SD › NYC › Family Hotels
Updated: February 7, 2023
By Santorini Dave
Manhattan Hotels for Families – Tips & Advice
- Best Apartments for Families: AKA Times Square • AKA Central Park
- Best Luxury Hotels for Families in NYC: Lowell Hotel • Thompson Central Park. If price doesn’t matter the Grand Two Bedroom King Suite City View at the Pierre is an otherworldly splurge.
- Best Cheap/Midrange Hotels for Families in NYC: Row at Times Square • Hotel Edison Times Square
- NYC Hotels with Kitchens: Lowell Hotel • AKA Times Square • AKA Central Park • Hotel Beacon
- Book hotels early! New York is an all-year destination for families and the large family rooms get reserved months in advance – When is the best time to visit New York City?
- Booking.com – The best website for booking family hotels in NYC.
- Best Places To Stay: Where should families stay in NYC? If you’re close to a subway station you’ll generally be fine. My favorite locations are Midtown (a large area packed with iconic sights, skyscrapers, and people – try to be within a few blocks east or west of Broadway), SoHo (slightly slower pace than Midtown but still plenty of shops, restaurants, bars, and cafes), Greenwich Village, and nearby Chelsea (hip with a neighborhood feel and great restaurants).
- Best NYC restaurants for kids: Serendipity (kid-friendly meals and huge delicious desserts), Shake Shack (several in the city, but the outdoor one in Madison Square Park is the most fun) • John’s Pizzeria (no slices, but whole pies are awesome at this Greenwich Village institution) • Broome Street Bar (good food, desserts, and beer at this friendly SoHo bar that’s been here since 1972) • Eataly (loads of great Italian food in a loud kid-friendly environment)
- Most hotels will help find a babysitter but if it’s essential contact The Babysitter’s Guild (sitters are licensed and insured).
- Best NYC hotel for babies and toddlers: Lowell Hotel
The 9 Best Kid-Friendly Hotels in New York City
1. Lowell Hotel – luxury
More like a home than a hotel. Generously sized rooms on upper east side – close to Central Park, shopping, and Museum Mile. Suites have kitchenettes or full-size kitchens. Some have terraces and many have working fireplaces. Service is friendly and second to none. Although there is no pool, babysitting services are available and Central Park is just a block away. Phone: 212-838-1400
2. Sofitel New York – luxury
The King Suite has a separate bedroom with a king bed with a sofa bed in the living area. Central location near all the Manhattan subway lines. This is one of the best Midtown hotels.
3. Thompson Central Park – luxury
Cartoons playing in the elevator will take you to modern, unique, and spacious rooms and suites. Central Park, Carnegie Hall, and Broadway shows all within walking distance. Great kid-friendly restaurant on-site: Burger Joint. Phone: 212-245-5000
4. The Langham Fifth Avenue – luxury
The Family One Bedroom Residence with King Bed, Sofa Bed, and Kitchen is probably the most luxurious kid-friendly suite in the city. Great location close to Times Square but just far enough away to escape the chaos. Two short blocks to the Empire State Building. Phone: 212-695-4005
5. Edison Times Square – midrange
Good-value hotel near Times Square, shopping, shows, and subway station. Multiple rooms with different layouts (suite with balcony and separate bedroom & living room, Family Room with 3 queen beds, or Presidential Suite with kitchen, king bed, and 2 sofa beds) are great for families of four or more. Surprisingly good Italian restaurant is just off the lobby. Live music at the hotel’s trendy jazz bar.
6. Hotel Beacon – midrange
Fantastic Upper West Side hotel with one and two-bedroom suites with kitchen. Relaxed location an easy walk from the Museum of Natural History and Central Park.
7. TRYP Times Square South – midrange
The Family Room has 2 queen beds, a sofa bed, and a bunk bed – and sleeps 8. Smaller rooms sleep 4 and 6. It’s a 10 minute walk to the Highline, Empire State Building, and Times Square.
8. Sohotel – midrange
The deluxe family rooms have a twin and 2 full beds and can comfortably sleep 5. Great location in Lower Manhattan. Phone: 212-226-1482
9. Millenium Downtown – midrange
A family-friendly gem in Lower Manhattan. Wall Street, the 9/11 Memorial, Brooklyn Bridge, and ferries to the Statue of Liberty are nearby. Subway just out the door. Standard rooms are comfortable and stylish or upgrade to a suite and enjoy extra space with separate sleep and living spaces. Phone: 212-693-2001
Family Hotels Near Times Square
- AKA Times Square
One-bedroom and two-bedroom suites with kitchen and washer/dryer. Great location.
- Edison Times Square
Multiple suites for families of 4 to 7. Fantastic central location.
- Tryp Times Square South
Large family suites. 7 minute walk to Times Square.
- The Westin New York at Times Square
Large rooms and suites. Connecting rooms. 1 minute from Times Square.
- Hilton Garden Inn Times Square
Walking distance to Times Square but removed enough to get a break from the busyness. Less expensive than the Hilton Times Square but similar quality.
- The Hampton Inn Times Square North
Large simple rooms at an affordable price. A 6 minute walk to Times Square and 12 minutes to Central Park. Free breakfast.
- Courtyard Manhattan Times Square
Great “budget” hotel for the Times Square area. Free wifi. 10 minutes to Times Square.
Family Hotels Near Central Park
- Hotel Beacon
Large 1-bedroom suites, kitchenettes, laundry. Upper West Side, close to park and express subway to Times Square.
- Loews Regency Hotel
Large 1-bedroom suites with kitchenettes. 3 minutes from Central Park on the Upper East Side. Reopened January, 2013 after $100 million renovation.
- Gardens Sonesta ES Suites
Very popular with families. One and two bedroom suites with kitchens. 10 minutes from central park.
- AKA Central Park
1 and 2-bedroom suites with full kitchens, living and dining areas. 1 minute to Central Park.
More Hotels for Families in NYC
These are all triples, quads, or large family rooms that can sleep 4 or more.
- Four Seasons Downtown (Lower Manhattan, Financial District, luxury)
Fantastic suites with views and balconies.
- Fifty Sonesta Select New York (Midtown East, midrange)
Quads and one bedroom suites.
- Shelburne Hotel & Suites (Murray Hill, midrange)
Quads and one bedroom suites.
- Radio City Apartments (Midtown, midrange)
One and two bedroom apartments in the Theatre District, some with kitchen.
- San Carlos Hotel (Midtown East, midrange)
Deluxe quads and one bedroom suites (with kitchenettes).
- Best Western Plus Hospitality House (Midtown East, midrange)
One and two bedroom suites.
Hotels with Swimming Pools
Popular Family Hotels in New York City
These are not necessarily the most exciting places to stay, but they are generally good, safe, dependable hotels with central locations.
Family Hotels Recommended on TripAdvisor
- The Plaza (Central Park South)
- Riu Plaza (Times Square)
- Hotel Lucerne (Upper West Side)
- Hotel Edison (Times Square)
- Homewood Suites Midtown (near Penn Station/Madison Square Gardens)
- Hampton Inn Times Square Central (Midtown)
Family Hotels Recommended by Frommer’s
- The Evelyn, formerly The Gershwin (Flatiron District)
- Hotel Beacon (Upper West Side)
- Thompson Central Park (Midtown West)
- Lowell Hotel (Upper East Side)
- M Social Hotel Times Square (Times Square)
- Pod 39 (Midtown West)
Family Hotels Recommended by Lonely Planet
- Hotel Beacon (Upper West Side)
- Iberostar 70 Park Avenue Hotel (Midtown South)
- Gansevoort Meatpacking Hotel (Chelsea)
- The Belvedere (Midtown West)
- NU Hotel (Brooklyn)
Family Hotels Recommended by TimeOut New York
- Tryp Times Square South (Midtown South)
- Omni Berkshire Place (Midtown East)
- Ink48 – A Kimpton Hotel (Midtown West)
- The James (near Empire State Building)
- Loews Regency Hotel (Upper East Side)
- Gansevoort Meatpacking Hotel (Chelsea)
Family Apartments in New York City
- AKA Times Square
Luxurious one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments sleep family of 4 or 5. Full kitchen, washer/dryer, great location near theatres and shopping. We love this place.
- The Manhattan Club
One bedroom suites have kitchenettes, separate bedroom, dining area, and 2 bathrooms.
- Where to Stay in New York City
- Best Hotels in New York City
- Best New Hotels in New York City
- Best Budget Hotels in New York City
- Best Hotels with Pools in New York City
- JFK Airport Hotels
- Newark Airport Hotels
- Best Things to Do in New York City
- Best Tours in New York City
- Best Food Tours in New York City
- New York City with Kids
- Best Time to Visit New York City
Hi. Wonderful article and gave me some good options for family-friendly hotels in NYC. I am currently booked in with free cancellation at the Four Points by Sheraton NY Downtown. Currently at $268 rate without breakfast, some of my discussions on Tripadvisor forums tell me thats it’s not the best deal and with a little more spend I can get better properties with breakfast. Breakfast is important since with kids its easier that way, I would be coming down in June, 1st week for 4 nights with my wife and 2 kids (aged 14 and 8, daughter and son). Considering it is not the right amount of time to see NYC, I would like to make the most of it and stay in a place which is accessible to sights and sounds my kids can enjoy. I understand the Hampton Inns have good deals with breakfasts and some of the ones which I did shortlist should I cancel the four points include: Hampton Inn Manhattan Times Square North, Best Western Premier Herald Square, Hampton Inn Empire State Building, Residence Inn NY Downtown WTC, and the Holiday Inn Express Chelsea. Considering I am bad with the NYC geography it would be great to get your views. Basically if I get something around USD 300/night, family rooms with 2 double/queen beds, inclusive of taxes it would be wonderful.
Of those hotels I’d go with the Hampton Inn Manhattan-35th Street/Empire State Building as it has a great central location and free breakfast (Hampton’s have a pretty good free breakfast).
We are a family of four (2 adults, 2 kids – 13 and 14 year old). We are looking to pay between $140 to $200 a night for a week stay in NYC in October. Shared family room or 2 separate rooms. We like characterful places near to mid-town. Could you recommend maybe 3 to 4 options? We’re looking at Airbnb also but are getting irritated by the huge discrepancy in the reviews. It makes it impossible to know the truth!
You won’t find any place good (even decent) in Manhattan at those prices. Your best bet is something on Airbnb that’s in Queens but on a subway line. But yes, you’ll get a big discrepancy in Airbnb reviews. Airbnb is very social for some which makes it hard to give a negative honest review. Instead guests feel pressured to say something nice since they met the host and stayed in their house and chatted about their families. Also, expectations of guests can be very different. When it comes to Airbnb be prepared for anything. I’ve had friends stay at Airbnbs that had pages of 5 star reviews and the place was a dump.
Hi there. Thank you for taking the time to provide so much information and answer questions. My husband and I have never visited NYC. We wanted to plan a trip with our 3 children (ages 5, 10, 15). We have no idea where to stay that’s best for families and families our size; especially with the differences in ages. The more I research, the more nervous I get about navigating the crowds, subways, etc with 3 kids to see all of the famous sites.
Although we were thinking of a late May trip (after May 19) we’re open to a suggestions of a better and cheaper time to visit. Is there a best/better time of year in your opinion since NYC is a year round destination?
Where would you recommend we stay? Since rooms are so expensive, I love the idea of a hotel with breakfast or a kitchenette to cut cost.
Lastly, what would be your suggestion for seeing the main attractions (central park, statue of liberty, times square, empire state building, Brooklyn bridge, The National September 11 Memorial)? How long would we need to stay to visit the sites and not feel like we’re in the NYC marathon?
FYI: We’ll be flying in (not sure what airport yet- suggestions??) to avoid the hassle of parking and driving. Thank you so much for your time.
First off, if you want to have access to the crown/top of the Statue of Liberty you need to reserve the Crown Ticket 2 to 4 months in advance on their website. AKA Hotels have several places to stay around the city. Large suites are good for families and many have kitchens. The top sights of NYC are spread around the city so there is no “best area to stay for families” – instead be sure you’re close to a subway stop. Kids under 45 inches/112 cm tall are free on the NYC subway. For everyone else get the $32 7-day unlimited travel card (if you’re in NYC for more than 4 days). Most taxis will only fit four. Instead, get the Uber or Lyft apps and use their services to get around the city (when you don’t use the subway). You’ll need at least 3 full days to see the top sites but could easily fill a week in NYC with not-stop sightseeing.
We are travelling with a group to NJ for a sporting event and planning on a couple nights in NYC with our kids 9 and 11.
We currently have the New Yorker booked at a great price. Is that too far away for the site seeing? How to the hop on buses work? Or would cabs/trains be better to get to Broadway shows, museums? Is the big toy store still in NYC? I am afraid of “I’m tired” and it will be the first week of January, so possibly not pleasant weather.
The New Yorker has a good location – central and steps from Penn Station for subway and train to Newark (if that’s where you’re flying to). Hop On/Hop Off is good for a quick trip around the sights but it’s not great for transportation. Think of it as a tour, not as a way to get from point A to point B (it’s slow and hard to get a spot on if not starting from Times Square). You can buy discounted tickets from salesman that wander around near Times Square. Ask for a deal. Cabs are sometimes cheaper for a family of 4 but subway is faster. The big Toys R Us store has closed but there is a temporary toy store near Times Square (Broadway & 42nd).
Hi! What a great article and advice you have offered. Wondering if you can advise best family hotel /apartments in NYC for family of 4 (2 adults, 2 teens). We are visiting the east coast for college visits. In NYC, we are headed to Pace and NYU. We also hope to catch a play and museums. Hoping to find a place that has a kitchen of some sort to save money on meals. Do you have any suggestions considering the areas we intend to visit. Thank you!!!
Try the AKA Wall Street to be close to PACE (and 30 minute walk to NYU). Or the AKA Times Square to be close to theater and more central for museums. Both have beautiful units with full kitchen.
We are taking our boys (14) & (17) right after New Years for four nights… I involved them in the hotel choosing process and they both were most excited (via the pics of course) with the Crown Plaza Times Square… I’ve booked it but (with free cancelation)….thoughts on this hotel? A view is important to the boys and being “in the middle of the action “….with that said, I’ve been there (years ago) and they have not…
Location is wonderful and view from most rooms is good (though not all are of Times Square – many look towards the Hudson). I think it’s a great choice. Kids will love it.
Coming to NYC beginning of August with our 2 kids (7&9). We don’t really want to be in Times Square. We also want a nice hotel that has a bar we can get drinks at night. Free breakfast would also be a plus. Walking distance to restaurants (not chain). Kenleh
The Soho Grand Hotel is great. The one-bedroom comfortably sleeps a family of 4. Lots of style and a very cool bar off the lobby (2nd floor). Lucky Strike is a french bistro just around the corner (very good). Broome Street Bar is two blocks away and has a relaxed local vibe. Both allow kids.
We will be headed to NY to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory April 13-16 (Easter Weekend). I’d rather walk to placed then take a cab everywhere but know we will have to take a cab some. Can you please recommend a moderate place to stay? It will by myself, my husband, and 2 children ages 6 and 7.
Thank you, Lynn
Try the Holiday Inn Manhattan 6th Ave/Chelsea. It’s in a nice neighborhood that’s two stops on the subway from Times Square (and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) – or an interesting 20 minute walk.
Heading to NYC from Australia in April for 8 days.
2 adults and a 13 & 9 yr old.
I love reading your recommendations and have understood being next to timesquare is a good central location.
I have 6 hotels in our budget and I’m trying to google locations but not familiar with the city.
Could you advise of two you think are a good location for our family.
– Hotel Pennsylvania
– The Manhattan at Times Square hotel
– Holiday Inn Manhattan 6th Ave Chelsea
– Belvedere Hotel
– DoubleTree by Hilton NYC Chelsea
– The Roosevelt Hotel NYC
Thank you in advance,
Firstly, avoid the Hotel Penssylvania. The others are roughly near Times Square or in Chelsea (Holiday Inn and DoubleTree). Times Square is, of course, busy and touristy. Very central and fun but harder to find good restaurants that aren’t overpriced chains (walk to 9th ave for good dining options). The Chelsea area is “quieter”. Not as much going on but great restaurants are easier to find. Times Square is about a 20 minute walk away. Eataly is a few blocks from both hotels and a great family eating destination. Just depends what type of feel you want.
Hi, We are a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 kids 9 & 11) from the UK.
We are looking for a nice modern hotel with some space in the room, maybe with a divider. We are staying for 6 nights. Currently looking at the Tryn Hotel, do you know of any similar style, size rooms, price…
What would be the top 5 things you recommend doing with the kids.
Thanks very much.
I haven’t heard of the Tryn Hotel, sorry, so can’t comment on it or anything “similar”.
Top 5 things in NYC for kids: Statue of Liberty (reserve crown tickets far in advance), Natural History Museum, The Intrepid, a pizza or cupcake food tour, and a broadway play or musical (Hamilton is awesome but there are obviously many to choose from).
Hello! Thank you so much for the great article. My husband and I are travelling to America from Scotland in May for a family wedding in Washington DC then we are heading to New York in late May for four days with our 3 year old daughter.
We have booked a room at the Millennium Broadway Hotel near Times Square, do you have any experience with this hotel? From reviews I’ve read I gather the location is great but it is a bit dated (which I don’t mind). We have booked a room with a Times Square view (I guess that could mean just a glimpse of Times Square?) and I was wondering what is the appropriate way to ask for the best room available when we check in? This is the first time we have stayed in a hotel as a family and my husband and I usually choose the cheapest option when traveling but we wanted to make the stay more comfortable for our daughter and thought we would treat ourselves so I want to try and get the best room/view possible.
Yes, Millennium has some great views of Times Square. Request a floor above the 40th for the best views. Also ask for a free upgrade. Email first then ask again when you check in. Cafe Un Deux Trois (3 doors to the east on 44th) has great breakfasts. The Heartland Brewery on 43rd is kid-friendly and has good beer and fun vibe.
I’m looking to book New York either the end of October for a week or first week of the New Year. Which would be better for shopping and sight seeing?
We have a 13 year old and 8 year old.
Between Christmas and New Years is very busy in NYC. It does start to quiet a bit into January but stores and sidewalks will still be packed. The Christmas lights will be in the department store windows (at least for a few days) and there will be ice skating but otherwise I would go in October. The weather is nicer and not as busy.
We are traveling to NYC on a 2 week roadtrip with 4 kids. I have read some places that it is better to stay in NJ and take public transportation into the city. Would you advise? Can you recommend a good budget friendly hotel on the NJ side that is easy access to NYC. We plan to spend all of our time going to the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Central Park are our “must-sees”. Any help? Thanks in advance! Ashley
You could stay in New Jersey near the PATH train into NYC (Hoboken or Newport are the best choices) – but in general, if you’re here to see New York City then stay in New York City. There are few family-friendly places to stay on the New Jersey side of the river, close to NYC, but one that might work is the Courtyard Jersey City in Newport. It’s about 30 minutes by PATH train to Penn Station and then from there to the various sites you’re interested in. Better to stay at a cheap hotel in New York City.
Hi we are travelling to Washington from Australia in April this year. We would like to visit NYC while we are there. Looking at spending 4 nights with 2 kids aged 13 and 10. The must sees are Museum of Natural History, Wax Museum and Statue of Liberty. We have tentatively booked the Hilton Garden Inn in Manhattan. Is this a good location? Which area should we be looking at to be quite central to what we want to do? We are planning to take the bus from Washington. Sue
If you mean the Hilton Garden on 8th then yes, that’s a great central location and steps from a subway station. Be sure to get over to 9th Ave (Hell’s Kitchen) for some great non-touristy restaurants.
Our family of 4 is visiting from Australia in April & would welcome any suggestions of a good area/hotel for us. Our kids are boy 21 & daughter 17 so we definitely need 3 beds and would really like kitchenette (refrigerator at the very least). An area with a bit of groovy nightlife for those of us over 21 is what we are after, but not too far from a good subway station.
I am writing this from the AKA Times Square hotel and can whole-heartedly recommend it. They have 2-bedroom suite with full kitchen and washer dryer (and a large sofa in the living room). Great central location close to many different subway lines. Not the best area for interesting nightlife so may have to travel a little to find that (though there are several good places to get a drink nearby).
Do you have any references to getting discounts for the Eloise Suite at the Plaza? They want $3,000 plus a night! Do they ever run any specials for poor people?
Booking.com is great for finding deals and last minute discounts as it searches 100s of websites for the best rates.
Are you a sponsored site? Do you get paid for recommending hotels?
Not sponsored at all. Hotels don’t know who I am or when I stay there. With just a few rare exceptions I have no interaction with the hotels I review (beyond what a normal guest would have – e.g check-in, check-out).
Staying in NYC four nights from December 17-21. We have two kids ages 9 and 6. We would like to stay in a nice hotel. What would you recommend between The Beacon and Le Parker Meridian? Or something else altogether? I would very much appreciate any suggestion/advice you have…very hard to tell from pictures alone the quality and location of hotel.
Both are great hotels. The Meridien is more central and right in the thick of things – Times Square is a short walk (10 blocks) in one direction and there’s a great playground in Central Park just 3 blocks in the opposite direction. The Meridien has a nice rooftop pool (enclosed) with great views. The Beacon is in a quieter location that feels more neighborhoody and with a good market/grocery nearby. No pool but the suites do have kitchenettes (a decent breakfast in NY can easily run $80 for a family of 4, so this will save you some money). Also close to Central Park.
We’ll be in Manhattan for a wedding in October and we’re bringing our 20-month-old toddler and a babysitter. We don’t want them venturing too far from where ever we stay? Is there a hotel with an on-site playspace? Or which hotel would you recommend is the closest to a safe and convenient playground? They don’t need anything more than a place to run around since the baby is not even 2.
For families with young children, the Upper West Side bordered by Riverside Park and Central park is an excellent choice, with many playgrounds and scenic paths for strollers in both parks and good public transportation facilities if you need them. The Excelsior is ½ block from Central Park, as is a New York branch of the La Quinta chain. The Hotel Beacon, midway between the parks, has kitchenettes in every room. If the wedding location makes the East Side more convenient, you could consider the Courtyard New York Marriott near Carl Schurz Park on the East River or the boutique Hotel Wales near Central Park. No hotels have dedicated play spaces, but many do offer cribs and high chairs for families. Ask when you book.
We are travelling to N Y in April and have 2 children 11 and 14.
We would like accomodation with 3 beds so each child has their own bed. Where would you recommend?
What would you recommend to do in April? Will the Baseball have started and if so, where would I buy tickets?
Yes, baseball season begins in early April. You can get schedules of home games and order tickets at the web sites of the New York Yankees (nyyankees.com) or the New York Mets (nymets.com). If you want better seats than the team has available, check sites like Stubhub.com and Seatgeek.com, where season ticket holders often sell tickets for games they cannot attend. When the teams are playing out of town, both stadiums offer behind-the-scenes tours, with the chance to visit locker rooms and dugouts, see some of the expensive private boxes, and actually go on the field. Early in the month, you can also see basketball and hockey in action. Madison Square Garden hosts the Knicks (nba.com/knicks) and the women’s Liberty (liberty.lnba.com)basketball teams as well as Rangers hockey (rangers.nhl.com) Barclays Arena in Brooklyn is home to Nets basketball (nba.com/nets) and Islanders hockey (islanders.nhl.com).
The New York City Ballet begins its spring season and Broadway plays are in full swing in April. Late in the month, the city’s gardens are at their springtime best. Be sure to see the pink crabapple trees and colorful tulips and daffodils in Central Park’s Conservatory Garden. The park also has many lovely cherry blossom trees, but the real cherry blossom show is at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden where the blooms from some 76 varieties of flowering trees are a glorious sight that inspires a Japanese festival in late April every year. Bring your camera!
When Easter falls in April visitors can enjoy the fantastic hats that strollers show off for the annual Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue between 49th and 57th streets. Even the dogs don bonnets for the occasion. The parade runs from around 10 a.m. to mid-afternoon.
For hotels with 3 beds try the King Room with Double Connector at the JW Marriott Essex House or the Deluxe Family Room at Soho Hotel.
We are thinking about NYC for a 3 day trip. We are a family of 5, my wife, me, her sister, our two daughters, 18 and 9. We have a very limited budget and would like to stay somewhere we could catch the subway in a safe area. We do not want to try to drive in the city. We would like to see Times Square, China Town, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and possibly some other well known sites. We are traveling from southwest, VA. Please help us!
Two hotels that might fit your needs with family accommodations that can sleep 5 or 6 people are the Belleclaire, on the Upper West side, convenient to subways, or the Skyline on West 42nd street, a three block walk to Times Square and multiple subways. The motel-like Skyline has an unusual New York amenity, a swimming pool. The Belleclaire offers discounts for stays of 3 nights or more. The alternative is to book two rooms with two beds, one for you and your wife and younger daughter, the other for your older daughter and her aunt. You may find good rates on weekends at hotels in the Wall Street area that cater mostly to weekday business travelers such as Aloft Manhattan Downtown or Doubletree by Hilton. In the Times Square area, Days Inn Broadway is a possibility and the Radisson Martinique or NYMA hotels near Macys and many subways are other budget choices. Hotel rates vary with the seasons. When you know your travel dates, try using discount services such as Booking.com where you specify travel dates and the number of guests and see which hotels are offering buys when you want to visit And remember to add 14.75% NY hotel tax to the rates you are quoted. If you can find a lodging with free continental breakfast, that is a big saving for 5 people.
Great article, and I love that you are answering specific questions! That said, here are mine:
Visiting NYC in late May for 3 nights with an active 5 year old boy and 8 month old baby. What hotel would you suggest? $300 usd/night is our budget. My husband and I have been before and stayed in Times Square both times but would like to try a different area. Soho? Chelsea? Tribeca? We love shopping so want to do a bit of that but also want to do something fun our son would enjoy. Suggestions on what to do are also welcome :)
Thanks in advance!
When you are traveling with young children, the Upper West Side has many advantages. You are within walking distance of playgrounds in both Riverside Park and Central Park, and near museums that are great for five-year-olds, including the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and the American Museum of Natural History with its famous dinosaurs. Both the Hotel Beacon and the budget-friendly Milburn Hotel offer family suites with convenient kitchenettes and free wi-fi. The best shopping in this area is exploring the quintessential New York food emporiums on Broadway like Zabars, Fairway, and Citerella. If you want boutiques or department stores, you’ll have easy access to several bus and subway lines. You can spend a day shopping in midtown, Soho, or Tribeca, and come home to a peaceful neighborhood that is ideal for kids. By the way, when you visit the dinosaurs, don’t forget that there is a Shake Shack nearby at Columbus Avenue and 77th Street. Buses are a slower way to get around town but a lot easier for small ones than dealing with subway stairs and noise. If you are using a stroller, buses will lower a ramp to make boarding easier but it’s still best to avoid crowded rush hours.
Hi – my sister and I are bringing our father to NYC in September/October for ‘one last trip’ from the UK, whilst he can still get around. We’ll be a mixed family group of 1 grandpa and 2 mums with one child each. We’d like to be central as Dad is 87 and not as nimble as he once was and ideally we’d like to have interconnecting rooms – say a double double with a king, or a 2 bed suite/apartment. Would be very grateful for your recommendation.
Three great hotel with interconnected (adjoining) rooms are the DoubleTree Suites – Times Square, Hilton Times Square, and StayBridge Suites. One other idea you might explore is an apartment. Booking.com has a list of furnished apartments available for short-term stays. As does furnishedquarters.com. A variety of neighborhoods will be available so you can decide which is closest to the sights you hope to see. Just be sure you are close to public transportation. For seeing the sights with a minimum of walking, the hop-on, hop off bus may be a good option, especially given your range of ages. It will take you to most of the city’s main sights and leave it to you where you choose to get off and how long you want to stay. That said, it can be hard to get back on the bus and get a seat from a non-Times-Square stop.
HI David! Great article! Can you recommend a hotel that has suites (bedroom separate from living area). We have 2 adults and 2 kids ages 11 months and 4 years, so somewhere within walking distance of things for that age group to do would also help! Thanks so much in advance!
With young children, consider staying on the Upper West Side, where you can walk to playgrounds in Riverside Park and Central Park as well as two favorite family museums, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and the American Museum of Natural History. For family suites try the Hotel Beacon. It has convenient kitchenettes in some units and offer access to good bus service on Broadway. Buses are a little slower way to get around town but a lot easier for small ones than dealing with subway stairs and noise. If you are using a stroller, the buses will lower a ramp to make boarding easier. Just avoid crowded rush hours.
First time in New York City with kids. They are ages 9 and 11. We have 4 full days and plan to do the main sights: Central Park, a Broadway Show, the Natural History Museum, Times Square, and a few other things. We’ve tentatively decided on something within the triangle north of Times Square.
A few questions:
• For a family of 4 would you recommend staying in Times Square, the Upper West Side, or the Upper East Side?
• If you could only visit one art museum in NYC which one would it be?
• For theater tickets – is it correct to say we could either book a specific show (our top choice) and pay top dollar OR wait and purchase from TKTS and be limited to what they have that day?
The Times Square area offers the greatest choice of hotels, but the Upper West Side has some advantages. It is much less crowded, offers proximity to Central Park and the American Museum of Natural History and easy transportation via bus or subway to Times Square.
Which one art museum to visit really depends on your interests. The encyclopedic Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world’s great museums and is a must in the same way that The Louvre is a must in Paris. Sections like the hall of armor and the wall-through Egyptian tomb are of special interest to young visitors. The Met does have modern art collections, especially in its new Met Breuer building, but if your taste runs to modern, you might prefer The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) which is equally renowned in its own special field. Children under age 12 are free at both museums. If you choose the Metropolitan, consider going on Friday or Saturday evening when hours extend to 9 p.m. and the museum is much less crowded.
One way to save on theater tickets is to join Theatermania or Broadway Box online. These discount ticket services offer good savings on a long list of shows, all but the few sold-out offerings. Joining is free, you pay with a credit card, and pick up your tickets at the box office before the performance. Often you can see a seating chart and choose your seats. You do have to add a service fee if you order online, but the saving is still substantial and you have a wide choice of plays.
We are a family of five (children 9, 11, 12) staying in the times square area. What are some definite sights we need to go to with our children that is pocket friendly/free :) to make this a memorable vacation? Also what are some good places to eat in that location?
You’ll find plenty of family-friendly activities that are free or reasonably priced in New York.
The first place you might head is Central Park, the city’s beautiful back yard. Stop for a park map at the information center at Central Park West and 59th Street or The Dairy Information Center at Mid-Park between 64th and 65th Street and get ready for some fun. Climb the stairs up to Belvedere Castle for the view. Stop at Conservatory Water where you can rent a model boat and the kids can take turns with the remote control, moving it around the pond. Sounds like your children may be too old for playgrounds, but they can work off some energy hiking a path through the Ramble, a section of the park that is still deep woods and streams. You’ll never believe you are in the heart of the city. It’s also fun to join the joggers around the park’s reservoir. If you want to splurge a bit, you can rent bikes and pedal around the park’s 843 acres, stretching from 59th to 110th streets.
New York offers some other unique walks that won’t cost a dime. One adventure not to be missed is the 1.3 mile walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, high above the East River with endless panoramas of the skyscrapers of Wall Street and Lower Manhattan. The photos will be your favorite souvenirs.
One of the most unusual strolls anywhere is the High Line, an abandoned overhead freight railway transformed to an elevated park running roughly from 15th to 34th streets on the city’s far west side. Along the way are lush plantings, art installations, videos, a place to take off your shoes and wade in an inch-high pool, or to sit back, relax and take it all in.
You can see some great city landmarks free if you just take a stroll east on 42nd Street. Stop into the awesome New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue, look at the amazing zodiac ceiling inside Grand Central Terminal at Vanderbilt Avenue, visit the Art Deco lobby of the Chrysler Building with a painted ceiling that shows transportation scenes of the late 1920s and admire the sleek headquarters of the United Nation along the East River.
If you’d rather ride than walk, the free 25-minute Staten Island Ferry ride gives great views of New York Harbor, the skyscrapers of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.
On Wednesday, admission is free at the Bronx Zoo, the largest city zoo in America, home to some 4000 animals. Many city museums also have free admission, usually in the late afternoon. Kids often are intrigued by the spiral design of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum and it is free from 5:45 to 8 p.m. on Saturdays. You can visit the famous Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) free after 3 p.m. on Friday (note that kids under 18 are free at MOMA anytime).
If you make a trip to Coney Island, another highly recommended excursion, you can visit the New York Aquarium free on Fridays starting at 3 p.m.
Any Nintendo fans in the family? Don’t miss a trip to Nintendo World, 10 Rockefeller Plaza, where you can try out all the newest games and visit a mini-museum upstairs displaying every console and character ever created. Admission is free but be prepared to be begged into a purchase.
As for dining near Times Square, a great choice is Carmines, 200 West 44th Street between 7th and 8th avenues, with big family-style servings of Italian favorites. On that same block, John’s Pizzeria, 260 West 44th, is a New York classic and Shake Shack on the corner at 691 8th Avenue, has great inexpensive burgers—as you might guess from the long lines outside.
Trattoria Trecolori, 254 West 47th Street, is another very good Italian choice. If you walk along any block in the 40s between 7th and 8th avenues, you’ll find many small restaurants with reasonable menus, often prix fixe pre-theater dinners that are a good deal.
Right on 42nd Street, Five Guys Burgers at 253 West 42nd Street is a good family bet and though it is a familiar chain, the big Dallas BBQ at 241 West 42nd has something for all tastes and good prices. Remember that restaurants around Times Square are really busy around theater time, so dine before 6 or after 7:30 to avoid crowds.
For dessert, you might consider a trip across town to Dylan’s Candy Bar at 3rd Avenue and 60th Street, a candyland come to life, with more kinds of candy than you ever knew existed. Each child gets a bag and you pay by the weight, so you can limit the damages. If you want to give the kids a real treat, the gigantic sundaes upstairs come with three scoops and three toppings.
That should leave ample funds for two only-in-New York sights no family should miss: trips to the Statue of Liberty and the top of the Empire State Building. Have fun!
Hi, we are a family of four with a 6 and just turning 4 year old girls. We will be staying at the Palace and arriving just after Christmas and leaving just before New Years. We don’t know what the crowds will be like so trying to find the best ideas for things to do. Any tips? Also do you recommend taxis or the subway? Thanks. Love your post!
New York is busy around the holidays so be prepared for long lines at the most popular attractions – especially Christmas or winter related ones. Eg. The skating rink at Rockefeller Center can have insane lineups. Taxis can be better at times and subway can be better at times – it depends where you’re going (e.g. often going east/west can be faster by taxi as there won’t be a direct subway line). The cost for a family of 4 is often not the deciding factor as 4 tickets on the subway will be just as much as a taxi. That said, Uber is way better than a typical taxi so use it when you don’t want to take the subway.
I’ve heard great things about Eataly and thought that might be a good first exposure for my son to try authentic Italian food. Not too fancy but still good food. Would you agree?
Eataly is great. And I highly recommend it for kids and families. It’s big and loud and has lots of great food and treats. There are 7 sit down restaurants with a variety of table and bar seats. Every restaurant (except Baita on the roof) is situated next to the market area that provides its fresh ingredients. The trouble is getting a seat as only Manzo takes reservations. Try off-peak hours like late lunch or early dinner. The Nutella bar with waffles, crepes, gelato, and nutella lattes is wonderful.
We’re staying near Times Square. It looks like Central Park is walking distance. Is this correct? What playground would you recommend for a 5 year old? Is New York Stroller friendly?
Heckscher Playground is near the southwest corner of Central Park and Columbus Circle and is great (one of our kids’ favorites). There are slides, swings, climbing structures, a sand area to play in, and water jets in the summer months. Lots of room to run. It’s definitely walkable from Times Square. Much of New York is stroller-friendly. The problem is crowds in certain areas. Certainly Times Square and neighboring streets can be very hard to get a stroller through at pretty much anytime of the day.
What area in New York is best for Italian food? (Little Italy I guess, but where?) And what restaurant has the best pizza. We’ll have 2 kids, so can’t be a bar or anything like that.
The best Italian restaurants are not in Little Italy (too touristy) but in Greenwich Village.
For the best pizza go to John’s on Bleecker Street (in Greenwich Village). Brick oven pizza, no slices (just full pies), no reservations, cash only. Just how it should be. Highly recommended.
We’ve been told by friends that we have to visit Shake Shack. But now I hear the lines are crazy long. Can you recommend the best Shake Shack for kids and avoiding lines? We’re staying at the Doubletree/Hilton Chelsea.
The Shake Shack at Madison Square Park is my favorite and not too far from where you’re staying. There are seats and tables spread around an area of the park and it’s a great setting for a outdoor lunch or dinner. Lots of fun. There are lines, of course, this is Shake Shack but at least you’re waiting in a park and not on a busy sidewalk. And FYI, all Shake Shacks have a C-Line where you can get drinks, shakes, beer, and other non-food items. There’s typically no or a very short line, so I like to grab a beer/drink to start off then get in the big line for food. Even if the line is 20+ minutes long if you’re sipping a beer or milkshake it’s not so bad – sort of fun actually. Once you order, the food arrives quickly. And yes, it’s worth the wait. The Theater District Shake Shack on 8th between 43rd and 44th and near Times Square is my second favorite. This one has much more of a big-city vibe. If you can get the seats that face 44th it’s fun to sit, eat, and watch the crowds pass.
We are a family of 4 with 2 girls ages 12 and 14. We’ll be in New York City for a long weekend in early October (from Chicago). We are staying at the Soho Grand in a 1 bedroom suite.
A few questions:
1) Can you recommend an interesting tour of the city for a family? Open to anything that is a little untypical (e.g. Don’t want Times Square or Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, etc).
2) Is the Hop On/Hop Off bus worth doing?
3) Is the Musical Hamilton suitable for kids/teenagers? We are trying to decide whether Hamilton or Matilda is better for the children. Any thoughts? (Any differences with locations of the 2 theaters and which is easier to get to?)
4) Any good restaurants or low-key bars near the Soho Grand that you can recommend? The girls are old enough now to leave on their own so we thought we might pop out for a drink or two one night but don’t want to go more than a block or 3 away.
1) Two great kid-friendly tours are the Behind the Scenes Disney on Broadway tour and the Greenwich Village Food & Culture Walking Tour. Both very cool and lots of fun.
2) Yes. I like it the Hop On/Hop Off tours – especially the north bound tour that goes around Central Park. But don’t “hop off” – just stay on for the whole route. Once you get off it’s hard to get back on. And don’t use it as a form of transportation – not worth the hassle of getting on and finding a seat.
3) Hamilton is fantastic. One of the best musicals I’ve ever seen. It’s the history of the American Revolution set to rap music. Sounds like it could be corny but it’s fabulously well done. I think kids would love it – and though there are a few sexual references nothing you wouldn’t see in a PG13 movie. If you go to Hamilton, give them (and yourself) a short primer on the main characters of the time: Hamilton, of course, and Washington, Jefferson, John Adams, and King George III. Matilda is fun with lots of energy, but not as good as Hamilton. (The 2 theaters are 2 blocks apart near Times Square so no reason to choose based on location.)
4) The Soho Grand has a very cool/trendy bar in the lobby area. Good beer and funky music. A block north from the Soho Grand is Lucky Strike – sort of a french bistrot/bar. Delicious food and open late.
We are a family of 4 (ages 12 and 13) and coming to New York for a long weekend. We would like to find an inexpensive hotel room with good location, large room, and maybe a pool. Can you suggest where to look for a budget hotel in NYC?
Also, I’ve heard the best place to buy Broadway theater tickets is the TKTS office on Times Square – is this true? And how does that work?
We will be in New York in early January.
Thanks for your time,
The best way to find cheap hotels in New York is to use Booking.com – it searches hundreds of websites and finds the best deals. That said, you’ll need to compromise on some of your criteria if you want to find a budget hotel anywhere near New York City. And that most likely will be size or location (or both).
TKTS is great for getting discounted tickets but it’s not so good at going to see a particular play. And that makes it hard to do with kids. Adults who just want to see a show (any show) can walk up and get good deals on a variety of shows (though usually not the most popular ones). But for families, already restricted by the limited number of kid-friendly shows, it’s harder to make it work. If seeing a show is important to you I would book directly with the theater for a specific kid-friendly performance.
We have a very active 7 year old child and need a kid-friendly hotel near a good Manhattan playground. Not picky about neighborhood – any safe, reasonably central area with a subway station will do. But if it were a cool neighborhood then that’s even better. Budget not a concern. Thanks, Jay.
Tribeca is a great neighborhood for kids and Washington Market Park has 2 good playgrounds. Just down the street is the wonderful Smyth Tribeca Hotel. The subway is steps from the hotel’s front door. Of course, any hotel close to Central Park (recommended hotels above) will be spoiled for playground choices.
Hi, lived in NYC over a decade ago but for the 4th of July we are visitng NYC with the youngins’ ages 8 years, 5 years, and almost 2 year old. I am torn between staying in Time Square Double Tree or Le Parker. Any advice? We are staying for 2 full days and want to do the main sites, i.e. Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Central Park Zoo and MOMA and of course squeeze in kids activities (American Girl for tea with my 5 year old while the boys relax at the hotel). We really want to try to have moments to enjoy our hotel. Other hotel recommendation is ok too. Thanks in advance! Btw we are from Hawaii and we want our kids to have a memorable time in NYC without the stress of doing TOO much.
Le Parker $350/night
Double Tree Time Square $450
I would go with the Doubletree owing to it’s location near Times Square – which we always tend to spend a lot of time at for a variety of reasons (e.g. buying theater tickets or getting on the Hop On/Hop Off buses). Both are good hotels though.
Thank you so much for this!!!! We’ve been to New York before but with only our eldest son. This summer we have our two teenage boys and my mother!! Anyways Thanks again, this article was a tremendous help!
Great. Thanks so much.
We are arriving from Washington DC by train in early July. We will have just spent a week in DC exploring the museums and intend to spend our 2 days in New York enjoying the lighter side of things. I wouldn’t rule out a museum visit but with 2 kids aged 10 and 11 what area of New York would you stay in? What would be the best things to do with kids (remembering that we only have 2 days). What’s the best way to get around New York with kids? Is the bike share easy for kids to use? How do we buy tickets for Broadway shows? Are there many kid-friendly shows? And finally, what’s the easiest way to get to Newark Airport for a family of 4?
I’d stay somewhere close to Times Square or a little north towards Central Park – good location for shopping, catching shows, buying tickets for shows, and hopping on the tour buses. If you do visit one museum make it the Natural History Museum. Otherwise the hop-on/hop-off tour buses that leave from stops around Times Square (one goes north, one south to the financial district, and one into Brooklyn) are great. One of the buses stops right at the Brooklyn Bridge and you can walk across to Brooklyn and catch a different bus (or subway) back. The Highline is also a fun walk for kids and adults. Central Park itself offers lots to do: good playgrounds and water play areas. Renting bikes is fun (and there are rental shops in and around Central Park) but the Citi bikeshare program is for people 16 and over. To buy tickets for Broadway shows visit the TKTS booth in Times Square for discount tickets 1 to 4 hours before show times. They’ll be able to tell you what shows are good for kids. The best way to the airport for a family of 4 is a taxi.
We’ll be in New York for the weekend in early July and are planning our days as we don’t have much time and want to make the most of it. We’ve heard a lot about great desserts places with fun treats – if we can only visit one shop or restaurant which one would you go to?
Serendipity on the upper east side (not far from Central Park). Be prepared for a one hour wait. They take reservations for lunch and dinner but not just for dessert. Desserts are amazing. If the wait’s too long nearby Dylan’s Candy Bar has 3 floors of treats and desserts – though it’s not as good as Serendipity which is more of a sit-down indulgence.
We’re trying to figure out what area of New York for our family to stay in. Would you recommend staying close to Central Park or Times Square?
Staying close to Central Park is great but not necessary. Being closer to Times Square is handy for buying show tickets, going to shows, hopping on the tourist buses, and it’s just a bit more central than Central Park. Both are good locations though. If you’re staying longer than 2 or 3 nights then I would stay away from Times Square (Upper West Side, Upper East Side, Soho, Tribeca), but if it’s a short stay then being within a few blocks of Times Square is usually the best use of time.