Tips for visiting New York with kids
New York is one of those cities I will never tire of visiting, I am lucky to have visited over 10 times and even more lucky to have spent time living and working there. However despite many requests from the kids who are 10 and 7 now we have never taken them. 2023 will be the year we change that. We are considering combining it with a return trip to Canada.
With that in mind, I have spent the last few weeks doing some research on tips for visiting New York with kids so I thought I would share the learnings as it might help other families thinking of doing the same trip.
1- Attraction Passes
I don’t think this even needs telling but there is a myriad of things to do in New York from thrill seeking type attractions, to walking tours, to dizzying heights type tours to leisurely strolls around art galleries. New York really is the city that never sleeps. We always left wanting more there is simply so much to do and with that the cost does creep up and especially if travelling as a family. My top tip here is to consider getting the New York City Tourist Pass it covers over 90 attractions and you can get a pass from 1 to up to 10 days. Another good option is the New York Explorer Pass which is a smart card that you can purchase in order to gain discounted cash-free entry into 3, 5, 7, or 10 of New York’s top attractions. In many ways a “make your own NYC tourist pass” option, the New York Explorer pass is a flexible way to see some of New York’s greatest sights over a long or short period of time at a discounted price. You actually don’t need to determine the exact sights that you plan to visit ahead of time, you need only decide upon how many you want to see.
2 – Getting around
Driving around Manhattan is not for the faint hearted unless you are really used to that type of driving an considering the side of the road that might but customary in your own country. Parking is also another issue therefore we have never hired a car and never missed having one. Taxi’s are plentiful, the subway system while busy is efficient and easy to follow. A couple of things to note:
- Yellow taxis are exempt from car seat rules
- Car seat rules always apply in private vehicles
- You can request an uber with a car seat
- There are set fares from JFK and Newark Airports to Manhattan, a $4.50 rush hour surcharge may apply on weekdays between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
3 – Be savvy when out and about
When visiting any city its important to be street smart, especially with kids in a city as busy as New York. Even for adults the buzz and hustle and bustle of the city can be overwhelming. Some useful tips:
- hold kids or keep them close by at all times
- do not jaywalk!
- Look both ways and look again when crossing even when the sign says walk
- Don’t stop on crossings
- Only use NY taxi cabs, airport shuttles or hired cars , as with any city do not accept ride invitations from unmarked cars
- Keep valuables out of sight
- Be extra vigilant when using the subway during rush hour with kids its manic and easy to get separated – we have a tile in each of the kids jacket pocket when travelling – you can never be too careful
4 – Comfy clothes and shoes
In all the times we have visited New York my fitbit step count is crazy high often near 40k steps a day. While travelling with kids its unlikely to reach those numbers but one thing I can say with certainty is that you will walk a lot therefore good comfy shoes are a must and consider the weather in advance and bring appropriate clothing. We always take a backpack with water and snacks as my pair do not do hangry well!!! Although it is New York and you will have no trouble finding places to eat for a meal or snacks.
5 – consider where you want to stay
I really think its worth putting in the time to research where you want to stay. For example if you want to be really central, walking distance to most attractions, mid town Manhattan is for you but the trade off is a much smaller hotel room and a much higher price tag. If you are comfortable on the subway then one of the neighbourhoods outside Manhattan is a good option where you will likely get more for your money and a larger space maybe even a kitchen which I always love when travelling with kids.
Hopefully this helps other families thinking of visiting the Big Apple and if you have any more tips do pop them in the comments below.
Note: This is a collaborative post