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Things to do with Kids in New York City

This review of NYC has been written by Jai who is Mummy to be Baby D and blogs over at Kiddy Reviews click here.

Kiddy Reviews can also be followed on twitter @KiddyReviews.


We all know the must-dos in New York City. Fifth Avenue for the shopaholics, Central Park horse ride for the romantics, the Big Bus Tour, the Empire State building (although I prefer “Top of the Rock” as you can actually see Empire State in your view then), Ground Zero, Brooklyn Bridge, the various walking tours if you want to see where “Friends” hung out or where SATC’s Carrie lived her life, a Broadway show, Times Square etc. But what about those little people we are with, who are bored and their little legs exhausted? In order for you to really enjoy your time in the city that never sleeps, you need to make sure you have a list to hand of things to do with kids in NYC as well.

I am a regular in NYC, but when we had Baby D, what we did changed and I had to do A LOT of research to find out what I could do with a baby in tow. So, I am hoping to save you the time and trouble I went through, by rounding up my favourite things to keep the children happy in the city that never sleeps.

Firstly, if you are travelling with a baby, make sure you are familiar with my Advice for flying with baby – start as you mean to go on!


things to do with kids in nyc

Getting around

When you land at the airport be ready to pay $5 per luggage trolley. Having the kids moan about carrying their own suitcases is not the best start.  Then head out to the taxi rank.

  • Cabs – Taxis have a fixed fare into the city, so don’t worry about being ripped off. There is no legal requirement to use a car seat in a NYC taxi, but if you brought yours with you then feel free to install it.
  • Subway –  Just like The Tube, not every station is stroller friendly so be prepared to take the stairs. Alternatively check out the subway map before you start your journey and plan accordingly.

Indoor Things to do with Kids in NYC

  • things to do with kids in nycThe Children’s Museum of Manhattan – a little secret to the NY nannies and mommies, which we discovered. Five floors of fun, aimed at pre-schoolers. There is soft play and sensory for babies, a Dora the Explora floor and numerous other interactive and educational exhibits, sure to tire out your little ones. Strollers need to be checked in (for free), with the option of checking in additional bags too.
  • Natural History Museum – I won’t say much about this because it’s self explanitory, although I think NYC’s version is better than ours in London (although our building is more impressive)
  • Toys R Us, Times Square – giant T-Rex, floors of toys and an indoor ferris wheel, enough said.
  • Disney Store, Times Square – Not many people realise this, but the store does a pretty cool opening ceremony in the morning, where one lucky child gets to open the doors with the giant key. Make sure you get there early and stand at the front.things to do with kids in nyc
  • FAO Schwarz – Not only do they host the giant piano from the movie “Big”, but it’s open for kids to jump around on.  You can also make your own muppet, super car or classic doll (pricey, but special)
  • Dylan’s candy land and/or M&Ms World – Erm they are sweet shops on steroids and I cannot be held responsible for any sugar induced, hyperactive children.
  • Serendipity – World famous dessert parlour, but you will need to book in advance if you want to guarantee great desserts. Nobody wants to deal with the disappointment on a child’s face after you have promised them ice-cream.
  • Basketball games at Madison Square Garden – This one is from Mr D. During NBA (Basketball) season, which is October to April, Madison Square Garden hosts family friendly games in the afternoon on weekends and holidays. Tickets aren’t cheap, but it is quite an experience if you get to go.

Outdoor Things to do with Kids in NYC

  • Central Park – The only real green space in the concrete jungle, Central Park has a whole host of things to keep kids busy, including:
    – 21 playgrounds
    – the famous Alice in Wonderland statue that children can be found climbing and hiding in
    – a zoothings to do with kids in nyc
    – Sailing a toy boat in the Conservatory water (we took our six year old nephew who loved it)
    – a rustic, wooden Swedish Cottage in the park that hosts weekend puppet shows at 1pm
  • High Line – Ever wondered what it would be like to walk above a buzzing city? Now you can. This is my favourite place in NY and its great for adults and children. Once an abandoned rail track, it has now been transformed into a beautiful green space spanning several blocks. Great for a stroll when you want to escape the busy streets,  a place to sit or lie down and take in the sun, buy a gelato and even dip you toes or have a splash about in the water fountains to cool off.
  • Baseball games – Another one from my sport loving, Mr D. Baseball season is April to October and tickets for baseball games are much cheaper than basketball games because of the number of games played in a season. So put your NY baseball cap on and go enjoy the ballgame!

Seasonal Things to do with Kids in NYC

There is always something going on in NYC to help take in the buzzing, metropolitan community and here are some of my faves throughout the year:

March – St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Get dressed up in everything green and head to Fifth Avenue for some Irish loving. There is green beer galore, but don’t worry, this is definitely something you can still take the kids to.

April – The Sikh Day Parade in Manhattan is a celebration of the Sikh faith and is open to people from all communities. Fantastic for everyone, especially if you like Indian food. Just note, that this is a religious event so vegetarian food only and no alcohol.

September – Brazilian Day celebrates Brazil’s Independence Day and takes over 25 blocks in Manhattan.  With over a million people visiting, this is one heck of a party.

November – The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is a holiday icon. Starting at 9am on Thanksgiving Day, this three hour long parade has some incredible floats, giant balloons that tower over the crowds and ends with Santa’s arrival to mark the start of the Christmas season.

November/December – Check out the Rockettes, a high-kicking, all singing and dancing, festive show at Radio City Music Hall.

November/December – The ice rinks at Rockefeller and Central Park can’t be beat. Just think of it as having an ice rink in Trafalgar Square under the tree or in the centre of Hyde Park.

I have tried to cover most of the touristy things to do with kids in NYC, but if you want to live like the locals then offers a whole host of things to do (just be prepared for info overload on the site).

Just in case I have missed anything, do share your top things to do in NYC with kids in the comments below and start “spreading the news”… New York…. NEW YOOOOOORK!

Mini Travellers

Mini Travellers

Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!

Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.

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