New York City: our family adventure in the Big Apple

The word on the street is that New York City and kids are not the best friends. We wouldn’t be the CosmopoliClan if we didn’t put that idea to the test, now would we? After some extensive research we packed our (many) bags to experience the city that never sleeps ourselves for a full 7 days. Now we can’t wait to let you in on our story! So, make yourself comfortable and continue reading all about our family adventure in the Big Apple.

Planning ahead

I am a notorious planner when it comes to traveling with kids just because I want to cover all the bases. For me that’s when the journey begins. When planning a trip to a city like NYC I highlight all must-sees, divide those into zones and then complete every zone with child friendly restaurants, play areas etcetera. That way, upon arrival I know my way around the city very well. I find it convenient, not to waste time on searching for the perfect place to have lunch. Yet, at the same time, it kinda spoils the fun, because it takes away some of the best chances of finding spontaneous magic. But as the girls get a bit older it does however get easier for me to let go of the script and follow the rhythm of the city. Still, I like the idea of having some back-up options within reach.

For this trip, the newyorkcity.uk website has proven to be very helpful in the initial planning process. Check it out! The content is very well structured and the lay-out extremely user-friendly. It makes planning a visit to NYC a breeze, take it from me. But there’s more… The information from the site is now also available in a multilingual app, together with an offline (subway) map, the option to book tickets directly from the app and assistance via email or WhatsApp. It is available for both iOS and Android users. Pure gold!

Mother and her daughters posing in front of Times Square during CosmopoliClan's NYC family adventure

CosmopoliClan's girl Alegra looking cool on Brooklyn Bridge with a view of the Manhattan skyline

Our first day in NYC with kids

We decided to start our first week right in Central Park so the girls could run free after a day of traveling. We started our day in Belvedere Castle and explored the park all the way to Columbus Circle. It was the perfect first NYC encounter for the kids. We took a pedicab to Alice’s Tea Cup for a late lunch and then continued right where we left off.

Daddy-daughter secrets at Belvedere Castle in Central Park
Daddy-daughter secrets at Belvedere Castle in Central Park
Three ladies in their Belvedere Castle tower in Central Park
Three ladies in their Belvedere Castle tower in Central Park
Lunch at Alice’s Tea Cup in Manhattan because their homemade peanut butter is to die for
Lunch at Alice’s Tea Cup in Manhattan because their homemade peanut butter is to die for
New York City: our family adventure in the Big Apple
New York City: our family adventure in the Big Apple
Bow Bridge in Central Park
Bow Bridge in Central Park
Rowing our boat on the lake of Central Park, Manhattan
Rowing our boat on the lake of Central Park, Manhattan

Along the way we irritated an impatient filming crew and I think they must have retaliated by sending a ‘crappy’ pigeon our way right where we left Central Park. So, a note for your NYC script: do look up when you’re waiting at the traffic stops outside of the park. Luckily, I didn’t appear to be the target and I don’t want to embarrass the person who was. Auch! Anyway, we wouldn’t let this bird spoil the fun so we cleaned up and went for dinner to continue our family adventure in the Big Apple. We concluded our first day with a Roosevelt Island tramway ride to enjoy the view and escape a few rain drops.

Little girl standing on a bridge in Central Park overlooking the lake and the Manhattan skyline
Two giggling girls in the Roosevelt tranway during our family adventure in New York City

Highlights of our family adventure in the Big Apple

The following days we took in the city as typical tourists. Let me sum up the highlights of our week.

The Aladdin Show

The most memorable experience for the girls was the Aladdin show in the New Amsterdam Theatre on Broadway. Actually we all loved it, so much even that we waited for over an hour to meet the cast at the stage door after the show. The security guard did a great job entertaining us throughout the entire wait. The man (on the right outer side of this pic) truly deserves his own show.

CosmopoliClan's girls meeting with the actors of 'Aladdin: the Musical' at the New Amsterdam Theatre on Broadway in New York City

Meatpacking District & Greenwich Village

We really like the Meatpacking District & Greenwich Village: the architecture, tree lined streets, local restaurants and of course, the High Line.

CosmopoliClan"s little girl laughing out loud on the Highline in NYC

CosmopoliClan mom and her two girls enjoying a goat milk ice cream in Greenwich Village NYC, picture taken from outside the window, one of the girls is looking funny

Rockefeller center

Top of the Rock was amazing. We had purchased our tickets beforehand and could just walk in, no waiting involved whatsoever. On the contrary, we were urged to speed up! Friendly staff and plenty of time to enjoy the views. Afterwards we admired beautiful Grand Central Terminal and blew off some steam in picturesque Bryant Park.

Overlooking NYC from the Top of the Rock
Overlooking NYC from the Top of the Rock
Mother-daughter fun on Top of the Rock
Mother-daughter fun on Top of the Rock
Two little girls on a family adventure in the Big Apple
Two little girls on a family adventure in the Big Apple
Striking a pose at Rockefeller center
Striking a pose at Rockefeller center

We also loved to see St. Patrick’s Cathedral because it’s such a surprising historic building against a backdrop of high-rise buildings.

Mother and daughter posing on a balcony in Union Station in NYC
Father and daughter posing in front of St-Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan during our NYC family adventure

Staten Island Ferry, One World & Pier 25

Our favorite day was the one we started on the Staten Island Ferry and ended in Pier 25. We had expected that this would be the less appealing one for the girls however they enjoyed it a lot. The financial district… well, it is what it is. We thought that the girls would be a bit too young to grasp the events of 9/11, which we first explained to them at the memorial site, and experience the emotions that the site evokes. I must say that we were very pleasantly surprised that they were genuinely respectful and even interested so we actually ended up staying on site for quite some time.

Lady liberty from the Staten Island ferry with kids
Lady liberty from the Staten Island ferry with kids
The CosmopoliClan on Times Square
The CosmopoliClan on Times Square
The bull on Wall Street
The bull on Wall Street
One World with kids
One World with kids
The Survivor Tree at the National September 11 Memorial Site in New York City
The Survivor Tree at the National September 11 Memorial Site in New York City
Pier 25 in Tribeca
Pier 25 in Tribeca
Pier 25 in Tribeca, one of the highlights of our family adventure in the Big Apple
Pier 25 in Tribeca, one of the highlights of our family adventure in the Big Apple

We continued towards Tribeca, another true highlight for us, and Pier 25 where we enjoyed the most amazing sunset.

Two girls hanging over the railing at Pier 25 in TriBeCa during sunset over the Hudson River and the Jersey City skyline

Times Square

Times Square was just what we imagined it to be. However, since it is the most touristic site in Manhattan we can’t leave the photos out of this post, right?

Alegra found herself a friend on Times Square
Alegra found herself a friend on Times Square
New York City: our family adventure in the Big Apple
New York City: our family adventure in the Big Apple

CosmopoliClan’s advice on exploring NYC with kids

We did have fun as a family but to be honest we also felt that the girls couldn’t enjoy the city to the fullest just yet. We have seen and experienced a lot (cfr. the map on this page) and NYC certainly met our expectations. There is however a lesson we’ve learned… We thought that spreading it over 7 days would be in the best interest of the girls but found it was just too long. So you see, even the experienced CosmopoliClan needs to reassess from time to time. If you consider a visit to New York City with young kids then we would advise to keep it short. Maybe foresee a day or 2 or 3 tops, and combine it with another, more relaxing, destination.

Sunset over the Hudson River and the Jersey City skyline from Pier 25 in TriBeCa during our family adventure in the Big Apple

Have you had the chance to explore the streets of New York City with kids? Or are you yet to start your family adventure in the Big Apple? Either way, we can’t wait to learn more about your plans or experience. So keep in touch!

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