Travel Guide: Best Things to do with a Toddler in NYC {Part I}

Thanks to Hurricane Irma, Andy, Abuela, and I spent some time in New York last week (since we had to evacuate Florida). I figured we'd make the most of our time there--- and that we did! I love traveling to New York and I've been several times, both for work and leisure and have done all the "touristy" stuff (like visiting the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building...etc.) This time it was different. Andy had been to New York once when he was 6 months old, but this time I really wanted to take advantage of this kid-friendly city and plan activities that my four-year-old would love. By the time we had to head back home, he didn't want to leave. He loved it THAT much. 

In case you're planning your own trip to New York with a toddler, here are some things you'll definitely want to check out and a basic itinerary of what we did to help you plan. I'll be splitting up the post in two parts (so it's not too overwhelming lol). 

The Transit Museum

Jane's Carousel

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Day 1: 

The Transit Museum : Our first full day in New York was pretty jam packed. We started our day by heading to the Transit Museum in Downtown Brooklyn. This place is pretty much all train lovers dream come true. It's housed in an underground authentic 1936 subway station and kids can board the different vintage trains, sit at the wheel of a city bus, pretend to put gas (Andy's favorite) and explore changing exhibits that highlight the history of mass transit. Andy pretty much spent his time running from train to train. 

Jane's Carousel (DUMBO Brooklyn) After spending our morning at the Transit Museum, we took a short 5 minute Uber to Jane's Carousel located in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Andy loved going on the carousel and the views from this place are just absolutely beautiful. 

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge: If you're up for it, you can take a walk on the Brooklyn Bridge, which has a pedestrian walkway. We decided to skip it this time (we were pretty tired lol), but I've loved doing it in the past. 

Where to eat nearby: Instead of walking the bridge however, we headed straight to Juliana's Pizza (of course haha). My Crossfit coach (who is from New York) had recommended this place. It's located next to Jane's Carousel and is considered to be one of the best pizzeria's in the US (according to Trip Advisor). Many of you might have heard of Grimaldi's (which is a little more famous), but what you might not know is that Juliana's was founded by Patsy Grimaldi, the original founder of Grimaldi's. Needless to stay, the pizza was out of this world--even better than the pizza I had in Italy. 

Watch a Broadway Show (Aladdin): I never like leaving New York without watching a Broadway show. So after our pizza, we grabbed the subway and headed to Times Square. Aladdin had appeared to be sold out for more than a week (online), but luckily I was able to grab tickets at their actual ticket box office for the same day. Andy LOVED IT, although he was a bit bummed Abu didn't make an appearance haha. The Lion King is another great option for kids. 

The American Museum of Natural History

Day 2: 

American Museum of Natural History- This museum is one of my absolute favorites.  I couldn't wait to bring Andy here. It's filled with dinosaur bones and animal exhibits that kids (and adults) will enjoy. Andy was mesmerized at seeing the T-Rex bones. There's also a planetarium show and a mummy exhibit that was pretty neat. 

Quick Tip: You can easily spend 4-6 hours here, so make sure you get there with plenty of time. 

Central Park- After our time at the museum, we headed to Central Park (right across the street) where Andy played at the Heckscher Playground and got his face painted. 

Where to eat: I was trying to find an organic restaurant nearby, but didn't have much luck. So we ended up eating at Chipotle (which is always a great option in my book). Seriously, what do they put in those bowls? It's so addictive. It was about a 15 minute walk from the playground. 

Children's Museum of the Arts

The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum

Day 3: 

Children's Museum of the Arts:  This museum located in Manhattan (West Village) was another one of Andy's favorite. The bright open space has everything from interactive activities, painting, a clay bar, workshops and exhibits to name a few. We got there at 10:45AM for their WEE Arts Class for ages 5 and Under (from 10:45AM to 12PM).  You can drop-in for a class for $25 bucks. They had different stations where kids could paint, play with goo, build foam blocks, or model clay. Next was music time (the teachers are excellent singers by the way) followed by story-telling. The best part is parents and caregivers can also collaborate throughout the class. 

After the WEE Arts class, the museum was open to the general public and we got to check out the rest of it. Andy loved the clay station! They were making favorite foods and according to Andy he made "organic" macaroni along with a banana haha. It looked like so much fun that I secretly wanted to make my own. 

Quick Tips:  Check out the room with the fun spinning chairs (my mom got a kick out of these).  Be sure to check out the public hours, since it is not open daily to the general public. On Thursdays from 4PM-6PM they have Pay-As-You-Wis where you can enter the museum for a donation of your choice. 

Westville:  After the museum of the arts we grabbed lunch at Westville, which was right across the street. They have great vegan options and it's kid-friendly too. 

The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum:  Next up we grabbed an Uber and headed to the Intrepid Museum (about a 15 minute car drive). Along with trains, airplanes and spaceships are Andy's favorite so this was of course at the top of his list of things to do. The museum has several hangers filled with various aircrafts as well as aircrafts on the deck for viewing. Andy's favorite hanger was the one that had the Enterprise Space Shuttle hanging from the ceiling. It was pretty remarkable. Don't forget to check out the submarine too (kids have to be 5 years old to enter). 

Overall this is a fun place to visit, not just for kids but whoever likes warships, airplanes and submarines. 

Stay tuned for Part II of my New York Guide, which will include what we did on the rest of our trip including visits to The Bronx Zoo, The Manhattan Children's Museum, The Central Park Zoo, The Chelsea Market and The High Line. 

What are some of your favorite things to do in New York with kids? 


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