Taking kids on vacation, especially to a large city like New York, can feel daunting. The energy and crowds of some of the NYC’s most iconic areas are enough to startle even the most confident of travelers. At the same time, there are plenty of attractions that cater to families, so travelers with kids can get the most out of their stay in the city. Here, we break down the best things to do with kids in New York, from stellar toy stores to interstellar exhibits.
Bryant Park offers a host of kid-friendly activities throughout the year, including story time, puppet shows, a reading room, jugglers, and magic shows. In the winters, the park transforms into a skating rink, so you can find an activity to entertain your little one year-round.
Adults—thanks to Tom Hanks’s famous scene in Big—and children alike love this legendary toy store, which recently reopened a 20,000 square foot flagship at 30 Rock. Don’t worry, they kept the giant, interactive keyboard for your dancing and stomping pleasure.
American Museum of Natural History
A perennial favorite, the American Museum of Natural History across from Central Park on the Upper West Side inspires imaginations to wander. Dinosaurs, faraway galaxies, whales and butterflies: it opens the universe to exploration through a series of expertly-curated exhibitions.
The Vessel at Hudson Yards
The Vessel, New York’s newest, largest, and shiniest piece of public art, is mesmerizing no matter how old you are. The interweaving, honeycomb spiral of a staircase appears to float against the NYC skyline, and makes for an engrossing hour of exploration. Timed tickets are free, but must be booked two weeks in advance.
The High Line
When walking the High Line with kids, we recommend starting at 34th Street (right by the Vessel), and making your way down to the Meatpacking District. Taking this route, you’ll encounter bright and cheery murals, water features, and all sorts of things to balance and climb on.
Central Park Zoo
The massive park is great on its own, but your little ones will particularly enjoy the zoo. With a sea lion pool, grizzly bear overlook, polar circle and tropical rainforest, you can visit microclimates from around the world in just 6.5 acres in the middle of NYC.