Since my sister lives in New York, we’re lucky enough to be able to visit the city often. There is soooo much to see in both Manhattan and Brooklyn that it’s difficult to fit everything in! The last time we took the kids, they were very young and don’t remember anything. This time, we set out to make it a very memorable time. We went everywhere, searching for kid friendly New York City. Something a little different from our usual travels.
Most people think that navigating New York with kids is pretty difficult. I found the opposite to be true. The subway system of New York is so extensive that you can get anywhere without a car or taxi. Granted, we had kids ages ten, seven and five, so we did not have to deal with strollers. However, the people we saw with strollers had no problem dealing with the stairs with the help of well-meaning strangers. People are, overall, very helpful. Bonus, kids find the subway fascinating. The noise, the people watching, the break dancers and musicians in subway stations – they all make for great entertainment. Every family visiting New York needs to do a little subway riding. Try to fit Grand Central Station in the plans.
Our first plan was to see Times Square and Rockefeller Center. Unfortunately it was the weekend, so nothing was happening at NBC or the Today Show set. The ice skating at Rockefeller Plaza was in full swing, but a word of warning. If you have your heart set on skating, get there early and plan for a wait. The ticket booth opens at 8:30am, so get there early. Alternatively, you can buy a package such as Breakfast and Skate, Afternoon Tea and Skate or Skating and Lunch Package. Buy these packages online.
Watching the Today Show live is a thrill for kids. The Plaza for watching is at 48th St., between 5th and 6th Avenue. The show starts at 7am, so arriving early to check in and get a good spot is advisable. Bonus if you go on a Friday for the outdoor concerts. It’s really a blast. My sister and I went years ago and met all the anchors. A perfect, kid friendly New York City thing to do on a Friday.
An absolute must see with kids is Times Square. It’s just so much to see. People everywhere, cars honking their horns, neon lights, people dressed up. It’s absolute craziness and Max remarked it looked like Tokyo (he’s never been to Tokyo). After taking in the sights of Times Square, we hopped over to Juniors, just a short walk away, for some lunch and cheesecake. The best cheesecake in the city.
Next stop – Central Park. No trip to New York in complete without a stroll through Central Park. A family could spent an entire day here, having lunch at the Loab Boat House and playing with the motorized boats in the pond. A short walk away, there’s a huge fountain that is a great home base for people watching. And no matter where you end up, you are sure to see some great entertainment. We were lucky enough to see a group of fantastic break dancers who were truly amazing. One of the dancers was able to leap over a group of 5 grown men – who were standing up!
Because our kids weren’t full after eating enormous amounts of food in Juniors, we decided to take a quick taxi over to Serendipity 3, a New York institution. Where we learned our lesson. That lesson being make reservations. We knew it would be crowded, but it was crowded. If visiting Serendipity is important to your kids, make reservations for lunch. They don’t take reservations for desert and the wait is totally out of control. We settled for the old stand by….Dylan’s Candy Bar. The kids have now been to Dylan’s Candy Bar in Chicago, Telluride and New York. Luckily, it’s not in Denver yet!
This was just day one! We enjoyed three more days finding kid friendly New York City, so stay tuned for Part Two! 🙂