6 Cities you didn’t think you could take your kids to

Planning a family holiday and think these cosmopolitan international cities are off limits when travelling with kids? Think again.

New York

In all honesty, your kids are going to love New York. What’s not to love? The sights, the sounds, the people, the toy stores… they don’t call it the city that never sleeps for nothing. Therein lies the potential problem for parents.

Your children will likely have a ball, but they’ll be so hyped up on the energy of the city that they will quickly become exhausted. Try to find restful accommodation (look for high floors and double-glazed windows to tune out some of the city noise) that is near a subway stop.

3 Things to do with your kids in New York:

  1. See the inspiration behind the Madagascar movies at the Central Park Zoo.
  2. Get lost in the magic of FAO Schwarz.
  3. Have tea with the Mad Hatter at Alice’s Tea Cup.

Tokyo

If a relaxing and stress-free family holiday is what you’re aiming for, then you may not find your bliss in Tokyo. The busy, bustling, thriving city is home to over 13 million people and, although a great deal of the population speaks English, you have to remember that you’ll be exploring a foreign city and a foreign language.

That shouldn’t deter you from adding Tokyo to your holiday hot list, however. There is so much for families to do and explore, such as taking in the sights and sounds of the city, trend-spotting at Harujuku, exploring museums, temples and historical sites and enjoying some of the adventurous attractions designed specifically for family fun.

3 Things to do with your kids in Tokyo:

  1. Visit Tokyo Disneyland!
  2. Take in Tokyo’s beautiful temples and shrines.
  3. Explore Studio Ghibli Museum; it’s filled with interactive animation displays and exhibits, gadgets to play with, rooftop gardens and — what else? — a giant robot.

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Las Vegas

It’s the city of sun, sex and sin, so it’s no wonder that Las Vegas isn’t always associated with fun family holidays. But if you’re planning a trip to the U.S., a visit to Las Vegas can offer loads of things to do for adults and kids alike. A stroll along the strip to check out all of the elaborate hotel lobbies is a must, but there are adventures off the strip — shopping the luxury outlet stores and exploring a genuine ghost town, to name a few — that will keep everyone entertained.
Getting the right accommodation is key to an enjoyable stay in Vegas. Check out Circus Circus for affordable on-strip accommodation. With two queen beds in your room, a free on-site circus and the “Adventuredome” full of rides and attractions, it’s great for budget travellers. Or, if your budget extends a little further, try The Venetian: The smallest room in the all-suite, five-star hotel is 650 square feet, around double the size of a standard hotel room.

3 Things to do with your kids in Las Vegas:

  1. See a kid-friendly stage show, like Cirque Du Soleil’s Mystère.
  2. Enjoy a free circus show at Circus Circus, or ride the roller coaster atop the Stratosphere.
  3. Take a spin in the indoor/outdoor gondola ride.

Venice

This water-logged city is best navigated by foot (on uneven, cobblestoned roads and pathways) or by boat, neither of which is conducive to travelling with young kids in prams.
The solution? Come prepared with baby slings to hold the little people in your party and plan brief, but meaningful, excursions each day so you don’t end up with exhausted kiddies. In spite of logistical challenges, it will be the experience of a lifetime — because, really, where else can your family explore a city that is literally drowning?

3 Things to do with your kids in Venice:

  1. Visit the islands of Murano and tour the famed glass factories.
  2. Chase the pigeons through Piazza San Marco.
  3. Take a gondola ride through the “streets” of Venice.

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Beijing

Beijing has a lot to offer visitors, but there’s the one Beijing constant that makes many travellers think twice about visiting this city: smog. Local residents live with some of the most severe air pollution levels in the world. It’s not exactly a huge tourist drawcard, however, local officials are trying to combat the problem. Recently, Beijing closed a large coal-fired power plant, replacing it with a gas-fired one to cut pollution. They plan to shut three more coal-fired plants by 2016. Furthermore, Beijing’s particle matter (PM) index has dropped 11 per cent in the first half of 2014.
If you decide to brave the smog, there’s plenty to see and do in Beijing, from bike tours and aquariums, to visiting ancient sites. Exploring this city usually involves lots of walking, which can be tiring for little legs, so be sure to plan your adventures in advance.

3 Things to do with your kids in Beijing:

  1. Visit the Forbidden City, which was once off limits for more than 500 years.
  2. Fly kites at Tiananmen Square.
  3. Enjoy the Chaoyang Flying Acrobatic Show.

Amsterdam

Why would you want to take your family to a city that is renowned for its free and easy drug policy — not to mention the famed red-light district? It may sound all too salacious for those who are travelling with children, but if you drag yourself and your family all the way to the other side of the globe and don’t visit Amsterdam, you may just kick yourself.

“Perhaps what few really notice is that the Rossebuurt (as the locals call it) is in fact one of the oldest and most beautiful parts of the city, with its long winding narrow, cobbled streets and utterly charming 14th century architecture,” advises Amsterdam.info. “Recently resurfaced streets, restored façades and trendier clientele to the area are now transforming what was once a dark and seedy part of town.”

3 Things to do with your kids in Amsterdam:

  1. Take a cruise along the canals and see the city from a new perspective.
  2. Visit the Anne Frank house.
  3. Get up close and personal with the stars at Madame Tussauds Amsterdam.

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