I’ll admit, New York City is probably not your first choice for a mini-break with the kids. It’s not exactly a relaxing getaway, and with kids in tow, you’re that much busier. But for us, busy is good. And my kids adored the hustle and bustle, and we enjoyed watching them enjoy the hustle and bustle. Much like our first family vacation, where we were delighted to see our then-infant daughter loving the beach, seeing our kids have a blast in a city we love meant New York with kids was well worth the effort. Time to book your flights to New York and get inspired!
Embrace being a Tourist…
Previous visits to Manhattan were usually filled with shopping and nightlife. This time? Not so much. Truth be told, I always felt too cool for school to go and visit the usual tourist attractions that draw most to NYC. I had never seen the Statue of Liberty. I’d never set foot inside a New York City museum. This time, we made a point to seek out the touristy stuff and embraced our tourist status. Thanks to our New York City CityPASS, we had lots of options for sightseeing and saved money in the process.
Be warned, even if it doesn’t seem very busy, visiting the Statue of Liberty involves a lot of waiting. You have to go through airport-style security, and that process takes a while. I wasn’t expecting it to take quite so long, so I found myself a little cranky until I got on the ferry and saw the snack bar inside sold coffee and pretzels. All better! Visits to Lady Liberty’s crown are limited and must be booked in advance. Since you must be 48″ to climb to the crown, and my son is just shy of that by an inch, we didn’t bother getting off the boat, and instead enjoyed the ride and took lots of pictures. Apparently, when they’re a bit older, they’ll understand and appreciate the Ellis Island museum. That visit is earmarked for a future visit.
I was really surprised at how much my kids liked the American Museum of Natural History. Living in Toronto, they’ve been to world-class museums and galleries since they were tiny, but they seemed to understand that this museum was “special.” My almost-nine-year-old daughter was impressed at how all the exhibits seemed to be telling a story. She’s a clever cookie, that one 🙂
Live Like a Local…
The typical New York City hotel room is tiny — not exactly the easiest to cram a family of four (and all their stuff) into. And traipsing around Manhattan on little legs can be quite tiring. When planning a trip to New York, consider where you’ll be spending the most amount of time, and look for lodging close by.
We found Midtown to be the easiest area of New York if you’re traveling with kids — the attractions and decent food options are mere steps away. There are plenty of “deli” restaurants that usually have a buffet set up where kids can pick and choose what they fancy at (mostly) reasonable prices.
Probably the best family hotel in New York we stayed in was the Best Western Holiday House on East 49th St. All the rooms are spacious one- and two-bedroom apartments, with full kitchens. Plus, breakfast is included in your stay. The only trouble with staying here is that your “move to New York” fantasies might start raging out of control. Especially if your kids loved it as much as mine did. Time to work harder!
Back to New York Destination Page…