Earlier this year, Sherine a mother of one and a member of Kensington Mums community, travelled to New York City for two weeks on a work/leisure trip together with her 15-month old son. She shares with us what they saw and did during their stay as a family of three.
We stayed in Manhattan which was a plus since we could walk to almost anywhere. To my surprise, although I love Manhattan, it is not such a child friendly city if you compare it to London. Playgrounds are not so many. Some restaurants had kids’ menu, high chairs but not a baby changing facility. Kids’ menus lacked some basic ingredients, such as vegetables and non-salty foods. Kids under 12 are not welcomed in some art galleries. Apart from these inconveniences, we still had a great time overall. So here is a list of what we think are the best places/activities in NYC.
Book a guided tour around Manhattan. This was a good activity to start with because we covered many landmarks within the city in a few hours. Later we went to specific places where we wanted to spend more time. Our little one was enjoying his time on the bus (to our luck). Make sure there are frequent stops on the tour, so you can go for bathroom/nappy changing breaks.
Spend some time at the pier at the river.If it is sunny, it is a nice to be out by the East and Hudson Rivers. There are a couple of restaurants and cafes around. You can also take a boat tour to see the Statue of Liberty (this was also included in our City Tour). From there (and if you enjoy long walks) you can go to China Town and the Lower East Side.
Key landmarks to visit
We booked one of the all-inclusive tickets and so we ended up saving more than if we booked each place on its own. We highly recommend you do the same.
- Empire States Building: New York is nice to explore from with all the high skyscrapers and unique buildings, so the Empire State building is good idea on a sunny day.
- We also took a tour at Radio City Hall: an Art Deco gem and they accommodate for babies in push chairs.
- We visited The NBC Studios Tour, although I must say it was not as baby friendly and as enjoyable as the Radio City Tour and we had to carry our little one throughout the whole tour.
- There is also The United Nations Building where you can go on a tour (this might be interesting for families with older children).
- If you are into famous historical hotels, walk into the Plaza Hotel and have a look at the famous hotel where some movies were filmed. There is also the Waldorf Astoria (currently under renovation) and the Lotte New York Palace.
Museums and Galleries
Check out The Metropolitan Museum of Art the New York equivalent of the British Museum in London. We were lucky to also see the latest MET Gala special exhibition which is still on display until October. If you are fan of Gustav Klimt or watched the movie “The Woman in Gold” then go and check out The Neue Gallery which exhibits Austrian and German art of the early 1930s and 1940s. Although they don’t really welcome children below 12 years old within the gallery, we took one ticket and went in turn (while one of us waited with the baby in the café that offers delicious Viennese food and pastry).
Some fun outdoor activities
- The Central Park is an NYC must see. There are also some historical sights inside such as Cleopatra’s Needle and a Tribute stone to John Lennon. There is also a Zoo, a lake and a model sailing boats for kids.
- Maddison Square Garden is a wonderful oasis in the middle of the buzzing Manhattan and there is a nice playground there. Also, a cool food market nearby (there are not so many around!).
- Manhattan High Line Walk: this is a scenic public park across Manhattan on a historical freight rail line that stretches between the Meat Packing District and West 34th Street.
- Walk around Rockefeller Centre. There are a number of famous buildings, shops and cafes, where you can have some refreshments in front of the famous Prometheus fountain.
- Visit the famous Times Square during the evening and get to see all the wonderful and colorful advertising boards.
- Walk through the Village for coffee or breakfast. It has a different air than the rest of Manhattan. It is cozy with smaller buildings and plenty of cafes and restaurants.
Last but not least NYC has a diversity of cuisines. It all depends on your preferences and diet but here are a few tips on some authentic NYC food:
- Don’t miss eating PIZZA in Brooklyn. It has some of the original Italian Pizza places such as Juliana’s Pizza (delicious and worth the trip and the long queue).
- Hot Dogs and Ruben Sandwiches are very popular in NYC. There are some authentic and original delis such as the iconic Katz’s Delicatessen.
- If you are by the Chelsea Market go for some Clam Chowder and fresh sea food.
- NYC is also famous for steak houses and there are a number of good restaurants around the city.
Whatever you do, enjoy time with your little ones as they are only little for a short while. Read more of our travel reviews here.