Search for a place or activity
Yellow taxis driving through the busy intersection of 5th Avenue and 23rd Street in New York City, USA

Itineraries for Your Trip to New York City

New York City locals share their perfect days.
Find your New York City itinerary

3 Days in New York City for Families

Curated by Georgia Freedmana travel writer, parent, and former New Yorker.

There is perhaps no place on earth that offers more opportunities for fun and adventure than New York. The city sparkles with energy—from the lights on Broadway to the fireflies in Central Park—and there’s always another museum, park, or tasty treat around the corner.

A former New Yorker, I thought I had the city dialed in. But returning with my kid has given me a new appreciation for the city. The city is almost shockingly family friendly, and there’s never a shortage of things to see. There’s no way to do it all, but there’s really no bad way to spend your time, either—even the process of riding the subway delights kids. Here are my suggestions for a 3-day visit.

In winter, buildings are overheated; in summer, expect extreme air conditioning.

If you only have time for one thing, make it a museum visit and wander through Central Park.

Day 1

On your first day in New York, hit up some classics. Start with a trip to the massive American Museum of Natural History for dinosaur bones, Native American artifacts, and a show in the planetarium. Then walk across the street and explore Central Park’s fields, ponds, castle, and zoo.

In the evening, head to Times Square for dinner and a Broadway play or book tickets to the Empire State Building’s observation deck around sunset and watch as the city lights come on.

Day 2

Take the subway down to Lower Manhattan and spend the morning exploring Chinatown and Little Italy. The two neighborhoods are close together, allowing you to visit the Museum of Chinese in America, pick up some lucky bamboo, and grab a slice of pizza and some gelato in one stop.

In the afternoon, head out on the water. You can take a ferry to Governor’s Island to enjoy public art, ride bikes, and visit an “adventure playground,” or book a sail on a tall ship to see the Statue of Liberty—you might even be able to steer and raise the sails.

Day 3

New York City is far bigger than just the island of Manhattan, so on your last day, head to the outer boroughs. If your kids are wild about animals, make it to the Bronx Zoo, and then stop at nearby Arthur Avenue to grab dinner at New York’s other Little Italy.

Alternatively, spend the day in trendy Brooklyn. Visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the enormous Brooklyn Museum and run around in Prospect Park, and then take the train to Coney Island and end your trip with an evening of rides, games, and boardwalk fun (Luna Park is open March-October).

See more things to do in New York City