Tips for Toddlers in NYC

Here are a few tips for traveling with the kids in NYC.

Our little orange stroller can go just about anywhere.

Our little orange stroller can go just about anywhere.

– Bring a collapsible stroller. We loved having a stroller in NYC. Carting the children’s accessories hands free kept everyone happy.  Most of the places we went to eat cannot accommodate your stroller. Our small umbrella stroller easily folds and stores. We’ve thrown it under the table, behind the cash register and even in a coat closet.

– Carry a reusable grocery bag. We use ours to hold all the stuff in the stroller basket when we need to collapse and store it. It has also doubled as our lunch bag, when we decide to pick up a picnic lunch. It has been a wet bag when caught in the rain or the kids had impromptu water play. I’ve even sat on it when wearing white pants in the park.

– Playgrounds. There are plenty of public playgrounds, but you need to do the research to find them. When in doubt, use Google Maps to scan your local area for telltale signs of playground structures. Else, make some cityscape into an impromptu playground. H just needs a grassy knoll and O just needs a bench or railing for entertainment.

– Food. Most adults have been hangry (when hunger causes anger). When kids get hangry, watch out! When you’re traveling in NYC it’s imperative that you keep your kids fed. NYC’s abundance of food carts can keep your kids fed and entertained at the same time. Give in to your kid’s desire to have a pretzel or bagel or fruit smoothie. Everyone will thank you.

Grand Central Station is a great place for kids to enjoy people watching and trains.

Grand Central Station is a great place for kids to enjoy people watching and trains.

– Trains and Automobiles. Penn Station or Grand Central Station can provide your toddler with hours of entertainment. Don’t concentrate so much on experiencing the Guggeinheim when your kiddo probably prefers to watch trains. Also, we avoided the taxis. It didn’t feel safe with our kiddos and we didn’t want to cart around our car seats. (Uber does have a family option in which the car comes with car seats installed if you want to use a car, but do not have car seats.)

– Don’t be afraid to beat the heat (or cold) in some NYC Museums. We are continuously amazed how much the kids like museums. We let them decide what they want to see and set the pace. H loves to take the map and be our “trip leader.” O just loves to walk around or be in the carrier looking at things. We often play i-spy in the museums or decide what piece of art he thinks each of his friends would like the best. We always ask at the front if there are any kids areas or programs. More museums are offering kids activities sometimes they are whole touch rooms and sometimes they are just coloring sheets, but they always make the kids feel special. (I had a long list of museums I thought the kids would enjoy and we hardly made it to any of them! We literally could have spent the whole trip in Central Park.)

– Transportation provides a good rest period. We love to try to incorporate a bus, train or ferry ride into city visits. The kids are entertained by watching everyone. The ride usually gives the adults a rest from being on their feet as well.

– Check out a Cup of Jo’s blog for a Guide to NYC. She has lots of great options for kids activities. It is always nice to have a plan B and C!

Do you have any great tips for traveling with kids in NYC? Please share them in the comments.

Read about our three days in NYC with our toddlers and see the pictures from our jaunt on the Highline.


Elizabeth is a Type A, Attorney turned Stay-at-Home Mom, who moved her family across the Atlantic for an adventure. She can often be found out and about finding fun things for her littles to do. Elizabeth loves to read, craft and chat with friends. She will try just about anything and loves to share her experiences.

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