This story originally appeared on Palm Beach Moms—thank you to our sister site for sharing this amazing guide to NYC!
Where to sleep:
The Plaza – Sleep in a piece of history; built in 1907, it has lost none of its original luster. If you really want to indulge, book the Eloise suite, decorated by Betsy Johnson in floor to ceiling Eloise style.
Four Seasons – Kids are welcomed with complimentary coloring books, toys, movies, robes and slippers just for them, and more. Cribs, rollaways, bed rails, baby monitors, high chairs, Diaper Genies, bottle warmers, strollers, and a concierge that can arrange childcare and more make this a perfect family fit.
Lotte New York Palace — The Little Royals package is perfect for your prince or princess, complete with princess dress or knight costume to take home. Tiny bathrobes and slippers welcome tiny travelers. Another kid-friendly package for your American Girl fans includes a doll bed. Babysitting services can be arranged, too. The two room suite is very comfortable.
Lowes Regency New York – Great location and recently complexity remodeled. The Loews Loves Kids and Teens programs are a welcome benefit to traveling families. The concierge can arrange for child proofing, babysitters and more.
TRYP Hotel – Popular with families for the bunk rooms that can accommodate up to eight people.
Where to eat:
Tea with Eloise at the Plaza – you can either enjoy the formal tea experience upstairs in Palm Court with the special Eloise menu or check their calendar for special events downstairs (the pink room in the last photo).
Ellens Star Dust Diner – What a special place. All of the employees are broadway stars in the making. You will enjoy life performances throughout your entire meal. Aladdin, Moana, Brown eyed girl.. all kids of fun songs. You tip your waiter on your diner style food, and there is a collection taken up that is used for acting, voice, and dance classes for the staff. Last year they graduated 17 staff to Broadway. How cool is that? NO RESERVATIONS WALK IN ONLY and the line can be long. We went right after the Wednesday Matinee and only waited about 10 minutes, but when we left the line was around the block. It is quite loud if you have anyone sensitive to that.
Serafina – 11 fabulous locations throughout the city to enjoy casual Italian fare. Coloring books and kids menu.
Eataly – locations in Flatiron and Downtown with everything Italian from a market, to gelato, casual dining or more formal. The downtown location overlooks the 9/11 memorial. If your kids are ready to have an intro chat into that hard topic this would be a comfortable space to do that. (In our opinion the 9/11 museum is for much older kids who have been prepped for the visit. Even as an adult I found it hard to go through and quite upsetting.)
Alices Tea Cup Talk about a warm welcome – you will be greeted with fair wings and pixie dust before enjoying a yummy breakfast. Locations on the upper east and upper west sides.
Serendipity and Black Tap for desserts that you will remember!
The View Restaurant at Marriott Marquis. 360* turn every half hour – the city’s only rotating rooftop. Views are amazing! Prefix menu so make sure there is something the kids will enjoy. Fun for the first night to get orientated or the last night to see where you have been. Reservations reccomended.
Where to play:
- Central Park Zoo (10% off tickets with code SAVECPZ) is a wonderful way to spend half a day. Even a drizzly day can be fun as much of the zoo is covered.
- Central Park – so much to see and do! A pedi cab ride is a fun overview. We love to grab breakfast from Bouchon at Columbus Square or Alices Tea with locations on upper east or west and then walk into the park find a place to park ourselves and play. Chasing and feeding pigeons and enjoying impromptu performances are favorite activities. In addition to the zoo there are over 20 playgrounds, a carousel, statue of Mice and Wonderland, Victoria Gardens Amusement Park (small with easy gentle rides perfect for the younger set), rocks to climb, street performers and more.
- American Museum of Natural History – is perfect for a rainy day… or days. There is so much to see. And if you have a dinosaur fan it is a MUST. Download the app and buy your tickets ahead of time to save time at the door and now what exhibits will interest your crew. Make sure to watch Night at the Museum before you go!
- Broadway – Aladdin, Frozen, Lion King, Harry Potter (this is a long one!) and many other great family friendly shows are available.
- Pip’s Island – This was my kids(ages 3, 5 and 8) FAVORITE thing we did in the city. They were literally begging to go back as soon as we were done. The show just opened and there were limited reviews so I was hesitant to spend the money to try something out. WOW am I glad we did. The kids are the star of this 1 hour interactive show. They all work together to solve a problem and even a shy kid will get caught up in the musical fun. They will be adding an adults only show with toddies, seasonal shows, and will change up the show to give you reasons to return. (No photos are permitted so these are stock photos)
- Statue of liberty Ok. I love love love America. We are so lucky to live in a land and time of freedom… that being said… I did not love the experience of taking the ferry to the Statue of liberty. Lots of lines, lots of waiting, then more lines and more waiting. I would rather have enjoyed reading our books (great ones below) about it, seeing it from Manhatten, and taking this full moon cruise if your timing coincides.
Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum – is a fun history lesson. They offer amazing hands on summer programming and fun events like outdoor movies.
Other points of interest: Childrens Museum of Manhattan . The Highline Park and Walking Path . Brooklyn Bridge (Pedestrian & Bike Promenade). American Girl (they have fun events so check to see if you want to make reservations for anything). FAO Schwartz. Color Factory. Hudson Yard is good for an indoor day of discovery and shopping. Top of the rock.
Depending what attractions appeal to you – consider a CityPass allowing you access to 6 attractions for one low price.
There is a bar in the Carlyle that was painted by Bemelmanswho had achieved enormous success with the Madeline children’s books series. He transformed the bar with whimsical scenes of Central Park that included picnicking rabbits and ice skating elephants in his signature style. Rather than be paid for his art, Bemelmans exchanged his work for a year and a half of accommodations at The Carlyle for himself and his family. Perfect little spot for a tea if you have a Madeline fan.
Uber/Lyft are options.
Taxis- We found taxis more reliable, knowledgable and better prices. Uber has surge pricing during rush hour and in inclement weather – plus we had some drivers that didn’t know the best way to get here or there. Plus, what is a trip to NYC without some time in the back of a yellow cab chatting with your driver. Get to a corner in the direction you want to head and keep that hand up until your taxi pulls up to the curb.
Subway – Great option during busy times. It is part of the experience of NYC in my opinion. Easier without a stroller but doable with. Google and apple maps show you what routes to take.
What to pack:
Packing as a mom is a mix of practical, packable, and looking and feeling good. We love pieces that can be layered or do double duty.
- JetKids BedBox or kids carry bag on with iPad, reusable water bottle, snacks, toys, a NY age appropriate book (list below), NY coloring book and colored pencils. The JetKids was a toy in itself because the kiddos scoot along. Then after takeoff they transform the kids seats into a first class style lounger. Two of our kids fell asleep on the flight and I didn’t even know what to do with myself – read a book? watch a free JetBlue movie? Maybe all that scooting wore them out.
- Backpack for you as a carry on with your reusable water bottle.
- Comfy shoes and socks
- Day to night outfits
- Sunglasses. that is our fave kids brand of polarized shades
- Rain Jacket weather determining – your hotel likely has umbrellas for your use so check before packing one.
- Light sweater, vest or jacket
- Rain boots and rain jacket weather determining
- Stroller and or carrier (like Ergo baby, etc).
- I love putting these bracelets on my kids when we travel. (photo below)
- Paravel travel cubes make packing and unpacking at your destination easy and organized. Two of my favorite things.
Before you go:
Music to get you pumped up: Welcome to New York by Taylor Swift, New York New York by Frank Sinatra. “New York” – Ed Sheeran, New York State of Mind” – Billy Joel, Autumn In New York” – Billie Holiday
Movies: Night at the Museum, Home Alone 2, The Muppets Take Manhattan, An American Tail, Big, Superman, Annie, Fame
Books: – Check your library or shop from these links on Amazon. We love learning about places before the visit – it makes the trip that much more meaning full and memorable.
This is New York by Miroslav Sasek
Eloise at the Plaza by Kay Thompson
You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman
Dodsworth in New York by Tim Egan Dodsworth
Mission New York: A Scavenger Hunt for Kids by Catherine Aragon (Great for Teens – a REAL scavenger hunt!)
L is for Liberty by Wendy Cheyette Lewison
You Wouldn’t Want to be a Worker on the Statue of Liberty: A Monument You’d Rather Not Build by John Malam
New York for Kids: 25 Big Apple Sites to Color by Patricia J. Wynne Dover – Historically and culturally accurate coloring book filled with fun (and a little learning snuck in too!)