The list of places to go and attractions to see in New York City is quite large. Throw in the amount of people living there — about 8 million — and it can be quite overwhelming to think about visiting.
There are 5 boroughs of NYC: Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. Fit in as many of these attractions as you can and there are family-friendly New York City hotels throughout the city. Below you’ll find a family’s guide to the top places to visit in each of the boroughs of NYC.
Family-friendly guide to the five boroughs of NYC
Manhattan, probably the most popular borough of NYC, is most likely where your family will spend most of its time because there’s so much to do and see. To ease your way into the big city, start with Central Park. The beautiful urban park covers 843 acres and is located in the heart of Manhattan. You can walk or bike around the park, visit the Central Park Zoo and Belvedere Castle, or go ice skating during the winter months.
Your next stop should be Times Square. This part of NYC is always filled with people because there are always events going on, shows to see, restaurants to try and shopping to be done. Go to a Broadway show, shop at some of the well-known stores or local street vendors and try the different ethnic foods from more than 25 restaurants on Restaurant Row.
Don’t miss out on walking Museum Mile. This stretch of Fifth Avenue, is home to several museums, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Art — the largest art museum in the U.S.
Two other must-see sites in Manhattan are the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Immigration Museum.See Lady Liberty in all her glory with your own eyes and then head over to the nearby Ellis Island Immigration Museum to learn more about the first port of entry into the U.S. You may even find names of your ancestors if they were a part of the nearly 12 million immigrants who passed through.
For a lunch break between stops, eat at DBGB Kitchen and Bar. As one of Chef Daniel Boulud’s seven NYC restaurants, it’s a spot where you and your family can enjoy mouthwatering burgers, delicious shellfish platters and some sweet ice cream sundaes.
In this northernmost borough of NYC, your family has to visit the Bronx Zoo (see photo above). As the largest urban wildlife preserve covering 265 acres, its home to more than 5,000 animals representing more than 600 species from around the world. Everyone in your family is sure to have a good time here.
Later, walk a few blocks over to Arthur Avenue, also known as the real “Little Italy” by many of New York City. Enjoy some good Italian food at Antonio’s Trattoria, where a friendly, attentive staff will take care of you. We hear their brick oven pizza is highly recommended.
When in Brooklyn, go where the locals go! On a warm, sunny day head on over to Coney Island. Rides, games, snacks, — there are so many things to do and try for every member of your family. There are also plenty of places to eat — especially if you’re craving a hot dog. AND… fireworks shoot off every Friday night during the summer. Rides and attractions are open from Palm Sunday to Halloween and the beach opens on Memorial Day Weekend. The Aquarium, boardwalk, and many restaurants and concessions, however, are open all year-round.
The Brooklyn Bridge and its Park are one of the most significant landmarks in NYC. This bridge connects Manhattan with Brooklyn and was completed back in 1883. You can drive across it or you can walk along the pedestrian path just above traffic. Keep in mind that walking across the river, truly allows you to take in the Manhattan skyline at your own pace.
Feeling hungry? Stop by Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. Their coal-fired pizza is some of the best you’ll taste in any of the boroughs of NYC, and it’s not too far from the Brooklyn Bridge.
Make time to visit Flushing Meadows Corona Park over in Queens. This 1,255 acres park is mostly known for being the location of the US Open, but it has also been the site of two World’s Fairs. The large park has various things to do for families, such as the Queens Museum, Queens Zoo and Queens Botanical Garden.
After the park and its attractions, stop by I Love Paraguay — a homey bakery in Sunnyside, Queens. Locals and visitors can’t get enough of the empanadas from this restaurant, and they also offer soups, burgers and fries, so everyone in the family can enjoy a tasty meal.
The last but certainly not the least of the five boroughs of NYC is Staten Island. Of course when you come here, you have to take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. It’s not only a means of transportation but also a fun attraction unto itself. The ferry runs 24 hours a day traveling from lower Manhattan to Staten Island with great views of Manhattan’s skyline and the New York Harbor.
Then go to Bay Street Luncheonette & Soda Fountain for a sweet treat after your ferry ride. This old New York soda fountain first opened in 1938 and has been taking care of locals and tourists with their delicious diner foods and ‘50s/’60s rock and roll theme ever since.
Updated: June 21, 2016