Visitors Guide To New York City For Families

Visitors Guide To New York City For Families
Visitors Guide To New York City For Families

Beyond the Skyscrapers – Unforgettable Adventures for All Ages!

The concrete jungle might seem intimidating for a family vacation, but fear not!  New York City is a vibrant tapestry woven with experiences that cater to all ages.  Beyond the towering skyscrapers and bustling streets lies a treasure trove of interactive museums, sprawling parks perfect for picnics, and unique activities that will spark imaginations and create lasting memories. This guide will be your compass, navigating you through iconic landmarks, hidden gems, and family-friendly entertainment options to craft the perfect NYC adventure for your crew.

Here are some of the best places to visit in New York with kids

American Museum of Natural History – This world-famous museum is a must-visit for families exploring NYC. Kids will be captivated by the dinosaur halls, the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, and the Hall of Human Origins. Don’t miss the special exhibits that rotate throughout the year for added excitement.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan – This museum is designed specifically for children aged 0-14. It has a wide variety of exhibits that encourage hands-on learning, such as the Climbatorium, the TotSpot, and the Adventure Roof.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum – This museum is an excellent choice for young children, featuring exhibits covering a range of topics such as art, science, and history. Additionally, it boasts a rooftop playspace offering stunning views of Brooklyn.

Bronx Zoo – One of the largest urban zoos in the world, the Bronx Zoo is home to over 4,000 animals representing more than 650 species. Kids will be thrilled to encounter everything from Big Cats to giraffes and penguins. There are also special exhibits and programs throughout the year.

New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) – The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) spans 250 acres in the Bronx and offers a diverse range of gardens to explore, such as a rainforest, a children’s garden, and a rose garden. Throughout the year, visitors can enjoy special events and exhibitions hosted at the garden.

Clockwise from left to right: American Museum of Natural History. Photo by Alvaro Keding; Children's Museum of Manhattan. Photo by: Museum of Manhattan; New York Botanical Garden. Photo by New York Botanical Garden; and Bronx Zoo. Photo by NYC Tourism
Clockwise from left to right: American Museum of Natural History. Photo by Alvaro Keding; Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Photo by: Museum of Manhattan; New York Botanical Garden. Photo by New York Botanical Garden; and Bronx Zoo. Photo by NYC Tourism

Museum of the Moving Image – This museum is dedicated to the art, history, and technology of film, television, and digital media. With a captivating collection of artifacts, exhibits, and screenings, it promises to engage movie enthusiasts of all ages.

New York Hall of Science – This museum provides an engaging and interactive way to explore science and technology. With exhibits covering diverse topics such as space, the human body, and the environment, visitors can learn in a fun and educational environment. Additionally, the museum features a spacious outdoor science playground for added exploration and enjoyment

Bryant Park – Located in Midtown Manhattan, Bryant Park offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Visitors can unwind and enjoy amenities such as a carousel, playground, and a free movie screen during the summer months. From November to March, the park transforms with an enchanting ice-skating rink, serving as the focal point of Bryant Park’s winter festivities, which also feature the annual Holiday Shops and Winter Village.

Central Park – A visit to New York City wouldn’t be complete without experiencing Central Park. This expansive park has something for everyone, including playgrounds, gardens, a zoo, and a carousel. Kids especially enjoy renting rowboats or taking a ride on the Central Park Conservancy Carousel.

Staten Island Ferry – This scenic five-mile, 25-minute ferry ride provides stunning views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Lower Manhattan skyline, and New York Harbor—and best of all, it’s free. The ferry offers indoor and outdoor seating across multiple levels, along with a convenient snack bar. Upon arrival at Staten Island’s Saint George Terminal, you can reboard the same boat for a return trip to Manhattan.

Clockwise from left to right: The Lion King on Broadway ©Disney. Photo by Matthew Murphy; Central Park and Staten Island Ferry. Photo by: Christopher Postlewaite; New York Botanical Garden. Photo by New York Botanical Garden; and Governor's Island. Photo by Julienne Schaer and NYC Tourism
Clockwise from left to right: The Lion King on Broadway ©Disney. Photo by Matthew Murphy; Central Park and Staten Island Ferry. Photo by: Christopher Postlewaite; New York Botanical Garden. Photo by New York Botanical Garden; and Governor’s Island. Photo by Julienne Schaer and NYC Tourism

Governor’s Island – Located just a five-minute ferry ride from Manhattan, this 172-acre island, once a military base, remains a hidden gem for most visitors. New Yorkers adore its stunning views and family-friendly activities, including biking, hiking, picnicking, and exploring historic sites. You can reach the island by ferry from Lower Manhattan or Brooklyn.

Broadway: Broadway is home to some of the most famous and acclaimed musicals and plays in the world. If you’re looking for a truly unique experience, consider taking your kids to see a Broadway show. There are often kid-friendly shows playing, or you can choose a classic like The Lion King or Aladdin.

Radio City Music Hall – This iconic venue is a must-visit for dance and music enthusiasts. The Rockettes, a beloved New York City tradition, dazzle audiences with their renowned Christmas Spectacular, a cherished holiday attraction.

Pro Tip

Consider getting a CityPASS – This pass offers discounted admission to several of NYC’s top attractions, such as the Empire State Building, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Family-Friendly Restaurant in NYC

New York City is a culinary paradise, offering a dynamic and diverse array of dining options. Mealtime becomes a delightful adventure for kids, with opportunities to explore dumplings, sushi, steaks, bibimbap, and an array of other delicious cuisines. Navigate this exciting culinary landscape with a map to discover the city’s best dining experiences.

We’ve put together a list of kid-friendly (and parent-approved) restaurants.

Al Badawi
Cuisine: Palestinian, Middle Eastern

If you’re departing from Brooklyn Bridge Park or returning on the ferry from Governors Island, make your way to Al Badawi—a lively destination ideal for energetic kids. Their menu features an array of flatbreads (reminiscent of Middle Eastern pizzas), flavorful layered rice dishes (offering chicken, lamb, or beef with carrots, peas, and herbs), shawarma, falafel, and a variety of kebabs, available in individual or family-sized portions.

Address: 51 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn (also located on Upper East Side, Manhattan)

Colima Taqueria
Cuisine: Mexican

A locally owned eatery in the neighborhood serves exceptionally tasty Mexican street food. Their overstuffed burritos are grilled to perfection, ensuring they’re served piping hot and crispy with plenty of melted cheese. Colima is also renowned for its fantastic tacos—birria, al pastor, carne asada—but the highlight is their quesatacos: hot, crispy, skillet-fried tacos filled with cheese and delicious toppings.

Address: 608 E. 187th St., Belmont, The Bronx

Great N.Y. Noodletown
Cuisine: Chinese

Great N.Y. Noodletown has been a New York City staple for more than 40 years, celebrated for its delicious Cantonese cuisine. Must-try dishes include the soy sauce chicken with ginger garlic sauce, sautéed pea shoots, a hearty bowl of wonton soup, and any of the flavorful salt-baked seafood options like squid with flowering chives and seafood pan-fried noodles.

Address: 28 Bowery, Chinatown, Manhattan

Boon Dee Moo Ka Ta
Cuisine: Thai

Photo by Boon Dee Moo Ka Ta and NYCTourism

Boon Dee Moo Ka Ta is a beloved spot in Queens known for its all-you-can-eat Thai barbecue and hot pots experience. The interactive dining adventure begins at the buffet. Choose your protein from options like marinated shrimp, pork, beef, and squid; then select your add-ons such as noodles, vegetables, and eggs. Don’t forget to grab a few appetizers to nibble on like crab rangoon, gyoza, and shrimp rolls, and explore a range of sauces from sweet to spicy to complement your meal.

Address: 168-11 Union Turnpike, Fresh Meadows, Queens

Cuisine: Eclectic

In 1993, Dee Arabian, a native of Forest Hills, launched his wood-fired pizza joint on Metropolitan Avenue—a cozy hub for hand-tossed pizzas and great camaraderie. Throughout the years, Arabian has steadily grown the establishment and diversified the menu, introducing barbecue wings, iron-skillet meatballs, mac and cheese fritters (!), alongside a selection of pastas, salads, and steak dishes.

Address: 107-23 Metropolitan Ave., Forest Hills, Queens

Gus’s Chop House
Cuisine: Steakhouse

Gus’s Chop House
Photo by Gus’s Chop House and NYCTourism

At this family frienly steakhouse, select from a delightful range of meat cuts such as porterhouse, hanger, and rib eye, complemented by vegetable-centric sides like cabbage with black garlic tahini topped with peanut dukkah, and Comté-creamed spinach. For the younger guests, the giant juicy burger is sure to satisfy, and occasional specials like a house-made sausage roll with grainy mustard add variety. Alternatively, you can request an off-menu grilled cheese—a perfect choice for younger diners.

Address: 215 Union St., Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

Cuisine: Korean

If your kids are obsessed with Mean Girls, sing K-pop in their sleep, or proudly wear Swiftie bracelets, they’ll absolutely adore the karaoke experience at Korean restaurant Insa. Alongside incredible banchan (snacks that could be a meal on their own), Chef Kim and her team serve up fabulous mains at Insa, including DIY barbecue, fried pork cutlets, and double-fried broccoli with a delectable sweet garlic soy sauce.

Address: 328 Douglass St., Gowanus, Brooklyn

J’s on the Bay
Cuisine: American, Continental

Since 2014, Chef-owner Joe Salimeni has been leading the neighborhood diner J’s on the Bay, transforming it into a beloved family spot with a touch of sophistication. The menu is welcoming, featuring burgers, pizzas, pastas, and steaks for dinner, and classic eggs and hotcakes for brunch. It’s the perfect stop after visiting the nearby Alice Austen House or Fort Wadsworth, and conveniently accessible via an easy bus ride from the terminal for the free and enjoyable Staten Island Ferry.

Address: 1189 Bay St., Rosebank, Staten Island

Cuisine: Italian 

Mario’s is a historic restaurant in the Bronx neighborhood, boasting over a century of tradition. Dive into their exquisite antipasti featuring burrata and prosciutto, fried calamari, and spiedini. Indulge in generous servings of pasta available in a variety of preparations, along with an extensive selection of francese, marsala, and parmigiana dishes that cater to every palate.

Address: 2342 Arthur Ave., Belmont, The Bronx

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