Travelling with Kids to Manhattan

by Emma Hackwood
Family with suitcases in airport


Although they say New York is the city that never sleeps, it can also be a great place to take the family. Guest blogger Kim Price shares her experience with us on her recent visit to Manhattan and offers some great tips on travelling with children in the big apple. From where to stay to what to see, we’re thrilled to share this piece with the community:

Manhattan – the city that never sleeps, home of Sex and the City and Seinfeld. When I thought about travelling to Manhattan I always saw myself sipping cosmopolitans in a trendy bar in Soho or shopping for Manolo Blahniks along 5th avenue – not walking the streets pushing a stroller in comfortable flats. But after visiting Manhattan with kids, I am happy to say it’s a great family destination.
My husband and I travelled to New York from Vancouver in August with our three children (ages 3, 7 and 9) and stayed five nights. The New York airports (JFK, LaGuardia and Newark) are quite a distance from Manhattan and for convenience and less hassle, I’d recommend a transfer from the airport to your hotel.

Like any major city, there is a wide variety of accommodation. As a family of five with picky eaters and a toddler, we chose a hotel with a kitchen (The Beacon Hotel Upper West Side). It was the best decision we made. Although it cost more, we saved money by making our own breakfast, lunch and dinners. The kids could eat when they wanted and we were able to eat in peace while the kids played or watched TV. The Fairway Market directly across the road had everything we wanted and was open 6am till 1am. The Upper West Side is perfect for young families – its relatively quiet, has playgrounds close by, but still close to all the great attractions.

Getting around Manhattan can be a bit challenging, especially if you have more than two children and/or a baby. Taxis are relatively cheap and easily available, however most are standard cars and only fit two adults and two children. You can order a ‘maxi taxi’ but it must be booked in advance. The subway is quick and kids travel free, but most stations have steps so take a light, collapsible stroller if you have a baby or toddler.

Times Square, New York

There are many things to see and do in Manhattan with kids. Our picks for best attractions are:

The American Museum of Natural History:

This Museum has something for everyone and a family could easily spend a whole day here. It even has a section for under five’s.

The Hudson River Cruise:

This is great if you want to avoid the crowds around the Statue of Liberty. You also get to see from the river the whole city and other interesting historical points.
NYC's hudson river

Central Park:

This park is so big that you could spend days there and not see the whole park. Our kids loved the busker making huge bubbles – one of many great buskers throughout the park.

We purchased the New York City Pass in advance which gives discounts to all the major attractions. It also allows you to skip most lines, which is essential if you are travelling in summer.

Top tips for Manhattan with kids:

  • 1. Prepare you kids in advance – tell them it is a vibrant, but hectic city and you’ll be walking a lot


  • 2. Reinforce the ‘stay close’ rule and get them to memorize your hotel name and cell numbers just in case


  • 3. Have alternate ‘parent/’kid days’ – the kids will be more willing to accept adult attractions if they can look forward to a kids day the next day


  • 4. Do some ‘tag teaming’ with your spouse – this will allow Mom to do some shopping in Soho and Dad to see a favourite museum or attraction on his own.


Lastly – go with the flow – there will be times when you may doubt your decision to brave this wonderful, vibrant city but it will all be worth it.


A big thank you to Kim for contributing this piece to the community. We love hearing your tips, and sharing them with our readers. Have something you’d like to share with the community? Contact us on Twitter, Facebook or in the comment section below. Cheers and Happy Travels!

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