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Family Travel: Visiting NYC with Kids

Street Musicians: kid o infoArmor At The Met: Kid o info

We recently took our kids to NYC. Although all in all it was a fun trip, and the kids, my husband, and I enjoyed the vacation, we were reminded of a few things. Six-year-old boys (no longer in strollers) can walk a lot but not always quite as far as we want them to. We saw many different things as we wandered around Greenwich Village and Soho with our children but definitely far fewer galleries than my husband and I used to see when we visited the city without kids. Sometimes the best food was not always convenient but luckily there was a hot dog or pretzel stand at almost every corner. You can often find a Starbucks close by when your child needs a bathroom. And sometimes it does not take much to dazzle children — a simple ride in a taxicab, on a bus, or on the subway, looking at the tall buildings, listening to street musicians, or walking through Times Square can be the event itself.

Graphic Body from Superhero Show - METHighlights for our kids (in no particular order):
The Superhero show at the MET, Strand bookstore, ice cream at Dylan’s Candy Bar, Washington Square Park, Central Park, huge movie posters for Get Smart and WALL-E, the Disney store, the Sony Wonder Lab, riding in a taxi cab, taking the Amtrak train to NYC, lots of street musicians including a guy playing two trumpets at once, tall buildings, riding many elevators and escalators, Pearl Art Center and ice cream at the Ice Cream Factory in Chinatown.

How we got there: Amtrak train from downtown Providence to Penn Station (8th Ave 31st). On the way to the city, we sat in a group of 4 seats that face each other so we could read, play games and eat food easily. Heading home Sunday night, however, the train was overcrowded and we all had to sit in aisle seats to be near one another– not quite as relaxing.

Where we stayed: A relative’s apartment near Columbus Circle–very cost effective.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Aside from the traveling Superheroes exhibit (which runs until September 1, 2008), we saw the Medieval Arms & Armor and The Temple of Dendur from the permanent collection.
Location: 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street
Enter through the Education entrance at 83rd street. Less crowded and conveniently located bathrooms.
(212) 535-7710
Cost: Suggested admission for adults $20, Free for kids under 12

Museum of Natural History
Fabulous fun and educational exhibits include mammoth dinosaurs, sea life, spaceships, and more. Nice large café is a great place for lunch.
Location: Central Park West & 79th Street
(212) 769-5100
Cost: Adults – $15.00, Children (2-12) – $8.50. Free for museum members.

The Strand Bookstore
A book lovers paradise for all ages.
Location: Corner of 12th Street and Broadway
(212) 473-1452

Pearl Art Supplies
Pearl Art Center: Kid o InfoFive floors of art supplies. Kids supplies on main floor. Separate building around the corner for additional craft supplies.
Location: 308 Canal St., New York, NY 10013
(212) 431-7932

Washington Square Park
Location: Bounded by Waverly Place, 4th Street, University Place, and MacDougal Street. The Washington Arch is located at 5th Avenue and Waverly Place.

Central Park
Check the website for great places to visit within the park like the zoo, playgrounds, bird sanctuary, boats, and more.

Dylan’s Candy Bar
Think Willy Wonka. Not cheap but a visual delight.
Location: 1011 Third Avenue, NY, NY 10021
(646) 735-0078

Extra resources to help you plan your trip:
– The Kid’s Guide to New York City by Eileen Ogintz
– New York City with Kids, 2nd ed., by Ellen R. Shapiro
– Streetwise Manhattan Map – Laminated city street map of Manhattan, New York – with integrated subway lines and stations and bus map
TimeOut New York: Kids

Share your favorite places to visit in NYC with children.

Photo Credit: NYC photos by Douglas Itkin. Superman print from the Supehero exhibit at the Met.

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  • I forgot to mention the roof deck–also with modern design furnishings–it was a great place to look at tall buildings (the hotel is 14 stories, so you’re above some other rooftops, and below others) and people watch. If we’d had some goldfish crackers & juice, we could have spent a few hours up there.

  • Our room had its own beautiful bath–black and white little circular tiles that I meant to photograph…textiles designed by Ray Eames…toiletries with the loveliest, gentle scent. I think this was about $275 for a Friday night (the price fluctuates throughout the week/season/year.)

    Tiny rooms with shared bath are available at the Pod Hotel for $65! Everything is scrupulously clean. If I go again without kids, I wouldn’t mind at all sharing a bathroom.

  • The Pod Hotel was great! Very clean and so nicely designed. The “town house villa” was very comfortable for a family of four, with space for a crib or cot too boot. Most of the other patrons were attractive young Swedes. (thepodhotel.com)

    Great location, near 53rd & Lex subway

  • More ideas from parents:
    “Subway to Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall. Walk over Bridge to Jacques Torres in DUMBO. Drink hot chocolate, ogle chocolate factory through windows, buy outrageous Easter candy. Subway back to Lower East Side. Steamed pork buns at Momofuku. Quick trip to Economy Candy. Shoot over to SoHo to see Walter De Maria Earthroom and Burton Snowboarding store. Head over to Hudson River Park and walk/rent bikes. Up to West Village. Other stops at Kidding Around, Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks and afternoon tea at Tea & Sympathy. Hotel. Naps. Early dinner. Met is open to 9 p.m. on Friday.

  • Other tips from a local mom: Swedish Cottage Marrionette Theater in Central Park. Scootering along the Hudson in Battery Park City and Hudson river park. Great pizza at Otto on 5th Ave and 8th.

  • We’ve been thinking of taking our older boys this fall, but maybe we’ll bump up the trip to catch that Superheroes exhibit. Thanks for the info!