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Known as the city that never sleeps, there’s always something to do in New York, making it an amazing travel destination for the whole family. It’s easy to navigate the city on the subway and there’s a million one things to keep little ones amused from family-friendly museums, to picnics in Central Park.
With Playtime New York coming up in August, we asked Brianne Manz, founder of Stroller in the City to share the places she loves taking her family. The mama-of-three lives in Battery Park City and launched her blog as a way to document the fun, new things she was discovering while being a mom. If you’re not familiar with Stroller in the City, you can check it out here.
If you’re visiting New York for Playtime and taking your family along too, read Brianne’s New York guide below…
Eating out in the city is always a challenge with kids. Some of my old favorites are just not kid friendly and I totally understand. I reserve those extra-special places for date night. There are plenty of amazing spots (especially downtown in Battery Park City and Tribeca) that are great for parents but also equally as enjoyable for kids. Fun activities, great views and overall crowd-pleasing food.
El Vez is our Battery Park City neighborhood place and it is also a no-brainer when it comes to eating out with the kids. They have great Mexican food—the Guacamole is delishhh and there are plenty of menu options for the kids—no matter how difficult or fussy they’re being.
Bubby’s is a Tribeca neighborhood institution. The food is always great whether you’re having pancake brunch or a hearty BBQ dinner. The atmosphere is fun and lively. It can get quite packed so try to get there early on the weekends or prepare to wait. The waiting is easy because there are so many fun and interesting things outside for the kids to explore—plants and flowers and sculptures sometimes…plus comfy benches for the parents.
I love that NYC has so many parks for the kids to explore. Each one has its own special feature—sprinklers, great views, cool climbing contraptions… Here are a few of that we frequent the most:
Pier 25 is located along the West Side Highway at N. Moore Street. It is absolutely one of my favorite parks downtown. Because it is located on a pier it is markedly cooler than the parks situated in the middle of the city. The breeze from the river can really help when the temperatures hit 90-degrees or more. This park has swings, sand, rock climbing, sprinklers, mini golf, ice cream. And there is plenty of seating and great views.
West Thames Park is the after-school stop for us. This local downtown park is kind of hidden in plain sight along the West Side Highway at West Thames Street. It has sand, sprinklers and climbing but also a mini half-court basketball court with a shorter hoop so the kids can play on a court their size. Plus a big astro-turf soccer field next to the playground.
Central Park is by far the biggest and most incredible park. There are multiple playgrounds boasting different themes and features. I am a little partial to the Ancient Playground because of its proximity to the Metropolitan Museum of Art but a couple other favourites are the East 96th Street playground (which is the biggest) and Wild West Playground on 93rd Street and Central Park West. We also just love lounging in the Sheep Meadow or hanging in Strawberry Fields (recreating the iconic “Imagine” photo is a must).
DUMBO…of course the list wouldn’t be complete without one Brooklyn park. Dumbo is practically Manhattan and the park along the water is amazing. From Merry-Go-Rounds to public pools to crazy water parks and of course amazing views of the Manhattan skyline. Brooklyn Bridge Park should definitely be on your list.
It is really hard to narrow down my favorite kids brands and shops but I’ll try.
Ever After is a new kids store with locations in Tribeca and soon Madison Avenue and Wheatley Plaza. I have been waiting for a cool kids store like this to come along. There are so many fabulous finds I could go broke. I mean…it was founded by former fashion director at Intermix…need I say more?
Another favourite is Babesta. The boutique stocks lots of amazing childrenswear brands, including The bonnie mob.
Local exploration is our favourite and most relaxing activity. We love to go to our gym at Asphalt Green and go swimming! Or just a walk along the Hudson with our pups. Sometimes we just pack snacks and sandwiches and laze around in the grass at Wagner Park in Battery Park City. There is also a lovely restaurant, Gigino, where we can sit outside and have an early dinner before heading home.
SIGHTSEE & LEARN
The Met is one of my favorite museums. To be surrounded by the work of masters and the massive breathtaking building and architecture—right next to the park along Fifth Avenue…it is dreamy. There is a park for kids outside and amazing painting and sculptures…and exciting exhibits for them to experience inside.
Museum of Natural History is a no-brainer. Even if you just opt for a quick trip with no special exhibits you won’t be disappointed. The big blue whale alone is enough to wow anyone! The dioramas, the dinosaurs—the hall of gems! It is the perfect place for kids because there is something amazing around every corner. Follow it up with a viewing of Night at the Museum when you get home for family movie night and the kids will be thrilled.
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan on the Upper West Side has five floors of everything your kids could want. You can play, create and learn. There are classes and exhibits and for the arts, sciences and humanities. The Museum is open seven days a week during the summer so take advantage of those long days and get the kids involved.
For a quick beach day we hit Atlantic Beach in LI but my favorite place to be outside the city is the Hamptons. We try to get out there as much as possible and we are looking to buy a summer place there. Southampton is my favorite, while Montauk is so laid back and cool too. I have been going to the Hamptons for years (even before kids) so it holds a very special place in my heart. The kids love the beach and all the fun things to do. We always hit the Children’s Museum of the East End or grab an early dinner at Navy Beach. It is family friendly and there is so much to do—and even though people complain about the traffic if you head out at the right time it is totally worth the drive.
With thanks to Brianne Manz of Stroller in the City X