When planning a Summer vacation, it can be difficult to know where you can take the whole family, with varied age groups. When traveling with kids, it doesn’t seem like there are a lot of options. For a different experience, try visiting the Big Apple! There are lots of things for kids to do and see, and the adults will have a good time too. Read below to find a list of affordable activities you can do while visiting New York City.
1. Enjoy a Show: On Broadway or Off-Broadway. If you want to to experience a real New York show, but you want to take your family, there are still lots of choices. The best way to get the tickets at half price is to visit the TKTS booth in the middle of Times Square. They sell tickets to all the current shows at half price, but you have to be willing to go on the same day. You select your show, and then you buy them at the window. They are open Tues-Friday in Times Square.
The current family-oriented shows are STOMP, Annie, The Potted Potter, Spider-Man, Mama Mia and Pippin. Stomp has been around for years, and gets great reviews from all-ages. Spider-Man is an Off- broadway show that has music written by Bono of U2, and gets great reviews also. Annie is always a crowd-pleaser, while Mama-Mia has the familiar music from ABBA to keep it moving. If you are taking kids over the age of 6, then any of the shows listed here would be a great fit.
2. Go to the Top of the Rock: The Rockefeller Plaza! While in New York, please schedule a visit to the Rockefeller plaza. Travel to the top (by elevator) to see the view from the building of New York City. Taking this tour is a lot cheaper than the Empire State Building, and the views are amazing! You can see Central Park, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building and much, much more!
3. Go to FAO Schwarz Toy Store. Visit one of the biggest toy stores around! You will find the old, classic toys you grew up with, new toys you have never heard of, and things you didn’t know even existed! This toy store is 3 levels of fun for the whole family! The big piano from the movie BIG is on display, a large doll house section, a big action figure section, and even the latest super heroes. Check out the wall of hats, and try them on, let your little girl rock a baby doll to sleep, or even visit the Muppets station and make a puppet. There is so much to see at FAO Schwarz, and it’s FREE to play!
4. Visit the Candy Shops: M&M’s and Dylan’s Candy Bar are both in Times Square! With both of these great candy stores within walking distance of each other, you will surely find your sweet tooth in New York! Both stores have a huge selection of hard to find candy and throw-back candy from the old days. The M&M store has more than just candy, with lots of themed gifts and toys you can take home. Dylans candy Bar is a new store with a large selection of old and new styles of candy, and hard to find items you haven’t seen in ages.
5. Ride by the Statue of Liberty. If you take the free ferry from Staten Island, you can ride right by the Statue of Liberty for FREE! Take pictures as you go by, since the statue is currently closed for renovation. The ferry ride is a nice relaxing ride that lets you out at the loading station, and will bring you right back, if you want to return right away.
6. Visit Times Square! This is a must for any visit to New York. Times Square is fun during the day and at night, with all the lights. When taking children, it is advised that you go before dark, just so you can keep a better eye on them. Police are everywhere in Times Square, so safety is not a problem. There are street performers, bright lights and live music to see and hear in Times Square.
7. Visit Ground Zero. The tragedy of 9-11 is now a part of America’s history. Even if you are traveling with kids, it is a good idea to go see it. You will see the new tower that is being built near the memorial. It is free to visit, however, they are taking donations.
In place of the twin towers, there are 2 square pools of moving water, outlined with the victims names along the edge of the walls. On the far wall, there are computer screens where you can see the victims listed by name, and read about them while you are there. It is a beautiful and tasteful memorial of 9-11.
8. Go to Central park and take a picnic. Central Park in New York is huge. It is also beautiful, with lush greenery, statues, big trees, and more. There are free playgrounds for the kids, street musicians, and a fun city atmosphere! There is a small zoo in the park that you must pay to visit, but you can see some of the animals as you walk by. The park does not have an entry fee, and is free! Visit the park and you will see why the whole city of New York love it there!
9. Go to Saint Peter’s Church. Visit this beautiful church for a nice, quiet, rest from all the walking. While there, you can admire the Gothic style of the sanctuary and the acoustics of the building. The church is currently being restored, but it is truly beautiful and peaceful. The church is free to visit!
10. Visit the New York Library for a quiet place to relax and read. This library has been featured in movies and is a hub for the city folk. This library is beautiful with wood carvings, marble floors, wooden benches, and original artwork. Visiting the library is also free!