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New York City Family Travel Guide: How to Plan the Perfect Itinerary when Traveling with Kids

New York City Family Travel Guide

We recently returned from an early Summer trip that started in New York City, before heading over to Europe and visiting Paris and then taking the train over to London.

In this new series titled, "Just Got Back", we go over a quick trip itinerary report on where we stayed, what activities we did, where we ate and our top recommendations on things to consider adding to your own trip to New York City.  

There is so much information available out there online and on social media on where you should go, stay, things to do and where to eat for every destination imaginable, but with this new series, "Just Got Back", I hope to provide a quick and easy way for you to take a glimpse into our travel style and of our trip we just got back from and show what we did as a traveling family of four.

Where to Stay

There are many great options to consider staying at when visiting New York City that depend on your particular preferences, travel style, hotel location and budget.

For this trip, we stayed at the Renaissance New York Times Square Hotel, which is located on one end of Times Square.  The boutique style hotel sits just outside the main hustle and bustle of Times Square and offers one of the best views of Times Square from the R Lounge.

We stayed for 5 nights at the Renaissance New York Times Square, which I think was perfect for exploring the city and still having enough time in the city to relax, instead of always feeling like we had to be on the go if we had less days in New York City. 

We selected this hotel since we have hotel status (Marriott Bonvoy Titanium) that unlocks extra benefits/amenities and since we had lots of Marriott Bonvoy points that could help cover our entire stay.  I plan on writing more about this in an upcoming post and how we used a lot of Marriott hotel points to cover a majority of our trips for 2022 and the reasoning behind it.

Things to do

There is so much to see and do in New York City and deciding on the best things to do can sometimes be overwhelming.  

These are the places we explored, things we did on each day of our trip (we had four full days to explore) and would recommend you to consider adding to your family trip itinerary as well.

  • Statue of Liberty, One World Observatory, 9/11 Memorial, Brooklyn Bridge, NYSE
  • Summit One Vanderbilt, Grand Central Station, Bryant Park and Lion King on Broadway
  • Central park, Natural History Museum and The Met

  • Times Square and Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center 
  • Edge, Vessel, Hudson Yards, Harry Potter New York and the Empire State Building

I broke up the different places to visit by proximity to each other to make it easier to plan out your day and visit to each location. This is especially helpful when traveling with kids, as you don't want to be running from one end of Manhattan to the other.

During our time in New York City, we walked a lot (~5-7 miles a day) and used Uber to get to places that were further away or when we were tired from a long day of walking everywhere.

I plan on writing about each of these items in more detail soon, including our experience at each location, how to book and the best way to plan out each activity to maximize your day.

Places to Eat & Drink

New York City features many wonderful restaurants and various food options from all around the world to choose from.  There truly is something for everyone, including the pickiest of kids, in New York City. 

The places we ate at largely depended on which part of Manhattan we were in around lunch time or dinner time and location mainly dictated the available restaurant options for us.  For example,  I always like to plan ahead and research food options closest to where we would be in the city, so we don't have to hunt around too long to get a bite to eat.  

Knowing what options we have near us and where they are located comes in handy when traveling with younger children, but for this trip I didn't make a list of places to eat at and figured there would always be something close by where we were that would work for everyone.

For breakfast each morning, we enjoyed a breakfast buffet at the hotel at the R Lounge (Marriott Bonvoy Titanium breakfast benefit).  The R Lounge features amazing views of Times Square and in the mornings is only open for Marriott Platinum/Titanium members for breakfast.  In the evenings, the lounge opens up for drinks, appetizers and small bites like pizza and sandwiches.  We had light dinners here on a few nights since it was an easy option and were given R Lounge credit coupons from our hotel loyalty program status.   

While exploring New York City, some of the restaurants we enjoyed for either lunch or dinner included: 

  • Bryant Park Cafe
  • Eataly NYC Flatiron
  • Broadstone Bar & Kitchen
  • Mercado Little Spain & La Barra
  • Dos Caminos
  • Carmine's Italian Restaurant
  • Loab Boathouse (inside Central Park) 

Since we had a hearty breakfast most mornings, we ended up having lunch and dinner at odd times throughout the day after visiting an attraction so didn't experience long waits for meals.  

Connect with The Family Travel Guy

Let me know what you think of this new trip report series, "Just Got Back", and if you find it useful for planning and getting ideas for own trips.