At Our Whole Village, we plan meaningful vacations for families who want to create lifelong memories and show their kids the world in a more conscious and intentional manner.
We help families take meaningful vacations so that they can escape everyday life, show their kids the world and make lifelong memories - with care, confidence and peace of mind.
Your (free) guide to the top travel destinations for families with babies, teens and everyone in between.
Did you know that more than 200 languages are spoken in New York City? Or that 22 percent of the city’s land is dedicated to public parks? The fascinating facts about NYC don’t stop there. The “City That Never Sleeps” contains more than 1,600 pizzerias, and it boasts the most filmed location on the planet: Central Park. With more than eight million residents, planning the perfect family vacay to the “Big Apple” can feel intimidating.
After all, where do you start when it comes to crafting an itinerary of fun things to do in NYC with kids? As meaningful family travel experts, we’ve done the legwork to find the best kid-friendly spots your whole family will love. You’ll immediately recognize some of these attractions while others remain refreshingly off most tourists’ radar.
If this is your family’s first time, there are some requisite New York attractions to work into your itinerary. These include taking the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, checking out the Brooklyn Bridge and High Line, and conquering world-renowned museums in NYC like the American Museum of Natural History, the MoMA, or The Met.
Get photos of the fam in front of the iconic Charging Bull of Wall Street or enjoy people-watching in Times Square. And don’t pass up the chance to explore Radio City Music Hall to see a vintage-inspired show by the famous Rockettes. For a fun family photoshoot consider hiring a professional through flytographer. Find out more about hiring a flytographer for your next vacation.
Other things to do in NYC include visiting the Empire State Building, which boasts its own zip code, 10118, and breathtaking views of the city. You can also make the most of the city’s impressive skyscape on a visit to the One World Trade Center or Top of the Rock. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum is a moving spot for families with pre-teens and teens. We recommend visiting the reflecting pools and walking the grounds for younger children who may have trouble processing the museum’s content.
The Big Apple has something for every age group. So, you’ll want to tailor activities to suit the interests and ages of your family members. For example, if you’ve got toddlers or preschoolers, head to the American Museum of Natural History. Unlike NYC’s other prominent museums, which can feel overwhelming and exhausting for little ones, the American Museum of Natural History contains countless exhibits sure to engage their imaginations, including a life-size blue whale and many fascinating dinosaur skeletons.
Central Park has everything you’d want in a perfect day, from endless expanses of green to ice cream carts brimful of yummy treats. You’ll also want to track down some of the most kid-friendly playgrounds in the park, as well as go on a scavenger hunt to discover the statues of Hans Christian Andersen and Alice in Wonderland. And when you want to change it up a bit, have your kids give the miniature boat races a try.
Your small children will also love other fun spots like the SeaGlass Carousel in Manhattan’s Battery or the restored 1922 Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn. And don’t forget our pro tip for rainy days. When the weather’s less than desirable, check out NYC’s local listings for drop-in times at various play spaces throughout the city. Chelsea Piers also hosts a toddler gym where smaller kiddos can get active while older siblings take advantage of basketball courts and playgrounds.
There are many incredible ways to get kids and teens out and about in New York City. If your family’s into open-air adventures, explore one of the many hiking trails interspersed throughout the five boroughs. Enjoy a picnic or bike ride in one of the city’s many parks. Try your hand at fishing, bouldering, or bird-watching in Central Park. You can also book wildlife tours, canoeing classes, and horseback riding excursions.
Consider a kayaking or standup paddleboarding excursion on the East or Hudson Rivers for families with older kids looking for an adrenaline spike. And for those hoping to get in the outdoor groove, Rockaway Beach in Queens offers surf lessons. While you won’t likely “hang ten” by day’s end, it’s an excellent place to start building a solid foundation.
Sports fans will fall in love with NYC and its many shoutouts to professional sports. Plan ahead, and you’ll have a shot at attending a live game, whether it’s Yankee Stadium, MetLife Stadium, or Madison Square Garden. If you’re in the city in August or September, consider working in a couple of rounds of Queens’ U.S. Open tennis tournament. For families looking to get active, head to Chelsea Piers to take advantage of the batting cages, golf driving range, ice skating rink, or basketball courts.
One of the best ways to experience NYC is through your taste buds. In fact, we can’t think of a better spot stateside to turn your kids into future foodies. You’ll find everything your heart could desire, from family-friendly Katz’s Deli to the Grand Central Oyster Bar. You’ll also want to get reservations for at least one meal that you can really only get in the Big Apple. Old-school locations like 1885 Keens Steakhouse, 21 Club, and Jazz Age fit this bill nicely.
Another delectable way to explore New York’s cityscapes is a culinary tour. These themed experiences let you see the city through a decidedly tasty filter, whether it’s soul food, pizza, seafood, or dim sum. Specialty markets worth exploring include Gotham West Market and Chelsea Market. There, you‘ll discover one-of-a-kind purveyors like Murray’s Cheese Shop, the iconic Zabar’s, Amy’s Bread, Russ & Daughters, and more.
For kids 11 or older, consider participating in The League of Kitchens. This organization invites families into the homes of immigrant families to learn about crafting authentic native cuisine. Cultures represented in the program include Greek, Japanese, Argentine, Nepalese, and more.
Although New York City boasts a reputation as the “City That Never Sleeps,” it can be great for families, too. Activities for all ages prove plentiful, and while you might not find highchairs everywhere, you will find outdoor adventures, incomparable cultural institutions, and fantastic food. So, hash out enough time to see the city and its many attractions at a reasonable pace. We recommend a week, which makes New York City perfect for Spring or Summer Break.
When the families we work with travel to NYC, many have questions about the cost-effectiveness of purchasing the New York CityPass. While you’ll want to crunch the numbers to make sure this pass is right for your family, if your itinerary is packed with the New York attractions above, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the overall savings.
We’d love to help you create the perfect itinerary of fun things to do in NYC with kids. Let us handle the heavy lifting when it comes to well-appointed accommodation and an ideal mix of independent exploration and hands-on tours and experiences that will bring the “Big Apple” to life.
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