New York City: Your Number One Family Friendly Destination
We aren’t kidding around when we say New York is a family-friendly city. Whether you’re looking for a family friendly hotel
, or more specifically a "kid friendly" destination, New York City is not a daunting skyline, schools of crisscrossing yellow cabs, and poor huddled masses yearning to breathe free. New York City is actually called home by more than two million children, and is visited by millions of teens and toddlers traveling here with their families each and every year. The city boasts dozens of beautiful parks, a myriad of kid-friendly attractions
, kid-friendly restaurants
, and countless entertainment opportunities that can be fun for kids and often enjoyable for the whole family.
Whatever your travel budget may be, we at NYC.com believe that families should be able to find reasonable rates for family friendly accommodations, entertainment, and services and our pages on this topic aim to help you find the information you need for trip you want to take to New York City.
Our Family Friendly Hotel Guide gives you information below about:
• Traveling with Kids – 10 Important Tips
• Recommended Family Friendly Hotels
• NYC.com's ABC List of Kid Friendly Dining
• NYC.com's Family Friendly Guide for Broadway Shows
• Top Ten Kid Friendly Tourist Attractions in NYC
• Five Little NYC Parks
• NYC Boat Rides Your Kids Will Love
• Tips for Taking Kids to a Ballgame in New York City
For visitors planning a trip to New York City with their kids, affordability issues are often challenging but by no means unmanageable. While the most convenient time to visit is probably during a school holiday, it is important to keep in mind that thousands of other parents are likely to be thinking the same thing, so it might be a good idea to avoid the peak time periods such as Thanksgiving or New Years. In doing so, you may also reap the benefits of cheaper airfares, kid friendly hotel availabilities, discount rates for tourist attractions, and off-peak shopping bargains.
In choosing a room from our family friendly hotel guide, it is always best to book in advance, to inquire about family package bookings, and to do so with a check list in hand of the particular needs and concerns your family needs to address for a fun and successful stay in New York City.
While booking a multiple star-studded hotel in New York City may seem out of reach for many families, parents may be surprised to learn that children under 18 years of age stay for free at the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel
and at Novotel New York
in Times Square not only do kids stay for free, they can also eat for free at the hotel's Café Nicole.
Traveling with Kids – 10 Important Tips
1. Generally speaking if you are traveling in New York City with your kids you will be taking a cab, riding the subway, or walking.
2. When traveling from one of New York City's major airports
(La Guardia, JFK and Newark), only hail a cab at an official taxi stand
3. Many New Yorkers will cross the street whenever they see no cars, regardless of whether the light is red or green. When walking with a toddler in a stroller or with little kids, do pay attention to the crosswalk signals at intersections and follow them faithfully.
4. Traveling by subway
is a reliable way to get around the city.
5. If you plan to be in New York for several days and will be taking three or more subway rides per day, a week pass is a sensible choice. It costs $25.00 and entitles you to seven days of unlimited bus and subway travel.
6. A one-day "fun pass" entitles you a day of unlimited bus and subway travel. It costs $8.00 and is on the expensive side if you take less than four rides.
7. Many parents traveling in New York with kids will choose subways by day and taxis by night. This is not a rule, but it seems to be common practice for parents traveling with their kids.
8. Officially, drivers of yellow medallion taxicabs and for-hire vehicles and their passengers are exempt from laws regarding car seats and seatbelts. Infants may ride in any taxi at a parent's discretion. However, do fasten those seatbelts!
9. Although children under the age of seven are permitted to sit on an adult's lap, our advice is to bring your own car seat if you will be taking cabs with an infant.
10. Should you bring along the family pet in addition to the kids, do note that pets are generally not allowed on furniture or beds in hotels, and are generally not allowed to enter hotel room bathroom facilities.
Recommended Family Friendly Hotels
Since standard hotel rooms in New York City tend to be smaller than elsewhere, family friendly hotels listed here often feature larger suite options that allow everyone in your family to share the same space. Swimming pools
, childproof rooms, cribs and strollers, as well as services such as supervised activities for kids, babysitting, and special laundry options are also considered to be the standard fare of family friendly accommodations which visitors to the city have come to expect.
Family friendly hotel location and affordability are of course two of the most important criteria in planning a visit to the Big Apple. When booking NYC.com's family friendly hotels be sure to check out the map conveniently located at the bottom of each hotel page to see if that location is the right one for you. You can even use our cool Street View feature to take a virtual walk around the block to examine all the restaurants and businesses nearby! Some parents, for example, prefer to stay in the hustle and bustle of midtown Manhattan hotels such as The Hilton Hotel
, Le Parker Meridien
, Loews Regency Hotel
because of their proximity to big tourist attractions like Times Square, Central Park, and the Empire State Building, while others will choose a quieter and calmer location in lower Manhattan such as The Hampton Inn Manhattan/Seaport/Financial District
, or The Ritz-Carlton New York Battery Park
, which are in walking distance from Wall Street, South Street Seaport, and a New York Harbor view of the Statue of Liberty.
70 Park Avenue Hotel
At this Kimpton property, all sorts of special events for kids are the rule with the "Kids Rule" program. Rooms have great features—including Nintendo, enormous TVs, and great audio systems.
Convenient to Madison Square Garden
and its many special events, the Affinia Manhattan has great-sized suites and family-friendly prices. Especially suitable for larger families.
In-room kitchenettes, the beloved Nintendo, and great Internet access make the Belvedere—along with its excellent Midtown location make this property a hit.
Best Western Hospitality House
Large, spacious, and—most importantly—homey, the Best Western Hospitality House ties up great rates and massive, comfortable accommodations they should earn a merit badge.
Country Inn & Suites
Spectacular city views will enrapture your kids in this elegant suite-filled hotel, with so much to do within a short subway ride that no one in the family will ever be bored!
Doubletree Guest Suites
With a great "Kids Club" program, you'll find nice-sized suites here along with great features for kids, including strollers, cribs and childproofed rooms. Kid friendly food items from room service, as well as Sony Playstations in-room.
Four Seasons Hotel New York
Lavish amenities for the kids—including their own shampoo and bathrobes—at this deluxe, superior property. Children under 18 stay free, and there are activities for the children as well as special menu items. Complimentary strollers, cribs, games, coloring books as well as a DVD and video lending library round out the many features great for families.
This funky property wows the kids with its unusual design and artwork and pleases the parents with its friendly staff and in-house cabaret. The family room suite is a great value and terrific amount of space.
Hilton Times Square
Directly on sizzling West 42nd Street, an enormous entertainment complex with 25 screens ensures the kids will stay occupied. Babysitting services are available, as are various activities for children. And Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum
is a big hit—right onsite!
Upper West Side
One of New York's most kid-friendly neighborhoods, dining and other kid friendly food options are many in this area. Plus with your own kitchenette and convenient laundry facilities, you'll feel right at home.
In close proximity to the Empire State Building, you'll find great-sized family room suites and are close to shopping at Macy's and other famous stores.
Le Parker Meridien
Near Carnegie Hall, this stylish property is more for the parents with its great features. Kids under 12 can stay free here, and there is a splendid swimming pool on the roof. Kitchenettes in the suites are great for pleasing fussy young eaters, and the neighborhood has a number of beloved places for kids such as the nearby Jekyll & Hyde Club
Loews Regency New York
Upper East Side
As at other Loews properties, expect great family-friendly features as well as childproof rooms and complimentary cribs. So close to world-famous toy store FAO Schwarz
and other great shopping, your kids will be in heaven here.
Upper East Side
For the discriminating traveler, the Lowell is both one of the leading hotels of the world and a place that gives your children a semi-residential feeling. With kitchenettes and some unites with fully equipped kitchens, create a home away from home in luxurious tranquility here.
Novotel New York
Great Midtown location, plus kids eat free at the hotel's Café Nicole and stay free here.
A big draw for the parents here are the free parking and decent-sized rooms, and kids love the pool as well as nearby Daisy Mays BBQ
With a great year-round indoor pool as well as complimentary cribs and rollaway beds, kids under 18 stay free here. Close to Radio City
and Rockefeller Center
Westin New York Times Square
Its great location, close to the heart of Broadway's razzle-dazzle as well as the funky design of the hotel is a kid pleaser. Kids under 12 eat free and can watch one free movie per day on weekends.
NYC.com's ABC List of Kid Friendly Dining
Alice's Tea Cup
102 West 73rd St
This quaint Alice in Wonderland
themed tea shop is a fun choice for lunch or afternoon tea with your kids (they serve over a hundred varieties) -- and the scones and sandwiches are good too. The menu includes homemade babyfood. Ambience is light, feminine, and friendly.
The Barking Dog Luncheonette
1453 York Ave. between 77th and 78th St.
This canine named restaurant appeals to the stroller set as well as to older folks. It features a mostly standard American menu of big salads, club sandwiches, burgers, and dishes like meat loaf and pot roast—ironically, no dogs allowed, but kids will like the menu.
200 W. 44th St., near Broadway
Carmine's simple and very popular concept is to serve every meal in the style of an Italian American wedding feast - which means large portions of homestyle antipasti, pastas, seafood and meat entrees served on large platters designed for sharing. And when we say large, we mean large. An entree here could easily feed three to four average eaters. If you are in the market for better than average family-style Italian food that is served in huge portions at reasonable prices, this is the place for you.
Portions are huge, table manners are optional, and the barbecue is messy and perfect for kids. Dallas BBQ serves hamburger, cheeseburger, steaks, chili dogs, ribs, catfish—any critter that previously moved gets barbecued here. Try the hot wings served with cool ranch. Five locations throughout the New York metropolitan area and they do groups, parties, and events.
210 Tenth Ave
In recent years, New York has lost most of its classic Streamline diners. Yet this perennial favorite remains in northwest Chelsea, serving up everything from burgers to kid-friendly grilled cheese.
Hard Rock Café
Located in the center of the city, heart of Times Square, the Hard Rock Cafe New York will rock your senses with tantalizing food and drinks and an awe-inspiring rock memorabilia collection. Priceless pieces from legends The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Billy Joel, The Ramones and Elvis Presley grace the cafe walls along with more contemporary items including stage costumes worn by Madonna and Gwen Stefani. The Times Square cafe also features rock 'n' roll memorabilia from Hard Rock's unmatched collection, including artists with New York ties, such as John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, The Ramones and Bruce Springsteen.
Island Burgers & Shakes
766 Ninth Ave., near 51st St.
Some of thickest burgers in the city with 50 different topping combinations, and you can get anything on the menu as a chicken sandwich instead of hamburger. Even their delicious salads are big! The decor is bright, fun and relaxed. It's a perfect place for lunch in the midtown area or for a quick dinner. If the kids are impressed really big food, parents are certain to score big here.
Jekyll & Hyde Club
1409 Sixth Ave., near 57th St.
A haunted mansion restaurant with four floors of live interactive entertainment and spooky special effects. The menu is fairly standard pub fare—with buffalo wings, burgers, and fries—but have the kids order the "Chop'em up Salad" or the "Mummy Burger" for kicks. Your kids will love it.
205 E. Houston St., at Ludlow St.
Born on the Lower East Side in 1888, with its famous decades-old signs such as "Send a salami to your boy in the army" and window display of thank-you letters from former U.S. presidents, Katz's has repeatedly earned the moniker of most authentic New York deli. It has a unique counter ticket system, which you get punched depending on what you order. You'll find people from all walks of life here enjoying enormous sandwiches, hot dogs, sauerkraut, and all sorts of crowd-pleasing favorites. Jane and Michael Stern praise Katz's in "Road Food" as the quinessential New York experience, which continually wows tourists and real New Yorkers alike.
Lupa Osteria Romana
170 Thompson St., near Houston St.
A casual restaurant specializing in Roman trattoria
fare of the highest quality at a modest price. They have a salumeria that serves Italian artisan meats and cheeses, house-made products such as canned tuna and guanciale, and a kitchen that is dedicated to creating and serving dishes of the freshest ingredients. Lunchtime entrees in the $10 to $20 range. A pleasant down home atmosphere perfect for large families.
1633 Broadway, at 51st St.
Midtown's beloved underground theme restaurant features a blast off to outer space as well as over-the-top astronomical delights designed to please every kid as well as bring out the kid in the adults. Average food, above-average excitement.Take your little ones to the Red Planet at this intergalactic Times Square favorite. The food—salmon, ribs, and calamari for adults, plus typical kid fare, meaning hamburgers and chicken fingers.
Osteria Del Circo
120 W. 55th St., near Sixth Ave.
A family owned Italian restaurant with grown-up prices, and a lavish circus décor—a bright blue circus ring hung with stars, sculptures of monkeys, a clown peeping down from over the kitchen door. Pizzas in the $20 range and entrees from $20 to$50, but if you want splurge with the kids this place is top notch and tasty.
Peanut Butter & Co.
240 Sullivan St., near W. 3rd St.
Here you'll find sandwiches with fresh peanut butter on good bread and in endless variations. Apricot preserves, raspberry jam, dark chocolate peanut butter, white chocolate peanut butter, the possibilities go and on. This is a West Village café, but its retro kitchen decor makes you feel like your home in your apartment-size kitchen. A healthy nutritious choice for the whole family.
292 Elizabeth Street
Rice is a healthy and completely original restaurant featuring rices and entrees from around the world. Since its start in 1995, popular demand has helped RICE grow to four Zagat-rated takeout and eat-in locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Inspired by world cuisines, Rice offers eclectic, healthy fare of exceptional value, brimming with carefully chosen ingredients. Rice offers ten different types of rice and about a dozen main-course toppings. The Manhattan branch's cool vibe and friendly, attentive staff have made Rice a downtown favorite. (Open 12 pm to 12am)
225 E. 60th St., near Second Ave.
Serendipity 3 is a perennial kids' favorite, and it's easy to see why. It seems concocted out of a child's dream, with an entrance chockablock of toys and candy. The waitstaff puts on a hilarious show, and the menu is laden with fantasy dishes, including the scrumptuous frozen hot chocolate. Everything here is oversized and outrageous, and that's what makes for so much fun. Prices are high, but this sort of (over-)indulgence doesn't come cheap.
384 Grand Street
Some of New York's most wonderful pizza has made it to the good old Lower East Side. Two Boots pies feature a tangy sauce with plenty of zip, lots of delightful and creative toppings to choose from along with a fine cornmeal crust. Think Italy meets New Orleans. Most of the dishes are named after obscure Hollywood celebs the kids may or may not know—but the pizza rocks.
Utsav Festive India Restaurant
1185 Sixth Ave., at 46th St.
Authentic original Indian cuisine at a double decker, super-friendly restaurant. Utsav offers a mix of culinary traditions, so if the kids aren't wild about the spicy tandoori chicken, they can order pizza or spicy chicken wings. Also offers an all you can eat lunch buffet for $10.
Virgil’s Real BBQ
152 W. 44th St., (near Broadway)
Barbeque offered as a way of life is this place's motto, serving Memphis pork ribs, Carolina pulled pork, Texas beef briskets and more—all smoked over a variety of hickory, oak, and fruit woods. Savory, hearty food for the little cowboys and cowgirls in us all.
614 Ninth Avenue (Hell's Kitchen), near 44th Street
The self-proclaimed number one diner in Manhattan, and birthplace of the popular television sitcom Seinfeld, this place offers the entire spectrum of diner grub— milkshakes, hamburgers, deli sandwiches, French fries, simply the works. Certain to please the most finicky of kids!
255 West 42nd Street (near Eighth Avenue)
The McDonald's of Japanese fast food. Bowls of beef, chicken, and vegetables and rice, soups, and salads and very reasonably priced.
2245 Broadway, at 80th Street,
Offers a nice variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner plates, including homemade pizza, soups of the day, house specialties like knishes, along frozen yogurts and smoothies the kids will like. Very reasonably priced.
NYC.com's Family Friendly Guide for Broadway Shows
We highly recommend these Broadway shows because they will entertain both children and parents alike. It is recommended that children be at least 6 years old before you bring them to Broadway shows—it's important that your children don't disrupt other audience members or misbehave during the performance.
Blue Man Group
This highly entertaining Off-Broadway show features three silent performers miming their way through a variety of hilarious skits. The smart performances of the Blue Men will entertain kids and adults alike.
The Lion King
A young lion prince is born in Africa, thus making his uncle Scar the second in line to the throne. Scar plots with the hyenas to kill King Mufasa and Prince Simba, thus making himself King. The King is killed and Simba is led to believe by Scar that it was his fault, and flees the kingdom in shame. After years of exile he is persuaded to return home to overthrow the usurper and claim the kingdom as his own, thus completing the "circle of life". The Lion King features amazing costumes, choreography in which the performers dance and move through the aisles, which is sure to excite children and parents alike.
Wicked tells the incredible story of an unlikely friendship between two girls who first meet as sorcery students at Shiz University: the blonde and very popular Glinda and a misunderstood green girl, Elphabab. If your children enjoyed The Wizard of Oz
, Wicked tells the story that proceeds from the Wicked Witch of the West's perspective. While the book might be a bit dark for children, the musical is family-friendly and includes excellent performances and music.
Top Ten Kid Friendly Tourist Attractions in NYC
We're sure you know all about the Statue of Liberty
, Empire State Building
, and Staten Island Ferry
, but have you considered some of the most enriching and rewarding attractions to please your kids? Here are our top picks:
1. American Folk Art Museum
2. American Museum of Natural History
3. Bronx Zoo
4. Brooklyn's Children Museum
5. Central Park
6. Children's Museum of Manhattan
7. Children's Museum of The Arts
8. New York Aquarium
9. New York City Fire Museum
10. New York Hall of Science
Five Little NYC Parks For Kids
1. Hudson River Park Playground
West Street at Horatio and Jane
Pier 51 - features an impressive view of the Hudson River and a nice breeze on summer days. Kids can enjoy various forms of water play, with free-form sprinklers and even a little artificial "canal". Climbing sections for older and younger children are separate The benches on the perimeter of the park give parents a good lookout point to watch the kids. The playground is supervised by a park ranger and has only one entrance/exit.
2. McNair Park
122nd St. between Lexington and Third Avenues
This site honors the Harlem astronaut who died on the Challenger. There’s a ring of climbing bars, a helical ladder, a twisty slide, a climbable half-moon and seesaw.
3. Teardrop Park
River Terrace between Murray and Warren Streets
Located east of two Battery Park City towers, large gnaly rocks form paths and ladders around an upper lawn and a long slide traverses down a pebbled hill
4. Vesuvio Playground
Thompson St. between Spring and Prince Streets
When enter this park you'll find a serpentine jungle gym. There are two spacious areas for marbles or soft-toss. It also features a summer-only kiddie pool, facing a mural of horses and lions, and it accommodates young waders and their parents.
5. South Oxford Park
South Oxford St. near Atlantic Ave., Ft. Greene, Brooklyn
Fred Located just past the Atlantic Terminal mall, a thicket of 30-foot-high Plexiglas cattails conceals a spray shower, a rock-climbing wall, and swings lurking behind it. Planners also built in a smooth field, two tennis courts, and a footpath leading to Fulton Street.
NYC Boat Rides Your Kids Will Love
If you've got some older kids in tow who enjoy bicycling, why not combine the waterfalls with a bike and cruise tour
, which offers a half-day bike rental in addition to the above cruise. You can proceed at your own pace for an in-depth view of the waterfalls.
The 90 minute harbor cruise
is a perennial kids' favorite, taking in some of the best-known landmarks. Older kids love racing down the Hudson River in a 30-minute high speed boat ride on The Beast
for an action-packed ride.
Still haven't found your dream cruise? We offer everything from a stylish Sunday Brunch
cruise to the classic Semi-Circle Cruise
. Make sure to see our full list of cruises
to review all your options!
Tips for Taking Kids to a Ballgame in New York City
Take me out to the ball game, Take me out with the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack, I don't care if I never get back....
Though your kids might not know the classic movie about the old ball game, New York's baseball stadiums
are favorite family-friendly places to take kids. NYC.com makes it easy, offering you both Yankees
tickets with our fast and easy ticket purchase interface. We also feature all sports tickets from basketball to tennis to hockey, and can get you hard-to-find and sold out event tickets
. What are you waiting for? Your kids will have the thrill of a lifetime!