If you are planning to travel to New York with kids be it the the first time or the twentieth, here is what I learned:
New York and its boroughs are full of fantastic family-friendly things to do and see.
Food is incredible and can be delivered anywhere and at all times.
There are so many carousels that even in a week we didn’t ride them all – and who doesn’t love carousels?!
Restaurants and stores are small which make manoeuvring with a stroller difficult.
Kids don’t seem to like walking aimlessly down streets for hours getting lost. Which is what I like to do in NYC.
The subway is NOT stroller friendly at all – very few stations are accessible.
No store or restaurant has those handy-dandy handicap buttons that automatically open doors and barely anyone will open a door for you.
WHERE TO STAY
Finding a place to stay when travelling to New York with kids is probably your biggest challenge.
I get asked this all the time and I answer the same thing every time:
Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Brooklyn.
I have made many Brooklyn converts so am quite confident that it really is the best choice – especially with kids.
Accommodation in New York is expensive.
Beyond expensive. It’s prohibitively expensive for many.
Hotel rooms are small – so I can’t imagine stuffing a family of four in one for a week.
Manhattan hotels are in locations that are often busy and loud – another damper for a family.
Everyone always want to stay in Soho. Personally, I dislike Soho. It’s insanely busy.
Taking pictures of Dean & Deluca.
I would only use an Airbnb moving forward – I feel when travelling with kids you need laundry and space.
Or you might go bananas.
Airbnb’s in Brooklyn are so much more affordable than those in Manhattan and are often close to green spaces – which is something I discovered we desperately needed on this trip.
I love (in no particular order) Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Park Slope, Fort Greene, Brooklyn Heights, Vinegar Hill and DUMBO.
This past trip was spent in DUMBO – an area that basically didn’t exist when we lived there but is now a very hip, busy neighbourhood full of restaurants, boutiques and the most fantastic playground and park. Warning: in the summer it gets VERY busy. Soho busy.
We loved it.
There is a lovely large park area just steps from where we stayed – every morning we walked with the kids and drank our iced coffees (from this place: FEED – which is a store but they have a café inside so don’t be confused) enjoying the view of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge.
Sidebar: FEED has the most insane cold nitro latte thing (and NO nitro has compared since) that is sooooo delicious. I may have racked up a small fortune drinking them everyday. But it goes to a fantastic cause!
Even when busy, we still had plenty of space down by the water to throw rocks and blow bubbles in the park.
There are a couple of playgrounds right by the water (and this fabulous playground about a ten minute walk away), lots of take-out food options (Shake Shack anyone?), a picnic area that is shaded, and, the best part of all . . .
Have I sold it to you yet?
My friend stayed further into Brooklyn in Park Slope just steps away from Prospect Park (by the same designer as Central Park, with a zoo and carousel but far less busy that it’s big brother in Manhattan) and really enjoyed it.
Although it was a bit of a trek to the city (20-30 minutes on the subway to midtown), she was able to afford a larger place.
I find that Manhattan’s energy is so frenetic and busy, staying out in areas like this with kids allows you to take those deep breaths you will need.