It’s one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and the second largest city in North America. But I’ll bet New York is probably not the first place that comes to mind when planning a family vacation.
One of Have Baby Will Travel‘s very first articles was submitted by a colleague who traveled to Manhattan with her toddler and had a fabulous time. So, it was always top of mind to bring my kids there.
I like to think of my previous visits to the city that never sleeps (the ones where I actually didn’t sleep by choice) as research for our family getaway to New York City.
We had a blast!
Where to Stay in New York City with Kids…
New York City hotel rooms are notoriously small, but there are lots and lots of amazing and affordable cheap hotels and other accommodation options that are totally suitable for families. Even big families! We stayed at two hotels, the Best Western Hospitality House, and The Westin Hotel Grand Central Station. These are very different properties that are similarly priced and fairly near to each other. And all the action!
By visiting New York City in late fall we could take advantage of still-tolerable weather and the kick-off of the holiday season.
What to Do in New York City with Kids…
We don’t have a limitless budget, but there are lots of fun and free (or cheap) things to do in New York City with kids. We all had one “must-do” and we built our itinerary from there.
Touristy New York City Family Wish List
In spite of not being able to count the number of times we’ve visited, my husband and I had never seen the Statue of Liberty, so that was on the list. I was so excited to skate in Rockefeller Plaza. I envisioned myself twirling around in a jaunty scarf and chic hat, of course.
My daughter wanted to visit American Girl (natch), and my son wanted to hit the crazy toy stores he heard so much about. As a family, we all looked forward to visiting the Empire State Building (as seen in Elf), and just hanging out and playing in Central Park.
Of course we planned a teensy bit of culture. We couldn’t decide between the Museum of Natural History and The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. It was a tight race but being big fans of the Night at the Museum movies, take a guess which one won 🙂
Getting to New York City…
And for something new, we drove to New York from Toronto. Although there are lots of cheap flights to New York from Toronto, when there’s four of you flying it can quickly add up. The cost can seem quite prohibitive for just an extra long weekend. By driving (around a 9-hour trip) and parking our car in a garage, it’s about one quarter of the cost of airfare.
I hope to use any extra money for another trip.
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- Visiting New York City with a Toddler
- New York City Attractions for Families
- Getting Around New York City with Kids
- 5 Tips for Visiting New York with Children
- 5 More Tips for Visiting New York with Children
- Best New York Hotels for Families with Babies and Toddlers
- Best Hotels for Big Families in New York City