Here is a list of my favorite things to do while in the Big Apple. There is such a variety of activities here that a full week is necessary to do the town justice. Some of these activities or attractions are not only suitable for children, but are highly recommended for them.
1. See a Broadway Play — New York is the world Mecca for live stage, and the talent and quality of productions seems endless. The section of the city known as Broadway is roughly the 10 blocks between 45th street and 55th street, centered around Times Square.
2. Visit the Sony Wonder Lab — This unusual hands-on tribute to state-of-the-art technology is especially wonderful for kids, and it’s one of the few things in the city which are free.
3. Join the Crowds at Rockefeller Center — Whether you are here for the Today Show, in the morning, or you stop by later in the day or evening, this area is always bustling. Frequently, there are exhibits in place; there is public skating in the winter; or, you can choose to take the NBC Studios tour.
4. Take in the Panoramic View from the Top of the Empire State Building — One of New York’s iconic landmarks, the Empire State Bldg is a must-see attraction, in the major shopping district, along 34th Street. Brave the long lines because the view is incredible!
5. Tour the United Nations Building — This headquarters for world discussion contains a plethora of interesting objects and artwork donated by countries all over the world.
6. Take the Staten Island Ferry — This ferry which plies New York harbor connecting Staten Island with Lower Manhattan. In the process, it provides fantastic views of the New York City Skyline and the Statue of Liberty. Perhaps more importantly, a ride on the ferry is free!
7. Visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island – Boat service to these two popular destinations is available from Battery Park, in Lower Manhattan, and from Liberty State Park in New Jersey. Both locations provide great views of the city, en route. Note that, for the first time since 9-11, Liberty’s torch will open to the public, beginning in July, 2009.
8. Take Some Time for Somber Reflection at Ground Zero — The former location of New York’s Twin Towers is now hallowed ground, as a result of the some 1,000 deaths on this site on September 11, 2001. Much of the area is still under construction, for a new building will rise on this spot in the next few years, but visitors can still see portions of a memorial, as a way of keeping the memory of this infamous day alive.
9. Stroll Through Either the Toys ‘R’ Us Store or FAO Scwartz — These two iconic toy stores offer a kaleidoscope of coloful displays and hands-on activities for children of all ages.
10. Ride the Subway — New York’s subway system is one of the oldest and largest in the world. The underground stations are populated with interesting and unusual people and are great for people-watching. They are also pretty safe since there are numerous police officers patrolling.
11. Visit the American Museum of Natural History — This is one of the best museums of its kind in the world and contains an incredible array of creatures, an immense display of minerals and gems, and also offers a wonderful planetarium.
12. Use Your Imagination at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) — This incredible museum showcases, primarily, 20th century art of all types, and is one of the greatest museums in the world.
13. Get Culture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art — This more traditional art museum displays a huge collection of master works from all over the world.
14. Stroll Through Central Park — New York’s huge city park offers a kaleidoscope of activities for people of all ages. There is skating in the winter, swimming in the summer, a zoo, and miles of walking or biking paths.
15. Have a Bite in Little Italy — Although this area has shrunk over the years and seems to be getting gobbled up by Chinatown, there are still some excellent restaurants and bakeries.
16. Find a Bargain in Chinatown — New York’s Chinatown has long been known for bargains, in a city where reasonable prices are hard to find.
17. People-watch in Washington Square — This park, named for the Washington Arch which graces its northern boundary, is a popular gathering place and a good place to relax.
18. Monitor the World Business Activity at the New York Stock Exchange — Head down to Wall Street in Lower Manhattan to see way stock transactions occur. Nearby is a statue of George Washington, on the spot where he was inaugurated as the first US President.
19. Fight the Crowds in Times Square — This famous section of the city is always bustling with shoppers, tourists, and regular New Yorkers. It is also the scene, on New Year’s Eve, of the world’s greatest new year celebration.
20. Do Some Shopping at South Street Seaport — This area of Lower Manhattan, on the East River, has turned warehouses into charming shops and restaurants. It is a beehive of activity during the day and early evening.
21. Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge — This familiar landmark, in Lower Manhattan, connects the borough of Brooklyn with Manhattan Island, and offers great views of city’s east side.
22. Go Gothic at St Patrick’s Cathedral — This famous church, on 5th Avenue, near the Rockefeller Center, is modeled on the great Gothic cathedrals of Europe.
23. Look Up at Grand Central Station — This Art Deco masterpiece has a ceiling decorated with the constellations of the night sky. It is still an important entryway into and exit from the city.
24. Catch a Baseball Game at Yankee Stadium — Although the original stadium has recently been replaced, the new venue is modeled after the old one and still contains a monument park, which pays tribute to Yankee and baseball greats, such as, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe Di Maggio, etc.
25. See Incredible Wildlife at the Bronx Zoo — This zoological park contains one of the world’s finest collections of animals from around the world. Its realistic habitats are second to none.