What to do with kids under 10 in NYC

I just sent someone an email with some suggestions of what to do in NYC with 3 kids who are 9, 6 and 4.  I am just going to post it.   Feel free to comment with other ideas. 

The Hayden Planetarium is probably perfect also located near the American History Museum.  Located on the Upper Westside which I’d avoid but the Planetarium is perfect and then you can stroll through Central Park.  You could easily grab a cab after exiting the park and move it over to 74th and 3rd and have lunch at JG Melon where your kids will love the burgers and fries ( you will too ).  I’d then walk down to 62nd and Lexington and go to Dylans Candy store where your kids will worship you for taking them there.  The old school candy shop, Economy Candy which is on the Lower East Side will probably be more fun for you but your kids will gaga in Dylans.  A must do.  This is an easy way to knock off the uptown portion of your trip.  All 3 stops will definitely delight.

I’d say go to the MOMA too.  The architecture is very cool and the café where you look over the sculpture garden serves an excellent hot chocolate.  The larger café is also good ( all run by Danny Meyer) and you order at the counter and sit down with a number.  They bring you your food and you can leave at your leisure b/c you have already paid.  Key for younger kids..yes?  Their website is awful!.  My other favorite museum uptown is the Whitney.  Small and easy to navigate.  Don’t eat there.  The food is unedible.

Downtown…the best part of Manhattan (IMHO).  Walk around Chinatown.  We did a Chinatown walk a few years ago (where we went from place to place tasting dumplings and such).  Not sure if your kids are too young but it was entertaining.  Here is the post. Great park in the East Village which is Tompkins Square Park.  Relatively near the Bowery Hotel.  East 5/9 and Avenue A.  Porchetta has fantastic sandwiches right there on East 7th and Ave.
I’d also get to the Lower East Side.  There is Katz’s Deli…and institution.  Houston and Ludlow.  For candy…check out Pappabubble at 126 Rivington.  They make colored candy right there.  Kids will love it.  Soho has a childrens museum which might be fun for the kids.   There is also one on the UWS but wouldn’t go out of my way for it.  The tacos to go at La Esquina is right there.   Madison Square Park is a great park to blow off steam and go to the Shake Shack and get a burger and the best frozen custard.  You can walk down to Union Square after and the farmers market runs Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat.  On a park too.  Worth walking Battery Park where there are parks and continues up the westside.  Lots of places to run and play.  Really beautiful too.  If you need to fall back on an activity due to rain…Bowlmore on University is old school and right in the village on University.

Check out the New Victory Theater which is located on 42nd Street.  We used to take the kids to theater there when they were younger and the kids always loved it.  Eating in the Theater District is always a challenge.  The kids would probably like Blue Fin. Larger than life restaurant with good sushi.

Places to eat:
Momofuko – no reservations, go early, kids will love it.
Stanton Social – total sharing event and they are quick
Co. which is the new pizza haunt in Chelsea – haven’t been but hear good things.  Lombardi’s is probably the oldest pizza place in town and the pizza is still good and closer to the Bowery Hotel…located on the corner of Spring and Mott.  John Pizzeria has also been around forever but I think it has gone downhill. 
Blue Ribbon Brassiere located in Soho.  Again, no reservations but the kids will love the fried chicken or burgers and you will love the other options.
Dim Sum is always entertaining on Sunday morning.  Golden Unicorn or Ping is good.
Clinton Street Baking Company has a great breakfast and delicious pancakes.
S’Mac in the East Village…only serving macaroni and cheese
Peanut Butter & Co  – Village..the name defines the place
Blue Smoke that has jazz in the basement and ribs and such upstairs.  Kids will probably love.
Otto – Mario Batalis pizza joint on 8th and 5th Avenue.

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Comments (Archived):

  1. Banet

    A few more to throw on there:– The Transit Museum on the edge of Brooklyn Heights. The exhibits are more geared for adults, but there’s a real-deal subway platform with one of almost every subway car they’ve ever used in the last 100+ years. They’re all open to wander in and out, have the original ads up, and mind-boggling details like exposes light bulbs, ceiling fans, leather straps (hence, “straphangers”) and believe it or not — wickert seats. Anyway, kids love tearing around the place. It’s also right near the F and the 4/5 train which are easy rides from the Bowery.Economy Candy — On the Lower East Side. An old-school candy store to beat all candy stores. So much more contextually interesting that Dylan’s or the places in Times Square. Also close to the Bowery.The Tenement Museum — The best museum in NYC. An old tenement building with the various apartments made up to be *exactly* as they were in various key decades of immigration… Irish in the 1870’s, German Jews in the 1890’s, Someone else in the 1920’s… um, well, I’m making up who was when but you get the idea. The whole thing is experienced on a small group tour of roughly 16 people with 1 excellent guide. Some tours are especially geared for kids.Laboratorio Gelato — artisanal gelato from the guy who founded Ciao Bella gelato. Right across from the Tenement Museum. Kind of hard to resist.Peterhttp://www.FlashlightWorthy…Recommending books so good, they’ll keep you up past your bedtime. 😉

    1. Gotham Gal

      Nice call.I was going to be in Laboratorio Gelato, I believe I put in Economy Candyalthough young kids are all about Dylans ( alas ) and love the TenementMuseum…totally agree.

      1. Banet

        Ah, I skimmed the links so missed the Economy Candy mention. And yeah, I didn’t realize how young the kids were — they will love Dylans. Another place they may or may not like is the Doughnut Plant on Grand in the Lower East Lower East side. Amazing doughnuts but maybe a bit more of a grown-up thing.Also, good for rainy days is Chelsea Market. Kids can run around. Lots of sweets, and some cool stuff to watch through the windows.

        1. Gotham Gal

          Agreed on Chelsea Market…and always grab the free tastes at Fat Witch.

        2. BillSeitz

          And check in advance on when they’re shooting in the Food Network’s open studio there.

    2. daryn

      Thanks Joanne (and Peter),I’m always looking for things to do with my NYC nephews and niece while I’m in town, and while I’m sure they’ve hit most of these spots over the years, I haven’t!

  2. hallson

    I do realize that folks who live under 23rd street tend to cross north (shake shack being the only exception), but the UWS Children’s Museum is sooooo much better than the one downtown. That said, it is probably boring for kids over 6. But the UWS (disclaimer – I don’t live there) does have the Natural History Museum is one of the best for kids under 10….and it has a shake shack across the street from it as well 🙂

    1. Abe Dane

      Here, here to the Natural History Museum! My kids–ages 4, 6 and 8–all love it…and so do I! Skip the overpriced IMAX stuff, however.

  3. Mo Koyfman

    well, at least you got a post out of it!

  4. bijan

    such an awesome list of things to do.we may have to extend our stay. i love nyc.just booked the hotel.

  5. Ron

    You did not mention the made from scratch gelato place next door to John’s Pizzeria.

    1. Gotham Gal

      That place is open only when they feel like it which is in warmer months. Cones is the name. Amazing how they can afford the rent, sell gelato and are open on occasion.joanne [email protected]

  6. liamlowe

    We had a great pass through NY last summer & the firm favourites for our boys of nine, seven and five were -1) The Nintendo store down by the Rockefeller Centre. I have to admit I even enjoyed the buzz and the free game play. Your average Apple store pales in comparison.2) Central Park playground, it was a scorching hot day & boys stripped to shorts & spent 2 very happy hours darting in and out of the water fountains and up and down the climbing rock.3) and this is the odd one, they loved the UN building tour..Great times.

    1. Gotham Gal

      If you make reservations in advance, you can have lunch at the UN where they change the country running the kitchen on a monthly basis.joanne [email protected]

  7. Alan

    GG – thanks; I am spending a full month in the city this summer with my 13 y.o. daughter and 11 y.o. son – my mom lives there, but is moving out, and I want to use her apt while we have it. I think these recs are good for kids and adults of all ages.How about more “educational” stuff?Thanks again!

    1. Gotham Gal

      Check out the museums for kids programs. Even the Culinary Institute on 23rd has cooking classes (formerly Peter Kumps). If you are here for the month, go to the Bronx Zoo and then go over to Arthur Ave to see the old Italian food stores and have a meal. The Botanical Garden (both Bronx and Brooklyn) are also great. My Mom just went on a tour of the Steinway plant in Astoria which she said was incredible.joanne [email protected]

  8. Jenn

    … and check out Rice To Riches on Sprint st… who doesn’t love a store that only sells rice puddings 🙂

    1. Gotham Gal

      What I love about Rice to Riches is the guy who started that got nailed for tax evasion.joanne [email protected]

  9. ns

    There are tons of great theater options – including concerts – for kids. Not only the Disney broadway stuff — the little mermaid, mary poppins and the lion king — but smaller shows that kids tend to love. The Nimoy Theater on UWS usually has good weekend shows, as does the a ballet. Time Out Kids has good listings for upcoming shows. I agree that the Manhattan Kids museum is not very good. But the Brooklyn Children’s Museum just reopened after an extensive renovation. It is actually the first children’s museum ever established in the US. It is a great place for kids under 6 or 7. You will be amazed by the brownstones there in Crown Heights. For boys the Transit Museum, as cited earlier, is pretty much nirvana. On a nice day Battery Park City has a great park extending along the water that gets a very nice breeze.

    1. Gotham Gal

      They will love the Transit Museum.

  10. msg

    i would also add a walk on the Brooklyn Bridge and/or a ride on the SI ferry.

    1. fredwilson

      a walk across the brooklyn bridge and along the promenade in brooklyn heights is a great idea

      1. Gotham Gal

        Go to Peters for ice cream in the Heightsjoanne [email protected]

    2. BillSeitz

      If it’s the right time of year, catch just a couple innings of minor-league baseball there at Staten Island. The stadium looks out over the water toward Manhattan. Then ditch the game so that the return ferry ride happens as the lights of Manhattan go on.

  11. Gordon Crovitz

    This strategy may not work for the older kids, but my five- and two-year-old sons enjoy going to what I call the New York Toy Museum, where they can play to their hearts’ content, but alas cannot actually buy anything. Other know this as FAO Schwarz, Fifth Avenue at 58th Street.

    1. BillSeitz

      Even the TimeSq ToysRUs is worth passing through for the giant lego statues and roaring t-rex. And there’s a 3-story indoor ferris wheel, though that’s pricey and takes a long wait.

      1. Gotham Gal

        The indoor ferris wheel is truly a find.

  12. Steven Kane

    i know, i’m an out of towner. but you wouldn’t take young kids to see the statue of liberty?

    1. Gotham Gal

      Yes, you would. Its pretty cool but the lines are long and not sure you can go up to the top anymorejoanne [email protected]

  13. S. Margolisi

    What about a kid who is 11 and into cooking/design!

    1. BillSeitz

      For design, check online to see if any exhibits at the Cooper-Hewitt sound good. But the MoMA permanent design collection is awesome.

    2. BillSeitz

      Cooks should go to the UnionSq Farmer’s Market (as GG mentions above) (Fri/Sat tend to have the biggest food supplies..)

  14. BillSeitz

    My boys love the Armory exhibit at the Met (“we’re gonna need guns – lots of guns”). And the Sony Wonder Technology Lab.

  15. BillSeitz

    Huge agreement on the New Victory Theater, depending on what’s running at that time, it can be appropriate for kids (esp hackers) of all ages.http://webseitz.fluxent.com

  16. Jessica

    What about the Children’ Museum of the Arts on Lafayette Street? They have lots of great hands-on projects that younger and older kids would like. It’s best on sunny days and during the week, as it can get a bit crowded. Here’s the link: http://cmany.org/intro.php?…Also, the lines are incredibly long, but the top of the Empire State Building is also a fun New York experience.

    1. Gotham Gal

      It’s on the post…with the link. Nice museum

  17. susanweissman

    Just think it! Thought I was so saavy- native two kids and all and we have never been to the Soho children’s museum! Is it too young for they very bright almost ten year-old? Probably?…

  18. Matt Lieberman

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