New York City is one of the most visited cities in the world, but it’s probably not your first choice for a family vacation. But after a recent amazing long weekend in Manhattan, I want to shout from the rooftops how wonderful visiting New York with babies and children actually is. When you’re planning a trip with children, you need to consider eating, sleeping, playing, and getting around. We’ve already covered eating and sleeping in New York with kids, and now here are five more tips that cover playing and getting around New York with babies and little kids.
Playing in New York with Babies and Kids…
1. Fun for Kids
If you’re thinking martinis and shopping don’t sound like much fun for toddlers, you’re right! But experiencing Manhattan with a little one in tow opens up a whole new family friendly urban world. There are lots and lots of playgrounds. The Central Park Zoo is delightful, as is all 778 acres of Central Park. In fact, there is so much for families to do in New York that they appointed a family ambassador. This year it’s Curious George, and his job is to come up with lots of great ways for families to have fun in NYC.
2. Fun for Grown Ups That Is Also Fun for Kids
There are some amazing “only in New York” experiences and attractions that mom, dad and kids will all love. The Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum is a one-of-a-kind interactive journey through the history of travel. There are many airplanes, a submarine, and even the Space Shuttle Pavilion featuring Enterprise. Across town you can arrange for a private tour of FAO Schwarz flagship location, the famed toy store featured in Big. The tour includes a turn on the “big” piano.
Getting Around New York with Babies and Kids…
3. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Finding flights to New York is the easy part. But even with children, airport transfers from NYC’s three main airports, LaGuardia, Newark, and JFK, are pretty simple and fairly fast. The shortest and cheapest route is to take the bus and subway from LaGuardia, but with a baby or child and all their stuff, that can be tricky. Rail links to Manhattan are plentiful from both Newark and JFK. It is technically not illegal to ride in the back of a cab with no car seat, but for longer airport runs, that is not an option. Many car companies will pick you up in a vehicle with a car seat already installed if you book in advance.
We actually drove for our last visit, and it was surprisingly easy. We booked our parking garage in advance and saved over 40% off the posted rates for parking.
4. Subway Surfers
Toddlers and little kids usually find the subway exciting, and the NYC subway can certainly be that. Up to three children 45″ and shorter are free to ride. The regular one-way fare is $2.50, and there’s no faster way to zip around the city than underground. Strollers seem to be a hassle during busy times, but most fellow riders were very helpful and courteous to those with tots in tow.
Taxis are so reasonable in Manhattan, and if your child is over 45″ it might actually be cheaper for your family to take a taxi instead of the subway. Car seats and boosters are typically not supplied unless booked in advance, but for quick jaunts of a few blocks or less, the NYC taxi experience is great fun for toddlers and little kids. There is nothing cuter than a little arm raised authoritatively and hailing down a cab. You’re not just on vacation; you’re teaching essential life skills.