New York City is so much more than the Statue of Liberty, Broadway shows, and the Empire State Building: there are so many hidden treasures in New York City for you and your family to enjoy this summer! When thinking of ideas for a fun-filled, relaxing vacation for both you and your family, you may be disinclined to consider New York City as a destination with its crowds of millions of people, its intimidatingly tall buildings, and its floods of yellow taxi cabs honking nonstop. Or maybe you have already brought your children to the Big Apple’s top tourist attractions, and think of it as a “one and done” type of experience. However, NYC is much more than meets the surface. Especially during the summertime, there exists so many hidden treasures in New York City for both you and your children to enjoy that are not offered anywhere else in the world. Whether it be the place you and your kids decide to go to for a change of pace, or it is the destination for an exciting family vacation, New York City will definitely not disappoint when it comes to its variety of options. Here is a list of ideas for you and your family to enjoy this summer in NYC! (And have no fear, you will not feel like you have to place tracking devices on your kids at these places despite being in one of the world’s biggest cities).
Hidden Treasures in New York City (for your kids)
1. Picnicking in Madison Square Park – Flatiron District
Madison Square Park is often the “forgotten child” compared to Central Park when thinking of NYC parks. That is all more the reason why you and your family should enjoy a picnic in Madison Square Park. While all of the city’s tourists are flocking to Central Park, you and your family can soak up the sun and have a relaxing lunch situated between the famous Fifth and Madison Avenues. The park hosts many summer concerts, particularly the series Madison Square Music: Concerts for Kids which includes free concerts featuring today’s top children’s performing artists whom they can interact with. The park also hosts a free creative program called Art in the Park Making which allows children to explore the art around them and create their own art projects.
Madison Square Park:
23rd St to 26th St between Fifth and Madison Aves
New York, New York 10010
2. High Tea with Kids at Alice’s Tea Cup – Upper East and West Sides
What better place for a little mother-daughter bonding experience while the men of the family are exploring the NBA Store than an afternoon tea at Alice’s Tea Cup. Mothers and daughters alike would not be able to resist its enchanting atmosphere and amazing food. It is super affordable compared to other high tea cafes and your children will be able to remember your shared experience forever with a purchase at its gift shop.
Alice’s Tea Cup:
156 East 64th Street, 212-486-9200
102 West 73rd Street, 212-799-3006
220 East 81st Street, 212-734-4832
3. Exploring the Bronx Zoo – Bronx
Home to more than 4,000 animals, the Bronx Zoo will surely leave both you and your kids in awe. This is a great option if you need an activity to take up most of your day as you will be exploring the world’s largest urban zoo. It is also an affordable option with admission prices at $16 for adults, $12 for children and children under 3 years old are free. If you would rather not make the trip beyond Manhattan for the Bronx Zoo, the Central Park Zoo located right inside Central Park may be a smaller (if you consider 150 species of animals as being “small”) yet more convenient option.
Fordham Road and Bronx River Parkway
4. Making Your Own Ice Cream at CoolMess – Upper East Side
One of the best things about NYC is that it is home to some of the trendiest, most innovative eateries that no other city in the world has to offer. Take advantage of this while spending time with your children at CoolMess. This interactive ice cream parlor allows you and your kids to create your own ice cream flavors right at your table. An ice cream machine is placed on your table, which allows you to watch your ice cream being made right before your eyes! This is an entertaining, upbeat and safe experience. If you want to have a bite to eat before indulging in dessert, it is conveniently located on the second floor of Burger Heaven– one of the top burger places in NYC – and is run by the same owner.
137 E 62nd St, New York, NY 10065
5. Enjoy Endless Possibilities at Governors Island
Want to explore beyond Manhattan to its beautiful neighboring islands? Why not do so with your kids! Governors Island is only a seven-minute ferry ride from lower Manhattan. It was once home to the U.S. Army and Coast Guard but has been renovated into 30 acres of parkland. The Hammock Grove Play Area features a miniature golf course, a tree house for your children to climb, and sprinklers that go off on sunny days from 11 AM to 2 PM. Many events take place on this 172-acre island such as Family Fun Day and the Annual NYC Unicycle Festival. Feeling “beachy”? Governors Club is a waterfront destination on Governors Island with sand to relax on and play in. It is a great place for your family to eat and lounge at while feeling the breeze of the water.
Ferry Line Road
New York, NY 10004
6. Watch a Family-Friendly Performance at The New Victory Theater – Midtown West
Avoid the high-prices and chaos of Broadway shows and enjoy a show catered specifically for you and your kids at The New Victory Theater. This is the only theater in the Big Apple devoted to showcasing family-friendly performances year-round. From puppet shows to storytelling sessions to musicals, The New Victory Theater offers such a wide variety of entertainment (even a kid-friendly Bob Marley musical). There is no better place to introduce your children to the wonderful world of theater than here.
The New Victory Theater:
209 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036
7. Ice Skating at Chelsea Piers – Chelsea
Need a break from the summer sun? What better activity to do so than ice skating at Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers, which offers year-round ice skating! At $10 per person, $5 for skate rentals, and $4.25 for helmet rentals, there is no need to pack an extra 10 pounds of stuff in your luggage to participate in this activity. It is also located in the famous 28-acre waterfront sports village where you and your family can explore its public recreations and waterfront access.
Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers:
61 Chelsea Piers
New York, NY 10011
These places can be planned in your itinerary or destinations caused by a spur-of-the-moment decision, but either way, they will surely give you and your family great memories of the Big Apple. If you do plan to visit places such as Times Square or the Empire State Building, these hidden treasures in NYC are great places to take a breather while still entertaining your children.