NYC Must Sees and Family Adventures On a Budget

Updated: Jun 26

All you need to know about exploring the iconic city like you live there

Visiting NYC: Free Adventures & Must See's in the City

My previous Blog/ Itinerary for NYC focused on a Christmas adventure, although many of these ideas are the same, I have specialized this for the non-Christmastime traveler.

This itinerary is a 3 day guide to making the most of your time and hitting all the best spots! Feel free to linger longer if you have more days, or modify for less time as needed. These are our favorite spots, and in any order will give you and your family great memories! Have a question? Feel free to ask, I am happy to help you enjoy every minute of your adventure. As a family we move quickly, this is our personal itinerary.

Good morning! Before you get started eat something delicious - you will need lots of energy!

Day 1: Museums, Lower Central Park and and 5th Avenue Walk:

Start early! And Pick a Museum! I recommend beginning this day at either the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Natural History Museum. Both are amazing and could easily be a full day. Hit either museum in the morning, and then proceed with this walk beginning around 12 noon. This route is full of pit stops you can go inside and check things out as you pass by - or keep walking!

Another Museum option is the Cloisters, in Fort Triton Park – the renaissance museum in a castle overlooking the Hudson. It's a little out of the way but you could start the farthest away and work your route back in to the main hub - Although not as central, or as huge of an art selection, a real place that will make you feel like you have left NY for another era. While the MET is quantity and quality - the Cloisters is quality - much less time taking... More on that later...

The Cloisters, Medieval Museum in a Castle

The Met Cloisters 10-5

99 Margaret Corbin Drive

NY NY 10040

Phone: 212-923-3700

If you go here don't miss the unicorn tapestries.

The MET, Egypt Me and the Sphinx twinning!

The MET Fifth Avenue 10 - 5:30

1000 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10028

Phone: 212-535-7710

If you go here – DO NOT miss the Egyptian section or the roof top view.

Museum of Natural History, NYC

American Museum of Natural History

10- 5:30

Central Park West at 79th Street New York, NY 10024-5192 Phone: 212-769-5100

If you go here – Do not miss the dinosaurs 4th floor.

See Day 3 for more on prices and discounts for museums!

After emerging from your morning of art in your chosen place:

Extra day or Really Love Museums? You could Attend one museum in the morning, spend time in Central Park, and finish the day at the other museum. *We've done this

After some museum culture to begin your day.... Walk down 5th Avenue!

Any time of year this is a walk that throws you into NYC life and if you are a shopper may be even more impressive.

*Begin your walk headed East along 60th Street, the border of Central Park, at Columbus Circle

*Walk from West to East along the bottom of Central Park to 5th Ave

*Eat hot dogs/ good street food (also good and cheap souvenirs in this area)

*Wander into Central Park and see some really awesome sites/ landscapes

*Do a little pit stop for Rock Climbing in Central Park

*Start walking down 5th Ave – admire windows, and take your time window shopping

5th Avenue – Walking from fifth avenue and 60 St. (Central Park) going South, stop at the following: Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, The New York Public Library and end up in Bryant Park.

Even if you can't afford to shop at Cartier or Prada, you must stroll down NY's famous shopping row. Have your own little breakfast at Tiffany's or peek into shops along the way. There are also more accessible options like H&M and Sephora. Apple and Rolex are super impressive.

*Walk over to The Plaza, act like you’re staying there, just stride into the Grand Lobby. Get a good look at the Palm Court Restaurant, and all the shops inside; then stroll out like you’re going somewhere, as the dressed up bellmen opens the big doors for you. OK...then you’re back on 5th Avenue, and Trump Tower is just across the street, with Tiffiany's beside it. First, go into Tiffany's and oooh and aaah at the Tiffany Diamond. Then hit the Trump Tower, under the scrutiny of lots of guards. (Mr. Trump is famous now of course, for being President. Like him or not you can get a feel for the territory!) Wander all around the atrium, go up the escalator, and enjoy the views. Next stops are Bergdorf Goodman and Sax. Farther down 5th Ave is St. Pat's Cathedral and Rockefeller Center to explore. That little stretch of 5th is a GREAT thing to do with kids who are old enough to appreciate it, and it's free. It’s also hard not to be impressed no matter how old or young you are, along with the city hustle and bustle are like no other place in the world.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral - stop for art and prayer

Address: 460 Madison Avenue, New York City, NY 10022