#6 Washington Square Park
Coming in at #6 is Washington Square Park (SO much fun!). There always seems to be a lot going on in this park- it’s full of vendors and people playing music. It has a lovely arch and water fountain (I love fountains!). You might recognize the arch and square from “I am Legend”.
It's less "park"-ish than others, but it is well worth the visit.
#5 Bryant Park
Bryant Park. This one is right next to the New York Public Library (which is a must-see when visiting NYC! My oldest got a cool picture of one of the water fountains in the NYPL. We got kicked out early for a special event- it ended up being an amazing fundraiser with well-known actors... we should've stuck around outside for a bit!).
There are tons of markets, yummy food, and vendors. When we visited in the winter you could get ice skates and go skating too. The carousel is fun, and there are local events that happen often too. I saw this youtube video that shares different unusual tips about the park you can check out. He says that the Winter Village skating rink is the only one free to the public- so if you're headed there in the winter, save time for a skate.
#4 Little Island Park
At the end of the Chelsea Highline, you get to Little Island Park. This park is pretty new and really different. It’s an interesting architectural design built over top of the river and is fun for the kids. And YES, Little Island Park is free to the public.
When we were there they had musical metal squares you could step and jump around on, and a little art installation of chairs that spin around as you try and sit it in them. The public restrooms there are free and open to the public as well (and much nicer than other ones around NYC- which is a plus when travelling with kids!).
An added bonus is the really amazing view of the river and the city you get!
#3 Chelsea Highline
Not really a “park” per se, but I’m adding Chelsea Highline to the list (maybe it actually is a park?!) What’s neat is that you can see plants and trees indigenous to NYC, and there are little bits of information about them along the way.
If you look down at the path you’re walking on, you’ll also see the old tracks from the trains long ago, and trees and plants growing in amongst them… it’s really neat! You get a great view of that part of the city, as it’s one floor above the city street, and can walk past some beautiful murals on the walls of buildings, including Mother Theresa and Gandhi.
I also like checking out the interesting apartments along the Chelsea Highline- there are some pretty spectacular ones. At the end of the Chelsea Highline, you'll reach The Vessel which a worker recently told us collects rainwater (you can read a bit about that here, it looks very space-age-y, and when it's open you can walk up it!).
#2 Battery Park
We love walking down to Battery Park! You can watch the ferries go by, and get a great view of the river and awesome shots of the city. It’s more of a walk along the shoreline than an “actual” park, but it’s worth it!
We splurged on the sea-glass carousel (which was really cool!) and found a super nice playground, with a live entertainer for kids in the corner (it's a must-see if you have kids around 2-10, they'll love the playground!).
#1 Central Park
You may have guessed it.... but rolling in at #1 is New York's Central Park... for its sheer expanse, variety, and lush foliage (have you seen it in the fall?! Stunning), it seems like you've stepped out of NYC completely.
Central Park holds a special place in my heart- something about it being smack-dab in the center of a giant city, but making you feel like you are in the middle of the most gorgeous forest… it’s truly magical.
On one of our trips to NYC we saw people with little sail boats floating on a small lake, it was adorable, and so picturesque. You can rent canoes and float around which look so magical, there are winding paths everywhere that feel very maze-like and the plants and trees are stunning.
A perfect afternoon would be lounging around on one of the many hills, eating a lovely picnic lunch, and watching people go by. I also love the idea of renting a bike and seeing the whole park (it’s so big that it’s pretty much impossible to see in one day). There is also a zoo, if your kids are into that, and several playgrounds (you can check out some of them HERE). Grab a map HERE and starting planning your trip to Central Park.
Regulate Your Emotions While Travelling (and life-ing)
Emotional regulation is hard to teach if:
1) You have a deeply feeling or Neurodiverse kiddos that has a hard time with big feelings.
2) You haven't been taught how to feel your own feelings (in childhood if your own big emotions weren't talked about, safe to be expressed, understood, or validated this can feel especially tough).
To help get you started on your own journey of feelings, and to help you teach your kids about emotions... I've designed a custom Feelings Wheels that helps you recognize and identify what emotion you are feeling. Put your info in below and I will send it to you (and I'll email over a quick list of tips to get you started)!
Awareness is the first step to self-regulation and co-regulation with your children.
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