Traveling to New York City as a family can be tough. There’s so much to do and see, so
much food to try, and so many naps to plan. For families with varied ages and energy levels, perfectly scheduling excursions around the city are no small feat. Luckily, we’re here to help!
Double Decker Bus Tour
The easiest and most efficient way to see everything you need to see in New York City is on a double-decker bus! Taking a hop-on hop-off bus tour is a great way to be carted around the city much like the ones offered by TopView Sightseeing. Many of the buses have an uptown loop, running up the west side of Manhattan to highlight historic uptown sites like the Hamilton Grange, Riverside Church, and The Cloisters. The downtown loops run from Times Square through all of the neighborhoods and their historic sites like SoHo, Madison Square Park, Union Square, and the West Village. The buses provide maps and audio guides and let you get off the bus at any stop that you find exciting and compelling. Luckily, the buses all lead back to your starting point eventually, so if you just want to go for a ride around the city on an open-air bus, you’re totally welcome to!
Another thrilling (but pricier) way to see the sights is via a helicopter tour. Most of them depart from downtown in the Seaport and Financial District or from the heliports on the Hudson River on the West Side. Get a birds’ eye view of the skyline and all five boroughs as you swoop down the Hudson for an amazing view of The Statue of Liberty! While this way of seeing the city is definitely not for those with a weak stomach, a helicopter tour is an absolute must for the thrill-seekers in your family.
The Free Option: Walking!
And, as always, the best way to get to know any city is on foot! Depending on the ages of the kids in your family, and on where your accommodations are located, designate one morning of your trip as an exploring day, put on your tennis shoes and head out after breakfast. You’ll find new nooks and crannies of the city that some New Yorkers might not even know about! You’ll find new tiny parks for the kids to play in and new cafes with a killer cold brew, out of the way museums, and bookstores for folks with niche interests.
If the kids are old and independent enough, you can send them off to a museum for the afternoon, like the Met, Guggenheim, or the MoMA. That way, you’ll have all the time in the world to explore the things that you REALLY want to see. Then it’s off to a little restaurant for a glass of wine or to another tourist site that may not be of as much interest to the kids!
Planning a trip that will leave the whole family with lifelong memories is a challenge! While it can be daunting, with just a little legwork, it can be a resounding success!