City Guide: New York City

Your one-stop city guide, packed with information on family-friendly hotels, restaurants, and local and unique attractions.

By The Editors

New York City is often called the center of the universe, and for good reason! There’s always something happening in The Big Apple, whether it’s a magician doing card tricks in Washington Square Park or a mariachi band performing in a subway car.

HOTELS:

Gershwin Hotel
7 East 27th Street, New York, NY
(212) 545-8000
www.gershwinhotel.com
Price: Rooms starting at $118/night

The Gershwin Hotel will wow children with its funky décor and designs. Every nook and cranny of the Gershwin is filled with art (including an autographed Andy Warhol soup can in the lobby) and typical clientele includes creators of all kinds!

Hilton Times Square
234 West 42nd Street, New York, NY
(212) 840-8222
www.hilton.com
Price: Rooms starting at $314/night

Be right in the center of it all at the Hilton Times Square! You’ll get great views of the city in this 44-story kid friendly hotel. Babysitting services are available so you can enjoy a nice meal or show without your grandchildren (if you need a break) and tons of kid-approved attractions are right outside your door, including Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.

Hotel Beacon
2130 Broadway, New York, NY
(212) 787-1100
www.beaconhotel.com
Price: Rooms starting at $295/night

Hotel Beacon is conveniently located in the kid friendly neighborhood of the Upper West Side. Its steps from a subway stop so getting around the city is no problem. And it’s only a few blocks from the American Museum of Natural History, Central Park and the Seventieth Street Playground.

Hotel Novotel
226 West 52nd Street, New York, NY
(646) 459-5820
www.novotel.com
Price: Rooms starting at $235/night

At Hotel Novotel, your grandchildren will be greeted with a special welcome gift and a balanced children’s menu at the hotel’s restaurant Café Nicole, where they can eat for free. Kids’Voyage, Hotel Novotel’s special family tourist guide, provides your family with guide books to family friendly activities in the area.

Holiday Inn Midtown
440 West 57th Street, New York, NY
(212) 581-8100
www.holidayinn.com
Price: Rooms starting at $169/night

The Holiday Inn in Midtown is a great spot to stay in the summer for one reason that ranks high on the list: the rooftop pool! Hotel swimming pools are hard to find in NYC, so if a place to swim is a must on your list, look no further than the Holiday Inn, a great deal considering its prime location in Midtown!

Lombardi's Pizza NYC
FlickrCC/Eric__I_E
Lombardi's Pizza
FOOD:

Alice’s Tea Cup
102 West 73rd Street, New York NY
(212) 799-3006
www.alicesteacup.com
Hours: 8am-8pm (daily)
Price: $$
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary

Bring your grandchildren to this magical tea room and be transported to a true Wonderland. The Upper West Side tea room is filled with fairy wings, butterflies and whimsical colors. Here you can enjoy afternoon tea in bright pink pots and munch on treats like French Toast Bites, banana bread with jam and even fresh pureed baby food for the youngest diners.

Peanut Butter & Co.
240 Sullivan Street, New York, NY
(212) 677-3995
www.ilovepeanutbutter.com
Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 11am-9pm, Friday-Saturday: 11am-10pm
Price: $
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

While New York City is filled with some very sophisticated eats, there’s something here for eaters of every age. If your grandchildren haven’t quite acquired an adult palette, don’t worry. Take a trip to Peanut Butter & Co. and let them get their fingers sticky with some classic peanut butter sandwiches. If anyone is feeling adventurous, PB&Co. offers some interesting combinations like peanut butter and pickles and gourmet sandwiches like “The Heat is On,” featuring spicy peanut butter and grilled chicken with pineapple jam.

Lombardi’s Pizza
32 Spring Street, New York, NY
(212) 941-7994
www.firstpizza.com
Hours:
Sunday-Thursday: 11:30am-11pm
Friday-Saturday: 11:30am-12am
Price: $
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

No trip to New York is complete without a slice of famous New York style pizza! Lombardi’s Pizza prides itself on being New York City’s first pizzeria (it opened in 1897!) and one of the city’s oldest eateries. Grandparents and grandchildren alike will love Lombardi’s famous pies, made with fresh mozzarella and San Marzano tomato sauce. But come hungry, there are only whole pies available to order.

Serendipity 3
225 East 60th Street, New York, NY
(212) 838-3531
www.serendipity3.com
Hours:
Sunday-Thursday: 11:30am-12am
Friday: 11:30am-1am
Saturday: 11:30am-2am
Price: $$$
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

Grandchildren with a sweet tooth will love the colossal concoctions at Serendipity 3. While the food served at Serendipity may be a bit out of their league (caviar burgers and sautéed chicken livers just to name a few), they won’t argue about ordering the famous Frozen Hot Chocolate or Outrageous Banana Split. Their world famous sundaes are even world record holders. The Golden Opulence sundae (made with edible gold leaf and truffles) is the most expensive in the world, ringing up at a cool $1,000. But be advised, the wait for a table can be as long as two hours during the lunch or dinner rush.

Katz’s Delicatessen
205 East Houston Street, New York, NY
(212) 254-2246
www.katzsdelicatessen.com
Hours:
Monday-Wednesday: 8am-10:45pm
Thursday: 8am-2:45am
Friday: 8am-Open all night
Saturday: Open all day
Sunday: Open until 10:45pm

Price: $$
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

After a long day of sight-seeing, stop at another NYC landmark: Katz’s Deli. This staple sandwich shop first opened in 1888 and is still as busy as ever today. The dining room is casual and kid-friendly, though the portions are certainly not kid-sized. Katz’s “dares” customers to finish one of its oversized sandwiches, and although most cost upwards of $15.00, there’s certainly enough meat packed into one to go around the table a few times!

ATTRACTIONS:

Central Park
59th Street-110th Street, New York, NY
(212) 310-6600
Hours: 6am-1am (daily)
Price: Free
www.centralparknyc.org
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

Spending the day in Central Park is like taking a vacation from the city. In its green spaces and lakes, you’ll almost forget about the hustle and bustle normally associated with New York. There are enough activities to keep you and your grandchildren busy all day: from the Alice in Wonderland statue to the carousel to the Bill Johnson Playground with its 45-foot slide to the Central Park Zoo. Even in the winter, children love to build snowmen and go sledding in the park as well as enjoy Wollman Skating Rink.

Times Square
West 42nd Street and Broadway, New York, NY
(212) 768-1560
Hours: Open daily
Price: Free
www.timessquarenyc.org
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

Times Square, otherwise known as “The Crossroads of the World,” is the most visited tourist attraction in the world! Your grandchildren will be amazed at all the bright lights, loud sounds and people crowding the streets. Take a seat in one of the pedestrian plazas or walk around to explore the many stores and restaurants in this entertainment hub. Your grandchildren will love visiting places like Toys ‘R’ Us (this location comes complete with a Ferris Wheel), M&M World and the American Girl Place.

TKTS Broadway Discount Booths
Broadway and West 47th Street, New York, NY
(212) 912-9770
www.tdf.org
Hours:
For evening performances: Monday-Saturday: 3pm-8pm
For matinee performances: Wednesday, Saturday: 10am-2pm, Sunday: 11am-3pm
Price: Ticket prices vary
Age Range: Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

If you and your grandchildren want to experience the magic of Broadway without paying full price, head over to the TKTS discount booth for up to 50% off the price of tickets. If you’re willing to wait in line and have no evening plans, the TKTS Discount Booth sells extra day-of-performance tickets.  There are dozens of discount tickets on sale every day so there’s bound to be a show for everyone!

FAO Schwarz
767 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY
(212) 644-9400
www.fao.com
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 10am-7pm, Friday-Sunday: 10am-8pm
Price: Free
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

Both kids and kids at heart will love visiting this legendary toy company. You and your grandchildren can take turns playing the giant floor piano, made famous by the movie Big, or watch the store’s own Piano Dancers tap a tune. Your grandchildren will also love exploring the different rooms of toys: from the Grand Hall to the Newborn Nursery. You can even take a Toy Soldier-guided tour of store and see how America’s oldest toy store operates behind the scenes.

Bronx Zoo
2300 South Boulevard, Bronx, NY
(718) 367-1010
www.bronxzoo.com
Hours: Monday-Friday: 10am-5pm, Saturday-Sunday: 10am-5:30pm
Price: Children (ages 3-12): $19.95, Adults (ages 13-64): $29.95, Seniors (ages 65+): $24.95
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

The Bronx Zoo is home to one of the most spectacular wildlife exhibits in the country: Tiger Mountain. Tiger Mountain is home to Siberian tigers, the world’s largest cats, including three newborn cubs that joined the zoo in May 2012. Bring your grandchildren to see these beautiful endangered creatures-only 5,000 of them exist in the world!

Staten Island Ferry
4 South Street, New York, NY
(718) 727-2508
www.siferry.com
Hours: Open daily
Price: Free
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

If you’re looking for breathtaking views of lower Manhattan, look no further than the Staten Island Ferry. This free service provides mini-cruises to and from Staten Island (about 25 minutes each way.) Your grandchildren will love riding on the top deck with the wind in their hair and seeing the Statue of Liberty close up.

American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, NY
(212) 769-5100
www.amnh.org
Hours: 10am-5:45pm (daily)
Price: Children (ages 2-12): $10.50, Adults (ages 13-64): $19, Seniors (ages 65+)
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

At the American Museum of Natural History, your grandchild can stand toe-to-toe with a Tyrannosaurus Rex or marvel at a life-sized Blue Whale model. Plus, after seeing 65-million year-old dinosaur bones, they’ll always think you look young!

Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 5th Avenue, New York, NY
(212) 535-7710
www.metmuseum.org
Hours:
Monday: Closed
Tuesday-Thursday: 9:30am-5:30pm
Friday-Saturday: 9:30am-9pm
Sunday: 9:30am-5:30pm
Price: Suggested donation (Children & Adults (under 64): $25.00, Seniors (ages 65+): $17.00)
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

Explore art and installations from all over the world at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Here you and your grandchildren can view famous works of art from Picasso, Carvaggio, Pollock and many more. Younger children will be amazed by the soaring ceilings of The Great Hall and the 4,500 year old Mastaba Tomb of Perneb. The museum also offers customized itineraries for different age groups, to ensure younger patrons are have just as much fun as more experienced art lovers.

The Empire State Building
350 5th Avenue, New York, NY
(212) 736-3100
www.esbnyc.com
Hours:
Tuesday-Thursday: 9:30am-5:30pm
Friday-Saturday: 9:30am-9pm
Sunday: 9:30am-5:30pm
Price: Children (ages 6-17): $19, Adults (ages 18-64): $25, Seniors (ages 65): $22
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

Get spectacular views of the entire city and beyond from the top of the Empire State Building. This skyline staple stands 1,250 feet above the street and offers a 360 degree open air terrace on the 86th floor. You can also buy tickets to the “Top Deck,” a climate controlled indoor gallery on the 102nd floor, the highest public point in all of New York City.

Rockefeller Center
30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY
(212) 332-6868
www.rockefellercenter.com
Hours: Open daily
Price: Free
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

Though Rockefeller Center is best known for its Christmas time activities (its home to one of the nation’s biggest, brightest trees!), there’s fun to be had here all year round. You can take a tour of NBC Studios or Radio City Music Hall, walk through an underground concourse of shopping and restaurants or take a ride to the Top of The Rock to see breathtaking views of the city from three outdoor observation levels.

LOCAL UNIQUES:

Chinatown
Canal Street, New York, NY
www.explorechinatown.com
Hours: Open daily
Price: Free
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

When you reach Canal Street in Chinatown you’ll feel like you’ve traveled all the way around the world. The streets are filled with authentic Chinese restaurants, groceries and clothing stores. Explore the Mahayana Buddhist Temple and the statues in Chatham Square. After a long day of walking around, grab a snack at the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory to sample staple Asian flavors like Wasabi, Green Tea and Black Sesame.

The High Line
Gansevoort Street to 30th Street, Between 10th Avenue and 11th Avenue, New York, NY
(212) 206-9922
www.thehighline.org
Hours: 7am-11pm (daily)
Price: Free
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

This park and green space, opened in 2009, is built on an old elevated railroad track from the 1930s. It’s a great place to walk without worrying about busy street traffic and taxi cabs. Have a picnic on the 23rd Street lawn or grab a bite to each at any of the High Line’s many food trucks and snack stands.

Books of Wonder
18 West 18th Street, New York, NY
(212) 989-3475
www.booksofwonder.com
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10am-7pm, Sunday: 11am-6pm
Price: Free
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

Books of Wonder if New York City’s oldest and largest independent bookstore and it’s just for kids! Whether you want to share the classics you love with your grandchildren or read a contemporary favorite, Books of Wonder offers an expansive source of new and old children’s literature. Be sure to stop in for Story Time every Sunday at noon and Fridays from 4:00pm-5:00pm.

Economy Candy
108 Rivington Street, New York, NY
(212) 254-1531
www.economycandy.com
Hours:
Monday: 10am-6pm
Tuesday-Friday, Sunday: 9am-6pm
Saturday: 10am-5pm
Price: Free
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

Let your grandchild give in to his or her sweet tooth at this old-fashioned, family-owned Lower East Side candy store. Economy carries a large variety of candy, dried fruits and nuts all for an old-fashioned price. They even have quite a few “nostalgic” candies like Abba Zaba, Necco Wafers and Sixlets!

Forbidden Planet
840 Broadway, New York, NY
(212) 473-1576
www.fpnyc.com
Hours:
Sunday-Tuesday: 10am-10pm
Wednesday: 9am-12am
Thursday-Saturday: 10am-12am
Price: Free
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Elementary, Tween, Teen

Come shop (or just browse) at one of the largest sellers of comic books, graphic novels, science fiction, toys and associated collectibles in the world! If your grandchildren love superheroes, anime, trading cards or action figures, they’ll truly be on a planet of paradise. 

Comments

If your grandchildren are a bit too young for a big Broadway show, a fun and value-filled performing arts option in NYC is at Symphony Space. Their "Just Kidding" series of performances (music, dance, children's theater, physical comedy, magic, etc.) runs October through March, and there are events most weekends. Details are at: http://www.symphonyspace.org/justkidding

bethbcpr@yahoo.com on 2014-10-16 12:03:19