Because there are so many grown up attractions, events and opportunities for adults to have a good time in NYC, it may seem like the city that never sleeps is not a good fit for kids. Au contraire, New York facilitates just as much kid-friendly fun. Getting around is easy even for your short-legged progeny, due to the network of public transportation available 24/7.
FAMILY FRIENDLY IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER
Probably the pinnacle of kid friendly places in New York is FAO Schwartz, the Ferrari of toy stores. This NYC landmark, made famous by Tom Hanks in Big, boasts plenty of hands-on experience with cutting edge and vintage games and toys, from Lego to magic tricks to the supersized piano you must play with your entire body. Every nook and cranny at FAO Schwartz entertains, with displays, demonstrations, and photo opportunities. Visiting and playing is free, though you will probably be tempted to take something with you.
For a kid who’s into video games (and these days, that’s most of them!), there is probably no better fun place than the Nintendo World Store in midtown. They have games and memorabilia for sale, and the Pokémon section alone takes up half of the bottom floor. You don’t have to make a purchase, however; you can play DS or Wii for free, or head to an upper floor for a retrospective of Nintendo’s history, including Mario, Kirby, and Zelda.
Don’t feel like you need to schlep your kids to a museum… you might want to reconsider because both the Children’s Museum of the Arts and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan are anything but boring. CMoA is appropriate for even the smallest tykes, with art by kids just like yours. Every component is interactive and educational. CMoM’s five floors of exhibits are just as interactive, allowing kids to explore, pretend, and enjoy themselves. You’ll love either one just as much as the children do!
At Books of Wonder, the most enormous kids’ bookstore you can find, you’ll find treasured classics and new trends side-by-side. Industrious readers of any age will quickly lose themselves in the pages and pages at their fingertips, and even kids who are too young to piece the letters together will be enthralled by the prominent, vibrant artwork straight out of their favorites stories. If you are traveling to NYC on a Sunday and are looking for things to do with the kids, sign up for Sunday story time and snuggle up with the kids while listening to a book.
For the active, sporty kid, head to Chelsea Piers sports complex for rock climbing, skating, bowling, batting cages and golf. Or, head out to Brooklyn and tire out your young adventurers at BounceU, who specialize in safe bouncy castles, slides, and more. If your kids are little and more musically inclined, Brooklyn is home to Do-Re-Mi Play, whose hour long workshops teach kids about music, encouraging singing, laughing, dancing, playing instruments, and self-expression.
WHERE KIDS CAN EAT, REST & HAVE FUN
If you’re coming to the city and you’re looking for a family friendly hotel, there are at least two superb options. Le Parker Meridien NYC in Midtown is close to everything, and offers useful amenities for parents on the go, but this 4 star also plays cartoons in the elevators. Their lobby is home to the Burger Joint, whose burgers and fries will leave any kid sated. Another hotel where the rooms are kid-friendly is the Loews Regency, where they have a children’s concierge named Kaptain Kidz. Plus, if you dine in their restaurant, they serve complementary cookies for dessert after lunch.
If you want to desert elsewhere, indulge your sweet tooth with frozen goodies at Serendipity 3 or the magical Dylan’s Candy Bar. To grab some more substantial grub, go to the Shake Shack in the theater district. It’s worth getting in the (long!) line for, with burgers, hot dogs, nuggets and fries, ranging from simple to extravagant. Their fresh, high quality ingredients make it a favorite of kids and parents alike. There’s also Peanut Butter & Co., whose entire menu is dedicated to the young peanut butter lover within us all. This inexpensive sandwich shop has the old standbys like peanut butter and jelly, or marshmallow fluff, or bananas, and loves to innovate on the classics by incorporating bacon, cinnamon, or chocolate. They even cut off the crusts to order!
A KID FRIENDLY RIDE OF A LIFETIME
The best way to introduce your kid to some of the most iconic sights and sounds of New York, starting at Madame Tussaud’s in Times Square, take a ride on THE RIDE. The participatory, inventive, hilarious, and beautiful tour bus will give your children a one-of-a-kind primer to Columbus Circle. The seats face sideways and the ceiling is a huge window, allowing clear views of skyscrapers and neon ballerinas. We offer special family ticket rates, so the next time you are looking for fun things to do in New York City, come experience THE RIDE with your kids.