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Family Vacation Ideas for Manhattan and New York City

Things to do / Travel Guide

Manhattan is a great vacation destination for the whole family. There's just so much to do that kids think is cool. You could even say that looking up at (and down from) all the huge skyscrapers, exploring the nooks and crannies of Central Park, and seeing all the fantastic sites and the diversity and richness of life brings out the kid in all adults. So Manhattan is naturally perfect for kids!

But because some people are stuffy and don't realize what we just said above, just be sure beforehand that you choose a hotel that welcomes children.
This section points out to you some of the major eateries, activities, and attractions that are specifically geared towards children, and not only in Manhattan.

Family Dining in New York City

Dining out with kids in New York City (NYC) doesn't have to be limited to fast-food joints. There are lots of great kid-friendly restaurants in the city that offer special menus to occupy and please youngsters. In Manhattan, some such establishments include the Jekyll and Hyde Club, Peanut Butter & Co., and the Barking Dog Luncheonette. In Brooklyn, try eating at Willy Bee's Family Lounge, at 302 Metropolis Avenue. In Queens you can visit the Voelker Orth Museum, at 149-19 38th Avenue in Flushing, where children can have special tea parties and bake cookies. The atmosphere at these eateries is certainly something special, with meal types that are sure to wow your kids and provide pleasurable dining experiences for the whole family. Some child-friendly restaurants will also deliver food to your hotel, so it pays to investigate.

Family Activities in New York City

There are many different kid-friendly activities in NYC, which vary with the season. In the summer, there are neighborhood fairs and lots of beaches where youngsters (and “oldsters”) can go swimming. In the winter, children of all ages can go ice skating at the base of the traditional Rockefeller Center Christmas tree or in Central Park, at either the Wollman Rink or the Lasker swimming pool-turned-ice skating rink. Children also love to walk down the beautifully-lit streets of Manhattan's Fifth Avenue during the Christmas-New Year's season.

For more active kids, head over to the Chelsea Piers, on 23rd Street in Manhattan. This amazing activity center has just about everything to entertain and exhaust your kids. As a matter of fact, it just might exhaust Mom and Dad, too. The complex encompasses facilities for 28 different activities, such as bowling, gymnastics, wall climbing, skateboarding, soccer, indoor batting cages, and ice skating (when in season).

Many Broadway shows are great for the kids. New York City also features a choice of three circuses for your enjoyment, depending on the season. These include the Big Apple Circus at Lincoln Center, Barnum's Kaleidoscape at Bryant Park, and the offbeat Circus Oz from Australia, at the New Victory Theater in Times Square, all of which are sure to entertain audiences young and old.

Family Attractions in New York City

If shopping is on your children's agenda, you absolutely MUST take them to F.A.O. Schwarz on Fifth Avenue. Let the kids dance to their own music on the giant piano (from the Tom Hanks hit movie “Big”), or frolic around the enormous store playing with all the other amazing toys. Similarly, the Toys “R” Us at Times Square boasts a Ferris wheel and other fun attractions. Have your wallets handy as, if your kids choose something to bring home from either of these stores, it will probably cost you.

In southeast Brooklyn sits the celebrated Coney Island's Astroland Amusement Park, a favorite site for kids of all ages. You and your kids can take a ride on the world-famous rollercoaster, the Cyclone, or on one of the many other carnival rides along the boardwalk. On your left, a real circus sideshow; on your right, continuous fascinating performances. You'll likely sense the smell of the ocean mingling with the smells of popcorn and hot dogs piled high with sauerkraut amid the raucous noise of New Yorkers and other visitors enjoying themselves.

Whatever you do with your kids, keeping your vacation interesting and exciting shouldn't be too hard in New York City.

Family Vacation Ideas in Manhattan and New York City

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