Travelling To New York with Kids: First Stop on our Worldschooling Adventure

We Start the Journey


Day 1 we landed in NYC!! We have been to New York City with our kids a few times, and we started here because of the lower-cost flights to Europe we could find, compared to out of Alberta. We also have family here, JD’s sister and brother-in-law live here, and we LOVE to come visit them. Visiting NYC with someone who knows the area so well is SUPER fun! It also helps that we know the subway system well too, so we feel comfortable getting around.

Getting Around NYC: The Subway with Kids


As we were trying to travel on a budget, we opted for subways the whole time. We didn’t get a 1-week pass because we calculated it and didn’t think we’d use enough single-ride tickets to make it worth it (if you don’t like walking- you may want to get the week-long pass, as we averaged around 18,000-22,000 steps per day, which is a lot with little kids!). You can always opt for an Uber or taxi, but there are 6 of us, so we don’t fit in them as easily, and it can quickly increase our spending! Get a map of the New York City subway system HERE and the schedule HERE.


You can now use tap-and-go, so you scan Apple Pay on hop right on, instead of buying single-use or weekly tickets. Once you’ve used up the number of single tickets that a weekly ticket would cost you, they won’t charge you anymore… so it’s really the way to go (this is a new feature they didn’t have when we went last, so I can't guarantee it works effectively!).

Where to Stay in NYC with Kids (on a budget)


We always look for somewhere within 5-10 minute walk of a main subway line that gives us direct access to Manhattan, usually looking for spots within a 45-60 minute ride one-way. Other than a few sites, we spend most of our time in Manhattan. We usually opt for the Brooklyn-area because we want to be close to family. If you don’t mind longer rides, you can look in New Jersey, it is usually a lot cheaper than other options (but look at the cost of getting into the city each day also).


This time around we used Expedia (our go-to is Airbnb) because we were looking for a hotel, not an apartment. Our 2 older kids were staying with their aunt and uncle this time, and the rest of us easily fit in a hotel. NOTE: NYC hotels are really small compared to other destinations we’ve travelled to, so it’s not super comfy just to hang out in the hotel.


Our hotel ended up cancelling our reservation, but Expedia easily rebooked us at another one, at their expense (the new one was almost double in price, and we didn’t pay anything extra). It didn’t have a pool, free breakfast or free internet… which our first 2-star hotel did, so that was really disappointing. One of my favourite travel hacks is to get a place with POOL and BREAKFAST… it saves a lot of money when 6 people are involved and gives you something to do when you want more “downtime” at the hotel, without squishing in your little room.


What to Do in NYC with Kids


We LOVE the outdoors, and the end of September has LOVELY weather. This is the 2nd or 3rd time we’ve visited in the fall, and we love it EVERY time… it’s not super crowded (Christmas time is SO crowded that it was actually really unpleasant with our kids… especially with anxious/neurodiverse kids… I do NOT recommend visiting NYC at Christmas) and the weather is still lovely in the fall.  


Minus one really crazy rainstorm in Brooklyn (see what I mean HERE!!) every other day was lovely. We spent our time at a lot of parks, walking around downtown, checking out cool buildings (my kids loved seeing how tall everything was), taking ferries and eating yummy food. Check out this post for our favourite New York City parks with kids. Don’t forget to stop in at the amazing toy store, FAO Shwarz, it's nothing like you’ve ever seen! My kids like the Lego store too (it wasn’t that amazing- but they like playing the free video games and I liked resting my sore feet for a while). We also had a great time walking around Chinatown, and playing at the arcade there. 


Best NYC Budget Travel Hack

Everyone always wants to see the Statue of Liberty (which is pretty cool, but not cool enough for the price point of tickets, in my opinion) but at $30+ per ticket, try this hack instead:


Take the Staten Island Ferry and float past the statue of liberty for FREE! You get a good glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, without paying to see it (which adds up if you have a family of 6). I’ve paid for tickets in the past, and would have been just as happy to see it from a distance on the FREE ferry.

What Family-Friendy Sites to See in NYC with Kids

We love the American Museum of Natural History (if you’re a local, you can get some pretty good discounts, but there is no more “pay what you want” option like there used to be at all the major museums in NYC). We also enjoyed the spy museum (we didn’t stop there this time) and the MET. I’ve been meaning to get up to Cloisters- The Met, but it’s far out of the way of most things, and we haven’t made it yet. A trip to the Oculus and the 9/11 memorial site is also a must (if you want to splurge, the freedom tower is pretty cool, but pricey).


One of our go-spots every time we are visiting New York, with kids or not, is the Chelsea Highline and market. ( I talk about it in more detail in that blog post). It’s a lovely place to walk around, and the food is SO good! We got a whole head of cauliflower fried, yummy mini donuts, gelato, and delicious sausages. This time there was a designer sample sale (just a pop-up) and I snagged some really cool things. NOTE: there aren’t “real” change rooms in the sample sales, so wear something stretchy and thin you can try clothes over top of… they are crazy busy! But so worth it.

Where to Eat in NYC with Kids

We went to our favourite art store (Blick), hung out with family, toured around NYC on foot, played some fun arcade games, went to a museum or two and ate delicious food (some of our faves are: Pretty much everywhere and anywhere at the Chelsea Market, Juniors, Five Guys (it’s pretty cheap and my kids love their fries, which are gluten-free too! You can get all of their burgers on a lettuce wrap), Pies-n-Thighs, cheap pizza that you can find on pretty much every corner, yummy bagel places all over and a multitude of quaint cafes!

My Honest Review of NYC with Kids


Now that we’ve been to NYC a few times, the hustle and bustle is getting a bit much for us (and the kids)… my especially-sensitive kiddos told us afterward that it was really “loud and busy”… I agree. Really fun to see 1 or 2, but not somewhere you need to come back to again and again (and I found much more fun with only adults, or with older kiddos… it can be a lot of noise and walking for small ones).


That’s it for now! We are off on a 7-hour flight from NYC-London, flying with Norse airlines (budget airline with good reviews). We’ll see you soon!


Regulate Your Emotions While Travelling (and life-ing)

Feelings Wheel by Crystal the parenting coach

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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