So, you’re taking the family to New York? How exciting! Here are a few tips for getting around, things to see, places to eat, all on a family friendly budget.
Things to see and do
First things first, remember the Staten Island Ferry is free- do not pay a tour operator to see the statue of liberty! Lots of roof bars are also free and you can get a great view of the city and the Empire State building itself, without having to pay extortionate prices to go up. Otherwise go to Top of the Rock instead, which has much shorter queues and the same view! You can go at night time to see the city lit up. Book online for better rates.
You can buy a New York City Pass which combines lots of entry into various attractions and is really good value for money. Get yours here – https://www.newyorkpass.com
Many museums have a ‘suggested’ entry fee of $25 dollars. For families on a budget, take note- the fee is ‘suggested’. The American museum of Natural History is the place to go if the kids (and you) want to see all the favourite scenes/settings from the movie Night at the museum. But there are many many other museums in NYC, including MOMA and The Intrepid Air and Space Museum, have a browse online before you go and add to your itinerary. A New York City Pass also offers discounts.
If you do manage to save a few pounds here and there though, why not try something a little different. How about seeing the Big Apple from the sky, with an exciting helicopter ride!
Cabs are cheaper than the subway, but the subway is still fairly cheap and easy to use. Use your common sense and don’t use late at night, but generally speaking it’s a great way to ferry the family around quickly and easily. You can download a subway map beforehand from the City Pass website.
Another great alternative is the Hop on/off bus, giving you a cheap tour of the city whilst travelling from place to place, again you find can find routes and timetables online.
When planning your itinerary do not underestimate the sheer size and scale of Central Park – it takes HOURS to get around on foot. Perhaps try a bike to navigate Central Park instead. You can hire them cheaply- around £10 for four hours including helmet and lock.
You can find more information here – https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/AttractionProductReview-g60763-d11464634-Bike_Rental_Central_Park-New_York_City_New_York.html
Don’t forget to look out for the Alice in Wonderland Statue!
I would say don’t travel with young children through NYC traffic on bikes though! Stick to the park.
There are so many eateries in NYC it’s impossible to keep track, but a fun one for the kids is Ellen’s Stardust Diner where you’ll find Broadway wannabe’s ( some on roller skates!) serving burgers and milkshakes whilst performing songs from musicals!
Other places to eat are The Boathouse in Central Park and Katz Deli on the Lower East Side.
Also, just South of Central park is Patsy’s, an authentic Italian joint with great grub, book here – https://www.patsys.com/?fbclid=IwAR0VLTyqx1tI52M9PdNAKXEAOG38uElv6pnOxqtT2s1xDVyEEm7VQB1tJEw
Toys and Candy
There is a huge Toys r Us store – think a supersized, super smart Hamleys, nothing like the cheap and cheerful British version plus an M& M’s store that kids will adore! Both can be located on Broadway.
To get tickets for Broadway musicals download the Todaytix App, which gives you a list of discounted tickets for that week. Use the day before to catch some real bargains. I saw 42ndstreet for $15!!
Finally, take a stroll around quirky/artsy Greenwich village, which is lovely, or Chelsea market which is also a pretty cool place to grab souvenirs and gifts. There are Flea markets all over New York, so give yourself time just to stroll and browse. There are also some really great bookstores and handcrafted jewellery boutiques.
For accommodation you can find some great bargains on the usual sites:
https://www.airbnb.co.uk and www.booking.com
and look out for flight sales, usually around January and late August, to get those bargain seats.
Kathy Hoyle is a writer and blogger who has travelled extensively as Cabin Crew for over twenty years. Although she has now hung up her wings, she still loves to see new places with her Partner and her two daughters aged 7 and 16. Find her on twitter @Kathyhoyle1 or on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/kathyhoyleauthor.