What to do in a day in New York with kids

10 things to do in a day in New York

Two years ago we were lucky to be able to spend some time in America. As none of us had been to New York before we thought we would fly there first. We had only 32 hours in the Big Apple and therefore needed to cram in as much as we possible could!

Hilton Garden Inn on Times Square

We stayed in this hotel as it was so central to everything that we wanted to see. It was a fairly basic hotel but it served us well, we only wanted two nights sleep! We were on the 32nd floor and Freddie loved looking at all the skyscrapers. We live in a little village in Leicestershire and although we spend a lot of time in London it was very different to our norm.

Hilton Garden Inn New York

Hard Rock Cafe

As we didn’t arrive in New York until about 8 at night we got straight to the hotel to dump our bags and headed over to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. Freddie’s food was served on a guitar shaped plate which was a great touch and he was given a really good activity book. This made so much difference to our enjoyment, especially as we were so tired. But he spent ages colouring in the rockstars.

Hard Rock Cafe New York

We wandered around the bustling New York streets but we were shattered and so ended up in bed by 10pm. But as we had so much to see the following day this was perfectly fine.

New York at Night

So here is how you get to see the main sites of New York in a day with a 6 year old!

Breakfast at Bryant Park

This was very close to our hotel so we thought we would just grab a croissant and some orange juice to get us through the morning.

Breakfast at Bryant Park

New York Public Library

Stuart and Freddie both love reading (me not so much, but only as I never have time). We happened to stumble across the New York Public Library and as the building looked spectacular we thought we would have a look around. This was not on our to do list, but as we literally walked past it, why not have a look!

New York Public Library

New York Public Library Outside

Empire State Building

You can’t go to New York City and not go to the Empire State Building, so of course this was one of our must sees. We went in the day although at night would be spectacular as well. The only recommendation I would have is wrap up warm, it is so cold on the 86th floor and really windy!!

86th Floor of Empire State Building

View from Empire State Building

You can see for absolute miles and it was stunning. I am really scared of heights so it was a bit testing for me, but I am so glad I did it. Also although of course it is safe I was holding Freddie so bloody tightly just in case he fell off!! (I am not sure if that has ever happened, but as a frantic mother, I clung on for dear life!!

Statue of Liberty and Cruise on the Hudson River

This was another must for us for two reasons; firstly of course to see the Statue of Liberty, but secondly to go on the Hudson. Part of Stuarts job is to test aircrafts ditching in water, and as the plane had successfully ditched onto the Hudson a couple of years before this we just had to go on.

Statue of Liberty at the Hudson River

Although we saw the Statue of Liberty as it was a really grey day the photos we got were rubbish so I have not included them, but I really recommend going on the cruise. It is a great way to see parts of New York that just aren’t as easy to see from land.

Hudson River Cruise

By this point I was freezing cold (it was March so not surprising really!).

Hudson River Cruise in March

Brooklyn Bridge

By this point it was lunch time, we were all starving. We really wanted to go to the River Cafe at the bottom of Brooklyn Bridge, but it was closed. I probably should have checked first! But we found a very traditional old style Italian instead which was gorgeous.

Brooklyn Bridge

We have a painting in our lounge of the Brooklyn Bridge so we have always wanted to see it for ourselves. Unfortunately like I said the weather wasn’t great, and my photography skills definitely needed working on! From the restaurant we decided to use the underground to get towards Central Park. This was a bit scary!! Again I am a scaredy cat but as we were heading towards the Bronx we got off a stop too early!

Central Park

We got close to Central Park when we saw a Tuk Tuk tour guide and he showed us the sites. I am so glad we did it this way as he told of us where to look and lots of the history. It was brilliant. By this time of the day the weather had improved significantly in fact it was positively sunny and warm.

Central Park by Tuk Tuk

As I am a child of the 70’s I absolutely loved Friends, so we couldn’t resist a photo by the fountain!

Friends fountain Central Park

It was so unexpected having such a massive park in the middle of New York, I know we have it in London, I just wasn’t expecting it. We could have spent hours here, but as time was of the essence we were only there for about an hour and a half. But as the tour guide was fantastic I think we got to see the main attractions.

Ghostbusters Hotel Central Park

My geography is a bit rubbish, in fact I struggle with my left and right. But I didn’t realise that the house from Ghostbusters was filmed right outside Central Park.


We also saw the John Lennon memorial and walked through the Strawberry fields.

There is just so much to see in Central Park it is fantastic and beautiful.

McDonalds and New York Yellow Taxi

Planet Hollywood

We ate dinner in Planet Hollywood which was in a Power Ranges theme. The food was as you would expect from this type of restaurant, but Freddie loved it.

Planet Hollywood New York Power Rangers


Now we as a family absolutely love the theatre so there was no way we were not going when staying in New York. The show at the Minskoff Theatre was the Lion King, so absolutely perfect.

Minskoff Theatre New York

The tickets on Broadway were phenomenal compared to the West End, but we always try and get the best seats, I am sure we could have got them much cheaper.

This production was absolutely fantastic, we have seen many productions and this is certainly in our top 5.

Watching Lion King on Broadway

Night Life

New York is such an amazing city but at night it is even more alive. Freddie was absolutely shattered by this time but he refused to go to bed as he loved all of the street entertainers and the lights.

New York at Night

Luckily we were not flying to Naples, Florida until the next morning. But that is how we spent our only day in New York.

Let me know what we missed, as we all loved it so much, we will definitely be returning.

10 things to do in a day in New York City
Article Name
10 things to do in a day in New York City
What we did in a day in New York with a 6 year old
Publisher Name
Freddies Mummy UK



  1. Oh looks like you guys had a great time, Don’t you love just spending quality time with your loved ones? My kids have not been to NY yet, so we are very excited to plan this for the near future.

  2. You did loads! Well planned! I adore New York – in fact my husband proposed to me in Central Park! I’d love to go back. We had dinner at the River Cafe – it was very good. You’ve brought back some lovely memories. Thanks for linking #citytripping

  3. Having been born and raised in New York City, I think that you made excellent choices. One thing I would definitely have included would have been a visit to The Museum of Natural History and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Planetarium. Then again, you only had a limited amount of time available and you crammed in a lot into that time frame.

Leave a Reply