Familydaysout.com has done ALL the hard work so you don’t have to by creating the ULTIMATE family guide to visiting New York City, to read, print and use!
We are SO excited for you to read out "Top 9 Family Attractions", ready for your visit to the city that never sleeps. Yes, we are talking about New York City! We let you in on our top things to do in New York with kids, plus we let you know our favorite FREE things to do with kids as well!. If that wasn't enough, you'll see our transport tips for NYC, fun facts about the city to impress your friends with and let you know about a great day trip from New York City too. You'll even find out about some famous New Yorkers that may surprise you! We want to make sure you don’t miss out on anything when visiting the bright lights of The Big Apple!
So whether this is your first trip to this incredible city, or you've lived here for years and just thought "I wonder what is there near me for kids today", then keep reading, because we have you covered!
Start spreading the news, we're leaving TODAY for the bright lights of the city that was once the nation's capital (find out more in our fun facts below!) Yes, we're in New York City. The land of Broadway, yellow cabs, and pretzels. The first native New Yorkers were two Native American tribes, who spent their day's hunting, fishing and farming. In 1524, the first European explorer saw the start of the city's written history, and then in 1609, the Dutch made their mark as the first settlers.
As the years passed, New York City grew to be one of the nation's most important ports in the 18th Century and was crucial to the cotton and textile industry. Immigrants were increasing, and changing the face of the city (bringing delicious foods that we know and love today!), and today, New York City is a multicultural gem spanning five boroughs and a great place to spend time as a family!
Did you know that New York City receives over 50 MILLION tourists every year? With so many American and international guests, it must be doing something right! What's amazing about New York City, is there are so many iconic experiences. From grabbing a hot dog from the street vendor to hailing a yellow cab, climbing to the top of the Empire State Building, or shopping on Fifth Ave...you're actually living in a movie! So make your NYC visit a classic one, and immerse yourselves in every tourist experience and more! There are dinosaurs waiting at the Natural History Museum, and hungry chipmunks in Central Park, not to mention the latest musicals on Broadway. We hope you're not tired because the city that never sleeps is ready and waiting for you!
One of the many wonderful things about New York City, is that you don't need a car to get around. The subway system is so easy to use, and so convenient, that you can can jump on an off all day, visiting your favorite attractions.
The subway completed services Manhattan Island, as well as Queens, The Bronx, Brooklyn AND Staten Island too (as well as an easy commute to and fron the airport), so you really can explore the best that New York City has to offer outside of Man
A MetroCard offers reduced fares of $2.75 ($1.35 for seniors), or a 7-Day Unlimited Ride pass for $32 ($16 for seniors). Kids under 44 inches ride free with a paying adult!
Source and Image Credit: More information here: MTA
New York City isn't just Manhatten, and a fun way to see Brooklyn is to, well, take a slice out of it (and yes, there is pizza on the tour too!) A Slice Of Booklyn offers a tour of local iconic movie locations, a tour highlighting the best of Brooklyn, seasonal fun with Christmas Lights, and yes, a tour that takes you to the BEST pizza around!
Our Top 9 Fun Things To Do With The Kids In New York City
1Empire State Building
This 102 story skyscraper that towers over Midtown Manhattan is instantly recognizable along the city's impressive skyline, and YOU can visit the top and check out the views for yourself!
This NYC landmark was completed in 1931, and found it's name thanks to the term "Emprie State", the nickname of New York state. It's the 86th Floor Observation Deck where you can see some of the most amazing views of the city, and learn the history of the building at the exhibits on the 84th Floor.
It's also fun to remember iconic movie scenes filmed inside the building, from Sleepless in Seattle, Elf, The Amazing Spider-Man and King Kong!
Centered around the famous aircraft carrier "Intrepid" (which is actually a New York Landmark!), this popular New York Museum is ALL about science, history and service, and is also home to some pretty impressive aircraft too!
The actual Intrepid was launched back in 1943, and fought in WWII, surviving one torpedo strike and FIVE attacks by a kamikaze, it's is history forms part of the exhibits within the museum.
Original artifacts, historic videos, and interactive exhibits exploring numerous other historic achievements spanning land, sea, and space make for a fascinating day out with the kids!
Did you know that New York Aquarium is the oldest continually operating aquarium in the entire nation? Yep, since 1896, this popular aquarium has been giving families an amazing day out in New York, and now it's your turn!
Go below the surface and meet some amazing sharks, sea turtles, and other wonderful creatures that life right off the Coney Island Boardwalk (they are your New York neighbors!). Kids can learn about penguins and sea otters in the Sea Cliffs exhibit, and some face to face with some stunning colors of Glover's Reef, where corals and marine life mix!
There are also some great experiences at the aquarium to make your day extra special, including a 4D Theater, conservation based programs, sea otter feedings & more!
Bronx Zoo is actually the largest urban zoo in the entire WORLD, so it's worth taking the time to head out of Manhattan and into this incredibile attraction.
The zoo features over 600 species from all across the globe, from the big cats, to bison, sea lions, and even a Children's Zoo where kids can enjoy hands-on animal fun! You can even go back in time on a Dinosaur Safari and make it a preshistoric day.
Top off your day with the many music concerts, food events & other fun programs held across the year, this makes for a WILD day out in NYC!
Standing tall in New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty is a true symbol of New York, and you can actually climb to her crown!
Going into the pedestal isn't any extra cost after the ferry fee, but to visit the crown you need to pre-book as it's limited access, up to 6 months in advance. But it's well worth the experience!
Originally a gift from the people of Franch to the people of the United States in 1886 (and built by Gustave Eiffel!), this really is an impressive experience to enjoy!
From the moment you walk into the iconic American Museum of Natural History, you know you are doing to be in dino heaven (there are over 600 complete or near-complete fossils on display!) and even a dinosaur mummy!
Of course, this dino-famous museum has so much more than our prehisoric favorites, including more than 750 marine creatures across eight ocean ecosystem displays (bonus points for checking out the HUGE blue whale!), and exhibits on biodiversity, endangered species, birds, reptiles, and New York State landscapes!
Did we mention you can explore space too within the Earth & Planetary Sciences Halls? To infinity, and beyond!
Nicknamed the "Showplace of the Nation", Radio City Music Hall was actually the leading tourist destintion in the entire city at one point! Today, it still stands as an iconic cenue at Rockefeller Center, and YOU can go behind the scenes and be part of the magic!
Designated a New York City Landmark in 1978, Radio City Music Hall has hosted a number of world famous events, including the Grammy Awards, Daytime Emmys, and MTV Video Music Awards.
Today you can take a guided tour backstage, discover art deco masterpieces, learn the history of the iconic Great Stage and even meet a Radio City Rockette!
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the city's most important museum, with over 5000 years of art history on display, from the first cities of the ancient world, to iconic works of our time.
Great for families too, the Met offers special audio tours for kids aged 6 to 12, as well as art classes, kid friendly concerts and so much more!
You also will know the musuem from that famous event that takes place on the first Monday in May - the Met Gala!
As they say, "If Paris is France, the Coney Island in Summer is the World", and it's true! This historic New York attraction needs no introduction, giving families incredible memories since 1880, with the boardwalk opening in 1923.
Home to legendary attractions, sandy beaches, thrilling roller coasters, boardwalk games, and delicious food cendors, there is nearly 3 miles of summertime fun for all ages.
Don't miss some of the fun Coney Island events, including the world famous "Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Conest"!
Famous New Yorkers
Humphrey Bogart was an actor during the "Golden Age of Hollywood", and uttered the famous line "Here's looking at you, kid" during the 1942 classic Casablanca
Image Copyright: Public Domain
Lady Gaga is a Grammy AND Oscar winning singer, who rose to fame with the hit Just Dance, is known for her creative outfits, & most recently starred in the film A Star is Born
Image Copyright: Public Domain
5 Fun New York City Facts
Impress your friends with your amazing NYC knowledge!
- New York City actually became the FIRST capital of the USA back in 1789. (In 1790, Philadelphia became temporary capital, until it permanetly moved to Washington DC in 1800)
- Times Square was originally called Longacre Square, but was renamed Times Square after the New York Times move there in 1904!
- New York City’s Federal Reserve Bank has the largest gold storage in the world. The vault is 80 feet below street level and contains $90 billion in gold!
- The oldest building in the city dates back to 1642! It's located in Brooklyn, and today is a museum.
- Those iconic yellow cabs were actually green and red until 1912!
Top 5 FREE Things To Do With Kids In New York City
Explore Central Park!
Central Park is a great way to break up your city adventure. In fact, a visit to Central Park is like a whole new city in itself!
There are acres and acres of grass to enjoy, often the location of many a FREE summer conert. There's a beautiful lake, and there is even a castle in the park! You'll recognize many locations from your favorite films, you can visit John Lennon's "Imagine" tribute in Strawberry Fields, and the Delacorte Theater puts on some great FREE summer productions, including Shakespeare!
Visit The Museum of Modern Art
Now before you say anything, yes the Museum of Modern Art does have an admission fee, except on Friday evenings!
If you head to this fascinating museum between 4pm and 8pm every Friday, it's free entry for ALL visitors, however to avoid big lines, they suggest arriving around 6pm. You're welcome!
Visit Times Square at Night
Times Square is one of the most, if not THE most, iconic locations in New York City. It's here that big ball drops on New Years Eve, and here that you can see some of the best musicals and theatre productions in the world.
A visit during the day is impressive, but a visit at night takes it to a whole other level. The colors, the lights, the atmosphere....it's worth spending a few hours exploring after dark!
Walk the High Line
The High Line is a truly unique piece of New York history. What was one a Central Railroad track, now is a stunning "living system" which blends landscape architecture, urban design and ecology.
It's now an icon of the city, and at 1.45 miles in length, makes for a beautiful stroll for a birds eye view of the streets below, surrounded by flowers, plants, butterflies and more!
Take the Staten Island Ferry
A ride on the Staten Island Ferry is the last remaining way to experience how New Yorkers used to travel from Manhattan to its boroughs, long before bridges were built. At one time, the waters of New York Harbor were a high traffic thouroughfare!
The Staten Island Ferry is a FREE service (don't let anyone try and sell you a ticket!), and not only is it a fun trip, but you get some incredible views of the Lower Manhattan skyline, AND the Statue of Liberty!
16 Foods You HAVE to Eat in New York!
This iconic city might not seem possbile from NYC in a day, but it actually is - yes, we're talking about Washington DC! It's actually a great day trip option for a family, as there are plenty of things to do and see to keep the kids entertained.
AMTRAK have around 22 daily departures from NYC to DC and back, taking around 3 hours. You depart and arrive from NY Penn Station, and DC Union Station, both centrally located! If you book 14 days in advance, you get 25% off fares!
On the banks of the Potomac River (great for paddleboarding!), DC was created in 1790 to be the nation's capital. It was named after the very first President, George Washington, as he picked the location, as well as explorer Christopher Columbus (that's the District of Columbia part, kids!)
Washington DC is a great trip to do with the kids. There are so many fascinating attractions, and so many opportunities to feel part the iconic moments in US history.
On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, you can stand on the very spot that Martin Luther King Jr delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech. You can see the White House where all the nation's Presidents have walked the halls. You can visit Ford's Theatre where President Lincoln was assasinated in 1865, and spend time at the Capitol Building where Presidents have been inaugruated.
It's not only the history that makes DC so great. Visit when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom and the city becomes a postcard. Hungry? Visit one of the many food trucks around the city, they are great for kids! Grab a segway and travel around in style (no need for a car!). Then, when you return to New York City, the kids will certainly be ready for bed!)
Here’s our top 4 Washington DC attractions to visit:
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