New York. The big apple. The concrete jungle where dreams are made of. It’s the city that never sleeps or even stops to take a breath. A thriving hub of commerce, business, fashion and politics it’s a destination everyone should visit at least once. While most have this thriving metropolis somewhere on their bucket list, the relentless hustle and bustle may leave many to think it a prohibitive destination for those traveling with children. Fortunately, the sheer size and scope of the city mean that there are a wide range of child friendly activities and destinations that will appeal to children of all ages and tastes.
While, as with any busy metropolitan city, there are certain caveats (especially when traveling with young children) New York has an impressive safety record due to its record of strong investment in front-line safety services and native New Yorkers are generally very well disposed to children.
Before you leave
As with any family trip, preparation is essential in getting off to the best possible start. Because a trip to New York usually involves a lot of walking, sturdy yet comfortable shoes for all involved are a great starting point. Because the city can be such a sensorial overload, it’s important to pre-plan your route as much as possible, establishing a ‘to do’ list of attractions and sights and the best ways to get there.
Meeting spots should be established should the family become separated or wish to branch off (teens, for example, might want some space to explore on their own). These spots should be central and easy to find so Central Park is an ideal candidate.
As unthinkable as the prospect of being separated from your children may be, it’s a good idea to take pictures of them with a digital or cellphone camera before leaving. This will allow the police and other relevant authorities to give them the best possible chance of finding them.
Find time for everyone
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and a family is only as happy as its most miserable member so it’s important for everyone to get the chance to do or see something that they’ll enjoy. If Mom and Dad want to shop on Fifth Avenue (and use this promo code for 20% off at Macy’s) they should be able to, but the tweens in the family should also be able to explore the giant technological wonderland that is the Apple store (also on Fifth). While kids should absolutely be exposed to new sights that will broaden their horizons, they should also have the opportunity to cut loose and have fun as well. For every museum or gallery, throw in a park or amusement arcade. For every high end fashion outlet, make room for a toy store.
New York is so diverse there really is something for everyone but only with proper planning, an inclusive itinerary and just a little safety consciousness it’s easy to plan a trip to the big apple that the whole family will love.