fun things to do with kids manhattan new york city - family travel   Travel for Kids
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New York City

New York City

New York City with kids is a great destination, not only because there’s so many fun things to do (toddlers to teens), but it’s different in every season. Central Park is a shady green oasis in summer, with boating lakes, water play areas in playgrounds, and soft grass for picnics and relaxing. In winter, the park is a winter wonderland, including a large outdoor skating rink. Year round, kids can ride to the Top of the Rock and Empire State Building, visit museums in all shapes and sizes, go for horse-drawn carriage rides, enjoy fun food and shows.

New York City Photo Album
    Central Park
    Upper West Side - American Museum of Natural History
    Upper East Side - Metropolitan Museum of Art
    Midtown - MoMa & Rockefeller Center
    Theater District - Times Square
    Around Empire State Building
    Chinatown - Little Italy
    Brooklyn Bridge
    Statue of Liberty - Lower Manhattan
    Ride the subway and buses – New York has an excellent public transportation system, and you’ll want to use it. Purchase a MetroCard, good for both the subway and buses, and ride inexpensively all over Manhattan, from Battery Park to the Cloisters at Fort Tyron Park. Kids shorter than 44 inches ride free.

Fun food


New Yorkers have always eaten out, there’s food everywhere you look – it’s a terrific city for food with kids. Walking down any street, when you see the yellow Sabrett umbrellas, “dine in the umbrella room” on hot dogs and soft New York pretzels. Bagels are also a must, accompanied by cream cheese in different flavors. Stop into the many delicatessens (deli's) for a great selection of sandwiches. For a sweet, look for black and white cookies, covered with chocolate and vanilla icing.




New York is one of our favorite places to shop, so leave room in your luggage for things to bring back. Macy’s at Herald Square, with 2 million square feet” is “the world’s largest department store.” Teens will have a super time shopping in the Upper West Side or SoHo.

family hotels

Travel for Kids has so many fun things to do with kids in New York City, but you'll need a fun place to stay.

Here's our own Travel for Kids hand-picked list of family hotels, all styles and price ranges, in neighborhoods that are comfortable for families, and near to places you'll want to explore:

New York City family hotels
family tours new york city

The Metropolitan is a great and glorious museum, but it has tons to see, and just how do you make the masterpieces come alive for your kids? Take a charming three hour private family tour, with activities such as drawing and treasure hunts:

    Stories in Art
travel tools

Buy a New York CityPass for discounts on museums - Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), American Museum of Natural History, plus admission to the Empire State Building and Circle Line Cruises. Savings for the whole family, and no waiting in lines:

New York CityPass 

Explorer Pass, with 3, 5, 7, or 10 attractions, pick what you want to see - Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, American Museum of Natural History, harbor cruises, Central Park bike rentals and more. No waiting in ticket lines, pass is valid for 30 days from first time use.

New York City Explorer Card
kids books new york city
New York, New York city childrens books  
New York, New York
Laura Krauss Melmed, Frane Lessac

Take a tour through New York City from A to Z, a bird's eye view of the Brooklyn Bridge, prehistoric animals at the American Museum of Natural History, ice skating at Rockefeller Center, bright lights at Times Square, and more fascinating sights to see. Delightfully illustrated and lots of great info, perfect for your visit to New York. (Picture book)


New York: City Trails
Lonely Planet Kids

Nineteen different wild and wacky trails through New York (but some you can't follow, unless with helicopter or access to secret subway tunnels) – skyscraper flyby, wild animals, underground treasure, art and street sculpture, best food, great theaters, harbor tour, ghost tales, sounds of the city, and more. (Illustrated chapter book)


city trails new york
Next Stop Grand Central station childrens books manhattan  

“Everything about it is grand! huge! monumental!” Grand Central Terminal, how does it work, who does what, who’s taking the trains. Wacky illustrations (lady in the blue pancake hat) and hilarious characters, this is a gem! (Picture book)


Walls within Walls
Maureen Sherry

Follow the Smithfork kids on a treasure hunt through New York; seven poems contain puzzles and clues to seven sights around the city. Find the map hidden behind the walls of the Smithfork apartment, and solve the mystery – what happened to the Post family fortune? (Chapter book)


kids mystery new york city Walls Within Walls
childrens books new york city Eloise  
Kay Thompson, Hilary Knight

Madcap adventures of Eloise, that fun-loving city child who lives at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. Eloise slomps her skates down the hall, orders room service for her turtle Skipperdee, lunches in the Palm Court and crashes all the elegant balls in the hotel. (Picture book)


Liberty Rising
Pegi Deitz Shea, Wade Zahares

Before you visit the Statue of Liberty, find out about this famous monument, the highest man-made structure in the world when it was completed – who designed the statue, how was it constructed and transported to the United States from France. Gorgeous two-page fold-out of the statue. (Picture book)

Chapter book: What is the Statue of Liberty?


kids books statue of Liberty Rising new york city
what was ellis island
What Was Ellis Island?
Patricia Brennan Demuth, David Groff

Starting in 1892, immigrants from Europe to the United States arrived at Ellis Island. Read this comprehensive history of Ellis Island, now the museum, where immigrants landed by boat, were interviewed, fed and treated for sickness, given landing cards, and a new life in America. (Illustrated chapter book)


Arthur Dorros, Elisa Kleven

Fly with Rosalba and her Abuela (grandma) way above Manhattan, over the parks and streets, stopping to drink limonada in her uncle’s store, then soaring higher than the tallest buildings. Magical collage illustrations. (Picture book)


Abuela kids books hispanic new york city
My Chinatown  
My Chinatown
Kam Mak

Gorgeous paintings and poems of Chinatown – lighting the lanterns for the Moon Festival, a colorful kite shop, fresh fruits and live fish for sale on the street, dancing lions on New Year’s Day. (Picture book)



Grandpa and Grandma have stories of their arrival in New York from Russia. Grandpa tells of golden wagons leaping across the ocean, a castle on Hester Street, buttons carved from diamonds and emeralds, while Grandma describes cramped ships, a one-room apartment, working long days to sell tiny buttons. Warm-hearted illustrations, this is a classic. (Picture book)


kids books immigrants new york city Castle on Hester Street
This is the Rope
Jacqueline Woodson, James Ransome

An African American family moves to New York, bringing a rope, a rope for hanging laundry, jumping rope, playing games, tieing suitcases, a rope passed down through three generations, a rope of hope and hard work, an old rope from back home and a new rope in Brooklyn. (Picture book)


The Cricket in Times Square
George Selden, Garth Williams

Best-loved tale of Chester, a cricket from the country who accidentally ends up in New York. Befriended by savvy Tucker Mouse and warm-hearted Harry Cat, Chester's singing makes him a celebrity in the subway station. (Chapter book)


The Cricket in Times Square kids books new york city
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler mystery kids books new york city

Claudia and her brother Jamie go to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, sleeping in a Renaissance bed and taking baths in the fountain. The kids are hot on the trail of a mysterious statue – is it really by Michelangelo? A wonderful museum adventure (but you won't see Angel at the Met). (Chapter book)


Sky Boys:
How They Built the Empire State Building

Deborah Hopkinson, James E. Ransome

A boy watches something new going up, the tallest skyscraper in the world – derrick men hoist huge beams in place, rivets are pounded into steel, workers eat their lunch high in the sky, bricklayers, carpenters, electricians, working together to build this famous landmark. (Picture book)

Also, chapter book: Where Is the Empire State Building?


kids books new york city Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State Building
Old Penn Station  
Old Penn Station
William Low

In the 1930’s, Penn Station was a majestic building in steel and glass, with sunlit waiting rooms, fine dining, and expert service for train passengers. You won’t see old Penn Station today, it was torn down to make way for Madison Square Garden. Beautifully illustrated. (Picture book)


Lisa in New York
Anne Gutman, Georg Hallensleben

Irresistible misadventures of Lisa, sightseeing with her uncle in New York city. They see it all, the Brooklyn Bridge, Flatiron Building, Central Park ... but when Lisa is lost, she takes a stand with a Statue of Liberty night-light. Terrific illustrations. (Picture book)


Lisa in New York
Subway toddlers books new york city  
Anastasia Suen, Karen Katz

Sights, sounds and rocking rhythm of a subway ride in pictures and rhymes. “Rock left, rock right, we hang on tight.” Bright, colorful illustrations will delight little ones. (Picture book)


Madhattan Mystery
John J. Bonk

A summer trip to New York for Lexi and her brother Kevin gets very exciting when they overhear thieves planning a jewel heist. Mystery and adventure, as the kids follow leads through the big city, even to a secret train platform underneath Grand Central. (Chapter book)


childrens books new york city Madhattan Mystery
pop-up new york  
Pop-Up New York
Jennie Maizels

Welcome to 3-D New York City, raise the top of the Empire State Building, discover Central Park, ride the Staten Island Ferry, look inside Yankee Stadium, open the flap on the subway, plus insider secrets and famous people. Imaginative and fun (turn the book around for more on the back), a super introduction to New York! (Pop-up book)


On This Spot
Susan E. Goodman

Start with New York City and go back in time – on this spot, 400 years ago it was a great forest, 15,000 years ago wooly mammoths roamed the rocky hills, 20,000 years ago it was covered in ice, 190 million years ago dinosaurs munched on plants, 370 million years ago, New York was under a tropical ocean. (Picture book)


On This Spot natural history kids books new york city
Not for Parents New York  

Not a guidebook, this is filled with fascinating stuff and stories about New York – hotel in the shape of an elephant, Ground Zero, sea lions and bats in Central Park, fashion favorites, secrets of Grand Central Station, the corkscrew museum, sky gardens and "street dogs." Lots of fun! (Illustrated chapter book).


(More children's books on other New York City pages)
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