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5 Fun Things to do in NYC with Kids

Planning a family trip to NYC? My home city is filled with amazing places to visit with kids! Today I'll tell out about 5 fun things to do in NYC with kids. No matter if this is your first time visiting the Big Apple or if this your tenth trip here, these are memorable NYC experiences. Some are even FREE!

5 Fun Things to do in NYC with Kids

1. Visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Make your next NYC adventure an educational one! Captivate the kids with a little history by visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Just a ferry ride away from downtown Manhattan or Liberty State Park in New Jersey. This is probably my favorite thing to do with kids in NYC! You can click here to read my 5 tips for visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island with kids.

The kids will enjoy learning all about the history of the Statue of Liberty and the immigrants that arrived to Ellis Island more than 100 years ago. A walk around either island will leave you in awe of the history portrayed here. A great kids audio tour is provided so make sure to grab a free kids headset once you arrive at either island. You won't have to do all the teaching yourself since the audio tour provides lots of details and fun facts that kids need to know about these two historic locations. 

2. Climb to the top of the Empire State Building

The views from the top of the Empire State Building are not to be missed. No NYC experience is complete without taking a trip to the top of the Empire State Building. Most amazing to kids is how clearly you can see the grid of NYC streets from up here. The breathtaking views will actually allow you and the kids to appreciate the brilliant design of this spectacular city. You can visit the Empire State Building 265 days a year. To beat the crowds I suggest visiting as soon as they open at 8AM, although they do remain open till 2AM.

From up here, you and the kids can catch a spectacular glimpse of this great big city and beyond! Did you know that you can actually see as far as 80 miles away on a clear day?

3. Find loads of family fun along the Hudson River Park

Hudson River Park along the west side of Manhattan is the perfect place to take a long stroll along the water's edge and take in the sights of the Hudson River and New Jersey on the other side. As New Yorkers, my family loves taking long walks along this waterside park. My kids particularly love the Pier 51 Play Space but there's an infinity of things to do at Hudson River Park.
Visit the sports complex at Chelsea Piers, ride the Pier 62 Carousel, grab a bite to eat at the Frying Pan at Pier 66 (the kids will love checking out the old boats and train car), splash around in the water fountains of Pier 84 on a hot summer day then jump on the Circle Line for a waterway tour around the city, or visit the nearby USS Intrepid Air and Space Museum docked at Pier 86. Hudson River Park along the water's edge is filled with fun experiences that the kids will love!

4. Relax, play and enjoy incredible NYC views from Long Island City

Speaking of water's edge, here's another great park along the water that's not to be missed. Head on over to Queens via subway and experience Long Island City -- a rapidly growing neighborhood that some might consider the next hip and happening place in NYC! Along the East River on the Queens side and directly across from Midtown Manhattan, you'll discover a beautiful waterfront neighborhood that was once an entirely commercial area filled with factories and warehouses. Today, beautiful residential building towers, quint little restaurants, friendly neighborhood pubs and art galleries line the streets. 
Spend some time at the Gantry Plaza State Park along the water and make sure to enjoy some time at Hunter's Point South Park too! Located side-by-side, both parks offer tons of fun things to do in NYC with kids. Kick up your feel on a beautiful wooden lounger while the kids run around in pretty manicured gardens set along old rail lines. Take a stroll along beautifully appointed walkways with stepping stones that lead to the river. Gantry Plaza State Park offers basketball courts, handball courts, HUGE playgrounds, and lots of open green spaces to run and play in. Not to mention that you can catch some incredible NYC views from here! 
Don't forget your camera! You can grab some fantastic shots of the Manhattan skyline from here.

Walk all the way down along the water, past the gantries of Gantry Plaza State Park and you'll walk right into Hunter's Point South Park -- a city park that offers fantastic outdoor spaces -- a large circular astroturf area, and a HUGE sandbox area that your kids will love. Mine can't get enough of this place!

5. Stop to Smell the Roses at the Queens Botanical Gardens

While you're in Queens hop back on the subway and head on over to Flushing and visit the Queens Botanical Gardens. This is much a smaller garden than the 259 acre NYC Botanical Garden located in the Bronx but equally impressive and the perfect size to explore with kids. Here you'll find 39 acres of beautifully landscaped spaces that the kids can run through and enjoy.
This beautiful Queens garden was once a former ash landfill. Today it takes sustainability to the next level with it's eco-friendly buildings and earth-friendly practices. Visit a working beehive or stroll along a beautiful rose garden. The Queens Botanical Gardens is open year round but closed on Mondays. It's easily accessible by car, the 7 subway line, the Long Island Railroad, and by the Q20 and Q44 city buses that stop right at the front gate.

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