Regardless of the ages of your children, there is plenty to do and see in New York City that makes it a destination of choice for a family vacation. From recognizable landmarks that everyone enjoys seeing, like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building to great places to spend a day, like Central Park and FAO Schwartz, there is something for everyone to do and see in the Big Apple. What makes New York City a great place to visit – the number of things to do while there – also makes it a travel destination on which it’s worth doing a little homework prior to making the trek. I recommend planning ahead so that you can pre-purchase tickets to save money. For example, if a trip out to Ellis and Liberty Islands is a must, you can buy ferry tickets and tickets to go into the Statue of Liberty online, save money and allowing you priority boarding on the ferry.
Going inside Lady Liberty is not difficult to do, but you should plan for long lines, especially in July and August. Going into the crown requires planning at least 6 months in advance, and there are several restrictions involved. Depending on the season and the state budget, the Statue is sometimes closed for repairs. There is an elevator, but in the times we’ve been there, it’s never been operational. However, standing at the base of Lady Liberty is an experience everyone should enjoy, whether you make the climb to the crown or not.
Of the many other must-see sites to choose from in New York City, I recommend the Empire State Building, the Museum of Natural History, and a walk in Central Park. Depending on how much time you have in the area, our kids can never get enough of the Bronx Zoo and Coney Island. New Scream Zone rides opened in April 2011 at Coney Island – the first new rides since the Cyclone opened in 1927 – but it’s the walk along the boardwalk and the perfect Nathan’s Hot Dog dripping with mustard that make the day.
To complete your trip, be sure to head to Times Square. They closed off traffic to the square in 2009 – an experiment Bloomberg made permanent in 2011. The pedestrian-friendly area is a great place to spend a day (or more). Be sure to grab lunch at Hard Rock Café and get your photo taken with your favorite wax celebrity at Madame Toussaud’s (the kids love the new wax Beiber exhibit).
If the high gas prices have your budget a little tighter this year, you can make this a pocket-book friendly trip by opting to stay across the river in Jersey City (the Ramada Inn offers a 20% discounton stays of three nights or longer). You can park your vehicle, take the PATH train from Journal Square to the WTC and then ride the subway.
If New York City doesn’t fit into your travel plans for the summer, don’t worry. I like to head there in the Spring when the flowers are in full bloom and it’s not yet full-blow tourist season, so don’t rule it out as the perfect Spring Break trip next year!
Shadra Bruce is a writer and editor who lives with her husband and children in Bath, New York. Bath is conveniently located less than six hours from most of Shadra’s favorite destinations, including Montreal, New York City, Washington D.C., Boston, and Philadelphia. In addition to her own social media consulting business, Shadra owns and operates the phenomenal Mom community, momsgetreal.com.