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8 Budget-Friendly Activities in NYC for the Whole Family

Over 60 million people visited NYC last year. Were you one of them? Or are you one of many wondering if a trip to the big apple with children would be worth it?

A bustling city can seem like a daunting place to take your family, but New York holds a wealth of opportunities for any family.

Have you officially made travel arrangements for NYC, but wondering how exactly to fill your time? Maybe you and your family are relocating for a job opportunity and wondering how to find fun things to do?

You are in the right place. Keep reading for eight activities in NYC that are family-friendly, and that won’t break the bank.

1. Museum Outings

Many museums in NYC come with a suggested donation for entry, but if you have more than one child and money is tight, feel free to pay what works for you.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is an excellent place to start. Whether your family is into Egyptian art or Medieval knights, there is something for you.

Be sure to do some online research; most museums will have at least a few hours a week where entry is completely free.

2. Governor’s Island

If the weather is right, consider taking a trip to Governor’s Island. It is located in Upper New York Bay and is free apart from the cost of a ferry ride.

Governor’s Island makes for a great picnic location, so consider bringing your favorite finger sandwiches and beverages.

If you want to avoid lugging around food baskets while keeping track of your children, don’t worry. There are also multiple food trucks on the island.

If you want to visit other New York Islands, you need to take a trip to Long Island. While slightly away from the hustle and bustle of other activities in NYC, there are many activities appropriate for families.

Consider checking out one of the many fairs and festivals on the island.

3. Central Park

You can’t visit NYC without exploring Central Park. There is a reason over 40 million people visit it each year.

No matter what season it is, the park is beautiful and full of things to explore. Visiting the Central Park Zoo costs money, but checking out the Alice in Wonderland sculpture is free.

Be sure to make your way to Belvedere Castle to snap some great family photos. For a small fee, you can rent a rowboat to enjoy the water too.

4. Coney Island

Hop on the subway and make your way to famous Coney Island for some additional spring through fall activities in NYC. Enjoy 50 separate amusement rides and attractions. If you visit Coney Island during the summer, pack your bathing suits and go for a refreshing swim.

Looking for something a little more thrilling? Check out the roller coasters at Luna Park or visit the Aquarium. The Aquarium provides an exciting family outing that is very educational and is open year round.

If you have a little one with a big interest in the sea, The Aquarium is something you can’t miss.

5. Visit the High Line

This attraction might not be something for families with very small children, but if you have children a little older, taking a stroll along the High Line is an excellent way to experience New York. The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side and features iconic contemporary landscape architecture.

During the summer, wildflowers are blooming and there will likely be tons of birds out and about. If you have young children, try making a game out of it. Printout images of common birds and have them look around for them.

The High Line offers walkers some of the best views of NYC.

6. The Statue of Liberty

Taking a trip to the Statue of Liberty is a great thing to add to your itinerary of activities in NYC. Climbing up to the crown as a family will be a memory for a long time to come.

If you are worried about the climb, it actually is not that difficult. There are 393 steps, which can usually be conquered in about ten minutes. Be sure to charge your camera; you will not want to miss the view from the top.

Buy tickets in advance because typically they sell out. It can be difficult to get tickets if you just walk up on that day.

If you choose not to climb to the top of the statue, there are still other activities on Liberty Island. For example, there is a guided audio tour for kids that is narrated by an eagle!

7. Check Out Times Square

If you have younger children, you may shy away from visiting Times Square, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Kids of all ages will enjoy Times Square activities in NYC.

Some popular spots to hit include The Disney Store and M&M World at 48th Street. The latter includes furniture made out of candy and a 17-foot Statue of Liberty made out of green M&M’s.

For a fun bite to eat, stop by Juniors. It is a very family-friendly restaurant where you can find their famous cheesecake, but also delicious burgers and salads.

8. Broadway Shows

If you are trying to find activities in NYC that won’t cost a fortune, you may think Broadway shows are out of reach. You would be surprised to learn there are ways to see great shows at an affordable price.

Shop around on websites that provide discounts for tickets. Many of these work by discounting tickets for day-of performances. So while you can’t plan ahead, being a little flexible could allow you to see an amazing performance.

Consider family favorites like The Lion King, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or Wicked.

Time to Choose Your Favorite Activities in NYC

As illustrated, there are numerous family-friendly activities for even the smallest of budgets. No matter where in the city you may be visiting or even moving, you will find something to do.

Are you making the final arrangements to move to the city, but have some remaining questions? Please contact us, and we would be happy to help you on your new journey.