nyc itinerary: family trip

I'm back with another New York City itinerary and this time it's all about family trips to the city. Even though I don't have kids and wouldn't necessarily describe myself as being super knowledgable about the subject, many people comment that I have good instincts when it comes to suggestions for kids. New York may not seem like the most kid-friendly place, but there really are so many cool things to do.

I'm making a point with these recommendations to suggest things that would be fun for all ages. Family trips often involve every age from toddlers and older kids to teenagers, young adults, grown adults, and grandparents so it's important to keep things kid-friendly without being too "kiddie" and boring for the other family members. 

STAY

The Peninsula
This luxury hotel is next door to MoMA on the classic 5th Avenue. It's only a few blocks from Central Park and The Plaza (whose food hall and Eloise shop are worth a visit). There are tons of family packages with themes like Camp Peninsula as well as scavenger hunts, poolside picnics, and cooking classes.

Ganesvoort Meatpacking
Hotels in this area, especially the Gansevoort, are often thought to be go-to hotels for a younger, louder crowd but this one is actually pretty family friendly which makes it great for all ages. It's located right on the High Line, plus it's near Tribeca which is flush with playgrounds and green space for kids.

The James Hotel
This hotel in SoHo has a great restaurant, rooftop bar, lots of art, and is in a good location near lots of things to do. Kids can get milk and cookies at bedtime plus access to books and board games. There's a rooftop pool and a great restaurant onsite, The David Burke Kitchen, to make things easy.

EAT

Alice's Tea Cup
This is a classic spot for kids. It's a whimsical tea house with fun decor and full-on tea ceremonies which are family friendly. Great for little girls or anyone who loves Alice in Wonderland, fairytales, and so on.

Little Italy Pizza at Bryant Park
There are lots of restaurants near Bryant Park, but an easy meal idea is to pick up a pizza from Little Italy Pizza and walk it over to Bryant Park for an outdoor picnic.

Kellogg's Cafe
This spot in Union Square is one of my favorite places in the city. It's a full-on cereal bar where you can customize your bowl of cereal, set it up at an Instagram station, and sit in swings looking out over the park. A must-go for anyone, but especially great for kids.

Pizza Beach
With locations on the Lower East Side and Upper East Side, this is a fun, colorful pizza shop with a beachy theme. 

Bubby's
Go to Bubby's in Tribeca for a decadent brunch or a scoop of Ample Hills Creamery ice-cream. The atmosphere is relaxed and noisy, perfect for families. Try the stuffed pancakes!

Brooklyn Farmacy
This is such a cute spot in Carroll Gardens. It's a classic soda fountain that's been around as an apothecary since the 1920s. Sit at the counter and order a grilled cheese and chocolate egg cream for a fun, retro experience.

DO

Natural History Museum
A great spot for families as there is so much to look at. There's everything from dinosaurs to space ships plus all sorts of educational experiences for every age. If you're there in the summer, check out the secret splash pad on the roof.

Jane's Carousel & Brooklyn Bridge Park
Head over to DUMBO to ride Jane's Carousel on the waterfront. There are also a few playgrounds there with Tarzan swings, splash pads, slides, and epic sandboxes.

Children's Museum of the Arts
This museum in Lower Manhattan has tons of hands-on art related activities. You can learn to animate a video, do a sing-along, learn to paint, sculpt with clay, and look at really visually interesting art. 

The High Line & playground
Walking the High Line is great for all ages. There's so much to see and do along the way, like the rail yards, the Diller-von Furstenberg splash pad, and a really cool playground with beams. The first time I walked by the playground, I didn't even realize that's what it was. I literally thought kids were just climbing all over the framework of the High Line! Haha.