Things to Do in NYC With Kids: The Ultimate Vacation Guide for Families

Whether you live in New York or are visiting with your family, this episode of Go With Nugget for Parents gives you the local scoop on all the fun things to do in NYC with kids. Or at least, the best things to do that we want you to know about! This city is so diverse it’s impossible to cover all its family-friendly activities in one interview. Read on and listen to the podcast to discover the favorite picks from two local mom-explorers: our host Ranjana Armstrong and Beth Beckman, the parent behind Little Kid, Big City and the curator and co-founder of @FOMOfeed and @FOMOfeedkids

81 min
Loading the player...

WHERE TO LISTEN

Subscribe to our travel podcast in your favorite podcast app. The best part, it’s completely free!

NYC WITH KIDS: WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER IT

We might be biased (after all, Nugget is based in New York), but we think there is no place in the world like New York City and every family should visit at least once. No matter your family’s interests, you will find an abundance of things to do that you and your kids will enjoy. And, many of these activities are free. So even though lodging in New York can be expensive (both for residents and visitors!), with a little planning, your day-to-day expenses don’t have to break the bank. New York is also a very walkable city, with something new to discover around every corner.

Things to do in NYC with Kids_Manhattan skyline

The New York skyline will never stop to impress. Photo: Ranjana Armstrong

KIDS WILL LOVE

Awe-inspiring buildings, phenomenal playgrounds, plethora of transit modes and kid-focused activities 

PARENTS WILL LOVE

World-class museums, stunning architecture, terrific people-watching, delicious food

Things to do in NYC with Kids: Mini Golf

Take a sightseeing break for a round of mini golf at Pier 25 Mini Golf. Photo: Beth Beckman

Things to do in NYC with kids: Walking in Park Slope Brooklyn

Walk down the historic streets of Park Slope.
Photo:
Beth Beckman

WHERE TO STAY IN NYC WITH KIDS

Midtown Manhattan might be where most major hotel chains are located, but we believe there are better places to stay with kids. The Upper West Side (UWS) makes a terrific home base. It’s much greener and calmer, but you still have plenty of food options, including grocery stores. Instead of fighting the crowds first thing in the morning, you can grab a coffee, walk through Central Park, and then jump on the subway for your day of adventure. If you are close to one of the express subway lines, you can be anywhere in the city in 15-30 minutes. 

Tribeca is another good place to stay with family when visiting New York. You don’t have Central Park, but there are still green spaces and playgrounds to choose from along the waterfront. Overall, this neighborhood will delight parents with amazing coffee shops, boutique stores and charming cobbled streets, while kids will enjoy some sweet treats from some of NYC’s best bakeries. Further downtown, the Conrad Hotel in Battery City is one of Beth’s favorites. And it’s right by Rockefeller Park, where your kids will find some of the best playgrounds in Manhattan. 

If you want to stay in Midtown, consider a hotel near Bryant Park. Your kids will love riding on the carousel and exploring the NY Public Library’s kids section. In the summer, enjoy a game of mini golf, and in winter you’ll find NY’s only free ice-skating rink. There is also a Whole Foods for any grocery needs and a number of bakeries and coffee stores close by.

BEST TIME TO GO

We think spring and early fall are the best times to visit New York with kids. Temperatures are mild, humidity is low and there are fewer crowds. If your family can handle the heat and humidity, July and August are also good months as free activities for families can be found all over town, from free concerts to movie screenings. Or, how about a picnic in the park as you listen to the Metropolitan Opera? Summer months also bring to life the fun water features at New York’s playgrounds. Your kids will love splashing around and running through fountains and sprinklers. Also, many New Yorkers leave the city during this time of year, so finding a vacation rental might be easier. And while Christmas in the Big Apple has a certain appeal, the crowds (especially in Midtown Manhattan) can be maddening. We wouldn’t recommend it with younger kids. 

Things to do in NYC with kids: Cherry blossoms in Central Park

The cherry blossoms in Central Park rival those in Washington, D.C. Photo: Beth Beckman

For a special cultural treat, try to visit at the beginning of the Chinese New Year and join the festivities in Lower Manhattan’s Chinatown. Your kids will love the dragon dancers and the confetti cannons that turn the streets into a sea of bright colors. Just be mindful of the noise that comes with the celebration. This is not an experience for children with sensory sensitivity. It’s very loud.

Things to do in NYC with kids: Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is loud and colorful.
Photo: Ranjana Armstrong

Things to do in NYC with Kids: Dragon dancers

Dragon dancers making their way through the narrow side streets. Photo: Ranjana Armstrong

Things to do in NYC with Kids: Confetti in the streets of China Town

Your kids will love shooting confetti cannons.
Photo: Ranjana Armstrong

What to do in NYC with Kids: Getting up close with dancers

Kids can get up close with the celebration.
Photo: Ranjana Armstrong

Another fun thing to do with kids in NYC that they will surely remember forever is visiting during Halloween. The Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope hosts what many believe is the largest children’s Halloween parade in the U.S. Trick-or-treating amongst the historic brownstones has its own charm that parents and kids will enjoy alike.

Last but not least, Thanksgiving is also a good time to visit. Beth recommends you skip the parade and instead watch the inflation of the balloons the night before. It’s less crowded and watching the giant balloons come to life is magical. 

Things to do in NYC with Kids: Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation

Get up close with the balloons during the inflation celebration.
Photo: Beth Beckman.

Things to do in NYC with Kids: Balloon Inflation for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Enjoy some of your kids’ favorite characters.
Photo: Beth Beckman.

THINGS TO DO IN NYC WITH KIDS: STATUE OF LIBERTY

Things to do in NYC with kids: Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is a must-see attraction in New York. Photo: Ranjana Armstrong

One of the most iconic sights in New York for kids is the Statue of Liberty. Depending on your schedule and budget, there are different options to experience this must-see sight. For families who want the full experience, Beth suggests taking the ferry to the island. If you want to visit the crown, you will have to buy tickets in advance (up to 6 months). Tickets are available year-round, so check early! If you want to see the statue but don’t need to get up right close, the cheapest (free) way to do so is via the Staten Island ferry. The ferry leaves from downtown Manhattan and the ride is free. In Staten Island, you have to get off the boat, but after a short walk through the terminal you can board the next ferry back to Manhattan. You can also see the Statue of Liberty and much more of Manhattan from the Circle Line Cruises — they often have special family cruises with entertainment for kids onboard. Another fun way to see the statue is from Governors Island.

Things to do in NYC with Kids: Museum at the Statue of Liberty

Kids will enjoy the newly renovated museum, which is included in your ferry ticket. Photo: Beth Beckman

Things to do in NYC with kids: Museum at the Statue of Liberty

Climbing on some of the installations will be a highlight. Photo: Beth Beckman

THINGS TO DO IN NYC WITH KIDS: GOVERNORS ISLAND

Things to do in NYC with Kids: Governors Island

Capture scenic views of downtown New York from The Hills at Governors Island. Photo: Ranjana Armstrong

One of our favorite weekend activities as New Yorkers with kids is visiting Governors Island. Located in the harbor of New York, this former marine station is now home to tons of activities for families, including a unique adventure playground for kids to build their own wooden structures, a farm, and lots of incredible views of the New York skyline and the Statue of Liberty. We think it is one of the best parks in NYC, and it’s just a short ferry ride from downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn. So, if you are looking for a day of downtime and a unique thing to do with kids in New York, spend at least half a day on Governors Island. You’ll be able to rent bikes or even a surrey for the whole family!

GOOD TO KNOW

On Saturdays, the ferry to Governors Island is free before 12 pm! 

Things to do in NYC with Kids: Growing vegetables on Governors Island
Things to do in NYC with Kids: Seeing how food grows
Things to do in NYC with kids: learning about composting
Things to do in NYC with Kids: Feeding baby goats

At the farm on Governors Island, kids can learn about composting, growing crops, and can even pet baby goats!
Photo: Ranjana Armstrong

THINGS TO DO IN NYC WITH KIDS: FERRY RIDES

Things to do in NYC with Kids: Ferry Ride

Kids will love riding the ferry. Photo: Beth Beckman

Things to do in NYC with kids: Manhattan skyline from ferry

Enjoy stunning views from the water. Photo: Beth Beckman

New York is surrounded by water and taking a ferry ride is a unique way to experience the Manhattan skyline that your entire family will appreciate. Beth recommends you take the East River ferry, which lets you ride the entire East River for the price of a subway ticket. You will get to ride underneath the Brooklyn Bridge and see all of New York’s most famous buildings. And your kids will love spotting police boats, helicopters and Jet Skis in the water. 

It’s important to see the city from the water to grasp how vast it is.

BETH BECKMAN

Plus, be on the lookout for some of New York’s finest playgrounds along the water. Beth highly recommends a stop at Domino Park, which boasts a playground inspired by the sugar silos that used to flank the East River. There’s also a fun splash pad to cool off in the summer months and an outdoor restaurant, Tacocina, serving tacos for a quick and delicious bite. Another family-friendly stop along the ferry route is Brooklyn Bridge Park

THINGS TO DO IN NYC WITH KIDS: BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK

Brooklyn Bridge Park is another family-friendly park in NYC your kids will love. Wrapped along the Brooklyn waterfront, this sprawling park offers stunning skyline views and enough activities to spend an entire day. Little kids will love to ride Jane’s Carousel or burn off their energy on one of the many playgrounds. Our favorite is the playground at Pier 6, one of the best in Brooklyn. Your kids will ride wooden trains and swoosh down giant slides through bamboo forests. In summer, this playground has also one of the best splash pads in New York with a natural river, a mini-pool and lots of spray features. Older kids may want to try bouldering or roller skating. Parents will love the abundance of photo opportunities. And everyone will love Ample Hill Ice Cream, which can be found in two locations in the park. We suggest you pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a leisurely half-day exploring the park. 

Things to do in NYC with Kids: Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge

Combine your park visit with a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. Photo: Beth Beckman

Things to do in NYC with Kids: Enjoying pizza in Dumbo

Enjoy stunning views from the water. Photo: Beth Beckman

THINGS TO DO IN NYC WITH KIDS: CENTRAL PARK

Things to do in NYC with Kids: Central Park Bow Bridge

Watch the rowboats from the Bow Bridge in Central Park. Photo: Beth Beckman

Things to do in NYC with Kids: Walking paths through the woods in Central Park

Escape into nature in Central Park’s northern woods.
Photo: Ranjana Armstrong

Central Park is one of the best free things to do in NYC with kids. Loved by locals and tourists alike, it offers a welcome break from the noise of the city, although the lower part of the park can feel crowded at times, too. Beth has some great tips on how to explore Central Park that include the carousel, Victorian gardens (during the summer) and the boathouse rowboats. Central Park is also home to some of the best playgrounds in Manhattan. Beth’s all-time favorite is the Heckscher Playground. About halfway up the park is the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, a hidden gem perfect for younger kids. For a delightful experience in the heart of Central Park, check their schedule to see what is playing. If your family is seeking total seclusion, head to the northern woods and stroll along dirt paths in search for chipmunks, waterfalls and a secret fort with views over northern Manhattan. The conservatory gardens are also less visited and their flowers provide beautiful photo opportunities in spring and summer.

THINGS TO DO IN NYC WITH KIDS: TIMES SQUARE

Things to do in NYC with Kids: Times Square TKTS Steps

Have a seat and enjoy the scene. Photo: Ranjana Armstrong

While most New Yorkers will try their best to avoid Times Square, if you are visiting the city for the first time you should definitely stop here once. Beth’s favorite time to visit is early morning, before the crowds arrive. She suggests getting a bagel and coffee and sitting on the TKTS steps, soaking in the lights and displays. And if you’d like to go and see a Broadway show, you can get discounted same-day tickets to some of the best shows for families here. If you’re new to the theatre and think that NYC would be a great place to pique your kid’s curiosity, then head over to the New Victory Theatre for world-class theatre productions designed just for kids. The shows are interactive and captivating — they even have sensory-friendly performances.

The New Victory programming is the best way to introduce children to the theatre.

BETH BECKMAN

Another great stop in Times Square is the National Geographic Encounter, a must-see for kids 5 and up, as you’re immersed in a digital underwater world and taken on a tour of the deep sea. Kids will love finding their way through the mirrored kelp forest and the 3-D whale encounter

Things to do in NYC with Kids: National Geographic Encounter

Join the immersive experience at the National Geographic Encounter. Photo: Beth Beckman

Things to do in NYC with kids: National Geographic Encounter

Kids will love the realistic underwater sea life.
Photo: Beth Beckman

MORE THINGS TO DO IN NYC WITH KIDS

Check out Beth’s hometown guide to New York.

THINGS TO DO IN NYC WITH KIDS: CLIMB A SKYSCRAPER

Things to do in NYC with Kids: View from Rockerfeller Center

Seeing New York from atop a skyscraper is a must for any visiting family. Photo: Beth Beckman

To appreciate New York’s urban concrete jungle, you have to look at it from atop. Thankfully, there are a lot of different options to see the city from above. Our favorite is Top of the Rock, which offers stunning views of the Empire State Building and Central Park. It also has indoor and outdoor viewing platforms, with the latter offering uninterrupted photo opportunities. Alternatively, the observation platform at One World also offers a unique vantage point over lower Manhattan and the New York harbor. On a clear day, you can even see the ocean! Your kids will also love the elevator ride, which takes you through a visual history of how Manhattan’s building system evolved since its founding days. Beth also recommends the newly renovated observation platform at the Empire State Building. In addition to marveling at the breathtaking views, your family can immerse themselves in the history of this iconic building and come face-to-face with King Kong! Get your cameras ready. 

GOOD TO KNOW

Buy tickets in advance for a dedicated viewing time and skip the queue.

Things to do in NYC with Kids: One World Trade Observatory

Get a bird’s-eye view from the new observation platform at the Empire State Building. Photo: Beth Beckman

THINGS TO DO IN NYC WITH KIDS: MUSEUMS

There’s probably enough museums in NYC to visit a new one every day of the year. Here is a list of our favorites. We don’t suggest you try and see them all on your first family trip to New York. Instead, pick a couple that resonate with your family‘s interests and the ages of your kids.

AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, UPPER WEST SIDE

Things to do in NYC with Kids: Dinosaur hall at American Museum of Natural History

The dinosaur halls are world-famous. Photo: Ranjana Armstrong

If your kids love dinosaurs, the American Museum of Natural History is a must-do. If they love animals, it’s also highly recommended. Space? Check! This museum truly offers something for everyone. But because of that, it can also get very busy on weekends and over the holidays. If you can visit in the morning on a weekday, you’ll have a much more pleasant experience. 

Admission is pay as you wish for the permanent exhibits, but only if you buy the tickets at the museum. If you buy tickets online or want add-on tickets for special exhibits, you will need to pay the full ticket price.

THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART (THE MET), UPPER EAST SIDE

Things to do in NYC with Kids: Met Rooftop

The roof terrace at the MET offers unique views of Midtown and Central Park. Photo: Beth Beckman

As one of the world’s most amazing museums with artifacts and works of art from all the great masters, the MET is also a wonderful museum to visit with kids, especially for those who are fascinated by mummies and ancient artifacts. They have a wonderful family program, with different free activities that the kids can enjoy while learning about the art and history of the museum.

GOOD TO KNOW

Similar to the American Museum of Natural History, the MET offers a pay as you wish option for its entrance tickets.

WHITNEY MUSEUM, GREENWICH VILLAGE

Things to do in NYC with Kids: The Whitney

Art-loving families will not want to miss the Whitney.
Photo: Ranjana Armstrong

Things to do in NYC with Kids: The Whitney Museum View

Enjoy the views from the museum’s outdoor terraces.
Photo: Ranjana Armstrong

With a new location in Greenwich Village, the Whitney is one of our favorite museums, featuring modern art and installations. They have a fantastic kids program on the weekends, and from there, you can quickly make your way to Pier 51, one of the great playgrounds of Hudson River Park, along the Hudson River. After a visit to the Whitney, you can walk along the High Line, where kids will enjoy having an overhead view of NYC bustling down below and explore the interactive and musical installations along the way. 

Things to do in NYC with Kids: Children's Program at the Whitney

Art instructors at the museum teach hands-on activities.
Photo: Ranjana Armstrong

Things to do in NYC with Kids: Aspiring Artists at The Whitney

How about bringing home your own art as a souvenir?
Photo: Ranjana Armstrong

NEW YORK TRANSIT MUSEUM, BROOKLYN

Things to do in NYC with Kids: NY Transit Museum

Beep, beep; next stop, Brooklyn Bridge! Photo: Ranjana Armstrong

The New York City Transit Museum in Brooklyn is one of our favorites and is a quick and easy visit. It’s a great thing to combine with a visit to Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Children will love exploring the old subway cars and taking a ride on a MTA city bus. It shows the history of the NY transit system and even shows the old turnstiles, a highlight for parents to see how artful they once were.

BROOKLYN CHILDREN'S MUSEUM, BROOKLYN

This was the first children’s museum, originally established in 1899, it has since grown and evolved into an interactive space curated for cultural, artistic and scientific experiences for children. With a NY “street” that features vendors and grocery stores and an amazing water lab where kids can immerse themselves in water play, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum is a great spot to visit for a few hours, especially on a rainy day. Beth recommends it for children 8 and under. 

CHILDREN'S MUSEUM OF THE ARTS (CMA), TRIBECA

Things to do in NYC with Kids: CMA workshop

Getting creative during a clay workshop.
Photo:  
Children’s Museum of the Arts

Things to do in NYC with kids: Children's Museum of Art

Peeking through a light hole at the Rico Gaston exhibit. Photo: The Sprouting Image

For the aspiring artists, the CMA is a wonderful museum and studio, where kids can do hands-on art projects with an open art space or themed classes that you can join. Kids will love getting into the materials, while parents can comfortably enjoy seeing their kids’ creations while sipping a great coffee from a local coffee shop, such as one of our favorites, the Laughing Man Coffee & Tea

GOOD TO KNOW

CMA offers pay as you wish admission on Thursday afternoons.

INTREPID, CHELSEA

Things to do in NYC with Kids: The Intrepit

Explore the flight deck at the Intrepid. Photo: Ranjana Armstrong

We love the Intrepid. It’s great for kids 3 and up and adults will love exploring the aircraft carrier. It’s a must-see for any visitor to New York and can easily be explored in a few hours. The top deck has dozens of old airplanes and helicopters, not to mention fighter jets as well! They also have a submarine that you can walk through — kids will love climbing through the portholes and exploring the sleeping cabins. Kids can test out an old helicopter and even go into a flight simulator, much to the delight of many parents and airplane-obsessed kids.

Things to do in NYC with Kids: The Intrepid captain's chair

Ahoy, captain! Photo: Ranjana Armstrong

Things to do in NYC with kids: Kids area of the Intrepid Museum

Learn about aviation in the dedicated kids area.
Photo: Ranjana Armstrong

Things to do in NYC with kids: Exploring The Intrepid

The interior is full of hands-on activities.
Photo: Ranjana Armstrong

Things to do in NYC with Kids: Inside a real helicopter

Kids will love the helicopter. Photo: Ranjana Armstrong

GOOD TO KNOW

If you have a museum membership to a museum that’s part of the ASTC Travel Passport program, you’ll get free general admission to the Intrepid. For New York parents, this is, for example, the case if you have a membership to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum!

THINGS TO DO IN NYC WITH KIDS: BEST PLAYGROUNDS IN NYC

We believe the key to a successful city vacation with kids is giving them enough time to play between all the sightseeing. Thankfully, New York has incredible playgrounds close to almost all major attractions. So, reward your kids with a special playground visit and enjoy mingling with local families. Here are Beth’s and Ranjana’s favorite playgrounds in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

CENTRAL PARK PLAYGROUNDS

One of Beth’s favorite playgrounds in Manhattan is Heckscher Playground in Central Park. With loads of space to run and play, along with climbing structures, swings, slides and a great view of the ever-changing skyline along Central Park South. A bit further up the park, along the Upper West Side, you’ll find the accessible Toll Family Playground near the American Museum of Natural History and the Wild West Playground. Both have recently been renovated and have amazing splash pads to keep kids cool on warmer days. On the Upper East Side you’ll find the Ancient Playground, which is a great spot to stop after a visit to the MET. Check out this handy map of all the Central Park playgrounds

BEST PLAYGROUNDS IN MANHATTAN

Things to do in NYC with kids: Tom Otterness Playground

A playground designed by Tom Otterness can be found near the Silver Towers on W42nd street in Hell’s Kitchen. Photo: Beth Beckman

But, there are a lot more playgrounds outside of Central Park that are also worth a stop. One of the best playgrounds in Manhattan is in Rockefeller Park, near Battery Park City and the One World Observatory. Right around the corner, hidden amongst apartment buildings, you’ll also find a locals-in-the-know playground called Teardrop Park, which has one of the best water features in Manhattan and a giant slide for all adventure-seeking nuggets. The best playground in Manhattan for people-watching is Bleecker Playground in the West Village. And Magnolia Bakery is just around the corner, as are a number of delicious coffee shops. So, grab a sweet treat for you and the kids, and sip your latte while your kids make some local friends. 

BEST PLAYGROUNDS IN BROOKLYN

Things to do in NYC with Kids: Fun on the slides at Domino Park

The slides at Domino Park are best for kids who can safely climb on their own. Photo: Ranjana Armstrong

Brooklyn also has no shortage in incredible playgrounds. Beth highly recommends the playground at Domino Park in Williamsburg. The park is also home to a very popular splash pad.

Domino Park is such a great destination for just the perfect afternoon with the family.

BETH BECKMAN

Maybe the best water feature in Brooklyn is at the playground at Pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park, which is also home to a wooden train and giant slides built into a bamboo forest. On the other end of Brooklyn Bridge Park, in Dumbo, there is also Mainstreet Playground, with a giant ship for little ones to explore.

THINGS TO DO IN NYC WITH KIDS: KID-FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS IN NYC

New York has no shortage of restaurants, many of which are surprisingly kid-friendly. For something even more memorable, here is a list of restaurants that Beth recommends and also come with a kid-approved entertainment factor.

NINJA NEW YORK, TRIBECA

Beth’s 7-year-old’s favorite restaurant is Ninja New York — it is a dining experience like nothing else! Magicians will come to your table and ninjas will pop out of the ceiling and surprise you. Luckily, you can tell them what level of “surprise” you’re comfortable with.

PANNA II GARDEN, EAST VILLAGE

Panna II Garden is a tiny Indian restaurant in the East Village that is entirely decorated in twinkle lights in all shapes and forms. It’s a blinking, twinkling feast for the eyes. As it is a small space, keep your group small and make sure that younger kids are comfortable being squished in with other diners. It’s a cheap and cheerful meal for the whole family. Note that it’s cash only.

GOOD TO KNOW

There are four similar-looking restaurants right next to each other. Panna II is the one at the top right. Don’t let the guys from the other three lookalikes whisk you inside the wrong restaurant.

ELLEN'S STARDUST DINER, TIMES SQUARE

If you’re in Times Square and want to enjoy a true NYC diner, then Ellen’s Stardust Diner is an experience your family will never forget. It has lots of space, comfortable booths and all the waitstaff are aspiring Broadway actors. They will belt out show tunes and serenade you over your soup. 

FOR THE FOODIES

If you have set your eyes on one of the fancier restaurants in town but are unsure about bringing your kids, here are a few tips from our local experts. For popular places, lunch is always a good option with kids, because you are more likely to score a table and less likely to ruin someone’s date night. If you decide on dinner, try to go early, before 6 pm, and let them know when you book that you have a child (also, let them know if you need a high chair in advance). 

If you have time to plan ahead, check out our friends at Nibble and Squeak, a dining club that organizes amazing dining events for families at top restaurants in NYC and beyond. You’ll get to eat Michelin-star food with your child happily enjoying the company of other kids and you not feeling any worry or guilt! Bon appétit!

NUGGET’S ADVICE FOR TRAVELING TO NYC WITH KIDS

New York is an incredible city to visit, to help make your experience as enjoyable as possible there are a few things you should keep in mind.

TIP 1

travel light

If your kids are still little, it’s easy to turn your stroller into a minivan that carries your entire household. Most subway stations do not have elevators and you will need to carry your stroller up and down (many) stairs. If you want to use the bus, you’ll need to fold your stroller. So, pack only the essentials and keep things contained (try and avoid lots of things dangling off your stroller). 

TIP 2

pack spare clothes

It’s a slight contradiction to traveling light, but if you are visiting in the summer your kids will want to try the amazing water features NYC playgrounds offer. So don’t be Captain Buzzkill, and bring a set of dry clothes so that they can enjoy themselves. While they splash in the water, you can post your favorite pictures on Instagram and enjoy that latte that you desperately need. 

TIP 3

plan ahead

Many museums and attractions have specific days or times with free admission. Pick your must-visit institutions ahead of your trip and plan your days accordingly. Also, make sure you always arrive well ahead of the time the free admission starts, to be at the front of the line. At least 30 minutes, if not earlier.

TIP 4

prioritize sights

It’s impossible to see all NYC has to offer in one visit. Don’t even try. Pick one major sight or activity for each day, maybe two, but then leave time for surprises and for your kids to play.

TIP 5

plan for downtime

New York can be overwhelming for kids (and adults) — so many people, sounds, sights and smells. Be mindful of sensory overload and plan for time away from the crowds. There is a surprising number of green spaces and playgrounds around the city. Look them up in advance and allow yourself time to enjoy them.

TIP 6

wear comfortable shoes

This may come as a surprise, but New York is a very walkable city. And it’s a lot of fun to explore on foot, as you always see something new. So make sure everyone in your family wears comfortable shoes, so there are no blisters from all the walking. 

ABOUT OUR GUEST

Meet Beth and her adventure-loving sidekick. Photo: Beth Beckman

Beth Beckman lives with her husband, her son and their dog, Hot Dog, in Manhattan. She has called New York home for almost two decades and considers the entire city her backyard. She is a photographer, a writer, a Nugget contributor and a self-proclaimed explorer with a dire case of FOMO, the fear of missing out. She loves to see everything and do everything, ideally with her seven-year-old son in tow. You can follow their adventures in and around New York on her site, Little Kid, Big City. And, soon there will even be a children‘s book series of their adventures. Beth also curates FOMO-inducing activities for the popular Instagram handles @fomofeed and @fomofeedkids. You can also follow her at @littlekidnyc.

MORE EPISODES FOR KIDS AND PARENTS

Visit The Happiest Country In The World: What To Do In Finland With Kids
80 min
For Parents September 18, 2019

Visit The Happiest Country In The World: What To Do In Finland With Kids

An insider guide to visiting the happiest country in the world — Discover what to do in Finland with kids and plan a vacation your family will never forget.

African Safari Holidays: Explore Namibia With Kids
68 min
For Parents September 18, 2019

African Safari Holidays: Explore Namibia With Kids

Does your family dream of an African safari? Discover why Namibia is the perfect place for a family-friendly safari, and get the inside scoop on how to plan your own trip.

Australia for Kids: Living Between the Rainforest and the Reef
32 min
For Kids September 18, 2019

Australia for Kids: Living Between the Rainforest and the Reef

Meet 9-year-old Yindali and discover what it’s like to be a kid in Tropical North Queensland, Australia, living where the rainforest meets the sea.

BE ON OUR SHOW

TRAVEL ITINERARIES YOU MIGHT LIKE