I will be in Montreal this summer and I want to go to NYC for 5/6 days. I’m thinking of taking Amtrack but I’m open to other ideas/suggestions. I will be with BG (5 yo girl) and LG (8 yo boy). I’m looking for tips on where to stay and what to do with kids in NYC. I will have to go to Manhattan for some admin stuff and the kids want of course to visit the Statue of Liberty. I also want to take them to Timesquare and Staten Island. I think that is already a lot with kids. I am interested in any tips regarding accomodation, ways to travel from Montreal to NYC, where to eat, public transportation cards, etc. Thanks in advance.
The High Line could be a nice place to take active kids! It’s an old raised railway line that they turned into a park above the street. I think now you can walk a mile or two on it, and it’s really safe and there’s no traffic for the kids to run into. Down below there are all these cool art galleries that you can visit if LG isn’t gonna try touching everything And of course Central Park! It’s really huge. I think there’s a small zoo there too.
I’ve always gone out of my way to have burgers at the original Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. There’s Shake Shacks everywhere now but they’re just not as good, but every time I’ve been at the original the burgers have been incredible! And it’s in a park, so it’s a nice place to hang out while eating.
At Times Square there is a booth where you can get last minute tickets for Broadway shows for half price. When I was in college I saw Beauty and The Beast sitting right up front and it was amazing.
For public transportation you just get a MetroCard at the automated kiosk at any subway station. Looks like they have a 7 day unlimited card for $33. That’s 12 rides so I think it would probably be worth it! It’s super easy to get around NYC by subway and I’ve never stepped foot on a bus there. I used to date a guy who lived there.
I have a lot of museum recommendations but probably not interesting for kids
In my opinion Times Square is a LOT - loud and crowded. I wouldn’t walk through the whole think with kids. Central Park is lovely and you should definitely stop there.
Thanks a lot @Meowmalade for all the useful recommendations. Thanks for the rec about Central Park. I love it and indeed it is huge.
Please share anyway I debated taking LG to the MoMA but decided against it. I will go alone. I have lot of family in NY so I can probably leave them with cousins for one afternoon.
You are probably right, especially with LG not liking noise. I’m already concerned about all the sirens on the streets…
Museums! All these are close together next to Central Park.
- The Met - could take days to go through! I love the Tiffany room, if you go there you could just sit by the pond and look at the stained glass and it’s very peaceful. Their special exhibits can be very good.
- Across the street from the Met, Neue Gallerie which has a lot of Klimt and other Austrian art, I think from the same time period. On the main floor there is Café Sabarsky with very lovely desserts, also a nice place to get lunch.
- The Guggenheim is also just blocks away. I would look up what the exhibits are and go if it looks interesting (it’s hit or miss for me, I’ve seen some very cool art and some boring things). It’s not that big so wouldn’t take very long.
- The Frick, also on the same block. Not many people know about this small museum (I only know because my aunt lived in NYC) and it’s lovely and peaceful and there’s a garden section. It’s all old paintings but the atmosphere is very calming.
And you’d mentioned The MoMA. Though if you only have one afternoon off, just one of the big museums would take all your time! You could definitely do the three small museums in one day though.
Governors Island could be a nice change of pace. You can get there by subway + ferry. The ferry is either $4 for adults and free for kids under 12, or free for everyone weekend mornings. No cars on the island, lots of open space to explore. https://www.govisland.com/plan-your-visit/ferry
Brooklyn Bridge Park is really nice too.
I like some of the smaller museums – if your kids like subways and trains, the transit museum could be a good option. The Museum of Natural History is often a hit with kids, even though it’s big.
This article has some nice ideas too: 6 Fun Itineraries for Kids in NYC | Cup of Jo
Oh yeah! I just went to a museum of natural history in Chicago and it was super cool and a kid-friendly place. I don’t remember if I’ve been to the one in NYC but it’s very famous.
Thank you @Ferngully we arrive Fri evening so nice to know about weekend free activities. I see that you can rent bikes on the island. Seems fun.
Hey! We spent a couple of hours scampering up and down Rat Rock in Central Park yesterday:
I feel some of my neighbors would probably feel something like this is too dangerous for their kids; not for those with a fear of heights.
The playground these rocks are attached to is also great, with beautiful views of the Central Park South skyline:
My kid also enjoys this playground at the tip of Manhattan:
It’s right by this carousel:
And also the Staten Island Ferry, which is free & gives you a lovely view of the Statue of Liberty.
Agree that the $33 unlimited 7-day Metrocard is the way to go, which allows you freely to ride all subways & buses. Kids up to 44” tall are free. I’m still not paying for my kid, even though he surpassed 44” a while ago, because that’s the culture here. My kid went with his dad to DC a while ago, and they were like, “Kid has to pay for the metro here. This isn’t NYC!”
have a great time! my favorite NYC restaurant is Urban Vegan Kitchen - comfort food with long hours in the West Village.
Thanks @Mariposa appreciate your input as you live in New York with kids. It’s the same in Paris about kids, normally they pay a reduced fair (50%) from 4 but none of my kids pay so far… LG is 1.35m (53’’) so I hope I can get away with not paying for him in NYC . Sometimes I pay for him if I am also with BG because it’s hard to pass at the gate all of us
Thanks @cube that seems like a great plan sans kids. I loved the West Village.
I see the New York CityPass mentioned everywhere. Wondering if it’ll be good to take one to reduce the fees for myself and LG. It has the Empire State Building, the American museum of natural history (which this thread encouraged me to visit) and 3 other activities to choose from:
- [Top of the Rock Observation Deck]
- [Ferry Access to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island]
- [9/11 Memorial & Museum]
- [Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises]
- [Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum]
- [Guggenheim Museum]
Some things will be free for 5yo BG. All museums and such are free for us here because LG has an invalidity card due to his low vision (but he doesn’t look the part because he can ‘pass’) but I don’t see anything like that mentioned on the websites and not sure if foreign cards will be recognized. Looking at it it seems a lot, I don’t think we’ll do 5 activities on top of Central Park. So far, I think we’ll do Central Park, Statue of Liberty, Museum of natural history, and some of the places recommended here (the high line, the Brooklyn bridge and governor island or Coney Island). I think I will make an itinerary and a spreadsheet to see what makes sense.
I booked the Amtrak tickets. We’ll arrive at 10:00PM in Moynihan hall, a new train hall near Penn Station? I’m not familiar with it but it seems to be in the same neighborhood as LIRR. I looked for Airbnb nearby and everything is expensive. As I am with the kids so don’t want to go far out and it’s in August I guess it’s to be expected. I looked for hotels and it is even cheaper. So I made a reservation at the Hyatt Chelsea. It’s centrally located and breakfast is included. It also highly recommended by families and I can cancel until 24h before the stay in case I find something better.
Yay! I hope you have a wonderful trip.
A few tips:
The TKTS booth in times square is a good way to get same day tickets, but if you don’t want to wait in line, check out the TodayTix app. It’s often just as cheap and you can actually book more than a day ahead. They run frequent sales and 35-50% off is not uncommon.
For metro cards: if you have a credit card or phone that supports tap to pay, you can use that. If you do tap to pay, it will upgrade you to the weekly pass automatically once you hit the break even point (13th ride in a week I think?) so you don’t pay after that. Sometimes when wrangling kids and turnstiles it’s easier to have them each have a card though. It’s the same system for subways and busses. Taking the bus is usually faster if you’re going crosstown (east/west) and especially if you need to get across Central Park and you’re tired of walking.
The natural history museum is huge and beautiful and just opened a new wing which looks gorgeous!
The museum of math is a fun kid’s museum, depending on your kids’ interests.
- Since you mentioned staying near Penn, the museum at FIT could be fun! It’s free. I would definitely prioritize something like MoMA or the Met or the Whitney, but if you like fashion it could be a nice backup plan for a lower energy nearby option.
The whole area around Penn can be kind of hectic. It does have tons of food options. I’d also consider walking over to Bryant Park, which is a wonderful open park with seating and a big lawn, and seeing Grand Central (stunning gorgeous train station with food hall and clean public bathrooms), and the main branch library (gorgeous space, giant stone lions out front, with a free museum - current exhibit includes original winnie the pooh stuffed animals). And I always include a stop at Kinokuniya (japanese book store) which is right on the park.