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Empire State of Mind

Family Vacation New York City

New York perfect for family vacations

Let’s hear it for New York. From the bright lights of Times Square to the sweet and savory smells of little Italy to the concrete jungle of the financial district, New York City somehow manages to be all things to everyone. It can be an overwhelming and chaotic city one minute and a romantic, quaint American town the next.

That’s what makes the city a great place for families to visit, especially during the summer when there are a myriad of outdoor events, festivals and flea markets. There are plenty of ways to get around, including taxis, which can get pricey, and buses. If you want to see the city as you travel, the bus is a great option. The subway also is much easier to understand than you may think. You can find a map at www.mta.info and even purchase your subway cards. A seven-day, unlimited subway card costs about $29 per person. If you choose your hotel strategically, you also can walk to many locations. Besides being free, it’s a great way to experience the excitement of the city.

The five boroughs that make up New York are rich in history and have much to offer visitors of all ages. So pack up the family for a long weekend. No matter your interests, you’re sure to have a great time. Plus, your kids never sleep so the city that never city sleeps is the perfect place to explore.


DYLAN’S CANDY BAR, 1011 E. THIRD AVE.

What began as a childhood dream of bringing her love of candy is now Dylan’s Candy Bar. Renowned for its private label of unique confections, the store, the brainchild of Dylan Lauren, daughter of fashion icon Ralph Lauren, has a vast assortment of American favorites, rare novelty items and imported specialty sweets from around the world. So be sure to stop by. They don’t call her the “Candy Queen” for nothing. www.dylanscandybar.com

TPB TIP: Tampa Bay Parenting is not responsible for the sugar rush your kids are bound to enjoy.


FRECKLEFACE STRAWBERRY

This new, family musical, based on the New York Times best-selling book series by actress Julianne Moore, teaches Freckleface Strawberry, who will do anything to get rid of her freckles, and friends how to love the skin they’re in. With soaring live music, awesome dancing and loads of laughs, your whole family will be entertained, freckles or not. www.frecklefacethemusical.com

TPB TIP: Try booking tickets for a late afternoon performance. Crowds tend to be light at the 4:30 p.m. show.


CENTRAL PARK

Central Park is home to a national landmark, a world famous zoo, a carousel, a theater, which makes it a must-see for any visiting family. It’s open daily and is the best place in the city for a picnic. Plus, picnics are great on the wallet.

TBP TIP: Make sure to pack sunscreen.


STATUE OF LIBERTY JUNIOR RANGER PROGRAM, FERRIES AVAILABLE FROM BATTERY PARK

This national treasure was a gift from France and dedicated on Oct. 28, 1886. The Liberty Sate Park offers the family friendly program, where you can learn about one of the world’s most famous symbols of freedom. The activities are fun and teach children about the National Park Service, the Statue of Liberty site and why this national monument is important. www.nps.gov/stli

TBP TIP: Bring only what you need on this outing. For security reasons, there are two security checkpoints before the tour begins.


THE ROOFTOP AT THE EMPIRE HOTEL, 44 W. 63RD ST.

Mom and dad can certainly enjoy their getaway, too! Located on the 12th floor, the 8,000-square-foot bar and lounge boasts one of the best views of Lincoln Center and the city. Unwind at tables or private cabanas under the glow of the hotel’s iconic neon sign. www.chinagrillmgt.com

TBP TIP: Most hotels offer a babysitting service so that you can enjoy a quiet evening in the city.


AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, CENTRAL PARK WEST AT 79TH STREET

The American Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s preeminent scientific and cultural institutions. Since its founding in 1869, the museum has advanced its global mission to discover, interpret and disseminate information about human cultures, the natural world and the universe through scientific research, education and exhibition. www.amnh.org

TBP TIP: When you purchase a ticket to the American Museum of Natural History, you can enter certain parts of the Hayden Planetarium next door for free.


WONDERLAND THE MUSICAL, 1535 BROADWAY

Alice’s yearning for happier times leads her on a quest far below the streets of New York City to the other side of the looking glass. There, she meets a marvelous cast of familiar but phenomenally re-imagined characters who help her navigate this impossibly peculiar universe and change her life forever. This new stage adaptation of Alice in Wonderland was originally produced at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts by President and CEO Judy Lisi. www.wonderlandonbroadway.com

TBP Tip: Visit the theater two hours before the show and enter the daily lottery for a chance to see it for $30.


ZUCKER’S, 146 CHAMBERS ST.

No visit to New York would be complete without visiting a great bagel shop. Zucker’s in Tribeca is famous for its hand-rolled bagels and variety of smoked fish and cream cheeses. www.zuckersbagels.com

TBP TIP: The shop tends to be busy between 8 a.m. and noon. Plan for an early afternoon lunch to avoid the crowd.


JEKYLL AND HYDE OF GREENWICH VILLAGE, 91 SEVENTH AVE. S.

The walls of Jekyll and Hyde are filled with the souvenirs and trophies of Dr. Jekyll’s bizarre exploits and those of his wacky world traveling friends. Much of the memorabilia has a life of its own, so guests are warned, anything can happen. The restaurant features a great menu for the whole family.

TBP Tip: It may be a little too spooky for younger children.


FAO SCHWARZ, 767 FIFTH AVE.

For nearly 150 years, FAO Schwarz has enchanted children and adults alike with its unequaled collection of toys. The store, which you may remember from the Tom Hanks film BIG, still has the giant dance-on piano keyboard. www.fao.com

TBP TIP: Be prepared to become a kid again.


MADAME TUSSAUDS WAX MUSEUM, 234 W. 42ND ST.

Visitors to the famous wax museum are sent on a unique journey through the realms of the powerful and famous. Get a chance to photograph, stand with and hug and kiss, if you like, your favorite celebrities. From Justin Bieber to Lady Gaga all your favorite celebrities are there. www.madametussauds.com

TBP TIP: Booking your tickets online ahead of time can save you up to 20 percent, depending on the time of year you visit.



Of course, we can’t list all the great places for you to visit in New York. However, we do know one thing. Your kids will love the trip almost as much as you.

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