Things to see when the sun is shining
Things to see when you need to stay indoors
Dining with the kids
Restaurants for just the two of you
Final Advice
Hilaria Baldwin's Guide to Exploring NYC with Kids
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Hilaria Baldwin's Guide to Exploring NYC with Kids

New York, NY, United States
Hilaria Baldwin
Exploring NYC with my family is a top priority as a mom. Alec & I are always out w/ the kids in the city, so I’m excited to share my personal favorite places to go & things to do with kids in NYC!
Things to see when the sun is shining
Picture of Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.
Brooklyn Botanical Gardens
Parks & Nature
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The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is amazing! It can be a great alternative to Central Park if you’re looking for something a bit more off the beaten path. It’s a free-range space where kids can just go and run and be kids in a care-free area. It’s absolutely magical, almost like a secret garden, with little nooks and bridges to explore. They have a great lunch spot as well with options for indoor and outdoor seating. If your kids are like mine, getting them to sit still indoors is always a challenge, so it’s nice to have the outdoor option.

Picture of Bronx Zoo.
Bronx Zoo
Activities
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The Central Park Zoo is great because it’s manageable with a petting zoo, and the Bronx Zoo is another great option if you have the time to travel a bit further. My kids especially love the dinosaur ride, and there’s lots of space for kids to really run and play.

Picture of Pier 51 at Hudson River Park.
Pier 51 at Hudson River Park
Parks & Nature
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This a great place to head if you want an outdoor space where the kids can run around and be by the water. There’s astroturf, so bring a ball for them to kick around. it’s a great way to spend an afternoon when the sun is shining and you’re looking for something a bit more low-key.

Picture of Coney Island.
Coney Island
Activities
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If you have the time to make the trek (it can be a little over an hour on the subway from Manhattan), Coney Island is the perfect day trip to escape the bustle of the city. There’s a beach, a Ferris wheel and, if you’re feeling really brave, there’s the Cyclone roller coaster (though my kids have not gone on that yet!).

Picture of Statue of Liberty.
Statue of Liberty
Sightseeing
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My son Rafael is obsessed with the Statue of Liberty right now. Alec and I have both lived in the city for so long that we don’t often do touristy things, so it’s such a cool experience to do them with our kids, who not only need an activity but are fascinated by it. Alec had the idea of taking the Staten Island Ferry, which is so much fun. You see the Statue of Liberty on the way there and on the way back. The kids loved it!

Picture of Prospect Park Carousel.
Prospect Park Carousel
Parks & Nature
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There are beautiful old carousels all over the city: Central Park, Chelsea Piers, Battery Park and this one in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. The kids love them all, and they’re beautiful for adults too, or anyone interested in history.

Things to see when you need to stay indoors
Picture of CAMP.
CAMP
Shopping
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It’s a genius idea – it’s a store, so they sell toys, but there’s also an indoor play space and there are tons of different activities to sign up for on the weekends like story time and arts and crafts.

Picture of American Museum of Natural History.
American Museum of Natural History
Arts & Culture
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We love love, love museums, and the Natural History Museum is one of our favorites. We take the subway – which is also in itself a really fun activity for the kids. The kids love riding the trains and the whole experience of it, but definitely bring hand sanitizer – kids love to touch everything (and lick everything, if they’re like my kids!).

Picture of Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Arts & Culture
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I love art, so it’s great sharing that love with the kids. It’s frustrating for them when they can’t touch things, but it’s good for them to have that experience of being in a space and seeing and appreciating art.

Picture of Brooklyn Children's Museum.
Brooklyn Children's Museum
Activities
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This is another one of our favorite museums. It’s great for big families-- it actually might be cheaper to become a member than to pay for everyone individually. So if you’re like me, with 4+ kids, that can be a really good option.

Dining with the kids
Picture of Knickerbocker Bar and Grill.
Knickerbocker Bar and Grill
Food & Drinks
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This restaurant is very family-friendly with big tables – perfect for larger families. Serving a little bit of everything, the menu has a lot to offer kids. But, it can get busy so it’s important to make a reservation, even if you’re planning on eating early.

Picture of Village Taverna.
Village Taverna
Food & Drinks
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This spot is super warm and welcoming and they love kids, which is so important when you’re eating out with 4 of them! Not to mention, the food is really good!

Picture of Amorino Gelato and Cafe.
Amorino Gelato and Cafe
Cafe
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This is our favorite ice cream place. I don’t give my kids a lot of dairy, and they love the non-dairy ice cream here – it’s one of their favorite treats.

Picture of Madman Espresso.
Madman Espresso
Cafe
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Not only is the coffee delicious, but they have a ton of different pastries. I take the kids here on the weekend after a healthy breakfast and let them pick out a treat. They get really excited for the pastries.

Picture of Bagel Bob's.
Bagel Bob's
Cafe
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If you’re visiting New York, everyone in the family will appreciate a really good New York bagel. These are some of our favorites, and they also have a really great non-dairy cream cheese option.

Restaurants for just the two of you

Alec and I go to a lot of restaurants when we want time for just the two of us. When we’re choosing a restaurant, all we really care about is that the food is delicious, the people are lovely and that we can have a real neighborhood experience. These are some of our favorites.

Picture of Il Cantinori.
Il Cantinori
Food & Drinks
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It’s such a classic New York spot, and the space is beautiful with really lovely flower arrangements and perfect lighting. The wine is amazing and if you want to adjust the menu a little they’ll do that for you. They want you to get what you want, which is really nice when you’re sitting down for a meal.

Picture of Claudette.
Claudette
Food & Drinks
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This is another really stunning space and it also offers outside seating if it’s nice out. It’s just a beautiful restaurant with a great vibe and really great French food.

Picture of Japonica.
Japonica
Food & Drinks
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If you’re in the mood for sushi, this place is one of our favorites and always busy! It's a little bit more casual but the food is great.

Picture of by CHLOE. Rock Center.
by CHLOE. Rock Center
Food & Drinks
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They have a really great veggie burger! I surprised Alec by taking him here on a Friday night for date night. We were done eating in 10 minutes, but the food was really delicious! It’s more of a lunch spot, but it’s also perfect for those nights when you don’t have as much time to eat out.

Final Advice

This guide scratches the surface of what you can get up to with your family in New York. But if I could give one piece of advice to families visiting the city, it’s this: Don’t try to see it all. When I first moved to the city, it felt overwhelming just how much is here! But I quickly realized just how neighborhood-centered the city is. And that is really heartwarming. As fast as the city seems to move, try to slow down a little and skip some of the more touristy things in favor of some places that may be a bit more unexpected. And just have fun!

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Hilaria Baldwin
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