Offering possibly more top-notch attractions than any other American city, New York is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. NYC boasts an incredible variety of entertainment-meaning endless possibilities for your whole family to have an unforgettable vacation. Use this guide for things to do in New York with kids to make sure you experience the best of what New York has to offer your family.
If you're traveling with kids but don't want to miss out on any of the must-see landmarks, these 5 attractions are just right for you. Offering the best of New York's sight-seeing, entertainment, and educational displays, there's something at each of these attractions for everyone to enjoy.
As one of the largest museums in the world, the American Museum of Natural History truly is an exciting place for the whole family. If your kids have seen A Night at the Museum (which takes place on this very site), they'll be thrilled before you even get there. Two of the museum's most celebrated features are its famous collection of dinosaur fossils and the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life exhibit, which features a 94-foot whale model. Kids will enjoy hands-on exhibits in the Discovery Room, designed specifically for children ages 5-12. There are also budget-friendly dining options on site, including the Museum Food Court, which is great for families.
The magical world of Harry Potter comes to life in this incredible and unforgettable exhibit. Experience the delight of the fastest-selling books in history featuring characters beloved by fans of all ages. You'll see authentic costumes and props, including Harry's original wand and glasses and the Marauder's Map! Younger visitors-and the young at heart, too-will love tossing a Quaffle in the Quidditch arena or pulling a Mandrake from the Herbology lab. This exhibit is a must-see for any Harry Potter fan and a favorite among kids.
This educational, renowned tourist attraction happens to be a fantastic place for kids. The USS Intrepid is the centerpiece of this museum that houses 30 restored aircraft, a submarine, and a British Airwarys Concorde Jet. While adults enjoy the museum's exciting display of 20th century history, kids love exploring the newly restored aircraft and hands-on exhibits. The whole family will be fascinated by the story of the recovered Gemini III space capsule, told through interactive displays in The Space Zone. And don't leave before checking out one of the Intrepid's high-tech jet plane simulators!
Visit two of the nation's most historic and iconic landmarks all in one enjoyable ferry ride. The history of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are taught to young school-age children, so your kids will most likely appreciate these symbolic monuments with you. As you enter Ellis Island by ferry, you'll experience what 12 million immigrants once felt as they began their journey to becoming Americans. Once on Ellis Island, you can check out the Immigration Museum or eat at the Island's restaurant. Bring your camera for the ferry ride that is one of NYC's best tours!
This section of the Central Park Zoo is geared specifically toward toddlers and young children, and it's the perfect walk-through wildlife adventure for young explorers. Your kids will love feeding and petting the furry, friendly barnyard animals-including goats, sheep, alpacas, and potbellied pigs. Tisch also provides opportunities for kids to let out energy as they hop across lily pads, climb into turtle shells, and shimmy up a spider's web. Of course, while you're there, you can also check out the other exhibits at the top-notch Central Park Zoo!
These family-friendly restaurants serve such delicious cuisine that you'll want to try them all. Kids menus, New York traditions, and unique creations will leave everyone happy and full.
If you're looking for an extensive menu and inexpensive prices, this is the spot for your family. The Renaissance menu really has absolutely everything, from chocolate chip pancakes to deli sandwiches to pizza-and everything in between. There will definitely be something everyone in the family will enjoy. The casual environment is good for kids and the food comes out very quickly (great for short attention spans). With 24-hour service, this diner is number one for convenience, too.
This eatery in Madison Square Park offers more than just shakes. Burgers, hot dogs, fries, and ice cream make this place a kid favorite, but fresh, high-quality ingredients mean it's a favorite among parents as well! The prices are very reasonable for New York, and the prime location makes it a definite top pick.
Only in NYC could you find a restaurant dedicated entirely to menu items featuring peanut butter (so don't miss out!). You'd be amazed at the diversity of peanut-buttery options, from the classic PB & J to the Mighty Maple Sandwich (maple peanut butter with crisp bacon) to the Peanut Butter Brownie Blast Sundae. If your kids want to try out a peanut butter creation, but you'd rather not, don't worry-a few peanut butter free options are offered as well (like the tuna melt or the salad bowl). This restaurant is so perfect for kids they'll even cut the crusts off for you!
Hampton Chutney is a casual restaurant with a busy yet comfortable atmosphere. They specialize in Indian dosas, which are large, crispy sourdough crepes. You'll love the spices and unique flavors, and there are simple options for the kids, too. A special kid's section of the menu offers dosas with fillings like cheese and scrambled eggs or cheese and grilled chicken. The service is quick, the prices are reasonable, and the food will satisfy the whole family.
This restaurant is a re-created 1930's Jewish deli featuring dozens of the owners' favorite traditional recipes. Your kids might not care for the history, but they'll love the delicious chicken fingers, frankfurters, and birthday cake for dessert. If you can get your kids to go for something healthier, they also offer very appetizing soup, sandwich, salad, and entrée options. Try to sell them on the chicken noodle soup or macaroni salad. All menu items are available in house or to go!
New York City can be an expensive place, but it doesn't have to be for you. There are a lot of things to do in New York with kids that don't require any money. These parks and kid-friendly land marks are all absolutely free to visit.
Bring the kids to Heckscher Playground to let off some steam. This 3-acre, recently refurbished playground is now the largest in Central Park. In addition to typical playground equipment, it features sprinklers on warm days, a rock mountain for climbing, a wooden suspension bridge, and a play area for toddlers. It's also a great place for adults to lounge around and people-watch. Restrooms are located inside the playground area, so you won't have to worry about bathroom breaks.
Explore Books of Wonder, the oldest and largest children's bookstore in NYC. This store has everything from the newest children's titles to your old favorites. The store features lots of original artwork from all your favorite kid's books, leaving young ones enthralled by the vivid colors and designs. Books of Wonder is a great place to sit and read with your kids, and if you're visiting on a Sunday, sit in for Story-Time at noon.
Let your children window shop and play at the American Girl Place New York and FAO Schwarz on the famous Fifth Avenue. American Girl Place is a young girl's paradise, featuring every American Girl character ever created and endless outfits, accessories, and props. The store even has hands-on activities like arts and crafts. Then, for the ultimate toy experience, head over to FAO Schwarz, one of the most renowned and largest toy stores in the world. You'll hardly believe it's a store when you enter the fascinating Grand Hall, adorned with more than 20,000 computer-controlled colored lights. Both stores are bound to leave everyone feeling like a kid again.
Enjoy the beautiful and historic Grand Central Station building while your kids marvel at the huge number of trains traveling in and out. Even if you're not headed out of town, Grand Central is worth the trip. Kids will also love the "Whisper Wall" where you and your child can whisper to each other (and still hear one another!) from opposite ends of the wall.
No New York vacation is complete without a visit to Times Square. Though Times Square is perhaps the most popular tourist destination in the world, don't be alarmed; traveling here with your family is really not as much of a challenge as you think. Tons of tourists (and locals) bring their kids to Times Square every day! The whole family will be in awe at the excess of signs, lights, people, stores, and buildings. Catch sight of the gigantic Toys R Us with a 3-story carousel and make sure to stop in the Time Square Visitor Center before you leave NYC!