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.
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 Murray Hill 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.
Affinia Manhattan Midtown West 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.
Belvedere Hotel Midtown West 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 Midtown West 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 Midtown East 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.
Gershwin Hotel Flatiron District 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 Midtown West 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!
Hotel Beacon 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.
Hotel Metro Midtown West 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 Midtown West 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.
The Lowell 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 Midtown West Great Midtown location, plus kids eat free at the hotel's Café Nicole and stay free here.
Westin New York Times Square Midtown West 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.
Alice's Tea Cup 102 West 73rd St 212-799-3006 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. 212-861-3600 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.
Carmine's Midtown 200 W. 44th St., near Broadway 212-221-3800 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.
Dallas BBQ 3956 Broadway 212-568-3700 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.
Empire Diner 210 Tenth Ave 212-243-2736 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 1501 Broadway 212-343-3355 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. 212-307-7934 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. 212-541-9505 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.
Katz’s Delicatessen 205 E. Houston St., at Ludlow St. 212-254-2246 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. 212-982-5089 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.
Mars 2112 1633 Broadway, at 51st St. 212-582-2112 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. 212-265-3636 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. 212-677-3995 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.
Rice Restaurant 292 Elizabeth Street 212-226-5775 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)
Serendipity 3 225 E. 60th St., near Second Ave. 212-838-3531 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.
Two Boots 384 Grand Street 212-228-8685 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. 212-575-2525 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) 212-921-9494 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.
Westway Diner 614 Ninth Avenue (Hell's Kitchen), near 44th Street 212-582-7661 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!
Yoshinoya 255 West 42nd Street (near Eighth Avenue) 212-703-9940 The McDonald's of Japanese fast food. Bowls of beef, chicken, and vegetables and rice, soups, and salads and very reasonably priced.
Zabar's Café 2245 Broadway, at 80th Street, 212-787-2000 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.
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 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.
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 and Mets 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!