer Hours: Monday Friday: 10:00am 5:00pm. Saturday, Sunday & Holidays 10:00am 6:00pm. Fall/Winter Hours: Daily 10:00 am 5:00pm.
Visit The Empire State Building
Located on the famed Fifth Avenue, one of the most iconic buildings in the world and a focal point of the Manhattan skyline is the Empire State Building.
The 102-story skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan welcomes about 4 million visitors per year to its observation decks on its 86th and 102nd floors.
Visitors can shoot up to the top floors and take in some self-guided audio tours along the way. With exhibitions highlighting the construction history, the buildings appearances in media, and even King Kongs hands coming through the wall, there is plenty to see and do before even reaching the top.
As long as your little ones arent too afraid of heights, this will be a fun tour and a great way to see NYC from above.
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Dos & Donts For Families In New York
DONT underestimate the journey. NYC gives everyone an adrenaline boost, but the early rise, seven-hour flight and five-hour time difference will destroy the entire family in the evenings. Plan and pace yourselves accordingly.
DO get a Metro Card. You can top up as you go, with a family using the same card , or seven-day unlimited ride cards cost $36/29.
DONT forget comfy shoes. You will walk like a demon in New York a change of footwear feels like stepping into clouds.
DO brace yourselves for a financial hit. You may bag a cheap package, but theres no saving money in this city. High food prices, 15-20pc tips and a 9pc sales tax are just the start.
DONT forget to let your bank know your travel plans. You dont want credit or debit cards blocked when you use them overseas.
DO wear layers. In winter, Manhattan can be Baltic. Once you step into a store or restaurant, however, air-con ratchets up the temperatures. Be prepared to switch between the two.
DONT forget to watch movies, before you go and after you get back. Elf, Home Alone 2, Night at the Museum, Spiderman after visiting New York with kids, its ridiculously exciting to see places youve actually been.
DO shop smart. Macys gives a 10pc discount on production of an overseas passport, and an extra bag/case is handy to bring stuff home .