Things To Do In NYC For Families On Vacation

By Casey Makovich

With so many attractions and activities, an NYC family vacation is bound to be a memorable trip. Seeing the Big Apple is an unforgettable experience that children of all ages can appreciate regardless of their interests. It's also an educational experience allowing sightseers to tour some of the most iconic landmarks in American history. NYC has something for everyone in the family. If you're planning a family vacation to New York, you'll make the most of your trip for you and your family if you put some research into which sights you'll see. We've put together a list of some of the best places in NYC to bring the whole family.

Free Entry with The New York Pass®

Free entry to many of these popular New York attractions and activities are included on The New York Pass®. Used by over 3.5 million travelers, the New York Pass is the ultimate sightseeing pass, which includes admission to 90+ attractions, Fast Track Entry at select attractions, a free guidebook, & much more. Learn more about the New York Pass benefits & how to save up to 70% off attractions.

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Immigration Museum

A New York City must for all visitors. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are located at the southern tip of Manhattan. This site is one of the most important historical sights that kids visiting New York for the first time will want to see to get a greater understanding of not only New York history, but American history as well. From Battery Park, sightseers can take a free ferry to Ellis Island. The ferry ride itself is an interesting experience that gives passengers panoramic views of New York harbor. Once at Ellis Island, visitors can learn about New York's long history as a hub of immigration and the 12 million immigrants who first arrived in New York via Ellis Island. Admission: Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island tickets are included with the New York Pass.

Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall

Centrally located in Midtown Manhattan below Central Park, Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall offer history, art, culture, and entertainment. Rockefeller Center is an iconic landmark that was originally commissioned by the wealthy Rockefeller family in the 1930's. Nowadays, Rockefeller Center is a National Historic Landmark. It's also a significant building architecturally as it showcases the Art Deco style of the early 20th century at its peak. Inside the Rockefeller Center, there is shopping, dining, and the Top of the Rock which offers birds-eye views of Midtown. Outside Rockefeller Center, there is a skating rink that young visitors can take advantage of during the winter months for some exercise. Visitors during the holiday season can also catch a glimpse of the famous Christmas tree that is put up each year in Rockefeller Plaza. The Radio City Music Hall serves as a venue for concerts throughout the year and is home to the famous Rockettes. This dancing troupe puts on a Christmas Spectacular each year that never fails to put the audience in the holiday spirit. Admission: Rockefeller Center Tour tickets are included with the New York Pass. Admission: Radio City Music Hall Stage Door Tour tickets are included with the New York Pass.

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum

Although a newer addition to NYC's tourist offerings, this has quickly become one of the biggest attractions in the city. The 9/11 Memorial & Museum was constructed as a tribute to the victims of the World Trade Center attack in 2001. The museum details the history of the event and shows different types of artifacts related to the attack. Set some time aside to get the full experience from this unforgettable landmark. The museum itself contains more than 10,000 artifacts, and the memorial contains two reflecting pools for sightseers. Admission: 9/11 Memorial & Museum tickets are included with the New York Pass.

Central Park With The Family

Central Park is one of the most scenic destinations in New York and offers a variety of activities for families, making it the perfect NYC family vacation thing to do. Make unforgettable memories with your family on a group bicycle or walking tour that explores Central Park sights you'll recognize from some of your favorite films. Even New York natives can get lost in the extensive grounds of Central Park. Among the many family activities in the park are boat rides, touring Central Park zoo or exploring Belvedere Castle. A day in Central Park will tire out even the most energetic kids. The park also provides great photo opportunities thanks to some of the beautiful scenery. Admission: Central Park Sightseeing Bike Tour tickets are included with the New York Pass.

Yankee Stadium

For sports-loving families, Yankee Stadium is an interesting sight to visit both during and outside of the baseball season. Yankee Stadium is open for tours throughout the year, and the stadium has artifacts from baseball history on display. Yankee Stadium is a good destination for families wishing to get out of Manhattan and see some other boroughs. Located in the Concourse neighborhood of the Bronx, Yankee Stadium gives New York visitors a chance to ride the subway and experience everyday life for a typical New Yorker. Admission: Yankee Stadium Classic Tour tickets are included with the New York Pass.

Remember To Save On Attraction Admission

Many of the great attractions in New York City have something special in store for the entire family. Whether you're interested in sightseeing, taking a tour or enjoying art at a museum, an NYC family vacation is easy to plan with The New York Pass. If you plan on visiting multiple attractions, you'll be paying the admission price for your entire family at the door for each venue. Consider using the New York Pass which grants you free entry to over 90 attractions in New York City. That way you can save more and see more. For more information on the New York Pass, click here.

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Things to do in New York When it Rains

Rain; the burden of humanity. For millennia we've built roofs to keep it out, and created devices to keep it from touching our delicate skin. While you may be tempted to stay in when the heavens open, why let an entire weekend go to waste? Get out there and see what things there are to do in New York when it rains. Don't worry about the research; we did all that for you. Simply scroll down and learn all about the best things to do in New York when it rains! Including: American Museum of Natural History Madame Tussauds New York & MARVEL Universe 4D New York's amazing art museums Escape Virtuality Area 53 and more! Image courtesy of Mykolastock/Shutterstock Get historical, naturally What better way to dodge mother nature's shower than dipping into a museum? New York's full of the beauties, but we'd recommend the American Museum of Natural History. Why? Well, because it has freaking dinosaurs. What else do you need? The site of the famous Night at the Museum movies, inside you'll find one of the biggest collections of dinosaur bones on the planet. But of course, there's much more than just that. How does a 94-foot whale model sound? Equal parts awe-inspiring and terrifying? Absolutely. How about a giant, 2000-year-old sequoia tree? Brilliant. Why not top things off with a 563-carat sapphire named the 'Star of India'? Yes. All that and much more awaits you in one of the world's premier museums. So why wait? Easily one of the best things to do in New York when it rains. Image courtesy of Alina Zamogilnykh/Shutterstock Rub waxy shoulders with the stars Hollywood has become somewhat synonymous with plastic surgery. The ever-evolving need to reach perfection has resulted in generations of body augmentation. But if you think Hollywood is plastic, wait till you get a glimpse of the static stars at Madame Tussauds! Everyone's favorite fame celebration is here, letting you snap photos with all the stars. And best of all, there won't be a streak of blur in sight! Throw gang signs with Donald Trump, hop on E.T.'s bike without his permission, and mingle with other people who do acting! And, for you superhero fans out there, you can also attend Marvel Universe 4D, an immersive cinema experience that brings your favorite spandex-wearing heroes to life. And best of all, it's all inside! If it wasn't, would the famous people melt? Who knows? Get some much needed culture in you Speaking of ducking the rain, why not fill your mind while doing it? We're talking art, ladies and gentlemen, and New York's got more art museums than you can shake a brush at. Let's start with the Museum of Modern Art — or 'MoMA', because you've got to love an acronym in this day and age. It's one of the most influential modern art museums in the world, with a fantastic collection of contemporary pieces housed within its delightful walls. See the likes of van Gogh's 'Starry Night', and Warhol's 'Soup Cans' up close. And take photos aplenty, of course. Or, go check out the famous Guggenheim, another brilliant collection of works from artists around the world. With big hitters like Picasso, Manet, Cézanne, Gauguin, and Renoir on show, you're bound to find something inspirational within its beautifully-designed walls. Or, for more modern art from more alive artists, go hide in the Whitney Museum of American Art. Focusing on active artists from the US, it helps ensure the American art scene survives and thrives throughout the years. And who knows, maybe you'll discover the next big thing there, or find your new favorite artist? Whichever you decide to go to, having your mind blown at one of New York's art museums is definitely one of the best things to do when it rains in the city. Reality, but virtually better What better way to avoid the reality of a rainy day in New York than to escape our reality completely? Discover new, exciting realities via a funky headset at Escape Virtuality - NYC's biggest and best virtual reality fun house! Challenge a friend, or a stranger, to a myriad of sports, activities, and other immersive experiences. Glide down a mountain on skis, or run from monsters in a haunted house. Climb a sheer cliff, jump out of a plane, or hop behind the wheel of a souped-up racecar. Let your imagination come to life, thanks to the movement replication of Escape Virtuality's ergonomic setup. Feel every hill, every fall, and every turn. It really has to be seen to be believed, so go and get your mind blown on the next rainy day! Area 51-adjacent Sometimes, the thrill of outdoor adventure is too good to pass up. We all have to get extreme sometimes, right? But if you're averse to a little downpour, you needn't throw cold water over the idea. Instead, head to Area 53 - New York's funner, safer alternative to Nevada's secret UFO base. Whether you're with friends, family, or planning a date, Area 53 has a wealth of fun activities on offer. Take your chances on the ninja course, try and escape the laser maze, bomb it down slides, or go head-to-head in the Battle Beam arena (think laser tag meets foam party). All that and much more awaits you at Area 53. Oh, and if you're looking for some kid-free fun, they also host over 21s nights with no rascals and sight, and a packed bar to boot. Secret drinks Let's round off our list of the best things to do in New York when it rains with a more refreshing downpour. We're talking bars, but not just any bars. Nope, today let's talk about secret speakeasies. Like many big cities these days, New York has seen the recent craze of faux-speakeasy slash cocktail bars hit its shores. So why not duck out of the rain and dive into a drink or three? La Noxe is one such place, and you'll find it tucked inside the 28th street subway station. Along with its rather diverse and affordable cocktail menu, you'll find a delightfully low-key ambiance, tapas bites, and smooth tunes in the background. Or, head to The Little Shop in Lower Manhattan. On first glance, it looks like your average convenience store, with snacks, household items, and other necessities on offer. However, head to the back, and you'll make your way into a secret speakeasy with a brilliant drinks menu. Your discovery will be the talk of the water cooler come Monday. And finally, pop into Attaboy, snuggled secretly into an often-overlooked part of Eldridge Street. This little speakeasy even has merch if you want to represent, and a patio - when the weather clears up. And that's our list of the best things to do in New York when it rains!
Dom Bewley
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New York Insider – Guide to the Best Jazz Clubs NYC

If you like jazz, New York does not disappoint – from big names to up-and-comers the Big Apple has it all The music scene in New York is second to none. Many of the biggest globally recognised acts grace this capital with their presence frequently and you’ll find world-class residencies in some of the smallest clubs – you just need to know where to find them... If you’re looking for jazz clubs NYC is the place to find them. Dizzy's Club Not many jazz clubs promise a vista overlooking Central Park and Columbus Circle which is only one of the reason’s why Dizzy’s Club in the Time Warner Centre is a must-visit. The venue will make you feel like you’ve walked onto a movie set with its modern clean lines, big windows and dark and tonal décor. While it may look overly prestigious, the atmosphere is warm and welcoming, and it’s been championed as the best audio experience of any jazz club New York. Historically, it has boasted all the big-names like Wynton Marsalis, Paquito d’Rivera, Mary Stallings, and Terry Waldo to name a few. Top tip: If you’re planning a visit for the holidays, book tickets for Christmas Eve with Barry Harris to get you in the spirit. Location: 10 Columbus Circle (Upper West Side)How to get there: Subway: A, C, B, D, 1 to 59th St–Columbus CircleOpening hours: Set times at 7.30pm & 9.30pm and late-night sessions Tues-Sat 11.30pm Iridium Famous for hosting Les Paul for almost 15 years, Iridium will always be a jazz club New York can be proud of. Forever a full house, this bustling Broadway club has been around since the early 90s and has undergone numerous expansions and renovations to allow for its growing audience. Its popularity has never waned and on its wall of fame are acts like Kenny Garrett, Jacky Terrasson and Kenny Barron. Nowadays you can catch names like Jimmy Scott and Mike Stern so make sure to get there early, this place is known far and wide. Location: 1650 Broadway (Midtown)How to get there: Subway: N, Q, R to 49th St; 1 to 50th StOpening hours: Weds-Mon 7pm – Midnight Nublu Classic If you’re looking for an ‘insiders’ only jazz New York experience, then Nublu is the one. Nestled in the hipster Alphabet City in East Village, it’s a blink-and-you-miss-it kind of place. Look out for a small blue light to indicate you’ve fount it and step inside to a vibrant scene of offbeat jazz and avant-garde names. If you plan your visit on a Wednesday, you’ll be in luck for some live Brazilian music. Due to its popularity, it has expanded over to its sister Nublu 151 a few blocks away, where you’ll also find a top line up of live acts. Tip: it’s cash only – so make sure you bring plenty, especially for the bar! Location: 62 Ave C (East Village)How to get there: Subway: F to Lower East Side–Second AveOpening hours: Mon–Thu & Sun 5pm–2am; Fri & Sat 5pm–3am Mezzrow Eponymously named after Milton “Mezz” Mezzrow, this is one of the most iconic basement jazz clubs NYC has to offer. Run by musicians for musicians, Mezzrow is a relaxed environment where jazz aficionados can enjoy some of the best jazz pianists in the city in an intimate atmosphere. Mezz himself was one of the most renowned musicians of the Chicago jazz scene in the 1920’s and played with the likes of Louis Armstrong, King Oliver and Jimmy Noone – to name a few. In his legacy, Mezzrow pays homage to this legendary musician with acts like Jon Davis, Spike Wilner and Pasquale Grasso. Location: 163 West 10th Street (Greenwich Village)How to get there: Subway: 1, 2 to Christopher StreetOpening hours: Sets at 8pm, 9.30pm, 11pm and Midnight (after-hours) Smalls When you think of New York jazz, an image of a dimly lit basement with tables packed knee-to-knee springs to mind. Well, that’s exactly what a night at Smalls promises. Here you’ll find rising talent in the New York jazz scene experimenting with a new flair and modern take on bebop and hard bop as well as more contemporary fusions. It’s a cosy space with only a 60-guest capacity, and it’s popular with the locals, too, so make sure to get there early. You won’t get dinner here, but you will find beer on tap, so settle in for the night – you’re always guaranteed a good time. To get a feel for the sets, check out their previously recorded live shows on their website. Tip: if you stay there long enough, chances are you’ll get a seat throughout the night even if it’s full! Location: 183 West 10th Street (Greenwich Village)How to get there: Subway: 1 to Christopher St–Sheridan SqOpening hours: 7.30pm – 10.pm; 10.30pm – 1am; 1am – 4am
Go City Expert
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5 Days in New York City

Spending 5 days in New York City gives you plenty of opportunities to visit all of the essential tourist attractions and more. With 5 days, you won’t be too rushed, so you can relax and take your time enjoying the sights within the city. This 5-day NYC itinerary is just one example of how you can make the most of your trip to New York City - with The New York Pass, your sightseeing possibilities are endless and you can completely tailor your sightseeing itinerary to your interests. This Sample 5 Days in NYC Itinerary Includes: Big Bus New York Hop-on Hop-off Tour The Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO Neighborhood Tour Yankee Stadium Tours Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and more... Save on Admission to Top NYC Attractions With The New York Pass, you can save big on admission to more than 90 attractions in the city. Experience the best of NYC and visit as many sites as you want each day for one low price with this flexible pass. Simply put, you decide what to see and when you want to see it! Learn more about our available passes and attractions. DAY 1 Big Bus New York Hop-on Hop-off Tour Start your trip with an overview tour of the city to get acquainted with the top attractions and city layout. This will help you plan which sights and attractions you want to go back to and spend more time at later on during your trip. The Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off tour lets you choose from 3 routes that explore all of Manhattan: Uptown, Midtown, and Downtown. Hop off at any of the over 25 popular stops along the way to explore an area by foot or visit attractions. As you ride along, you'll hear live commentary from your onboard tour guide, so you'll get an entertaining overview of the city's history, culture, popular spots, and more. Greenwich Village Walking Tour By Jean-Christophe BENOIST (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons Explore the artistic community of Greenwich Village and stop by the ever-exciting Washington Square Park, where you will always find some form of entertainment. This neighborhood was at the heart of the 1960s counter-culture movement and is still into one of the trendiest areas in New York City with cafes, jazz clubs, theaters, the picturesque Washington Square Park, and many NYU buildings. Getting in: Greenwich Village Walking Tour tickets are included with The New York Pass. Madison Square Garden – All Access Tour By Eddie Maloney from North Las Vegas, USA (NYC) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia CommonsTake a tour of the world's most famous entertainment arena, Madison Square Garden. This all-access tour knows no limits and will even take you into the locker rooms of your favorite New York sports teams. Getting in: Madison Square Garden: MSG All Access Tour tickets are included with The New York Pass. Hudson River Sightseeing Bike Rentals What could be more relaxing than a nice leisurely ride along the Hudson River? Head to Hudson River Sightseeing Bike Rentals and pick up a full day bike rental to explore the sights of New York City at your own place (can be a great way to get around to attractions on your New York City itinerary!). Getting in: Hudson River Sightseeing Bike Rentals are included with The New York Pass. DAY 2 The Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO Neighborhood Tour Start your day with a tour of Brooklyn's DUMBO neighborhood and view one of New York's most iconic landmarks, the Brooklyn Bridge on a guided tour. You'll get to explore the vibrant and trendy Brooklyn neighborhood and get great views of the Manhattan skyline as you learn all about this historic neighborhood. Getting in: The Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO Neighborhood Tour tickets are included with the New York Pass. Shearwater Classic Schooner - Manhattan by Sail Experience New York City's waterfront as you cruise on the historic Shearwater Classic Schooner ship and view the best sights that the city has to offer. This 1.5-hour cruise gives you plenty of time to relax and enjoy the sights as you sail along. Getting in: Shearwater Classic Schooner cruise tickets are included with The New York Pass. Museum at Eldridge Street After your cruise, head to the Museum at Eldridge Street, a historic synagogue. While exploring this museum's beautifully decorated interiors, you’ll learn all about its significance to Jewish history and culture, particularly in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Getting in: Museum at Eldridge St. tickets are included with The New York Pass. DAY 3 Rockefeller Center Tour Become an expert on the legendary Rockefeller Center by taking an entertaining and enlightening guided tour of the plaza and learn the building's history and symbolic status in NYC's history. Getting in: Rockefeller Center Tour tickets are included with The New York Pass. Shopping at Macy’s Herald Square - Receive an 11% Saving Pass Macy's Herald Square is one of the largest department stores in the world - and a New York City landmark - offering a huge selection of name brand designers and popular styles. You can use your New York Pass to enjoy 10% savings inside of the store. Getting in: 11% savings pass at Macy's Heral Square get an exclusive with The New York Pass. Museum of the City of New York By Beyond My Ken (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia CommonsExplore the massive collection at the Museum of the City of New York and see how multimedia and advanced technology are incorporated with the exhibits hosted by the museum. There's plenty to discover as the museum boasts a collection of over 1.5 million items. Getting in: Museum of the city of New York tickets are included with The New York Pass. Yankee Stadium Tours Travel to the Bronx and take a tour of the historic Yankee Stadium. This 1-hour tour takes you through the stadium while an experienced tour guide tells you everything there is to know about baseball's most storied franchise, the 27-time MLB World-Series champion New York Yankees. Getting in: Yankee Stadium: Classic Stadium Tour tickets are included with The New York Pass. DAY 4 Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Climb aboard the award-winning USS intrepid and roam one of New York City's most unique museums. View groundbreaking exhibits and learn more about the aircraft as well as the team that operated it before it became one of the most popular museums in New York. Getting in: Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum tickets are included with The New York Pass. Radio City Music Hall Stage Door Tour Visit the world-famous Radio City Music Hall and go backstage to get a better understanding of what goes on during shows in the historic performance venue. An experienced tour guide will show you every corner of Radio City and you may even meet a special guest. Getting in: Radio City Music Hall: Stage Door Tour tickets are included with The New York Pass. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) View artistic masterpieces created by legends like Claude Monet and Van Gogh as you stroll the halls of the Museum of Modern Art. You’ll find plenty of exciting installations waiting inside of the museum and a beautiful garden where you can relax after enjoying the exhibits. Getting in: Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) tickets are included with The New York Pass. DAY 5 Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises Enjoy the waves and take in the beautiful sights of New York City on one of several Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises. With Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, you can choose which popular cruise option you would like to take and Circle Line provides multiple cruises throughout the day so you get to choose whether you’d like to sail in the day or at night. Getting in: Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise tickets are included with The New York Pass. Inside Broadway Tours New York City is the home of Broadway entertainment and not only can you catch a show while you’re in town, you can also take an informative tour that lets you know everything about Broadway. You’ll even meet Broadway actors who are kind enough to share their own behind the scenes experiences. Getting in: Inside Broadway Walking Tour tickets are included with The New York Pass. The Cloisters Museum and Gardens By Jose olivares (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons Journey to Fort Tryon Park where you’ll see one of New York City’s true gems. The Cloisters Museum specializes in artifacts from the medieval era and boasts an impressive collection of antique art that doesn't disappoint. Getting in: The MET: Cloisters tickets are included with The New York Pass. Remember to Save on Admission With 5 days in NYC, there's enough time to see all the major sites and landmarks and really get to know the city. A lot of the activities and attractions mentioned in this post are included on The New York Pass–save money on admission to dozens of the most popular attractions in NYC is included for one low price. Save anywhere up to 70% off of the city’s most sought-after attractions with the pass versus regular gate admission prices. Learn more about The New York Pass here.
Casey Makovich

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