How to Spend a Day in New York City with Kids

November 4, 2019

If you're looking to take a bite out of the Big Apple with your kids, you've made a smart decision.

This city is teeming with things to do for kids of all ages. In fact, no matter what time of year you visit New York City with kids, you're sure to have a good time.  From unique places to eat to one-of-a-kind attractions, you're sure to find activities that are fun for kids and parents. Use our guide on how to spend a day in New York City with kids to get an idea of how to plan your time in this bustling city.



Any parent knows kids can be picky eaters. As a result, finding the perfect place to dine can be tricky when traveling as a family. That's why we recommend Norma's. This popular family restaurant is known for its artistic and exotic presentation of breakfast foods. Moreover, the food is really good!

Rise and shine with a breakfast of eggs benedict, always cooked to perfection or Waz-Za waffles that run over with fresh fruit and delicious yogurt at Norma’s. Plus, with a location at 118 W. 57th Street in LeParker Meridien Hotel, this restaurant is less than two miles from historic Central Park. So, you can easily grab a bite to eat then hop on over to this a family-favorite attraction.  You'll have all kinds of fun in this 843-acre historic park. Explore gorgeous gardens, unique fountains, and bridges, hundreds of paths, miles of hiking and biking trails along lakes and ponds, classical architecture, and educational opportunities. You can even rent a boat in Central Park for a unique, memory-making activity.

Likewise, nothing beats the zoo for some enjoyable family fun! Everyone will get a thrill at the Central Park Zoo and Wildlife Center. Located in the heart of the park, you'll see over 150 different critters from all over the world and 1,400 animals including a rare red panda, polar bears, sea lions, snow leopard, and harbor seals.

Don't forget to check out Central Park’s model boat pond (officially called the Conservatory Waters). Bordered by the Alice in Wonderland and Hans Christian Anderson statues, it's located among some of the most beautiful landscapes. On warm summer days, the pond is filled with boats of all shapes and sizes, and you can rent boats to sail yourself. New to sailing? Learn the basics of sailing with remote-controlled sailboats.

Did you know there's also a castle at Central Park? Any princess-to-be or knight-in-training will enjoy seeing this New York City gem. From the balcony of Belvedere Castle, catch incredible views of Central Park's most beautiful and famous landmarks including Turtle Pond and The Great Lawn. Designed in 1865, the castle offers a vast collection of natural history artifacts and various free family programs including astronomy talks and storytelling. Stroll the gardens, where fountains and shaded trees create a cool urban oasis.

After you admire the castle, head for Victoria Garden's, one of the most popular family amusement parks at Wollman Skating Rink. Kids will love the passenger crop duster plane ride which offers amazing views of the city.

On a hot summer day, kids will love to take a dip in cool, clear water at Heckscher Playground Splash Par. Situated at the southwestern corner of Central Park, there's a variety of kids' activities and fantastic water play areas.  These include slides, a jungle gym and a stream that crosses over a number of hills with tunnels, ladders and a set of sprinklers.

To the west of the park, you can spot the carriage horses lined up. Your kids will be thrilled when drivers let them feed the horses carrots. Or go for a horse-drawn carriage ride.


Who doesn't love pizza? This people-please NYC staple is a sure-to-please lunch choice.

close up of pepperoni and cheese pizza at Lombardi’s Pizzeria in NYC, New York, USA

You can enjoy some of the best pizza in the city at Lombardi’s Coal Oven Pizza, located at 32 Spring Street. It's an NYC tradition since 1905, and the most well-known pizzeria in the city. Personally, their coal oven thin crust pizza is the best I’ve ever had, and I’m a pizza fanatic. This restaurant is really cozy with its old-style Italian atmosphere, checked tablecloths, and black and white pictures hanging on painted brick walls.


For afternoon fun, New York City presents several possibilities.

Children's Museum of Manhattan
Any parents with young kids will appreciate this interactive museum specifically designed for kids six and under. Exhibits here focus on making learning fun!

American Museum of Natural History
Dinosaurs tend to be the main attraction for families. However, displays such as the giant blue whale, animal dioramas, and incredible shows at the Hayden Planetarium make this NYC museum a must for families.

Statue of Liberty
If your kids are a bit older, they might appreciate the chance to visit the Statue of Liberty. The ferry ride to this iconic landmark features amazing views of Lower Manhattan. Then, once you arrive, we highly recommend climbing to the top of the crown for a truly rewarding experience. Please note--this is a highly coveted ticket so book well in advance if this is something you'd like to do!


Every kind of food imaginable can be found in New York City. There are hundreds of ethnic restaurants from Jewish to Chinatown and Little Italy. Be sure to sample some of the fresh-baked breads and rolls, seafood and corned beef—some New York treasures. Since you sampled NYC pizza earlier in the day, opt for gourmet macaroni cheese haven S’Mac, classic Italian at Franny’s, or candy-store-and-restaurant combo Sugar and Plumm. For a decadent treat, head to Serendipity 3. This ice cream parlor serves larger-than-life sundaes kids love.

After dinner, you’ll have to visit an iconic New York City sight. A must-see is the famous Empire State Building, which is nothing short of spectacular. On a clear day, you can see almost forever. Ride the elevator to the top of the Rockefeller Center observation deck for can’t-get-enough incredible views!


When visiting New York City with kids, you'll want a safe, secure place to stay. In addition, it's also important to find a place that suits your budget. Luckily, Tripster can help!

The Mark, on 25 E. 77th Street and the Hotel Gansevoort, on 18 9th Avenue, are two kid-friendly options. The Mark features cartoons playing in the elevator, enclosed rooftop pool, and the aforementioned breakfast spot Norma's. The Hotel Gansevoort, on the other hand, caters to kids by offering complimentary sofa beds to kids under 13, a heated rooftop pool, and free baby supplies such as cribs and even diapers.

So Much Fun for Everyone

From natural beauty combined with just the right mix of recreation, top-notch activities, fantastic attractions, relaxation, and spectacular views—it's all here! There’s so much to see and do in New York City that as soon as you leave, you'll already be planning a return visit. Follow this guide to spending a day in New York City with kids.  From food to attractions to sightseeing, you'll see some of the best of kid-friendly NYC.

Written By Ashley


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