Our 4 days in NYC with kids | Ideas for kids, tweens and toddlers
UPDATE: Also, check out my latest post of Fun things to do in New York City That You Have Not Heard About!
Chic Family Travels spent 4 days in NYC with our 3 kids, including a tween and toddler. It is not easy to satisfy a family of varying ages on vacation, but we gave it a shot in NYC this September and have some ideas to share with you.
Honestly, our 3 year old toddler was the easiest of the brood to satisfy with things to do in NYC. What does every 3 year old want ? Duh…..TOYS! A visit to the iconic FAO Schwarz is a must on any trip to NYC with kids.
FAO Schwarz is more than a toy store, its a kids dream come true. There are toy demonstrations all over the store, including magic shows that the older kids will love to watch. There is also a huge candy store in FAO Schwarz with over-sized candy boxes that make for a perfect picture opp! The picture below was from our NYC trip 2 years ago for Evelyn’s 10th birthday….sniff sniff.
Speaking of photo opps, don’t forget to jump on the floor piano in FAO Schwarz from the Tom Hank’s movie “Big.” Here is another throw back photo that again makes me a little sad at how much our kids have grown.
You could probably spend an entire day visiting toy stores in NYC. In Times Square, there is a huge Toy’s R Us with a ferris wheel in the store. If I were going to pick one toy store to visit, it would be FAO Schwarz. We decided only visit one toy store this trip, since we had a lot of people in the brood to satisfy with varying interests.
Claire, my 9 year old, wanted to visit the American Girl doll store in NYC. Now,I would not say this is necessarily a “thing to do in NYC with kids,” but it made her happy so we did it anyway!
On to the most important person on our NYC trip….ME! I really wanted to get some SoHo shopping under my belt, without making it too painful for rest of the brood. My favorite place to shop in NYC is not 5th avenue. 5th avenue shopping is too big and department like for my tastes. I love the smaller boutique stores in SoHo, and the best place to shop is Mercer avenue. Plus, I love the cobble-stone streets and beautiful old buildings that seem more New York to me than the ones around Times Square.
I decided to start off my SoHo shopping extravaganza by making the day seem fun for the kids too. Thus, we had lunch at an underground restaurant called Mercer Kitchen. The kids loved the fact that the restaurant was hidden, and honestly you would have no idea that it was there unless someone told you. That is where a good hotel concierge comes into play! Thank you for the Mercer Kitchen recommendation Mr. Hotel Gansevoort concierge. The restaurant was far from empty as the NYC locals clearly know about this place. The food was fantastic, and the kids got another laugh at the bathroom set up. Yes, people are walking over you while you do your business.
Now that everyone has a full belly, it was time to get down and dirty in SoHo at some of the best boutique shopping in the world!
I know what you are thinking about now. All of my ideas for things to do in NYC with kids includes buying something. That is partially true, but we did do some fun free stuff in NYC as well. The Today Show is now filmed outside the NBC building near Rockerfeller Center from 8am-9am eastern time. I recommend getting there at least 15 minutes early to get a good spot. Our 9 year old and 11 year old really enjoyed watching the Today show filmed, and how the whole production works. They even got to see Cee Lo from the Voice!
Now back to spending money! It is New York City after all, what did you think you was going to happen ? No trip to NYC is complete without seeing a Broadway Show in Times Square. I do not recommend buying the tickets through the TKTS booth, because you are likely going to end up with crappy seats. We always purchase our Broadway tickets ahead of time on Ticketmaster so we can pick out exactly where we will sit, which makes a huge difference in your bBroadway show experience. This year, we were lucky enough to grab front row seats for Matilda. The tickets were about $100 a piece, not too bad if you ask me.
While you are in Times Square, visit the Stardust Diner with your kids. The Stardust diner is another excellent thing to do with kids in NYC. The waiters and waitresses are also your entertainment in that they take turns singing Broadway show tunes and they are REALLY GOOD! The Stardust Diner is where aspiring artists are discovered and go on to be on actual Broadway and other places like American Idol.
Last but certainly not least, we took the kids to the US Open to watch the women’s tennis finals. We took the NYC subway to Flushing where the US Open is held. By the way, one cannot go to NYC and not take your kids on a subway ride at least once!
I bet you are wondering how we took a rowdy 3 year old to the US Open, and keep him quiet during the tennis match? Well, here ya go. It’s not rocket science ladies.
Clearly this is not an exhaustive list of things you can do in NYC with kids, but we made our whole brood happy and we did not have to visit a single museum!
However, I do recommend a few other NYC things to do with kids. We have done the following in the past trips to NYC and the kids enjoyed them.
- Circle Line Tour of the Statute of Liberty (It is not the public ferry with ‘colorful tourists’)
- Central Park and the Central Park Zoo
- Museum of Natural History (Note: We have not visited this museum but we hear it is the best in NYC for kids)
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