9 Amazing Things to do in New York with Kids in a Day

March 1, 2018 16 Comments
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Are you visiting NYC with kids? If so check out what we saw in New York in a day with a 6 year old in tow.

Two years ago we were lucky to be able to spend some time in America. So Freddie was only 6 years old.

As none of us had been to New York City before we thought we would fly there first.

We had only 32 hours in New York and therefore needed to find as many things to do with kids in NYC as we possible could!

New York Family Hotel

We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn on Times Square 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. As 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.

The view over Times Square at Hilton Garden Inn New York

We nearly always stay in a Hilton hotel as we are Hilton Honors members and it means we can collect points. A couple of years ago we stayed in the Waldorf Astoria in London for free, so it is definitely worth having a look.

Hard Rock Cafe New York

As we didn’t arrive in New York until about 8 at night we got straight to the Hilton 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. There are so many great places to eat in New York, check out this great list of kid friendly restaurants in NYC

Dinner at the 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 City at Night. Times Square

List of things to do in New York in a day:

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. We needed plenty of fuel as we had lots to do in New York in a day!

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 - New York in a day

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, NYC

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. You could do this by horse and carriage too!

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!

Things to do in NYC with kids. Central Park Friends Fountain

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.

John Lennon Memorial Central Park. Imagine - New York in a day

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

Theatre on Broadway

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 theatre productions and this is certainly in our top 5.

Watching Lion King on Broadway

New York 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 - New York in a day

Luckily we were not flying to Naples, Florida until the next morning. But these are the things to do New York in a day with kids.

For more ideas on what to do in New York check out Dais Like These Blog

Have you been to New York in a day? Let me know what we missed, as we all loved it so much, we will definitely be returning.

How to spend a day in New York City with the family. See all of the famous landmarks within 24 hours. #nyc #usa #centralpark #statueofliberty #empirestatebuilding #broadway
9 Amazing things to do in New York with kids in a day. visiting nyc with kids #travel #nyc #kids - New York in a day

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I am Clare, a homeschooling mum in the UK to my gorgeous 9 year old son, Freddie. We also live with my bearded husband Stuart.

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  • Laura Haley March 1, 2018 at 10:10 pm

    You did so much in the short time! I really want to go to New York

    • freddiesmummyuk March 1, 2018 at 10:26 pm

      We all highly recommend it.

  • Sonia (@Mummy_loves) March 2, 2018 at 9:42 am

    Such a great post, I’d love to do New York with the kids. x

  • lapequesalsera March 2, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    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.

  • Sim @ Travel Guide Blog March 3, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    How fantastic – some great tips on family travel to New York. I have always wanted to visit and it is on my bucket list… I blame SATC! 🙂 Sim x #TotsTravel

  • Elizabeth (Wander Mum) March 5, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    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

  • viewfromthebeachchair March 5, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    Wow. You had a full day! Many of those things are on my bucket list. I have been to a Hard Rock before. Loads of un. #anythinggoes

  • bamauthor March 6, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    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.

  • Kate on thin ice (@kateonthinice) March 7, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    Have always wanted to visit and your post makes that wish stronger. Lovely pics too #AnythingGoes

  • Claire | The ladybirds' adventures April 13, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    I really want to visit new york one day. lovely photos. thanks for joining #bloggerpinparty

  • Digital Motherhood April 15, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    Great post, I’ve never been to New York but would love to go one day! #bloggerpinparty

  • mindyourmamma May 1, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    Amazing pics and what a great post! Feeling so jealous right – going to New York feels like a dream! One day… Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time.

  • Jessica Powell May 2, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    It all looks amazing! I’d love to visit one day, there’s so much cool stuff to see and do. 🙂 #KCACOLS

  • Virtually All Sorts (@AllSortsHere) May 4, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    We don’t venture very far as a family but New York is one place I’d love to go as a family. I’m just not sure I could stand the pace! The Statue of Liberty would be a must-see on my list for sure. #kcacols

  • Lisa Pomerantz May 10, 2018 at 10:50 am

    We live a bit over an hour from NYC and cannot find teh time to go — what you accomplished in 32 hours is inspiring and exciting! Bravo! #KCACOLS xoxo

  • kateliliblog May 12, 2018 at 9:49 am

    Oh I would absolutely love to see New York! I’m thinking we could take our kids when they are teenagers for a short stopover like 3 nights or something. Looks like you had an amazing time! #KCACOLS

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