Blog
City Guide
New York City, New York

Discover New York City: A Family Travel Guide to the Perfect Vacation

GoForth Team
June 12, 2024

Table of contents

About New York City

History

The Rich History of New York City

Located in the northeastern United States, New York City boasts a history as vibrant and diverse as its stunning skyline. Initially inhabited by the Lenape Native Americans, this area was known for its abundant resources and strategic location. The Lenape developed a complex society with extensive knowledge of farming, fishing, and trade.

Transformation into a Global Metropolis

In the early 17th century, New York City began its transformation into a global metropolis. The city's natural harbor and central location attracted settlers and traders from around the world, making it a hub of commerce and culture. This period saw the construction of numerous iconic buildings and infrastructure, many of which still stand today, showcasing the architectural styles that New York City is famous for.

For more detailed information on the history of New York City, visit New York City History.

Cultural Attractions

Explore the Vibrant Cultural Scene of New York City

New York City is renowned for its dynamic arts and culture scene, offering a plethora of galleries, museums, and theaters that captivate visitors of all ages. This urban oasis hosts notable events such as the Tribeca Film Festival and Broadway shows, attracting art and culture enthusiasts from around the world.

Must-Visit Cultural Spots

  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Located on the Upper East Side, this museum features an impressive collection of art from around the world, including ancient artifacts, European paintings, and modern sculptures. The museum also hosts a variety of performances and special exhibitions throughout the year.
  • American Museum of Natural History: This museum is dedicated to exploring the natural world, housing one of the world's largest collections of dinosaur fossils, human artifacts, and dioramas. It offers a hands-on learning experience about the history of life on Earth.
  • Museum of Modern Art (MoMA): Known for its extensive collection of modern and contemporary art, MoMA features works by artists such as Van Gogh, Warhol, and Picasso. It also offers educational programs and film screenings.
  • The Guggenheim Museum: This museum provides insights into the history and culture of modern art, featuring exhibits and programs that highlight the contributions of artists from around the globe.

For a more comprehensive list of cultural attractions and events, visit the NYC Official Guide and NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.

Best Time to Visit New York City

Spring

From March to May, temperatures range from 45°F to 70°F, making it ideal for outdoor activities like walking tours and park visits. Spring is also the season for blooming flowers in Central Park and various cultural festivals. New York City offers an array of experiences to make your spring break memorable.

Summer

June through August can be warm, with temperatures ranging from 70°F to 85°F. Despite the heat, it’s a great time to enjoy New York City's numerous outdoor concerts, street fairs, and open-air dining experiences. Summers are bustling, making it a lively time to visit.

Fall

September to November sees temperatures cooling down to 50°F to 70°F, perfect for outdoor adventures and exploring the city's cultural attractions. Fall also marks the start of many popular events and festivals, including Halloween parades and Thanksgiving celebrations.

Winter

From December to February, temperatures range from 30°F to 45°F. This peak tourist season features events like the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting and New Year's Eve in Times Square. The festive atmosphere and holiday decorations make it an excellent time for a family visit.

How to Get to New York City

Airports

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK): JFK offers direct flights from major cities across the United States and internationally, making it a convenient gateway to this bustling metropolis. The airport is connected to the city via public transportation, ensuring quick and easy access to your accommodation.

LaGuardia Airport (LGA): LaGuardia serves domestic flights and is a short distance from Manhattan, providing convenient access to the city center.

Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR): Located in neighboring New Jersey, Newark Liberty also offers numerous domestic and international flights, with easy transportation options into Manhattan.

Transportation Options

Car Rentals: Renting a car is an option for visitors who want the flexibility to explore New York City and the surrounding areas at their own pace. Major car rental agencies are available at all airports and throughout the city. For more information, visit Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

Ride-Sharing Services: Services like Uber and Lyft operate extensively in New York City, providing a convenient and cost-effective way to get around. More details can be found on Uber and Lyft.

Private Car Services: For a more luxurious experience, private car services are available to transport you in style and comfort. Companies like Carmel Car & Limousine offer high-end vehicles and professional drivers.

Public Transportation

Subway Services: New York City offers a reliable and extensive subway system operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The subway runs 24/7, making it easy to travel to various attractions and neighborhoods.

Bus Services: The MTA also operates a comprehensive bus network that complements the subway system, providing additional routes and accessibility options.

Ferries: The NYC Ferry service offers routes connecting various parts of the city and neighboring boroughs, providing a scenic and efficient mode of transportation.

For more details on transportation options, visit MTA Info.

Family Activities in New York City

Central Park

Central Park: Central Park offers a unique experience, combining natural beauty with urban amenities. Families can explore various walking paths, playgrounds, and attractions such as the Central Park Zoo and the iconic Carousel. Seasonal events and educational programs make it an engaging outing for all ages.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island: The Statue of Liberty is a must-visit attraction, offering a breathtaking view of New York Harbor and an educational experience about American history. Visitors can take a ferry to Liberty Island and Ellis Island, where they can explore the Immigration Museum and learn about the millions of immigrants who entered the United States through this historic gateway.

American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History: This interactive museum is designed to ignite curiosity and creativity in children of all ages. The museum features hands-on exhibits that encourage learning through play, including science experiments, art projects, and physical activities. Special areas are designated for toddlers, ensuring that even the youngest visitors can explore and discover in a safe environment. The museum frequently updates its exhibits and offers seasonal programs, making it a place families can visit repeatedly.

Outdoor Adventures in New York City

Hiking in The Bronx

The Bronx: The Bronx is a beautiful hiking destination offering trails that range from easy to challenging, all set against stunning urban landscapes and featuring breathtaking views. Popular trails include the family-friendly trails in Van Cortlandt Park and the moderate trails in Pelham Bay Park.

Biking the Hudson River Greenway

Hudson River Greenway: New York City boasts a network of scenic bike paths that provide an excellent way to explore the city and its surroundings. The Hudson River Greenway is designed to be family-friendly and offers varying levels of difficulty, making it suitable for both casual riders and cycling enthusiasts. This route often passes through picturesque areas, including lush greenbelts and serene waterfront views, offering a unique way to experience the beauty of New York City.

Kayaking on the Hudson River

Kayaking on the Hudson River: For a more adventurous outing, consider taking a guided kayaking tour on the Hudson River. These tours provide an exciting way to explore the natural and cultural history of the area, offering insights into the unique flora, fauna, and views of the city skyline. Whether you choose a sunset tour or a daytime adventure, NYC Kayak Tours ensures a thrilling and educational experience for the whole family.

Day Trips from New York City

The Hamptons

The Hamptons: The Hamptons are a stunning destination known for their beautiful beaches, upscale shops, and charming villages. Notable beaches include Coopers Beach, Main Beach, and Ditch Plains, each offering spectacular views and unique activities. For those who enjoy water sports, the area provides a range of options suitable for all skill levels, from beginner-friendly paths to challenging surf spots.

Bear Mountain State Park

Bear Mountain State Park: Bear Mountain State Park is a beautiful destination located along the Hudson River, offering outdoor activities like hiking, picnicking, and boating. The park features scenic trails such as the Bear Mountain Loop, which offers beautiful forested scenery and panoramic views of the surrounding area. Visitors can also enjoy the park's zoo, carousel, and picnic areas.

Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton is a charming town offering a variety of outdoor activities like hiking and walking tours, along with quaint shops and restaurants. Nestled in the heart of New Jersey, Princeton provides a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of New York City. Popular trails include the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail and the Princeton Battlefield State Park, which offer beautiful scenery and historical significance.

Family-Friendly Events in New York City

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is an annual event that showcases a diverse range of floats, balloons, and performances. Held every November, it brings together performers, industry professionals, and families from around the world. The parade features a variety of activities, including musical performances, giant character balloons, and special guest appearances. This event is a fantastic opportunity for families to enjoy high-quality entertainment and experience the festive atmosphere of New York City.

New York International Children's Film Festival

New York International Children's Film Festival: This festival is a celebration of children's films and media. Held annually in February and March, this event includes screenings of family-friendly films, interactive workshops, and panel discussions that highlight the importance of children's media. Families can participate in kid-friendly activities and enjoy a variety of films from around the world, making it an educational and enjoyable experience for all ages.

Bryant Park Winter Village

Bryant Park Winter Village: Bryant Park Winter Village is a seasonal event held every winter in Midtown Manhattan. The event features an ice skating rink, holiday shops, and festive food vendors, providing a lively and family-friendly atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy live music, sample local delicacies, and shop for unique holiday gifts. Bryant Park Winter Village is a great way for families to experience the festive spirit of New York City and enjoy a fun-filled outing together.

GoForth Team
11 Jan 2022