top of page

NYC Must See and Family Adventures On a Budget

Updated: Jan 21

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

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


This itinerary is intended for the non-Christmastime traveler. This can be adapted for a 3 or 4 Day NYC adventure on a budget!


NYC is a BIG city making the most of your time while hitting all the best spots can feel overwhelming. Feel free to linger longer if you have more days or modify for less time as needed. Pick a few of your favorites and go! These are our preferred spots, and the main things you'll want to experience for a unique trip visiting and experiencing NYC! We have done these days ourselves, so they are known to work well. 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. Included is our recommended spots for the toddlers and little ones down at the bottom, traveling with children can add an extra element of wonder!


I was fortunate enough to grow up in NY, and although I've lived in Florida now for twenty years, we return often to visit family and enjoy our favorite spots. I've traveled to many places, and NY is still my favorite city. Not only is there no place like home, there is nothing even remotely close to the culture and vibe of NY. I'm happy to share this with you...


Good morning! Before you get started on our Day 1 adventure, eat something delicious - you will need lots of energy!

NY is a playground for foodies, and there are options for every preference under the sun!


Day 1: Museums, Mid/Lower Central Park & 5th Ave Walk:


Today's Stops: The majority of this day is walking, put on your comfy shoes!

*Museum to start your day (Natural History or Met)

*Central Park - Belvedere Castle/ Bethsaida Terrace/ Bow Bridge (save these for Day 3 if pressed for time)

*Columbus Circle

*W. 59th Street - Walk along the border of Central Park, wander inside, explore

*Walk down 5th Avenue stopping wherever you like but especially at Rockefeller Center, Saint Patrick's Cathedral, and the NY Public Library.

*Bryant Park

*Grand Central

*Broadway


Enjoying the music at the Bethesda Terrace

Start early! And pick a museum! I recommend beginning this day at either the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Natural History Museum. These icons of NY are amazing and could easily be a full day. Hit either museum in the morning, and then proceed with the following exploration beginning around 12 noon. Kids will LOVE the dinosaurs at the Natural History. The Met is known for many things, including the Egyptian collection rivaled by everywhere except Egypt itself. Either museum makes it easy to spend a little time around Central Park, and there are two spots close by each other you can't miss. Either will be hard to leave after a couple of hours, they could easily be a whole day!

Central Park stops:

Belvedere Castle is the second highest point inside of the park and offers sweeping panoramic views. Renovated in 2019, add this spot to your agenda, located - Mid-Park at 79th. Next up Bethsaida Terrace is a wonderful spot to stay and take in the sights. The mosaic tile and fountain make great photo ops and once you've been there you will notice so many references made to this area. Mid-Park at 72nd Street you will admire the ingenuity and engineering of such a beautiful spot.

Bow Bridge is another awesome spot to stop and take in the view. The trails between the Met on the East side of Central Park and the Natural History Museum on the West side, are some of the most scenic stops along the city route. While these are under a mile, they will take a while to explore, in beauty and splendor! (Apple Maps show the walking paths and you can enter any of these into several stops).


Next, let's work our way down by Columbus Circle. This route is full of pit stops you can go inside and check things out as you pass by - or keep walking! Columbus Circle is the intersection of Eighth Avenue, Broadway, Central Park South (West 59th Street), and Central Park West, at the southwest corner of Central Park.


*Another Museum option for Day 1 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, this is 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!

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!


Once you've had some art, and a few stops in Central Park, you are ready to venture into the 5th Avenue fun. From Columbus Circle the walk across the southern border of Central Park is a scenic one. There is a playground and rock climbing right there if you have kids. There are street venders and food carts if you feel like grabbing anything. I've been known to pick up some tee-shirts or sweatshirts here paying less than other places.


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. Sometimes all you need is art.


After some museum fun and Central Park culture.... 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

*Amazing pictures from here

*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 down 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 affordable options like H&M and Sephora. Apple and Rolex are super impressive. I am really not a window shopper and even I find this an impressive experience of seeing all there is to see!


*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 bellman opens the big doors for you. OK...then you’re back on 5th Avenue, and Trump Tower is just across the street, with Tiffany's beside it. First, go into Tiffany's and oooh and aaah at the Tiffany Diamond. Then hit the Trump Tower, it's still an icon (Mr. Trump is famous now of course, for having been 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. FAO Schwartz is now located right behind the Rockefeller Square, if you want to go in and play, or if you have children who need to see the grand toy store. This place can be crowded and expect a line if you want to see the floor piano from the movie Big.


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

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

Phone Number: +1 212-753-2261


Go inside, see beautiful architecture. The artwork and magnificence is inspiring!

St. Pat’s is right across Rockefeller Center and next door to Saks Fifth Ave. dept. store.

Go inside and feel transported to a peaceful place!


Rockefeller Plaza:

Walk around the square plaza - Top of the Rock if you want to take the elevator up and pay for the view (if not there are other suggestions coming for enjoying the view) or the Lego Store is a fun pit stop for the kids! This place is still monumental even when it isn't Christmas time!


KEEP walking down 5th Ave until you reach the….


NY Public Library https://www.nypl.org

476 Fifth Avenue (42nd St and Fifth Ave)

New York, NY, 10018

(917) 275-6975

Regular Hours:

SUN - 1 PM–5 PM

MON - 10 AM–6 PM

TUES, WED -10 AM–8 PM

THURS - SAT 10 AM–6 PM

917-ASK-NYPL

*When it opened, the NYPL was the largest marble building in the country, and home to over a million books – you will know it by the two large marble lions on either side of the steps.

Go up to the 4th floor for some REAL architectural beauty.

The beautiful artwork on the ceiling
4th floor ceiling art, NY Public Library

Bryant Park – STOP to take in the majesty of the Chrysler Building rising up over the Public Library (bonus: watch at dusk as the tower begins to glow). Bryant Park is a 9.603-acre privately managed public park located in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is located between Fifth and Sixth Avenues and between 40th and 42nd Streets in Midtown Manhattan. Just behind the Public Library. You can spend time here enjoying the park's beauty, which transforms during the seasons. In Winter, the Winter Wonderland is not to be missed. In Summer, there are movies in the park and other events. There are gardens and performers, and some of the most appreciated public rest rooms around! If you have small kids - do not miss the carousel!

From there….

Walk over to….

Walking through Grand Central Station
Grand Central, at Christmas Time

Grand Central Terminal

89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

(212) 340-2583

Grand Central is a commuter hub at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan and.... Great place for eating – if you want fast and cheap try the food court, or stop at the Oyster Bar if that better meets your needs. There is a whispering gallery outside of the Oyster Bar if you are into that sort of thing. Look up! The Zodiac ceiling, the Clock Tower - you may feel like you’ve been there before because these are featured in so many movies and advertisements.


From there, catch a train up to Broadway/ Times square if you don’t want to walk…. It would not be cool to say you went to NY and didn’t ride the subway. There are usually some street musicians down there playing, and maybe a hustler offering to give you a ticket for some cash…. Keep your eyes open and look like you know where you are going! (Make your plans before you enter the terminal)


Broadway – Cool strip to walk and people see, if this is not your thing skip and walk through Times Square. DO NOT GO TO Central Park in Dark. Stay in busier areas.

If you want to see a show, and don't care what you see (and don't mind waiting in line), snag discounted, day-of tickets at the TKTS booth in Times Square. It opens each afternoon and offers tickets that haven't yet sold at 20-50% off. The TKTS app will tell you what's available each day. Arrive at the booth early, as the lines will get long. Head off of Times Square for better pre- and post-show food and drink. Restaurant Row (46th St. between Broadway and 9th Ave) has a lot of great options, as does Hell's Kitchen. You will experience shorter lines at the TKTS booths at South Street Seaport or the Brooklyn location.

Question: Can I really see a Broadway show in regular clothes? Yes, that's what people are doing now a days! If you prefer to freshen up first, go for it! If time is crunched, don't worry about it! (In Danny Devito's voice)

ALL of that was one well planned day – the 5th Avenue adventure!

If you followed this plan your route looks like this:

Day 1 Map

Day 1 was a lot of walking and exploring! NYC is best seen on the ground, and experienced on foot so I have tried to create zones for those who have limited time but want to see as much as possible while they are here.

Day 2:

Lower Manhattan Day!


The Spirit of NY down in the financial district is unique! This day is not as spread out as the first, there is a lot of action clumped into the Lower Manhattan area. Walking will be the fastest way to navigate the busy streets. Just take a taxi, Uber or train to the Statue of Liberty to begin.

Today’s stops:

*Statue of Liberty/ Ellis Island/ Battery Park

*National Museum of the Native American

*The Bull

*The freedom tower and WTC memorial

*Liberty Park

*Trinity Church

*South Street Sea Port



Statue of Liberty –

If you know you are coming and want to see this attraction, book your tickets in advance.

Tickets are $25.50/ person for a reserve or pedestal ticket, $28.50 for crown access, and sell out 6 weeks in advance typically. So check your options as soon as you know your travel dates.

Late afternoon tours, after 2PM and 3PM, will not have enough time to stop at Ellis Island Immigration Museum.


Regardless of if you have tickets or are going up into the statue or not, the ferry ride and Ellis Island are worth the trip. The views of the skyline, historical presence and monumental significance are awe inspiring. Dress for the weather, plan for some lines and a security check to enter.


This takes longer than expected but please enjoy the whole process. Be patient with the crowds. Liberty Island is a great spot for a picnic lunch, the views are amazing. When my kids were little, I'd grab some subs/ sandwiches before I caught the ferry over and plan a picnic lunch in the grass or on some benches. As places go, this is one of my favorite places to just BE.


Coming back out into Battery Park don't rush through all the cool stuff. The playscape here for kids, and seaglass carousel are state of the art! You've got your venders and street performers; you can linger and enjoy the scenery.


Once you are ready to see the rest of your day:


National Museum of the Native American

10 AM–5 PM daily, Thursdays to 8 PM - except December 25

Admission is FREE!

There are tons of exhibits and history under one roof, with some cool hands-on activities under one roof! Great place to spend a few hours.


Walk up Wall Street to the Bull

The Charging Bull & My Crew!

Ok so it’s just a sculpture right? Well not exactly, it’s a pretty famous little landmark that signifies fighting through the hard times. After a black Monday market crash in 1987, a Sicilian sculptor dropped it off there illegally in 1989 to thank America for the opportunities it afforded him. Since, it's been photographed countless times, from both the front, and the back! Pick your angle. Expect a crowd.


Walk over to the Freedom Tower – WTC Memorials

It is the tallest building in the US, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and the 7th largest in the world. Definitely worth a stop! Replacing the original seven buildings on the same site that were destroyed in the September 11 attacks. The site has been rebuilt with six new skyscrapers They are designed to be impressive.

But seriously, the draw here is the WTC memorial. Two large square imprints of the ground zero towers engraved with the names of all who were lost on that horrible day. The water falls and names could not be more thought provoking of the magnitude and reverence we feel. An excellent place to pause and reflect. Also a great place for a history lesson. We have never gone into the museum, for personal reasons however we have talked in great detail about 911 and how it impacted many we know and love.


The Oculus

The Oculus in NYC is a newly opened artistic landmark within walking distance of the World Trade Center. Designed to look like a dove flying from opened hands, this unique building is an engineering marvel. The transit hub, serving the PATH, cost four billion dollars, making it the most expensive train stop in the world. With its modern design, it immediately became an attraction. After taking 12 years to build, it is easy to see how this project was so massive once inside.


The entrance can be accessed through 4 World Trade Center from Liberty Street. Nearest metro train (subway) stations are Cortland St., Fulton St. and Chambers Street. Come and eat, shop or commute! (Window shopping is also appropriate) The mall inside is extensive, upscale, and impressive! Many places to buy or eat are sprinkled throughout and create a fun environment.



Liberty Park (not to be confused with Battery Park where you get to the Statue of Liberty)

155 Cedar Street

New York, NY 10006

Surrounding the WTC and freedom tower is Liberty Park, this1acre green space is the elevated home to The Sphere, the iconic sculpture salvaged from the World Trade Center site. Another statue, America's Response Monument, can also be found close by. You are already there, so the stroll is convenient.


Walk to Trinity Church

Trinity Church Wall Street 120 Broadway New York, NY 10271 212.602.0800


Visit the place first President George Washington worshiped during the brief period that NYC was the capitol of the United Stated. Many graves mark the ground on both sides of the famous little church, and serves as the final resting place for Alexander Hamilton, his wife, and son. More recently, it served as a refuge to many on September 11th, 2001 and suffered no damage on that day in spite being so close to the tragic destruction. You may remember this church from the movie National Treasure featuring Nicholas Cage and a whole adventure looking for living history.



Walk/ Uber or train to South Street Sea Port for dinner/ ice cream

This is where you’ll find a great view of the East River and Brooklyn Bridge, and if you are looking for cheap tickets for a Broadway show the place to stop! Not usually busy - TKTS South Street Seaport, near the Fulton Street metro stops - (199 Water Street, in the back) you can see what tickets are available for shows same day or next day matinee for a 40 – 50% discount. *This is the best choice


Cobblestone streets line upscale galleries, bars, cafes, and shops. If you come at 12:00 noon you can do tai chi under the highway! Historical ships and a museum are also here to wander and explore. Hurricane Sandy caused this whole area to be rebuilt. The hustle and bustle of Wall Street carries over to the Seaport as the local hotspot.

If this fills your day, or you head off to Broadway, you can easily stop here. This is a perfect place to enjoy NY, however if it’s still early or you are not going to Broadway, try walking the Brooklyn Bridge (weather permitting). See details for this on Day 3....

If you followed this plan you're route looks like this....

Day 2 Map

Day 3 Central Park to Brooklyn Bridge -

There are a few more not to be missed things in NYC, and you have to get up and get out to enjoy the day and squeeze it all in! Today may vary based on what you did Day 1 and 2, but this is going to be a fun adventure! A little more spread out and you will use public transportation for sure.


Today's Itinerary:

*Central Park Zoo/ Option for some Central Park sites

*The Roosevelt Tram (amazing city views with out the high ticket cost)

*Empire State Building

*The Highline/ The Vessel/ Hudson Yards

*Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

*DUMBO

*Broadway/ Museum?


Central Park – (Midpark at 72nd St.) the Bethesda Fountain and Terrace and Belvedere Castle are close enough together to be worth a stop. If you didn't see on Day 1, or just want more - go enjoy these beautiful places. Wander/ explore NYC for fun!

Central Park Zoo –

830 5th Ave, New York City, NY 10065-7001

A small 6.5 acre Zoo in the middle of Central Park, this is a great place to spend a few hours.

The main zoo area has 4 “zones”: Tropics (indoor multi-level rainforest); Temperate (up the hill to see red pandas, snow leopards, bears, etc.); Polar (indoor penguin exhibit); Central Garden (sea lions). The Tisch Children’s Zoo exhibit is out the gate and down the path from the Main Zoo section. Don’t miss a visit to the 4-D Theater too! A typical zoo visit is approximately 1.5-2 hours.

The animals have great habitats that peek around to some iconic city views.

GENERAL ADMISSION

Adult (13 & over) $13.95 / Child (3-12) $8.95 / Child (2 & under) FREE / Senior (65+ $10.95

4-D THEATER

Ages 3 & up $7


NYC Tram E 59th St & 2nd Avenue -$2.75 for a great view!

Roosevelt Tram

The most modern aerial tramway in the world - running every 7-15 minutes from 59th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan to Tramway Plaza on Roosevelt Island. For the price of a subway ticket ($2.75 each way) you can take the tram to Roosevelt Island and enjoy some amazing views from the East Side of Manhattan. A 10-minute ride giving unobstructed views of the bridges and Manhattan skyline. No cars drive on Roosevelt Island, it’s a nice place to walk or take the tram back and enjoy the view again.

Remember when I said if you wanted a cheaper skyline view I'd get to it later? This is later!

Sunday through Thursday: 6 AM - 2 AM

Friday and Saturday: 6 AM - 3:30 AM


The Empire State Building:

Another not free favorite is the sky ride on the 2nd floor! A simulated roller coaster that takes you on a NYC adventure! This activity permanently closed :-(


Touring the skyscraper! The Empire State Building observatory is open 365 days a year, 8 a.m. -2 a.m., with the last elevator going up at 1:15 a.m. Purchased tickets allow you to go up to either the 86th floor observation deck or the 102nd floor (for an extra charge). You can wait to purchase tickets when you arrive, but to avoid waiting in an extra line, purchase your tickets online ahead of time. Prices range from $38-$44 with kids’ admission (those under 6) free. Once at the top, you can explore the view freely - you’re visibility from the deck is up to 80 miles on a clear day. You’ll be able to spot several of NYC’s most famous landmarks, including seeing 5 surrounding states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Delaware. The lobby is beautiful and the art deco decor can be accessed free of charge. There are exhibits on the 2nd and 80th floors. As one of the largest office buildings in the world, there is a lot to discover about the history and architecture.


Keep Walking along 34th Street to access the High Line by Hudson Yards.


Hudson Yards/ The Vessel & The High Line:


This area has seen impressive revitalization and it's engineering and ingenuity are breathtaking.

Walking up to the Vessel we were happy to find that while the structure is closed, you can still go in and access the bottom floor. They have roped off the steps upwards but it's still a great free stop along the way with some really cool photo ops!


Finding the High Line is tricky! We were so close but so far away and needed the app to help us get into thee starting point. There are many access points in the Chelsea district - mostly centered around 10th Avenue - You may enter at the main interim walkway which is located at 34th Street. Head to Hudson Yards, where there is an awesome eatery, the Vessel landmark, and walk up the steps to get into the old subway line turned garden walk!


The elevated railway no longer in use now a public park – with gardens and beautiful scenic landscapes. AMAZING VIEWS! Runs from Gansevoort St. to W. 34th between 10th and 12th Avenues. Spend a couple hours here, eat, relax, live! Take a bottle of wine up and watch the sun set here. Or no wine, and a picnic with the family. Or, hope off at Chelsea Market and stop to get some of the most raved about tacos ever - Chelsea Market | Hours + Location | Los Tacos No. 1 | Taquerias in New York City (lostacos1.com) But walking here gives you a great perspective of the city.


Walk the Brooklyn Bridge/ DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) – If you didn't do this on Day 2, (that was a busy day!) and the weather is permitting - enjoy the skyline and take in the view from the monumental Bridge. Many people take this scenic walk (even when it’s freezing which I don’t recommend) but it is all about the weather and good shoes. While views are more dramatic at night when the city lights are on - it is warmer with the sun shining! So You decide which works best for you.


There is a pedestrian walkway above the traffic, so it is perfectly safe. The trek is just over a mile long, Under the bridge, Brooklyn Bridge Park sits, which great for walking, playing, or relaxing with a view. The surrounding neighborhood is also fun to wander = DUMBO (Down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass) which is like old NY, cobble stone, and iron posts, just the “home” feeling. You can walk this bridge in either direction, however the best views are going towards Manhattan. This area extends from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn along the water and is a real treat. I recommend taking a subway to Brooklyn then crossing back over on foot. The A or C subway run in both directions and are easy to navigate. Get off at the High Street Brooklyn Bridge Stop and you are there!


EAT. Pizza. Bagels. Egg sandwiches. Even the macaroons are better here. Everything is delicious. Book stores and shops line the Brooklyn streets, and it is a unique area to explore.

If you followed the main points of this itinerary (not including museums) your map would look like this:


Yes it's a little spread out and may be a good day for more public transit! You could also follow it in reverse order if you want to start at the Brooklyn Bridge.

While ALL of this can be done in 3 busy days, it can also be spread out if you have more time!

Please leave questions and comments below, I look forward to hearing from you!

I have LOVED living in NY and now as a Florida resident, LOVE visiting. There is NO PLACE like NYC!


NYC is great any time of year. However, because so much of these days are spent outside, I do try to find times that the weather will cooperate. We've been in every element and always made the best of it. I will say on chilly rainy days I'm just not walking over the bridge! But for the most part, the city never stops and never sleeps. Grab your hats and mittens or umbrellas and do what you can! If it's too rainy or too cold, the NYC Museums are among the best in the world, and have so many different options for culture, history and art.


The Museums:

Remember on Day 1 I suggested beginning your day at a museum? Here is where we circle back. The MET cost’s: General admission is $30 for adults; $22 for seniors; $17 for students; and free for Members, Patrons, and children under 12. General admission tickets include exhibitions and are valid for three consecutive days at The MET Fifth Avenue, The MET Breuer, and The MET Cloisters. Meaning, if you went to the MET on Day 1, today you could go to the Cloister's, or the MET Breuer, or return for longer time to explore for FREE. These are all great choices. Or take advantage of the Suggested Admission: For New York State residents and New York, New Jersey and Connecticut students, the amount you pay is up to you. You have to prove you live there. These tickets may be purchased at a Museum admissions desk with a valid ID.


The Natural History Museum:

Major tip: purchasing your ticket. On the day of, the amount paid is “voluntary.” You can give as much or as little as you desire. The problem is having to wait in line, which can be 25 – 30 minutes. If your time is more pressed than your money, purchase online before you arrive! Go early and save time and a few dollars. Paying on-line is much faster, and more expensive.

Built in 1874 with Teddy Roosevelt as one of its founders, this place is impressive! Dinosaurs and Megalodon artifacts are a favorite! The dioramas of animals on display are well designed and make you think of all the differences in species and unique quality of each.

Quality time with my favorite people 💜

Tips:

* Eat Pizza * Eat bagels *Eat an egg sandwich *Eat a chicken parm sub * Eat a street pretzel * Eat a street hot dog * Eat some Chinese food * Eat Eat Eat (As you are able considering your own dietary restrictions/ goals)

I am usually the one saying "pack a cooler and bring your own food to save money". In NY - part of the experience IS the food. Everything here tastes better. I hear it's the water <3

*Review the Subway map - and don't give anyone money in the subway.

*Look like you know where you are going, review your plans ahead of time so you are not on a street corner displaying your confusion!

*Have your apps/ Metro loaded on your phone ahead of time to save time.

*Wear comfy shoes. There's a lot of walking!!

*Keep your valuables close. This city is not known for it's kindness or honesty. I once left my pocketbook on a hotel counter in Utah while we had a lot of things happening at once. I was SHOCKED when I returned and the clerk was saying she was looking up my contact information to call me. There are some good people in the world, but I wouldn't count on being so lucky here. I have lost things in the City that were never returned!

*NY is known for diversity. There are amazing unique places to see and go because of this. If you have an interest, there is probably something cool to see related to that - look it up!


Never underestimate the power of a picnic!

Best for the little kids:

I always say travel and Early Childhood go together better than peanut butter n jelly. Get them out and used to your travel style, because your babies will gain a wealth of life experience and vocabulary from all of their travels. That being said, a little more preparation is needed with the little ones. Potty training? Oh this is going to be tricky. This city does not have a lot of public restrooms available. But overall, kids need opportunities to explore and wonder, use some hands-on exhibits to discover things on their own and exercise their bodies and minds. They may also need extra nap time from the commotion and high energy of the whole city vibe. Try to avoid long lines and big stores as the crowds and waiting time may take from the excitement.


Consider these options: (links will take you to the websites of each)

*The Children's Museum of Manhattan The Tisch Building, 212 West 83rd Street New York, NY 10024

(212) 721-1223

Tuesday – Sunday: 10 AM – 5 PM


*CAMP - A Family Experience toy store (designed for children 2 and up)

110 5th Ave (at 16th St)

New York, NY 10011

If you like the Disney Movie Encanto, this is a must see!


*Central Park has 21 different playgrounds! - All through the park, and many have a unique touch!


*The Central Park Zoo is so easy to see and do! (The Bronx Zoo is really a full day where the Central Park Zoo is a few hours of compact fun. There is no parking here, come on foot or mass transit.

64th Street & 5th Avenue

New York, NY 10065


30 Rockefeller Plaza

New York, New York 10111

Open Daily: 10am - 7pm


Open 7 Days a Week 11am – 9pm

Enter across from 17 State Street

What's next?

Transportation: Trains/ Subways/ Busses oh My!

Avenues run north/ south, blocks run east/ west.

Apple Pay made the subway easy. My kids showed me how to pay through Apple Pay, which charges $2.75/ ride. We are very comfortable riding the various lines, but pay attention to being at the platform which goes the direction you are going. For example, North or South bound or East or West.

When traveling across town, there are a few options:

The L Train: runs from 8th Ave to 1st Ave (along 14th Street)

The 7 Train: runs along 42nd street, from 10th to 4th Avenues.

The S Train: Shuttle from Grand Central to Times Square with 1 stop (we usually walk as this is a very scenic/ busy area).

And the E Train: Runs from 8th Ave to Lexington (along 53rd St).

Stay up to date with the MTA: Large Type Map


I will say our most recent trip, which was in October of 2023, we used our aps/ phones for ALL of our transportation needs which included:

LIRR from Seaford to Grand Central - this train hub being completed is a dream! Gone are the days where the Long Island Railroad only runs to Penn Station, this was a brilliant decision and so well done. Genius to have the track so far underground. It's like coming from middle earth to the surface, but it's clean, fresh, and well designed!

Didn't even leave the Station just caught the 6 train up to 77th street and walked to the MET.

Caught the C Train from the West side of Central Park and Took that down to 34th Street then walked over to the High Line.

Caught the E Train from Chelsea Market to the Oculus.

Took the 4 Train up to Times Square.


But I need more planning help!!

Want a personalized itinerary?

There’s an App for that!

Right now, this Fun Day site is offering free itinerary building. Click HERE to check out Fun Day.

You download the app, add your personal likes, choose your interests, and then let the app design your stops for multiple days.

How can this be helpful? This link can point out some of the spots you may otherwise not think of We are not one-dimensional people who only have one interest. This is why traveling is fun - we love to see something different! Especially when traveling as a family and wanting everyone to have experiences that appeal to their favorite things. FunDay matches activities not just based on the preferences of the individual children, but also based on all family members. Their AI-powered algorithms match activities based on various parameters, such as family members' preferences, ages, and the parents' preferences and engagement to family experiences. The more you visit and interact, these recommendations will continue to be refined. I appreciate having an up-to-date reference with the quick links for more information.

This is what it looks like when we explore the apps options:


As a New York native, I love this city and it's my pleasure to return visiting all my favorite places.

We are fortunate enough to stay with family when we return to NY, however I do recommend the Holiday Inn as a spot we have spent the night when we wanted to be in the City over night. There are several, but I like the one's in lower Manhattan for price, parking, and cleanliness. A quick search will show you available options. Now I usually stay somewhere that offers free breakfast, but in NY I want close to public transportation. There are so many places to eat and no it isn't cheap, but the food is just part of the visiting experience here.


Enjoy all of your travels wherever they may take you,

Thanks for visiting my site! I'd love to hear about your adventures.


Mz. Savvy

A note from the editor:

The information in this article was accurate when published but may change without notice.

Confirm the prices and times on websites, and use your best judgement.

Confirm details when planning your trip.

💜Come travel with me!❤

Join us on our Yoga & Art retreat in July 2024.

We will spend 4 days and 3 nights in Majestic Montana; a scenic location full of inspiration and peace! This is the trip that will help you to find the depths of yourself you've been seeking. Creativity free flow and peaceful energy will be yours!


Budget self-love and join us for a GREAT experience! Click HERE for details.


Take your kids on adventures, and they will always be wealthy at heart where it counts ❤


Thank you for subscribing, I look forward to hearing from you! Please comment/ share your tips and tricks for NYC as well, so we can all make traveling as seamless as possible.