New York City in 48 kid-friendly hours

Our entire family recently decided to take on the Big Apple. We quickly realized that one weekend in New York City was enough to declare it completely kid-friendly.

Here are some places to visit that will guarantee a trip filled with adventure.

PLAY

Rockefeller Center

It was lovely to see the business of New York in action while walking through the Channel Gardens and appreciating the sculptures. The Top of the Rock Observation Deck offers the opportunity to see the most spectacular views of the city. Once on level ground again, you can continue to stroll through the more than 100 stores. My children’s favorite was the Lego store, a true gem with its life-sized creations. The Concourse at Rockefeller Center is perfect to grab a bite before continuing to explore.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan

You must take your youngest travelers to this playful wonderland! The museum’s five floors will delight children with Lego décor and its ultra-fun exhibitions centered around literature, science and art. ‘Frolic,’ a rock ‘n’ roll-themed pop-up play space is ideal for the littlest ones, complete with a Volkswagen minivan, a Rolling Stones-inspired tongue slide and enough music to keep them grooving. Everyone will enjoy ‘Adventures with Dora and Diego’ and ‘Dyamic H20,’ the latter allowing kids to splash water around to create their own aqueduct and construct a city.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

The boat ride to Liberty Island through the Hudson River is a treat for everyone. Once on the island, the stunning city views are a staple of your visit, while the great Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum provide an educational experience for your children. Older kids would most likely appreciate climbing up to the torch, just make sure you buy tickets months in advance. Children 7-12 can participate in the Junior Ranger Program which teaches them about the National Park Service, Liberty Island and why this national monument is important.

Times Square

Although it is often dismissed as too crowded or noisy, my family found Times Square utterly fascinating and quite the thrill for kids. All those lights, stores and the upbeat vibe can stimulate even the mellowest of souls. My 7-year-old couldn’t wait to see the most famous residents of New York City, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Along our path we also spotted Captain America, Elsa, Hello Kitty and Minnie Mouse. Make sure to bring cash for tips if you take photos with them.

While there we also visited M&M’s World, which will amaze you flavors you wouldn’t normally see; Ripley’s Believe it or Not, a known tourist hotspot; Toys “R” Us and the Hershey Store.

Central Park

We chose the heart of New York City to celebrate my 3-year-old’s birthday. She was happy to be surrounded by a beautiful pond and plenty of space to run and explore. It’s true what they say, Central Park is like a backyard for families in NYC.

Have a blast at the Victorian Gardens Amusement Park, spin on the famous Central Park Carousel and visit and feed furry friends at The Central Park Zoo, a 6.5-acre zoo featuring more than 150 animal species, including flamingos, red pandas and penguins.

I was also so happy to walk through Strawberry Fields, a living memorial to the beloved John Lennon. It is totally OK to tear up or sing along while musicians strum their guitars to his music. No matter what you choose to do at Central Park, you will have an unforgettable time.

STAY

The Kimberly Hotel

Located in the heart of Manhattan, the family-friendly hotel provides you with easy access to the Rockefeller Center, Central Park, Radio City Music Hall, Grand Central Station and many other attractions.

The space is elegant–my children were immediately mesmerized by the 2,000 gallon saltwater aquarium in the lobby–and the staff is friendly.

The hotel’s apartment-like studios and 1- and 2-bedroom suites feature kitchenettes, flat-screen TV’s, 24-hour room service, WiFi (for an additional charge) and balconies with incredible views of the city skyline.

For your dining needs, Bistango is an on-site Italian restaurant serving antibiotic-free meats, responsibly sourced seafood and local produce. Rooms start at $229. Studios range from $239 to $719. One and two bedroom suites range from $279 to $1259.

GETTING AROUND

True to New York style, you’ll likely be traveling a lot by foot, bus and the underground subway. Although most locations are stroller friendly, for a weekend trip, I would suggest bringing a baby carrier instead or just holding tight to your child’s hand.

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