Gotham, the city that never sleeps, and concrete jungle don’t necessarily bring up kid-friendly images of New York, but don’t cancel that family vacation just yet! New York has it all and that includes plenty of things to inspire, entertain, and keep your kids from getting bored on vacation!
I received a request for suggestions on what to do in NYC with kids, and while I don’t have kids yet, I have plenty of nieces and nephews to have a good idea of what they’ll enjoy.
If it’s your first time to New York, I have an itinerary here. This is a good starting point and will allow you to replace some of the restaurants and activities with all of my New York City with Kids recommendations below.
- A visit to the zoo in Central Park is always fun, or for real zoo-aficionados head to the Bronx Zoo
- Ride on Jane’s Carousel in Dumbo (Near the end of the Brooklyn Bridge)
- Find the Whispering Gallery in Grand Central Station
- Run around Central Park (Rent a bike in the summer or go ice skating in the winter. Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park are two other options for ice skating)
- Take a carriage ride through Central Park
There are quite a few museums in New York that are educational and FUN! Or at least they’ll think it’s kinda fun!;) These are my favorites:
- American Museum of Natural History – Be sure to watch the Night at the Museum Movies before you go!
- The Children’s Museum of Manhattan – Located in the Upper West side
- Children’s museum of the Arts – Great for all ages
- The New York Transit Museum – A good excuse to head into Brooklyn and let’s be honest, what little kid doesn’t love trains!
- The Met – Something for everyone in the family
Mid-day Treats – New York City has a lot of terrain to cover. All of these stops are the perfect break to rest their little legs.
- Serendipity 3 – Try the frozen Hot Chocolate at this whimsical location.
- Dylan’s Candy Bar – Yes it’s a tourist trap, but it’s the closest thing your kids will get to a real life Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory.
- The Waffles and Dinges truck is parked in Central Park and is the perfect treat after running around.
- Your little girls (and little boys!) will love tea with Eloise at the Plaza. It’s ‘rawther’ fancy and they even serve cotton candy on pretzel sticks!
- A stop at Milk Bar for cereal milk, cereal ice cream, and delicious cookies and cakes is one of my favorite spots in the city!
- NY is famous for their Bagels and the mini stuffed bagel balls at Bantam Bagels is a fun take on the concept.
- Max Brenner’s Chocolate Bar & Restaurant – Paradise for chocolate lovers
- Ninja New York – Waiters dress as ninjas and perform tricks throughout the meal
- Shake shack – lots of locations around the city
- Slice of Pizza at Joe’s Pizza (the restaurant that fires Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) in the Spiderman movie)
- Dinner in Little Italy with a stop for cannolis at Cafe Palermo
- Peanut butter & Co – All sorts of peanut butter creations
- Alice’s Tea Cup – A whimsical cafe
- Ellen’s Stardust Diner – Singing waiters in Times Square – need I say more?
- American Girl Cafe – Perfect stop if you’re visiting the store
- Hard Rock Cafe and Benihanas – Although restaurant chains, kids usually love them and would likely be a new experience for non-US visitors.
- FAO Schwarz – A fun toy store with the giant keyboard from the movie ‘Big’ in back.
- Toys ‘R’ US – This toy store is in the heart of Times Square and has a 60 foot tall indoor ferris wheel!
- American Girl Place – From dining to a doll hair salon this place is a little girl’s dream!
- Scholastic Stores – Located in SoHo, this story has educational books and a studio with weekly events and shows.
- Lego Store – Near Rockefeller Center is a fun break from sightseeing.
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