Cheap things to do in New York with kids

As cities go, New York is one of the most child-friendly around. However, as with any cosmopolitan destination, you could quickly wave goodbye to all your hard-saved holiday cash, so we've gathered a great selection of cheap things to do in New York with kids to help you save your pennies.

Central Park Manhattan skyline: © Oleksandr Dibrova -

While New York offers loads to entertain the little ones, it also caters to those on a budget keen for cheap things to do in New York with kids. Avoid the famous toy stores and expensive attractions, and head to any of the parks, playgrounds and parent-pleasing museums instead...

Walk The High Line

After Central Park (which admittedly does have its own children's zoo), this elevated stretch of parkland created from seven acres of historic freight train tracks on Manhattan's West Side is probably the city's most famous, and certainly it's most unusual, park.

High Line Park in New York: © David Berkowitz - Flickr Creative Commons

The project originally opened in 2009 but continued to expand and a second section opened in 2011. There's an events programme including readings and concerts which make it lively for kids. The High Line is located between Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues. The park is open from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily with last entrance at 10:45 p.m. and in winter the park closes at 7 p.m.

Utilise public transport

Zooming around on the subway or taking the free Staten Island ferry is a big winner with the kids and for $2.50 you can ride the bus or subway and bring infants up to the age of two for free - plus up to three children under 44 inches (1.12 metres) in height qualify for a zero fare.

Cheap things to do in New York with kids: Ride the Subway

Thirty dollars will also buy you a one-week unlimited MetroCard allowing you to ride the public buses and subways as much as you like - which may not have the commentary of the hop-on/hop-off variety but will still take you to all the major sights. The M1, M3 and M4 are the main routes that take in many well-known tourist attractions like Central Park, Fifth Avenue, Grand Central Station, SoHo, Museum Mile and the Wall Street bull.

Go to a baseball game

You can get fairly cheap tickets to see New York's most popular sport live and up close, and it's a great family-friendly event with lots of food stalls to wander around too. There's no pressure on the kids to sit still as the atmosphere is relaxed and you can get out of your seat and go for a stroll at any time.

The Yankee Stadium, New York: © a4gpa - Flickr Creative Commons

If you're not an avid baseball fan you don't need to go all out on a Yankees' (from $14) or Mets' (from $11) ticket - though older children may enjoy the $20 tour of Yankee stadium.

Chances are the kids will enjoy the minor leagues just as much; see the Brooklyn Cyclones from just $8 or you could combine a baseball game with a visit to Staten Island and check out the Staten Island Yankees, whose top price tickets are a steal at $14.

Check out the museums

Museums are high on most parents' list of free and cheap things to do in New York, and the city has plenty of child-centric museums, so as well as child-friendly sections within popular museums such as the American Museum of Natural History, you'll find museums completely devoted to children.

Museum of Natural History, Central Park © Sunshine Pics -

Try Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island which all have their own children's museums. In addition, there's the Children's Museum of Arts which is a great place for them to get their hands dirty and get creative.

Make use of the playgrounds

NYC is flooded with great playgrounds, so if you want to check out an area then a great idea is to research that part of town's playgrounds and punctuate your walk around the area with a visit or two to alleviate any potential boredom.

Where to stay: Break out of Manhattan, try Brooklyn

Brooklyn is a quieter way to start and end the day with little ones in tow and also has a great eating scene for mum and dad. It's within very easy reach of Manhattan when you want to head into the city, and staying here helps you feel more like a local.

Park under Brooklyn Bridge © Brad Pict -

There are some great apartments and these make a much more practical alternative to a hotel when you're travelling with the family, and with all the money you'll save using our tips on free and cheap things to do in New York, you'll be able to splash out on a spacious family-sized flat.

Jaillan Yehia

Jaillan Yehia
Posted on Tuesday 21st January 2014 in: City Culture Family Money saving tips North America

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