The Big Apple is such a sprawling metropolis that there seems to be something to suit almost any individual whim or interest. Visiting New York with your children presents the opportunity for your entire family to make memories that you’ll treasure for a lifetime, which can make it an ideal vacation destination. Though the reasons to travel to New York City are as varied as the local culture, here are ten of the things that make New York a great place to vacation with your little ones.
- Books of Wonder (New York, New York 10011) – Specializing in children’s books, both new releases and rare, out of print specialty items, Books of Wonder is paradise for young book worms. Be prepared to spend the better part of an afternoon wandering the stacks and watching little ones’ eye light up, and keep an eye out for special events and appearances hosted by the store.
- Wollman Rink (New York, NY 10021) – If you’re visiting the Big Apple during the colder months, a trip to Wollman Rink is a must. The iconic image of ice skating in Central Park is one that both you and your children will carry for the rest of your lives, even if you’re less than skilled skaters.
- Chelsea Piers Toddler Adventure Center (New York, NY 10011) – For active play in cooler temperatures, the Chelsea Piers Toddler Adventure Center is an ideal stop when you have little ones in tow. Featuring kid-favorites like a ball pit, trampoline, miniature rock-climbing wall and an obstacle course, this spot is great for burning excess energy.
- The Swedish Cottage (New York, NY 10001) – The rich history of the Swedish Cottage, which was constructed in Sweden in 1875 and moved to Central Park two years later, includes housing the Civil Defense headquarters during World War II and an entomological laboratory. Since 1947, however, the Swedish Cottage has been the home of a renowned marionette theater, beloved by children for decades.
- Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York, NY 10128) – Programs at the world-renowned Solomon R. Guggenheim museum include those directed at young children, tweens and teens. Events change periodically, so be sure to keep an eye on the schedule in the weeks leading up to your trip.
- Wild West Playground (New York, NY 10001) – The wooden play structures of this famed playground within Central Park are reminiscent of a Wild West-era frontier town, incorporating traditional structures alongside sprinklers and an amphitheater setting that allows you to keep a close eye on your kids as they explore their own corner of the Park.
- Alice’s Tea Cup (New York, NY 10023) – The little princesses in your family entourage are sure to be delighted by Alice’s Tea Cup, a tea room with healthy fare, boutique teas and an air of fantasy that lends itself perfectly to daydreaming and make-believe.
- Lower East Side Tenement Museum (New York, NY 10002) – A guided tour through this living history museum allows kids to understand a bit more about the immigrant culture of the United States throughout the years, including costumed actors and a walk through a garment workshop.
- American Girl Place (New York, NY 10017) – Nestled in the heart of Manhattan is a little girls’ wonderland, filled with the American Girls books, the dolls inspired by them and a host of related activities. From buying outfits to match those of their favorite doll and enjoying a meal in the dining area, there’s no shortage of delight to be found here. Be sure, however, that you make reservations, as seating in the dining room and theater tend to fill quickly.
- Brooklyn Botanic Garden (Brooklyn, NY 11225) – Fifty-two acres of rolling hills, ponds and thousands of plants create a natural oasis in the middle of one of the world’s most bustling cities. While kids may not be overly impressed with more than a thousand varieties of roses, they’re sure to be enchanted with the Japanese gardens and the C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum.
From the legendary shows of Broadway to the staggering sights of Times Square, there’s no shortage of awe-inspiring landmarks and attractions in New York City. While your surroundings in the Big Apple can be quite dazzling, it’s wise to keep in mind that seeing everything on your list may not be possible. Rather than packing your itinerary too tightly, try to choose the most important attractions and take all the time you need to enjoy them.