Kid Friendly New York: Things to Do and See While Visiting the Big Apple

New York is a city that caters to everyone in the family. There are plenty of first-rate museums for curious minds, shops for those who prefer to do their cardio by visiting one store after another, and attractions that will easily fill a day’s worth of sightseeing. Should you find yourself visiting New York City with the younglings for the first time or for the umpteenth time, consider these kid friendly attractions in New York in your itinerary and you’ll end up having a fun and memorable family vacation.

Kid Friendly Attractions in New York

American Museum of Natural History

Kid Friendly Attractions in New York: American Museum of Natural History
American Museum of Natural History

A perennial favorite among kids of all ages, the American Museum of Natural History, located on the Upper West Side, thrills with incredible exhibits about the ocean, living creatures, and space. The highlights include a number of rare dinosaur fossils, huge crystals worth thousands of dollars, and a large meteorite found somewhere in Oregon. The Mammal and Fossil Halls are popular among younger kids while the Rose Center for Earth and Space appeal to younger teens. When do you visit this kid friendly New York museum, make sure you check out the special exhibitions calendar for one-of-a-kind displays.

Practical Information

Location: Central Park West and 79th Street

Nearest Subway Stops: B or C lines to 81st Street or 1 line to 79th Street

Hours of Operation: daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.

Cost: General Admission is $22 for adults, $12 for kids 12 and under and $17 for students

Shake Shack

Kid Friendly Attractions in New York: Shake Shack Burgers
Shake Shack Burgers

When I asked my nieces and nephews what they look forward to the most when visiting New York, their first response was to eat at Shake Shack. The burger empire that started as a lowly hotdog cart in Madison Square Park slowly became New Yorkers’ favorite fast food choice. The chain now features dozens of locations around the world but there’s nothing like dining at its original location, which was expanded into a permanent food kiosk. The burgers are certainly delicious and their crinkle cut French fries are the most addicting snacks since McDonald’s fries. Make sure you leave some space for their shakes though.

Practical Information

Location: Southeast corner of Madison Square Park, near Madison and 23rd St

Nearest Subway Stops: N, R, or 6 lines to 23rd Street

Hours of Operation: daily from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day

Cost: an average bill for a family of four will be around $35-40

Central Park

Kid Friendly Attractions in New York: Belvedere Castle, Central Park
Belvedere Castle, Central Park

America’s most famous park is also one of the best kid friendly attractions in New York. What’s more, it’s also one of the cheapest ones in the city. Central Park has always been the urban oasis for city dwellers and a must-see for anyone visiting New York. Children particularly enjoy running around the Great Lawn during warmer months or gliding their skates around the Wolman Rink during winter season. In addition to its recreational features, Central Park also features a zoo with penguins, a boathouse where you can rent a boat or gondola, and a miniature castle that often serves as host to a number of free family friendly events.

Practical Information

Location: Stretches over 50 blocks from 59th Street up until 110th Street and from Central Park West to 5th Avenue

Nearest Subway Stops: Main stops are located on 59th Street, 110th Street, and every 10 blocks from 72nd up to 103rd on the West Side

Hours of Operation: daily from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Cost: the park is free to the public but certain features have additional fees

Rockefeller Center

Kid Friendly Attractions in New York: Rockefeller Center Tree and Skating Rink
Rockefeller Center Tree and Skating Rink

The skating rink, flagship stores like those of Nintendo World and Lego, as well as the observation deck several meters high deemed “the Rock” are just a few of the appeals of Rockefeller Center. It is particularly popular among visitors with families during the holiday season looking for kid friendly attractions in New York, because it serves as the starting point for exploring the wonderfully decorated windows along 5th and Madison Avenues. It also serves as the home of the giant Rockefeller Plaza Christmas Tree.

Practical Information

Location: covers a few blocks from 48th to 51st Streets and Fifth to Sixth Avenues

Nearest Subway Stops: B, D, F, and M trains to Rockefeller Center

Hours of Operation: check here for detailed information on stores and tours

Cost: free with the exception of certain tours and attractions

About Iris A


Born in the Philippines, but grew up in Texas, Iris has been traveling and writing about her experiences for well over a decade. Her work has been published on well-known travel sites like Hipmunk (#hipmunkcitylove) and D Magazine Online Travel Club. She has been all over Europe, the US, and has recently started exploring Latin America. She loves trying local cuisine and visiting UNESCO deemed World Heritage sites. Her favourite city is New York, with London, following a close 2nd. You can follow her on Twitter @sundeeiris or through her travel blog, Traveling With Iris.

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