5 Top New York City tourist attractions
Whether you’re a New York City resident or you’re planning a whirlwind tour of the Big Apple with your kids, these five iconic New York City family attractions should be on your must-see list.
Statue of Liberty
A gift from France to the US, this mammoth structure offers spectacular views from the top of its pedestal. Families can participate in free ranger-guided tours of the island's grounds and visit the second-floor museum to learn about the statue's history and symbolism through photographs, videos and oral histories. Prior to visiting, have the kids download a junior ranger activities guide.
To get to the statue, take the ferry from Battery Park or Liberty State Park (NJ). It's best to purchase tickets in advance and reserve a monument pass, which allows you entry to the monument pedestal . From there, you can walk out onto the statue's observation deck to see panoramic views of New York City and the Harbor, and see the statue up close from her promenades on Ft. Wood.
Grand Central Terminal
More than 700,000 people pass through this transportation hub -- among the largest in the world. It's not all about trains: Here, you'll find restaurants, cocktail lounges, a gourmet foods market and specialty shops. Completely restored back to its 1913 splendor, Grand Central dazzles with its Main Concourse and famous zodiac ceiling. Its Vanderbilt Hall hosts ongoing free promotions and entertainment ranging from tennis exhibits to an annual holiday fair that features 72 crafters and artists selling their wares. Guided tours, both private and group, are available seven days a week.
Address: 87 East 42nd St., New York, NY 10017
The Empire State Building
Your family will ooh and ahh over panoramic views of the New York City skyline from the 86th floor's enclosed observatory or open air deck while being treated to an audio tour of the city. Built in 1930, this art-deco masterpiece rises more than 1,400 feet above Manhattan and has starred in movies such as King Kong and Sleepless in Seattle.
Be sure to also check out the New York SKYRIDE on the second floor! The only aerial simulator in the city, it gives a 30-minute tour of 30 different sites and attractions around New York.
Address: 350 Fifth Avenue and 34th St., New York, NY 10118
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Paintings, sculptures and works of art spanning 5,000 years -- from ancient Egypt to present-day America -- are sure to amaze your children. Families can take advantage of specialty kid programming such as drop-in drawing sessions, in which kids draw based on their inspiration while viewing original works of art. The museum also hosts family festivals, art projects, storytelling sessions and behind-the-scenes looks at artwork creation.
Admission to the Met also includes same-day admission to the Cloisters museum and gardens, a branch of the MET in northern Manhattan's Fort Tryon Park. There, you can feast your eyes on sculptures, stained glass art and unicorn tapestries based on the art, architecture and gardens of medieval Europe.
Address: 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10028
NBC Studios Tour / experience store
Smack in the middle of Rockefeller Center, this tour is an opportunity to go behind the scenes at NBC's studios and TV shows. Families get a crash course in NBC's history from its radio days to its transition to a television studio. They can also get their photos taken at the news desk and pretend to give a weather report in front of a green screen. An NBC page shows families television props, costumes, cue cards and control rooms.
After the tour -- and just a few blocks away -- your entourage can visit the Museum of Modern Art and St Patrick's Cathedral, the largest gothic cathedral in the US.
Address: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112 (enter on 49th St. between 5th and 6th Avenues)