If you’ve ever Googled “things for families to do in New York City,” the results probably overwhelmed you. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. New York is the most populous city in the United States, with more than 8 million people, and seemingly endless eateries and attractions.
But planning a family visit to the Big Apple doesn’t have to be stressful. Some of New York City’s best attractions are easily accessible and fun for the whole family. From a walk through one of America’s most beloved parks to a journey up a spiral staircase to “The Crown,” here are seven fun things to see and do in New York City:
1. Take a stroll through Central Park
There are plenty of family-friendly things to do in Central Park, which runs right through the heart of Manhattan:
The Mall and Literary Walk – home to one of the largest conservancies of American elm trees in North America and the statues of Scottish poet Robert Burns, Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott, and American poet Fitz-Greene Halleck.
The Pond – a serene escape from city life tucked just behind Fifth Avenue.
Central Park Zoo – the sea lion pool in the center courtyard is newly redesigned with glass sides so visitors can see the sleek mammals gliding and spiraling under water.
Travel Tip: Check out Belvedere Castle, a mini castle built in 1869 that was meant to be a lookout spot for what is now known as The Great Lawn.
2. Visit the New York Historical Society
One of the best ways to appreciate New York City is to glimpse into its colorful past. Did you know that New York City served as the capital of the United States from 1785 to 1790?
With a collection of more than 60,000 New York-related works of art and historical artifacts, The New York Historical Society is the No. 1 place to learn about New York City. The NYHS also has a Children’s Museum, which features the Orphan Train exhibition provides a look into the lives of New York City’s children of years past.
Travel Tip: Don’t miss The Games We Played, a collection of more than 500 games produced from the 1840s through the 1920s.
3. Go behind the scenes at the Museum of the Moving Image
This attraction is calling all movie lovers. Since opening in 1988, The Museum of the Moving Image has gathered over 130,000 artifacts from motion pictures, TV and digital media. Today, approximately 1,400 of those artifacts are on display in the museum’s core exhibition, including the actual Yoda from Stars Wars. Take a look at the latest special exhibitions on the museum’s website.
Travel Tip: Check the museum’s film schedule for a list of silent films to be accompanied by live music. If you’re bringing the kids along, check the “Suitable for Families” box before making your selection.
4. Catch a Broadway show
The internationally recognized epicenter for American musicals, Broadway is NYC’s hub of entertaining shows for the whole family. Jersey Boys, Wicked, Les Misérables and Aladdin are just a few of the critically acclaimed shows currently running.
Planning ahead to see a Broadway show is essential. Tickets are often pricey (though worth it), and buying them at the last minute can double the price.
Travel Tip: The Lion King – you may be familiar with the movie, but you probably haven’t seen an actor take the form of a leaping antelope or giraffe on stage.
5. Get a slice of pizza
Which city in America has the best pizza? New York City. Which pizzeria specifically has the best slice around? That’s a tougher question.
6. Browse the galleries at the MoMa
It’s easy to spend a whole day inside the Museum of Modern Art and not even realize it. From Vincent Van Gogh to Jackson Pollack and Andy Warhol, the MoMa boasts some of the most beloved and influential works of modern art to date. The museum also offers several family-friendly “Gallery Talks,” workshops, and film screenings.
Travel Tip: Visit the MoMA exhibition calendar for the current and upcoming events.
7. The Statue of Liberty
While you may have seen the Ghostbusters climb the Statue of Liberty and save New York City in the 1984 movie, it may be time to experience Lady Liberty for yourself. A gift from France in 1886, the colossal copper statue placed next to Ellis Island, stands as a symbol of new beginnings for those making their way across the Atlantic and into America.
Visit the National Park Service website for some useful tips in planning your visit.
Travel Tip: Get your exercise for the day by taking the 154-step staircase to her crown, for a most memorable view of the city (be sure to book your reservations in advance).