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Kid Friendly Things To Do In Times Square

Check Out The Free Houdini Museum

Best HIDDEN GEMS in Times Square, NYC

This lesser-known small museum is located in the Fantasma Magic Store in Midtown Manhattan and admission is free.

You can see different artifacts and historic objects on display, and they even have an animatronic example of a classic Houdini escape.

From time to time, famous magicians and demonstrators will visit the store and provide an example of their talents.

Fantasma Magic also plays host to several lectures, magic shows, and even a summer camp.

See their website for Houdini Museum.

More Tips For Seeing Times Square With Kids

  • The Naked Cowboy isn’t the only “celebrity” you’ll run into Mickey and Minnie, Elmo, Cookie Monster, and other kids’ characters line the streets hoping for tips in exchange for pictures. The characters now have limited space to roam after a series of altercations, so it’s a bit easier to avoid them than in years past, though if they see you coming with kids, they’ll approach you.
  • When possible, avoid walking on Broadway or Seventh Avenue as those streets are always crowded. Eighth Avenue is better, but your best bet is to navigate the pedestrian alleys between Broadway and Eighth Avenues, such as Shubert Alley between 44th and 45th Streets and the walkway at the Marriott Hotel between 45th and 46th Streets. You’ll find similar walkways between 47th and 48th, 48th and 49th, and 50th and 51st Streets.
  • Leave the stroller at home if possible. It’s hard enough to navigate a packed street without worrying about rolling into tourists.

This article, first published in December 2011, has been updated for 2021.

How Times Square Came To Be

This Midtown New York Neighborhood has been called The Center of the Universe, The Great White Way and The Crossroads of the World. But it wasn’t always that way!

Back in its early days, the area was known for carriage-making and was surrounded by countryside used for farming and breeding horses. At the beginning of the 19th century, many lots were sold off for hotels and other uses as the city rapidly grew, spreading uptown. The end of the 19th century brought the electric lights, theaters and restaurants, and much of that is what we see today. Times Square was originally known as Longacre Square but was renamed in 1904 after The New York Times moved its headquarters there. The name stuck even after the paper moved in 1913.

The first New Years Eve celebration in Times Square occurred December 31, 1904, and the first ball drop that has become part of many of our New Years Eve celebrations was introduced in 1907. After the Great Depression and into the second half of the 20th century, the area became much seedier and was definitely not an area to take your children. In the 1990s, the State of New York set out to clean up Times Square and restored its historic theaters. Then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani helped get it cleaned up and make it more family friendly.

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See A Gazillion Bubbles At The Gazillion Bubble Show

Theater with a twist. Ok, this is technically not theater, but the exciting show does take place in a small theater that is the perfect size for little ones. There are many other things to recommend this show. The bubble creations will have your toddler in awe there is an interactive section where the kids get to participate on stage and the cool lazer show at the end will be a hit with both the kids and adults in the family.

If you arrive early, the whole family can even get a photo op inside a giant bubble. All in all, this show is one of the most beloved toddler activities in NYC if you are willing to fork over a pretty penny. For schedules and tickets visit gazillionbubbleshow.com

How I Found Out About The Secret Tunnel Of The Sistine Chapel

Best Kid

The Manhattan museum is a favorite with kids of all ages. With hands on displays and guided activities for kids of all ages, this is the one to go to if there are older siblings in the family. The fun activities includes a messy art time for toddlers, math and science experiments, story times for both toddlers and older kids and even mural painting. Before going, note that there is no cafeteria here, so pack a lunch or be prepared to head out to a nearby restaurant. Plan your visit at www.cmom.org.

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Where To Go In New York City

In a city with a population of more than 8 million over 305 square miles, it can be hard to decide where to go and what to do in NYC with kids. New York City is comprised of 5 boroughs, each a little city in itself: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island.

When most people talk about visiting New York City, they usually mean Manhattan, an island surrounded by the East, Hudson and Harlem Rivers. Manhattan, locally referred to as the city is the financial and historical center of New York City and the most densely populated borough, containing the majority of the major landmarks such as Time Square, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, The Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Broadway and of course the Statue of Liberty.

The most popular places to visit in New York will all be in Manhattan. So iff youre visiting New York City to see the major sites, staying in Manhattan will be the most practical choice. Just to make matters a little more confusing, there are about 60 districts or neighborhoods inside the island of Manhattan! Dont worry, thanks to the Big Apples fantastic public transportation system, you will be able to see everything within a quick and easy subway journey!

Join A Radio City Stage Door Tour

For those who have a love of the theatrical, an absolute must is to hit up one of the Radio City stage door tours a behind-the-scenes look at one of Americas ultimate live entertainment venues that has been welcoming all-star performers and esteemed guests since opening 1932.

On the stage, the calendar includes mainstream events like the MTV Music Awards and Grammys, as well as all kinds of famous one-off performers and the infamous Rockettes (try to snag a ticket if youre traveling during the holiday period.

On the Stage Door tour, however, youll be granted exclusive access to meet a Rockette in person, see the celebrity guest book up close, and learn all about the history and details of the renowned art deco building.

As the home of the legendary Rockettes, if your travel dates line up, see if you can score a ticket to the world-famous Christmas Spectacular!

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Walk The Highline In Chelsea

Want to get away from the hustle and bustle of New York. The Highline is a pretty amazing place to do so. Its an elevated pedestrian walkway that spans about 20 blocks and is lined with trees. I would recommend going on a weekday as the weekend tends to get pretty crowded. Check game schedules and concert showing information here.

Go Bowling At Bowlmor Lanes

TOP 10 Things to do in NEW YORK CITY | NYC Travel Guide

Who goes bowling in NYC? Bowlmor Lanes is not your average suburban alley. Its broken up into small bowling nooks, dedicated to New Yorks many neighborhoods. Central Park has a huge mural of the iconic Bow Bridge, while Chinatown has dozens of golden, waving Fortune Cat statues. Theres an arcade too. Its fun family friendly spot if an afternoon rainstorm erupts.

If you need even more ways to entertain the kids, check out the wax figures at Madame Tussauds New York, the black hole at Ripleys Believe It or Not and Dave and Busters. All 3 are right next to one another on W. 42nd Street.

If youre looking for Gullivers Gate, which featured miniature models of New Yorks famous landmarks, it closed permanently in 2021.

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Grab A Peak Of Pooh Bear And Friends

Since 1987, Pooh and four of his best friendsEeyore, Piglet, Kanga, and Tiggerhave been living at The New York Public Library. The very Pooh owned by Christopher Robin Milnes son of A. A. Milne is on display for everyone to view. It was a gift from Harrods of London, to Christopher on his first birthday.

The animals can be viewed from behind a glass conservation case in the childrens area of the library. And the good news? They are FREE to see.

We also were not prepared for how beautiful the library building is, and how many other exhibits are on display. Plan little more time for this stop, if you can, and enjoy the journey here.

Shop Til You Drop In Times Square

Much of the action in Times Square is retail-oriented. Personally, I dont love the shopping mall feel of Times Square. I prefer tiny, unique boutiques. But Im definitely in the minority.

Many favorite teen-friendly American brands have huge stores in and around Broadway, including Sephora, Express and Steve Madden. Although many brick and mortar Disney Stores have closed, the one in Times Square is open for business.

If the kids need a bunch of souvenirs to bring back to their friends, check out one of the many I Love NY gift shops in the area. Do you collect souvenir ornaments from your family travels? Christmas in New York has two locations in Times Square to help you find a NYC-themed decoration for your tree.

If you want something a little special, tuck down Shubert Alley which connects 44th and 45th streets. One Shubert Alley used to be the Booth Theaters dressing room. Its Broadways oldest gift shop and youll find a wonderful selection of theater-related goodies here, when they reopen in the fall.

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Watch A Broadway Show

To be honest, the impetus for our trip to NYC was to see Hamilton. We love Fox Theatre, but nothing NOTHING compares to seeing a show in NYC. And the prices for a matinee show rivaled Atlanta prices so we were off.

Determined to get good seats, we could not afford to bring the boys with us. We worked with Langham Hotel to get a sitter I hated it because our youngest will sing along as we blare Hamilton on our speakers at homebut with the expensive seats and extraordinarily long show, it just wasnt prudent.

Hamilton? Oh it was better than any words could ever describe, especially at Richard Rodgers Theatre. No words. Seriously! Yes, you should get ticketsthe best you can afford. Whatever it takes.

OK now lets say you want to take the kids. What should it be? As of this writing Id say Lion King, Spongebob or Aladdinand if youve got tweens then you can add the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to that list.

Finally if youre willing to take a gambleyou want to see a show but youre not particular about which one or when, then use TKTS for the very best prices. Word on the street is that you can save up to 50% if you have flexibilitywe did not. We had to get a sitter and did not want to miss Hamilton, so we didnt opt for this but you can!

The Intrepid Sea Air And Space Museum

8 Great Family

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is dedicated to the exhibition and interpretation of history, science and service as related to its home aboard the aircraft carrier Intrepid, a National Historic Landmark. While this isnt really my thing , my kids visited with my husband and thought it was pretty great.

The Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum

Learn more at IntrepidMuseum.org or see recent Tripadvisor reviews.

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See Colorful Trains At The New York Transit Museum

Toddlers are at an age when their interests take on an almost obsessive quality. If you have a toddler that is currently obsessed with trains, the New York Transit Museum is the most exciting NYC toddler activity you can add to your itinerary.

Dedicated to the history of NYCâs public transportation system, the museum is filled with answers to every question a train lover could have. The first sign your toddler will have that his day is about to get very bright is his walk down to the museum which is housed in an actual underground subway station no longer in use. Watch as his face lights up when he sees old trains of every color and description parked on the old tracks. Collections include older wooden models that will seem archaic even to the untrained mind of a toddler.

Bright red trains and models with cool looking seating also call the museum home. Speaking of the trainsâ interiors, visitors get to actually tour the models on show for an experience that is highly interactive. The museum is firstly a history museum so point out interesting facts about the history of NYCâs subway system to older kids who will understand all the information on construction and model types the museum contains. Other interesting memorabilia like ancient subway signs and equipment are also on show.

You can plan your visit at .

Wander Around The Magical Disney Store

Traveling with kids in tow? Or simply a big kid at heart? You cant go wrong with the Disney Store which is located right in Times Square.

If youre looking for all things Mickey, Minnie Mouse, and Donald Duck not to mention Frozen, Moana, and Toy Story and plenty more of your favorite characters this store has it all!

And if youre looking for an equally memorable souvenir to take back home, what better option than a plush toy or sweater?

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How Long Should I Spend In New York City

New York City is a place that could take several lifetimes to explore. No matter the length of your stay, try not to stress out about seeing it all, because it will never happen! I have been to NYC maybe 20 times in my life, and every time I go its like a completely different city! Ive done the same things very few times.

NYC is a great place for a weekend trip. Many locals like to leave the city for the weekend making it a good time to go. We were there for the weekend on our last trip and on Sunday the city felt nearly empty, which is like a miracle in the summer! Due to the ease and affordability of getting to New York, Its a place you an visit over and over again.

A weekend trip is also a good idea if youre going to NYC with kids. If youre not from one, big cities can be really overwhelming for kids and after a few days they may just be done.

You can learn more about a weekend trip with Marriott to NYC here.

Things To Do In Nyc With Kids

What to do in San Francisco: A Kids Guide

The bright lights of the big city can be overwhelming for anyone, and with so many things to do in NYC with kids, it can be mind-boggling to plan a day or weekend across the Hudson. Do you start with the classics like Empire State Building and Central Park Zoo? Or do you head to the newer attractions in NYC like Little Island or the Edge? And then there are the museumsyou could spend days hopping around, eyeing the iconic T-Rex at the Museum of Natural History to exploring the undercover world of intelligence at Spyscape, to seeing antique firetrucks at the New York City Fire Museum. Yup, its a lot, so thats why weve done the planning for you. Read on for all the awesome things to do in NYC with kids , and if youve been there, done that, check out our unique guide to things to do in NYC with kids too.

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Note: Many attractions require advance tickets, masks and/or proof of vaccination status, and other COVID-19 safety precautions. Be sure to call the venue before you go for the most current guidelines.

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Enjoy The Parks And Playgrounds

There are several public parks and play areas for children located all over New York City.

The most popular example is none other than Central Park, but there are a handful of additional locations you may want to consider.

For more great locations, check this list of the top 15 playgrounds in New York City.

People Watching In Times Square

Times Square was originally known as Longacre Square but was renamed after the New York Times in 1905 when the daily paper opened its new headquarters. The neighborhood, originally prosperous, deteriorated into a tawdry and crime ridden adult entertainment district after World War II. During the 1990s, government, business and community partnerships worked together to turn Times Square around.

According to the Times Square Alliance, on an average pre-Covid day, nearly 360,000 pedestrians enter Times Square. That makes for excellent people watching, one of the best free things to do in New York City.

And the best place to sit for a bit and watch the crowds ebb and flow is the red staircase that forms the backbone for the TKTS booth. Installed in 2008, the red steps are an iconic Instagram backdrop for your NYC selfie.

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