New York City With Kids: The Whirlwind 8 Hours in Manhattan

As I have previous posted about our Misadventure day in New York City, it was just a prelude to what we actually did in New York City with only less than 8 hours.

It’s probably safe to say that 8 hours in New York City hardly enough to take in when you travel alone without kids, added 2 school-age children, we could only hope to do so much.

So here what we did on that HOT summer day in Manhattan.

8:00 AM: Hop on NYC Subway to the American Natural History.

Ah!! Probably one of the highlight for Mr. Z. He wasn’t fade by the dark and steaming hot of the subway station but mostly was mesmerized by the sound of subway trains, the energy of rush-hour commuters and the details of the ceiling in this decade old stations.

Unfortunately, we didn’t visit the American Museum of Natural History as planned.

8:30 AM: Wandering in Central Park, break for breakfast, and a stop at the playground

It actually sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Well, the truth is it was more wandering while *I* cursed myself for not being more prepare to get the detail map of the Central Park. Why on Earth did I think I can manage this 843 acres without getting lost?

Luckily, a short break at Le Pain Quotidien had helped us to slow down and enjoy the leisure morning in Central Park. The organic breakfast was delicious. I am still thinking about the fruit tart that I enjoyed.

Before long, we headed out in search of the fun playground as a reward for their somewhat good behavior. When you are on vacation, the bar has been lower considerably. Yes, we bribed, threatened and bargained for a decent behavior that won’t explode in the middle of the city.

Finally, we arrived at the Heckscher playground. To say, I was disappointed was an understatement. I guess coming from a small town where space is something you don’t have to think about when you go to the playground has somewhat change my view. The playground is big and has a very unique water-fun feature. But other than that, you won’t find much to enjoy. The sand area was way too hot in the heat so after a quick run to the slide, they were done.

I will make sure we have extra clothes for the water fountain next trip!

10:00 AM – The mother of all toy store – FAO Schwarz and iPhone is back to the mother ship

We needed a place with A/C stat! It was way to hot to pretend that I enjoyed the time in the playground. And the only place that came to mind and also had the bargaining power with my kids was the FAO Schwarz Fifth Avenue. So away we went, a short walk to the Toy Store.

Ah!!! The cool, crisp air blew through my skin. This was where we were meant to be.

It took a good hour for Miss J and Mr. Z to comb through the whole store to find toys that within our budget. I knew it was a hard goal to do but we did walk out with only $20 lighter in our wallet.

And as a recent convert Mac users, we couldn’t ignore the pull of the clear glass window with the Apple symbol hanging and calling us in. I know.. I know.. We do have an Apple Store in Atlanta. BUT, it was cool to ride on the all glass elevator of the Apple Store Fifth Avenue.

12:00 AM – Lunch at John’s Pizzeria

It was lunch time and I had a plan. Pizza would be a good choice for us. Miss J and Mr. Z can eat pizza everyday of the week. With a good review from fellow travel blogger, we hopped on the Metro and headed to John’s Pizzeria.

John’s Pizzeria on Time Square is as cool as others said. The old stained glass provided a nice visual fun for kids while we waited for the food.

2:00 PM – The suburb kids in Time Square

A holiday to New York won’t be complete without a visit to Time Square. So after lunch, we walked back to Time Square. The experience was overwhelming with tourists, locals, cars and bright LCD Display on the buildings. It would definitely be much better to take a picture at night. But daytime, also provided a fun of its own. Where else in the world that they could chasing pigeons in the middle of the most famous city center?

2:30 PM – Toy R Us Ferris Wheel

Finally, we made it to the Toys-R-Us Time Square and the Ferris Wheel is there to greet tourists and locals alike.

Yes, it’s just a toy store BUT I have to admit that the selections are plentiful and it could be a fun day for kids to browse as long as you can say ‘No’ to buying all those toys.

4:00 PM – Back to parking garage and good bye NY

With a long road trip back to Atlanta ahead of us, we had to say ‘Good Bye’ to New York City and headed back to the parking garage. Yes, our one day in Manhattan might not live up to typical ‘must-do’ list but I think it’s a good introduction to our kids that we will sure to come back with more times to explore.

New York City Family Vacation

About Amy Querido

Amy is the owner & author of The Q Family Adventures Travel blog, family blog chronicles her family trips, tips and tricks. She hopes to inspire family to travel with kids one adventure at a time. Connect with Amy on Google+, Twitter and Facebook.


  1. You always take such beautiful photos, Amy! I love that you are honest about the highs AND the lows of traveling with children…it can be a challenge! And, Central Park IS HUGE. Jody & I got a tad lost too. A map is definitely a must!

  2. I love the photos Amy! I could feel the heat from the slide. OUCH! Sounds like a great day to me, that’s about all you can pack into a day in NYC when it’s so hot.
    And…fruit tarts always lessen the disappointment for sure.

  3. The next time your family heads to New York you need to look into a Family In New York tour! They specialize in custom private New York tours. They are a great option for families because they can customize a tour based on your families interests and schedule! They can show you all the typical NYC sights but they can also take you off the beaten path! They also provide layover tours, day trips to areas in and around New York, wheelchair accessible tours…and the list goes on! Something for everyone!

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