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Family Weekend in New York City: What to See, Do & Eat With Kids in the Big Apple

Family Travel Things to Do
Hecksher Playground at Central Park in New York Photo Courtesy of Central Park Conservancy Hecksher Playground at Central Park in New York Photo Courtesy of Central Park Conservancy

Charming restaurants, chic boutiques, and Central Park all add up to a wonderful spring weekend in New York City. Meander to Rockefeller Center and Radio City or enjoy the tranquil streets of the Upper East Side. Manhattan is ideal for art enthusiasts who may want to stroll down Museum Mile, as well as people of all ages who are looking for distinctive spaces, independent stores or enjoyable afternoon tea. Spend a spring weekend in Manhattan and fall in love with the cosmopolitan yet serene scene of "The City That Never Sleeps."

The Met in New York City
The Met in New York City Photo by Karel Miragaya

Day 1: Art, Tea Playgrounds, Oh My!
Getting kids to visit museums can be daunting for many families, but New York City museums are stunning and offer several children’s programs. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is massive and has fabulous resources for children, teens, and visitors with special needs. The key is to plan ahead so as to accommodate interests and attention spans.

Go to the information desk and grab family maps for the kids. Kids love paper maps and this one shows everything the museum has to offer. It makes them feel special and like they belong at the Met, which is the main goal. The museum has dozens of family guides to choose from so you can curate your visit depending on your child’s interests. Whatever your child’s interests are, the Met has something for everyone, including classes and interactive programs.

Alice's Tea Cup in New York City
Kids Enjoying a Tea Party at Alice's Tea Cup Photo Courtesy of Alice's Tea Cup

After a few hours at the Met, everyone will need a treat so put on a pair of fairy wings, get a sprinkling of fairy dust, and grab some tea and snacks at Alice’s Tea Cup. This whimsical teahouse has one location on the Upper East Side and a new one opening in Brooklyn Heights. ATC provides a fun, yummy break from the traditional formal teahouse. Adults can munch on fun snacks like Alice’s s’mores or banana Nutella cake while kids admire their “menu for the small” with everything from grilled cheese sandwiches to puréed baby food.

Playtime at the Park
Museum-ing and fairies can take a lot out of you so take a walk to St. Catharine's Park - park playtime is a must! Let off some steam and visit the playground after your tea.

St. Catherine’s design is rich with history as the layout of the park mirrors that of the magnificent Roman church, Santa Maria sopra Minerva. The park is great for adults and teenagers as well since it has a running track, tennis wall, handball courts, and basketball court.

Alice in Wonderland Statue at Central park in New York City
Alice in Wonderland Statue in Central Park Photo Courtesy of Central Park

Day 2: Central Park, Frozen Hot Chocolate and Ice Skating
When in Manhattan, whether with kids or without, paying a visit to Central Park is key, especially in the spring. Take the whole day and make it all about CP! Not only is it gorgeous but it’s also a wonderful respite from the hustle and bustle of one of the busiest cities in the world.

Home to potbellied pigs, sheep, goats and the only cow in Manhattan, start your day with a quick visit to the Tisch Children’s Zoo. Then head over to the Central Park Zoo’s main grounds to see the grizzly bear, snow leopard and, most importantly, catch the morning penguin feeding!

From feedings to pharaohs, make sure to hit the Egypt-themed Ancient Playground, the Billy Johnson Playgroundwith the granite slide. And visit the oldest playground in the park, Heckscher Playground, which also has water features in the summer.

The highlight of this park trip for the kids will be listening to the nursery rhymes and watching the animals of the Delacorte Musical Clock. Each day between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., the clock plays one of 32 nursery rhyme tunes on the hour. On the half-hour, the mechanical performance is a bit shorter. The animals rotate on a track around the clock and each also turns on an axis. You can also pay homage to one of literature’s greatest idols and climb the Alice in Wonderland sculpture.

Serendipity 3 in New York City
Serendipity Frozen Hot Chocolate Photo Courtesy of Serendipity 3

Your daylong adventures in Central Park will leave you exhausted and hungry! Head to an iconic New York locale with fanciful delicacies found at Serendipity 3. You can get burgers and their notorious, immense frozen hot chocolate.

To cap off your weekend, nothing is as quintessentially NYC as ice skating at The Rink at Rockefeller Center. There may be many falls, but seeing the twinkling lights of the NYC skyline when you get up makes the bumps and bruises worth it! 

For more family fun activities in New York, check out Things to Do in New York, NY with Kids.

Tags: New York City Family Vacation Kids


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