How to spend 3 days in New York City if you're traveling with kids. Enjoy fun activities like the Natural History Museum and Central Park, while trying the first pizzeria in the U.S. and a restaurant dedicated to chocolate.
1. First Pizzeria in America | 11 a.m.
32 Spring St, New York, NY 10012
The first pizzeria established in America in 1905, and the first stop on our trip. This is the classic pizzeria, with red checkered tablecloths and the brick walls. Kids will love the environment, and adults will love the pizza, which is a coal oven Neopolitan thin-crust based while being softer in the center. Most might expect a tourist trap, but the pizza is actually gourmet and on-par with some of the best in the city.
2. Transported to Paris for Dessert | 1 p.m.
398 W Broadway, New York, NY 10012
Take a walk from Little Italy through Soho to Laduree, a French patisserie shop specializing in macarons. Kids will love the palette of pastel colors from all the macarons and French pastries. The dining room is also opulently decorated with chandeliers and velvet seats, and makes you feel as if you're transported to Paris or Versailles. There is also an outdoor patio in the back for al fresco dining. A great place to stop for afternoon tea or to pick up some souvenirs for those back home.
3. NYC's Greatest Attractions - Statue of Liberty & WTC | 2 p.m.
Head south on the green line to the Financial District, where some of New York's greatest tourist attractions lie. Head to Battery Park to board the ferry to go to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty (Yelp) up close as well as Ellis Island. Pay only a few more dollars to have access to the crown of the Statue to get a perfect view of the city. After coming back to Manhattan, walk over to see the newly built World Trade Center (Yelp) as well as the 9/11 Memorial (Yelp). These sights are memories which will last a lifetime.
4. Dinner at Katz's | 7 p.m.
205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10013
By now, the kids are probably tired and hungry. Head up to the Lower East Side to try a real New York classic. Get their famous pastrami on rye, which is huge and layered with enough meat to feed two. Also don't forget to try their corned beef and their matzo ball soup.
If you somehow still have room for dessert after this, il laboratorio del gelato (Yelp) is right next door serving innovative flavors in gelato including honey lavender and Mexican cinnamon. Morgenstern's Finest (Yelp) is also only a couple blocks away if you want to visit an ice cream parlor that brings back the classic retro 50s and 60s vibe.
5. Brunch in Wonderland | 11 a.m.
102 W 73rd St, New York, NY 10023
Start the day by heading up to the Upper West Side and have brunch at Alice's Tea Cup. Themed after the storybook Alice in Wonderland, it is a very cute shop filled with warm lighting, wood furniture, and fancy cup sets that make it feel very cozy. Their menu consists of brunch classics such as benedicts, pancakes, and eggs, but also has an afternoon tea set with scones and sandwiches. It's the perfect place to be whisked away to wonderland.
6. Animals and Exploring Space | 1 p.m.
200 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024
Walk a few blocks north to the American Museum of Natural History. The perfect place for kids to spend an afternoon exploring their interests from dinosaurs to the ocean to space. It is also a great place for adults to learn more about the earth and beyond. There is a planetarium that has amazing shows for an additional price, but is definitely worth the admission!
7. Wander Through Central Park | 4 p.m.
If you're in need of some outdoor space and fresh air, the Natural History Museum is right by Central Park, one of the largest urban parks in the world. Rent a rowboat to go on the Lake, throw around a frisbee in the field, or just relax and soak in the sunshine. If you go to southern part, which is around 15 to 20 blocks away, there are some more activities such as the Carousel, the Zoo, as well as an Ice Skating Rink in the winter.
8. Dinner in Times Square | 7 p.m.
1515 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
Take a cab or train south to Times Square, which is one of the busiest and crowded areas in New York. Head to Junior's for a classic American diner serving burgers, steaks, sandwiches, and much more. Set in a fun and casual setting, be sure to stay for its world famous cheesecakes. It is a classic American style that is denser and packed with sweet flavors.
After dinner, wander around and stare at the bright billboards and lights that line up Times Square. Some of the fun stores that are open late include M&M's World, Hershey's Chocolate, Madame Tussauds, and a Dave & Buster's. There are also regularly street performers and cartoonists along Broadway as well. Kids will enjoy the lively streets and bright lights, before going back to the hotel after a busy day and calling it a night.
9. New York Barbecue | 11 a.m.
30 W 26th St, New York, NY 10010
While it hasn't achieved the fame of Texas or the Carolinas, the New York barbecue scene is slowly developing its reputation. Visit Hill Country Barbecue in the Flatiron district for a laid-back vibe. Walk to the counter to order your cuts of meat and watch the pitmasters cut the meat for you. It is a fun and relaxed place to eat where you can dive in and get your hands messy. The briskets and ribs are not to be missed!
10. A Musical on Broadway | 2 p.m.
Head north to Times Square to catch a matinee showing of a musical for the ultimate New York experience. Popular shows like The Lion King and other Disney productions are great for kids, but reserve your tickets early ahead of time as they sell out quickly.
An alternative to watching a Broadway show is to head to Coney Island on the yellow line, which is around an hour away. Enjoy the classic boardwalk rides and games in the amusement park for an afternoon of fun for the kids.
11. Dinner in the Park | 6 p.m.
Madison Avenue and E.23rd St, New York, NY 10010
Head back south to the Flatiron district after the matinee showing, with time to check out the Empire State Building or Madison Square Garden, which are both along the way back. Once in the Flatiron district, find Madison Square Park and the original Shake Shack. It is a large stand in the middle of the park, and it'll be pretty hard to miss the usual long line that extends through the park. Order the shack burger (make it double if you're hungry), and the 'shroom burger is also surprisingly good. Sit on the tables or benches in the park for a relaxing outdoor meal.
12. Real Life Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory | 8 p.m.
841 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
Walk around 10 blocks south to Union Square to get dessert at Max Brenner. A large restaurant dedicated to chocolate, it serves all your chocolate favorites from hot chocolate to waffles and crepes to ice cream sundaes. Would highly recommend the chocolate fondue to sample a lot of their signature dishes to dip into chocolate, or for those who are adventurous, order their chocolate pizza. Kids and adults alike will love this real life chocolate factory, as it's the perfect sweet ending to the day and the 3 day trip.