Arriving in New York City without a plan means you will waste a lot of time deciding where to go and what to see. Having visited the Big Apple with my son since he was three months old means I have tried and tested a few itineraries that parents can enjoy while entertaining their kids at the same time.
If you’re here for a day, you want to maximize your time in a particular neighborhood without worrying about shuttling from one end of the city to another. Here are three suggestions for day trip ideas to New York City with kids.
Visit the Museum Mile
See: The Metropolitan Museum (MET) and The Guggenheim are the most well known on the museum mile. They always showcase several special exhibitions so make sure to check their calendars when planning your trip.
Navigating through the extensive collection at the MET can be intimidating even for experienced museum goers, so having at least a rough plan for the areas you want to tour will help you make the most of your time.
Visiting smaller museums focusing on a particular theme such as the Museum of the City of New York (about the distinct history of the city), El Museo del Barrio (about Latin art and culture) and The Jewish Museum of New York can also be an enriching experience. Because of their smaller size, a few hours will be sufficient to at least tour through the entire collections.
Eat: The Wright restaurant located inside The Guggenheim is a beautiful space with gourmet food that also welcomes children.
If you’re looking for a casual bite with kids away from the crowds, try the American Wing Café at the MET.
Play: Central Park is only a few minutes away from these museums on the Upper East Side.
Spend the day in Chelsea
See: The military and maritime history museum Intrepid, Sea, Air and Space museum is hard to miss if you’re by the Hudson River in the Chelsea area. The museum showcases the airport carrier USS Intrepid, the submarine USS Growler and space shuttle Enterprise.
Chelsea Galleries dominate the art scene in the city with hundreds of galleries in converted industrial spaces. It can be the ultimate New York City art experience to see exhibitions from well known artists as well as talented new comers. Check for their hours and exhibitions on the Chelsea Gallery Map and map out the route of your chosen ones.
Eat: Chelsea Market offers several restaurants for sit down meals or you can sample specialties from all over with small, ready to go portions as you walk through.
The Park offers outdoor eating in a relaxing namesake atmosphere. This is a great spot for brunch especially if you are dining with a large group.
Play: Visit the Highline to appreciate the design concepts that has transformed a former abandoned rail road into an urban park. Deliberate landscaping of overgrown grass and wild flowers give the visitors a hint of its history.
You can take a stroller walk while admiring the city views and the dispersed modern art or have the kids play about in the open green spaces spread throughout the one mile area.
You will also be close to the Chelsea Waterside Play Area of the Hudson River Park. Kids of all ages and abilities can experience water and sand play areas.
Things to do in Mid Town
See: The home of financier J.P. Morgan has been established as The Morgan Library and Museum since the 1920s. The library showcases personal collections of the Morgan family as well as special exhibitions.
The library completed in 1906 to hold Piermont Morgan’s collection of rare books and manuscripts has been restored to its former glory in 2010. The marble surfaces, grand columns in the entry way, period furniture and ornate décor make you step back into the gilded age.
The echoing rooms have low tolerance to any crying or loud children. If you have any fussy kids, you may want to have them play in the large atrium while the adults visit the exhibitions.
If you have extra time in hand you walk over to Grand Central Terminal or the New York Public Library and do a self guided walking tour.
Eat: Dine at the Morgan Library Dining Room where the Morgan family gathered for meals. Don’t let the grandeur of the restored dining room steer you away from taking your kids. The restaurant staff was very accommodating to our toddler
Play: Bryant Park is a few blocks away if children want to spend time outdoors.