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Top 5 Can’t Miss Family Attractions in New York City

Updated on October 19, 2010

While New York City may be adult’s wonderland, if you know what you’re doing it can be a perfectly kid-friendly city, too. In fact, there are more things to do there with your family than even a resident could ever manage to do, but here’s a good top 5 to start with.

#1 - Central Park

Central Park could provide a day’s worth of fun for the family, with the Central Park Zoo and Tisch Children’s Zoo being the focal point of your trip. Compared to the 550-acre Bronx Zoo, it’s relatively small, well kept and doable in about 2 hours.

Use a map and take a walk through the rest of the 843 (6% of Manhattan!) acres of the park, staying away from designated “shady” areas (you can find these listed in visitor’s guides like Frommer’s).

Your kids will be sure to notice when they walk past the pond where scenes from Enchanted (not (and tons of other movies) were filmed! (You could even cue up a copy of Madgasgar the night before to get them in the spirit!) Also checkout the Carousel and the Alice in Wonderland sculpture. Be sure to print out a good map.

#2 FAO Schwartz Toy Store

This enormous toy store is an excursion in itself. A very familiar movie scene (as well as many others) was filmed there, in a little film called Big. Remember when Tom Hanks danced on the giant piano keyboard?

#3 Broadway

Broadway offers several family-friendly productions, including Shrek – the Musical, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins, Wicked, and Blue Man Group: Tubes. Hairspray is also a great one for tween and teen girls.

#4 Times Square

Just south of Broadway, Times Square is obviously a “touristy” thing to do, but you are one, right? It’s really a sight to see. Check out the network shows filmed there and find a local place to have an early dinner, then let the kids check out the lights at night. It’s overwhelming.

#5 The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is a great lower Manhattan excursion. Book in advance and take the boat to Ellis Island from Battery Park, then have lunch after touring the historic monument. Also, you could check out the World Trade Center site if you want to add a more serious element to your day.

Others to put on your itinerary: The Empire State Building, The American Museum of Natural History, and the Children’s Garden of Brooklyn Botanical gardens. In one day, you can only experience the tip of the iceberg in NYC. A long weekend, at the very least, is needed to see the greatest city in the world!

Image Credit: Jim Linwood, Flickr


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  • gunsock profile image

    gunsock 8 years ago from South Coast of England

    Thanks for a very useful hub. I'm a Brit who just loves New York. Central Park in particular is an absolute joy.