Family Friendly Restaurants in NYC

By Katie Sagal

New York City is undeniably one of the culinary capitals of America. With its diversity of cuisines and rich population of top-notch chefs and restaurateurs, the New York dining scene has something to offer practically every palate. Of course, when you’re traveling with kids sometimes experimental haute cuisine just isn’t going to cut it. So to help you out, we’ve put together a list of the best family-friendly restaurants in NYC. Or, if you’re looking for a bit of time away from the kids, we’ve also thrown in some foodie suggestions. These restaurants are located in New York City and are within walking distance or a quick subway ride from a few great NYC attractions, so they can be easily worked into your family vacation itinerary.

Kid Friendly New York Restaurants Renaissance Restaurant

If you're looking for an extensive menu and inexpensive prices, this is the spot for your family. The Renaissance menu really has absolutely everything, from chocolate chip pancakes to deli sandwiches to pizza. There will definitely be something everyone in the family will enjoy. The casual environment is good for kids and the food comes out very quickly (great for short attention spans). With 24-hour service, this diner is number one for convenience, too. Nearby Attractions: Central Park, USS Intrepid Museum, Bike Rentals

Shake Shack

This popular eatery offers more than just shakes. Burgers, hot dogs, fries, and ice cream make this place a kid favorite, but fresh, high-quality ingredients mean it's a favorite among parents as well! The prices are very reasonable for New York, and the prime location makes it a definite top pick. Nearby Attractions: Grand Central Terminal, Bryant Park, Central Park Movie Tours

Peanut Butter & Co. Sandwich Shop

Only in NYC could you find a restaurant dedicated entirely to menu items featuring peanut butter. You'd be amazed at the diversity of peanut-buttery options, from the classic PB & J to the Mighty Maple Sandwich (maple peanut butter with crisp bacon) to the Peanut Butter Brownie Blast Sundae. If your kids want to try out a peanut butter creation, but you'd rather not, don't worry – a few peanut butter free options are offered as well (like the tuna melt or the salad bowl). This restaurant is so perfect for kids they'll even cut the crusts off for you! Nearby Attractions: Washington Square Park, New York University, 9/11 Tribute Center

Artie's Delicatessen

This restaurant is a re-created 1930s Jewish deli featuring dozens of the owners' favorite traditional recipes. Your kids might not care for the history, but they'll love the delicious chicken fingers, frankfurters, and birthday cake for dessert. If you can get your kids to go for something healthier, they also offer very appetizing soup, sandwich, salad, and entrée options. Try to sell them on the chicken noodle soup or macaroni salad. All menu items are available in house or to go! Nearby Attractions: American Museum of Natural History, New York Historical Society Museum, Hayden Planetarium

Ditch Plains UWS

This place is a great destination for seafood lovers, burger lovers, and barbeque lovers – you name it. Their unique spin on the experience is what they call “beach dining,” a selection of classic picnic or backyard barbeque fare prepared by expert chefs. You’ll find everything from hotdogs and hamburgers to BLTs and mac and cheese at this tasty dining destination. The Upper West Side location is especially conveniently located for further exploration. Nearby Attractions: The American Museum of Natural History, Central Park, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan

NINJA New York

What kid could pass up the chance to dine with ninjas?! This contemporary Japanese restaurant (which includes an accessible variety of cuisines – not just the more complicated stuff) is designed to look just like a recreated 18th century ninja village. Walk through the maze-like interior and marvel at the beautiful construction – don’t forget a camera! Be warned, however, that this isn’t going to be a cheap dining experience. Nearby Attractions: 9/11 Memorial and Museum, TriBeCa, City Hall

Local Cuisine John’s of Bleecker Street

Representing NYC in the great American Pizza Wars, John’s of Bleecker Street is a local institution that’s been serving up NY-style pizza in this historic location for a long time. If you’re looking for the authentic NY pizza experience while trying to avoid tourist traps or overpriced meals, this is the place to go. Be sure to arrive hungry, because slices are big! Nearby Attractions: Hudson River Park, Ground Zero Museum Workshop, departure point for many neighborhood tours (like the Brooklyn Bridge tour)

Strip House Next Door

If you’re looking for another restaurant that represents the best of local cuisine, then why not check out this top-rated steakhouse? Prices are more than reasonable for how delicious the food is, and it’s in a trendy location that allows you to see more of the city than you might otherwise. Strip House Next Door is the perfect destination for both families and couples! Nearby Attractions: Union Square, Flatiron District, West Village

Vegetarian & Foodie Options Candle Café

For those of you in the market for tasty veggie options, then Candle Café is the perfect place for you. With locations on both the Upper West Side & Upper East Side, this trendy local hotspot features fresh, organic vegan cuisine, plus a delicious juice bar. It’s near a lot of local museums (and Central Park), so it’s easy to pop in for a healthy lunch on a busy day of sightseeing. Nearby Attractions: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, Guggenheim Museum

Angelica Kitchen

This is another excellent vegetarian option that uses exclusively fresh, farm-to-table ingredients in their sumptuous organic cuisine. Everything is made with only the best fruit, vegetables, and grains, so you know what your kids are eating is going to be healthy and tasty. They also offer many gluten-free options if you’ve got any allergies in the family. Nearby Attractions: East Village, Union Square, Empire State Building (a bit north)

Café Paulette

Thinking about going for a date night without the kids on your NYC vacation? Then check out Café Paulette in Brooklyn, one of our favorite French bistros. It’s more affordable than many similar restaurants in Manhattan, but offers the same level of quality and expertise. It’s also a great wine bar, so plan to spend a long time enjoying their delicious offerings in a romantic setting. Nearby Attractions: Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Lilli and Loo

For lovers of Asian cuisine – including adventurous kids! – Lilli and Loo is an excellent dining destination. Located right in Midtown, this restaurant/sushi bar has tons to offer for the discerning diner in a fun environment. They serve all of your tradition faves, plus a number of plainer options to appeal to pickier eaters. Plus, it’s super affordable, so you don’t need to worry about breaking the bank on lunch. Nearby Attractions: Midtown, the Museum of Modern Art, Top of the Rock Of course, you’ll be able to find several great restaurants in the Times Square area, so don’t feel like you have to wander out to the edges of Manhattan to find good food. These selections help you avoid some of the more touristy spots and introduce you to a variety of NYC cuisine. Some areas to explore for additional restaurant options include Greenwich Village, TriBeCa, the West Village, and NoMad. Be sure to read reviews before you go, and choose a spot near a subway station for easy transit (not a difficult task in NYC – there are subway stations everywhere).

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Things to Do in New York Columbus Day Weekend 2017 - Attractions, Activities & More

We love the fact that Columbus Day provides the opportunity for a mini fall getaway – we get to take a break from the stress of work and school and indulge in a fun little trip. If you’re looking for seasonal things to do in New York during Columbus Day weekend 2017, check out our list of some of the best activities and attractions. Save on Seasonal Activities Regular admission to a number of these attractions are available on the New York City Explorer Pass. Choose as you go from popular attractions and save up to 50% on combined admission vs paying at the gate. Learn more about all New York tourist passes, attractions and prices. Please note, some of these special events may be separately ticketed and not available on the Explorer Pass. Leaf Peeping See the changing of the seasons in some of the most beautiful places in the entire city, like Central Park, with its acres and acres of fall foliage, or place like the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which features a wide variety of flora in a rainbow of colors. Don't forget to take their "Season Highlights Tour," which will show you the best of what's blooming, changing color, growing, or otherwise doing something cool and interesting. Insider Tip: If you're in town the weekend prior on October 1, check out their Chile Pepper Festival. It runs from 11:00 am - 6:00 pm and features bands, food, and fun. Getting In: Brooklyn Botanic Garden tickets are available on the New York City Explorer Pass®. The Chile Pepper Festival is separately ticketed and is not included with the pass. Art at the Met Image credit: Monica Arellano-Ongpin (license) Celebrate the other contributions Italian (and Roman) culture has made to the world with a visit to the classical art collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Marvel at carefully preserved pottery, restored jewelry, ancient sculptures, and much more. Then, of course, there are the masters of Renaissance painting, Baroque, Rococo, and so on. Be sure to check out their brand new standout exhibit, Rodin at the Met (opened September 16, 2017). Featuring nearly 50 works by this famed sculptor, this exciting new exhibit showcases many of his works that haven't been on display in years, alongside iconic pieces like "The Thinker" and "The Hand of God." Getting In: Metropolitan Museum of Art tickets are available on the New York City Explorer Pass®. Landmark Cruise Fall is also a really good time to hop aboard a local sightseeing cruise. If you choose something like a landmark cruise, which highlights top sights and sounds of the Manhattan skyline, you'll get a great overview of the the city without the stress of navigating the streets. The weather has a good chance of being pleasant but brisk on the water, so grab a light jacket. Getting In: Landmark Cruise by Circle Line Sightseeing tickets are available on the New York City Explorer Pass®. Bike Rides Enjoy the crisp fall weather with a leisurely bike ride around Central Park. Meander quaint paths and pass by charming pools and interesting statuary. Or, head across the Brooklyn Bridge and explore new territory. Wherever you choose to go, it’s a great way to celebrate fall! Getting In: Central Park bike rentals and guided bike tours are available on the New York City Explorer Pass®. Columbus Day Parade October 9, 2017 Image credit: Columbus Citizens Foundation. Enjoy a parade dedicated to this important Italian in a city that treasures its Italian heritage. The parade runs through Manhattan from 47th to 72nd street, with thousands upon thousands of spectators gathered to enjoy this unique event. Keep an eye out for authentic performances of the tarantella, a famed Italian dance. Getting In: Admission to the NYC Columbus Day Parade is free. New York Comic Con Javits Center October 5-8, 2017 So what if you can't afford San Diego Comic Con - New York Comic Con is an amazing event with tons of great authors, exhibits, collectibles, books, videos, and so much more. Enjoy content on everything from Batman comics to the Doctor Who TV show to the Resident Evil video game series. You also have the chance to see talks by a wide variety of authors. If it's got anything to do with contemporary pop culture, you'll find it here! Getting In: Admission to New York Comic Con is separately ticketed and is not included with the New York City Explorer Pass. For more information about the event and to purchase tickets, please visit the event website. LIC Flea & Food Long Island City October 7-8, 2017 If you love flea markets of all stripes, you won't want to miss a stroll through the LIC Flea & Food. It's an eclectic open air bazaar filled with a wide variety of antiques and unique finds plus tons of delicious food and drinks. A visit here also provides amazing views of the Manhattan skyline, so it's a great opportunity to snap some postcard perfect photos. Be sure to stop by their Queens-only Beer and Wine Garden! Getting In: Admission to the LIC Flea & Food is free. Remember to Save on Attraction Admission So there you have it. Our list of some exciting things to do in the New York area this Columbus Day Weekend. Remember, many of these great options are included on the New York City Explorer Pass, where you can save on combined admission vs. paying at the gate. Please note, the Columbus Day Weekend events taking place at some of these venues may be separately ticketed and not included with the Explorer Pass. Consider adding a few of these fun options to your fall long weekend vacation itinerary.
Katie Sagal

Visiting the 9/11 Themed Museums in New York City

September 11th is an important date in American history, and a particularly poignant one for New Yorkers. Many travelers to NYC hope to learn more about the life-changing events of that day, but aren’t sure which memorial is the most appropriate place to pursue this information. In honor of the tragic events of 9/11 that changed both the physical and cultural realities of NYC forever, a number of attractions have opened throughout the city. These attractions include the... 9/11 Memorial & Museum (the official memorial) 9/11 Tribute Museum Ground Zero Museum Workshop All of these attractions are available on the New York City Explorer Pass. Each offers a unique perspective on the events of September 11, 2001 and has something different to offer visitors. For more information about these three distinctive 9/11 attractions, continue reading below. 9/11 Memorial & Museum Located in the World Trade Center, this museum honors victims and heroes of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. Visitors have an opportunity to view an exterior memorial with twin pools and man-made waterfalls. These pools were constructed as a reminder of the Twin Towers that once stood in that same position. Victims of the attack have been honored with engravings of their names on the bronze panels near the pools, giving visitors an opportunity to pay tribute and to reflect upon their loss. The visit is further enhanced through archives, narratives, artifacts, and multimedia displays inside the Museum. Some of the key features tourists can expect at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum include: An Historical Exhibition that shows the events before, on that day, and after the attack. A Memorial Exhibition that honors victims of the attacks. An Art Exhibition that features artwork from 13 artists. Cover stories from The New Yorker, within the period of the terrorist attacks. Please keep in mind that the exhibits and photographs in the 9/11 Memorial and Museum can be graphic and upsetting for some people. Exercise your judgment when deciding whether to take young children through the exhibits. The exterior memorial features are appropriate for all ages. Admission to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum is available on the New York City Explorer Pass. 9/11 Tribute Museum: Gallery Admission & Walking Tour A particular strength of this attraction lies in the walking tour, which is guided by someone with a personal connection to the 9/11 attacks, such as a first responder, a survivor, or a family member. The walking tour is included with a New York City Explorer Pass. The tour emphasizes the human element of this tragedy, and chooses to focus on the legacies of those who lost their lives rather than the political or social motivations for the event itself. A visit there is an opportunity to be inspired by their strength of character, and by the lives they’ve continued to touch after their passing. It’s a truly moving experience. This museum offers another perspective, with opportunities for travelers to learn about the devastating events of 9/11, facts on the unprecedented rescue operations, and the subsequent reconstruction of Lower Manhattan. Visitors will also have the opportunity to listen to personal stories from volunteer curators, who include firefighters, police officers, and survivors. Here are the available exhibits at the museum: Lower Manhattan: This small strip of land has served as a connection for people all over the world that engage in the trade of good and services and exchange of ideas that transform the world, on a local and international level. September 11, 2001 Gallery: Exclusive video footage shows the devastating after effects of the attack that forever changed our nation. The gallery also features photographs, artifacts, and audio-visual accounts of that day. Response and Recovery Gallery: This gallery highlights the brave efforts and sacrifices made by first responders and others who came to assist in the aftermath of the attacks. Story Telling Gallery: Here you’ll find moving stories from the families that lost their loved ones, as well as narratives from NYPD, FDNY, volunteers, and others. Remembrance Room: This is a striking space, housing over 2000 images that were chosen by family members to create a memorial for their loved ones. Rebuilding and Remembering Gallery: This gallery traces the efforts of a community and a nation that worked towards rebuilding and healing. Service to the World: Inspired in turn by the generosity and kindness with which the rest of the nation and the world treated NYC following the attacks, this exhibit space devotes itself to repaying those sentiments. Seeds of Service Gallery: This is a chance for visitors to offer support through donations and skills, and change our global community for the better. This museum is appropriate for visitors of all ages, but parents should exercise caution with younger children in the September 11, 2001 Gallery. Some of the images may be too graphic or unsettling. Admission to the 9/11 Tribute Museum: Gallery Admission & Walking Tour is available on the New York City Explorer Pass. Ground Zero Museum Workshop (GZMW): Hands-On 9/11 Tour Located in the Meatpacking District, this award-winning museum workshop is perhaps the best option for families looking for a chance to engage their children in a meaningful learning process about the 9/11 attacks. Rather than focusing on the events of 9/11, this workshop chose to showcase the 9-month recovery period after the attack. Stories are told through artifacts, images, and audio tours available in English, French, Spanish, and Italian. A particular benefit of this attraction is that the museum workshop is the only 9/11-themed museum that gives visitors a chance to interact with and hold real artifacts. Each tour at the Ground Zero Museum Workshop includes a guided encounter with artifacts introduced by a guide, a short film, and a self-guided audio tour for everyone. To make the audio tour realistic, the creators included sound effects from a Ground Zero video in 2001. Admission to the Ground Zero Museum Workshop: Hands-On 9/11 Tour is available on the New York City Explorer Pass.
Katie Sagal

Best Museums in New York 

A major tourist city and distinguished intellectual hub, New York offers some of the most renowned cultural amenities in the world. World-class art galleries, interactive science centers, planetariums, and some of the country’s most significant historic housing make the city well worth the visit. Wherever your interests may lie, New York delivers an astounding range of compelling educational experiences time and time again. If you’re planning a trip, read through our rundown of the best museums in New York to check out whilst you’re there. Get Inspired New York City has always been a revered destination for art, so it’s no wonder that its museums reflect this. Located in Midtown Manhattan, the Museum of Modern Art houses one of the finest holdings of modern and contemporary art in the United States. Attracting 3 million visitors each year, the museum’s collection is comprised of 150, 000 artworks as well as 22,000 films. Famous pieces include Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Monet’s Water Lillies, and Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. New York is fortunate to have many creative attractions and activities for visitors and locals alike. For shutterbugs and lovers of captured light, the International Center of Photography offers exceptional exhibitions in visual culture. Holding one of the top photographic collections in the United States, the museum displays over 200,000 pieces stretching from the earliest forms of the medium right through to contemporary work. An incredibly thrilling and unique encounter, the institute works to provide a thorough technological and artistic view of photography. With so much to see, the museum makes for the perfect November rainy day activity. If film is more your thing, you might want to consider heading over to the Museum of the Moving Image. Celebrating cinema in all its forms, the educational institution encourages learning, curiosity and expression through the preservation, collection and interpretation of motion picture. In its large and eclectic collection, the museum houses historic filming and production equipment, famous film costumes, illustrations and vintage merchandise. An intriguing and enjoyable way to explore the creative process of film and television, you won’t want to miss out on this one! Soak Up the Culture One of the coolest things about New York is that it offers a large collection of fine educational institutions. Situated in Lower Manhattan, the National Museum of the American Indian seeks to investigate the history and diversity of Native American culture. The museum is a constituent of the Smithsonian Institution and features a large collection of historical artefacts, including various clothes, utensils and artworks, each divided up per habitat. In addition, visitors can catch dance and music performances, educational programs and film screenings that work to tell the Native American story. Whilst New York City offers a wide array of art museums, there is only one top contender for literary museums in our eyes. Built into a stunning designated landmark, the Morgan Library houses one of the most cherished on paper collections within the United States. Combining literature with history, the library holds an impressive collection of timeworn manuscripts, early printed books, and various drawings and prints. In addition, the library also holds important pieces of music, drawings and artwork. As beautiful as it is interesting, this place is a total bibliophile’s dream. A well-recognized cultural mixing pot, New York is home to more cultures than any other city in the United States – so it only makes sense that its museums document the history of immigrant lifestyle. Built into what once served as a residence for new migrants, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum seeks to preserve, protect and showcase the stories of those who once called the historic blocks home. Visitors can choose from a wide array of tours, all of which tell one of America’s most important stories: how settlers became American, and how the United States became a nation. Explore the Lower East Side, sample authentic cuisine, and hear personal stories of life in the past. Learn Something New If you love history, then the next item on our list of the best New York museums is for you! Standing as one of the world’s most influential scientific and cultural institutions, the American Museum of Natural History seeks to cultivate curiosity in the world around us. Located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the museum is comprised of 26 interconnected buildings, which house an expansive collection of over 34 million specimens of plants, fossils and meteorites. Through breath-taking exhibits and educational programs, visitors can learn more about human cultures, the environment, and the universe. Exciting and fascinating, this place makes the perfect day trip for those of all ages. Another one of our favorite history museums in New York is the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. Situated in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood on the West Side of Manhattan, this educational institution presents a stunning display of American military and maritime history. Interesting and fun, the establishment provides a totally unique experience for viewing legendary aircraft carriers, museum ships, and submarines. Expect to be blown away by the fascinating stories behind air, space and watercraft. Such historic manmade wonders include the first space shuttle, the British Airways Concorde, and of course, the USS Intrepid (CV-11). Whilst many New York museums center around the humanities, the Hayden Planetarium seeks to provide a fun and digestible understanding of the universe for the public. Housed in the American Natural History Museum and run under the direction of Neil Degrasse Tyson, the institute is arguably one of the best of its kind. Highlights include the establishment’s Cosmic Pathway exhibit exploring the known history of the universe, as well as its high-resolution video projection of the night sky. Through spectacular displays and public programs, visitors can investigate the fascinating inner workings of the universe. A major intellectual and artistic city, New York is home to some of the most diverse museums that can leave you overwhelmed with their fascinating and rare exhibitions. Whether you’re looking to learn about the background of the area or view seminal works of historical and contemporary art, the city is the place to be. When you make a visit, take in new information, see evocative pieces, and most of all, have fun! Hey, isn’t that what it’s all about? To find out how to save money on your trip, check out our Explorer Pass and All-Inclusive Pass. For more details, make sure to connect with us on Instagram and Facebook.
Sarah Harris

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