How Old for Visit to NYC?

Updated on May 29, 2013
P.R. asks from Akron, OH
14 answers

I used to live in NYC and we'll be east this summer with our kids. I'm wondering if it's time to take them into the big city or not... They'll be 7 and 9 at the time. So far they don't seem too interested when we do go to a big city but have expressed interest in NYC. Annie is also playing on Broadway which is one of my favorite memories as a kid. And there's an American Girl doll store... But are they too young to go up the Empire State building? Not sure we'll schlep to the Statue of Liberty. I hate to have kids do things so young they don't even remember. Seems like spoiling them and a waste of money. But Annie is so enticing as it likely won't be playing next summer too. Does anyone remember what ages they took their kids to big cities for the first time and it made an impact? They have been to Chicago. We would just go for an overnight vs planning on lots of sight seeing. Thanks.

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone! I'm so excited now. I knew they'd love it but wanted to feel comfortable they'll also kind of remember it. I know the city well as I lived there for years but had forgotten about the dinasours! That kind of cinched the deal.

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answers from Chicago on

I still have memories of a trip my mom and aunt took us on to Kansas when I was about 5 (that's right, scenic, memorable Kansas) ;-) and very vivid memories of my summer at camp in Idaho when I was 9.

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answers from Detroit on

I don't think they are too young at all - I'm sure it will make quite an impression and you can take pics to help them remember. Kids need to learn there is more to the world than what it is in their own backyard. And I don't think all memorable experiences should wait until they are old enough to remember them better. Unless you are thinking there will only be 1 time in their entire childhood they will have the chance to go to NYC, you can always take them back again a few years later.

We did a family trip to Toronto, NYC, Boston, Cape Cod and Rhode Island when I was 9, and another trip to Washington DC and Disney World when I was 10, and I still remember bits and pieces of it. My brother was 5 and then 6 at the time too.

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answers from Denver on

My daughter's class went up to NYC (we live in the Philly area) for a field trip a few weeks ago to see Annie - she loved it (although she said it was quite different from the movie). I'd say if you're planning on going to AG or Annie or places like that, your kids are the perfect age for a trip to NY. Certainly a trip up the Empire State would be appropriate...or the zoo in Central Park. Or the Museum of Natural History (they'd LOVE that!). There's so much to do in NY - your kids will have a great time!

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answers from Miami on

Not too young. My kids were younger than that when we'd go up into the city from NJ. They loved the Central Park Zoo and the Museum of Natural History with all the dinosaurs.

Have everyone wear a small backpack with supplies to make things easier for you. Have identifying info in each backpack, just in case.

I think that everything you are talking about here is great. Just do different things and enjoy!!

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answers from Williamsport on

My kids LOVE NYC! My enthusiasm may rub off on them, but they LOVE it. I used to live there and now I live 3 hours away so we've been a few times a t various ages. They are 3, 5 and 7. The only "expensive" thing I've done was the double decker ride-which they LOVED but we could have done a shorter one and it would have sufficed-they were sort of over it after about 20 minutes. We did the whole Upper West Side/Harlem and down and disembarked at the Met. They liked the Met OK but were getting hungry....what they loved the best of all was getting popsicles at a stand after that and playing in a normal playground in Central Park. We should have stayed in the park longer-they loved it, but off we rushed to the ferry to Williamsburg-which they loved, and then a hike through Williamsburg Brooklyn to friend's house, stopping to play in parks on the way, they LOVE the neighborhoods, and only my 3 year old had to rely on stroller..The older two also loved riding razr scooter around Brooklyn. My oldest loves buying snacks in Delis. They just have so much fun with the hustle and bustle and interacting with people. You're right, don't spend a fortune on tourist stuff, just hanging around the city is so fun. We didn't hit any shops in Time Square or anything, we kept it pretty low key except for the buses and Met. The Tenement Museum would be great for your kid's ages though. My kids also love calling taxis, they think it's awesome. There is a great park under the Manhattan Bridge in Dumbo near the huge carousel. They loved going over Brooklyn Bridge. Heck I almost lost my mind in a traffic jam on Canal street and they were entertained the whole time just people watching. Yours are not too young at all. There are so many things awesome for that age...Natural History Museum the list is LONG. Google "best kid stuff in NY" and there are lots of top ten lists. I think Time Out has a good one.

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answers from Las Vegas on

Our youngest was 5 and just about to start Kindergarten when we went to NYC. He remembers everything!

A year after the trip, when his first grade teacher was doing some sort of presentation, he raised his hand and explained that the picture she was showing was Central Park in NY. She said, "Well, yes, it is! How do you know that?" He replied, "I was there last year with my family." (Teacher relayed this story to me, laughing, and thought it was funny that he was so matter of fact about it).

He still recalls the broadway musicals we saw, and can identify many of the songs before I know what they are. He remembers Ellis Island, and loved the statue of liberty so much, he built a replica with mega blocks when we got home. We went to the WTC site, although it was still under construction, and we shared age-appropriate information with him---which is good because they do talk about this, even in the primary years of elementary school. We toured the NYSE and wandered around Chinatown and Little Italy with no complaints about boredom.

The only down side was that at the end of the day, he'd want me or dad to carry him, but I can't fault him for that at only 5. With the age of your kids, that won't be a problem.

In short, it was live education all while we were having great family fun. I think your kids will do just fine, especially if you're excited about it and give them a little preliminary information before you go.

If you arrive early enough on the first day, you'd have time to go to American Girl store or walk around Central Park before going to the show. Or, if you have time the next day before you leave, depending on where you're staying, you may have time to do a little tour. Ask your kids what they might be interested in seeing. If you can't squeeze all of their interests in this time, it will give them something to look forward to on your next trip.

Good luck and hope you have a fun time!

J. F.

ETA: I don't agree that at 7 and 9 your children are too young for WICKED. We took our 5 year-old, and he did fine. He saw it again last year, at age 7 and still no problem. I know you want to go to Annie this time, but keep Wicked in mind for another trip. It's fabulous!

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answers from Miami on

Oh my daughter went around that age and loved it. There are some special places you can take them they will really enjoy. We took a subway ride to the museum. We spent an afternoons at Bryant park where they have story telling and the grassy area where kids run and play. Of course central park and the rock climbing. Battery park to see the Statute of Liberty and then over to the cement playground. A broadway play (we saw The Little Mermaid). FAO Schwartz, the toy store. My daughter loved being able to create her own barbie doll. And the big piano on the floor is really there at FAO. Double decker bus ride. Though after the first block I had to have her switch places. She kept wanting to stick her hand out the side. They closed Broadway in many areas and they have people performing in that area.

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answers from New York on

If you can't see Annie, try "Into the Woods". They are at a good age, and NYC has cleaned up a lot over the years. For a bit of local stuff, you might want to look at the mommypoppins page for what's going on in town on the days you are here.

Rockefeller Center's top of the Rock is a good alternative to the empire state building.

Statue of liberty can be seen for free from the staten island ferry.

Consider a ball game if they are into that sort of thing.

Good luck to you and yours,
F. B.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

They are plenty old enough. The Bronx Zoo is vastly superior to the Central Park Zoo. Although Central Park has a lot going for it. The Museum of Natural History is great. They are WAY WAY WAY too young for Wicked though. We first took my son to NYC when he was two - but that was simply because he always travels with us

ETA- Wicked is extremely loud and has much frightening violent and sexual content. I was really shocked to see several kids there when I saw it - I assumed the parents had either not read the book nor seen the show before.

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answers from Los Angeles on

It's the perfect age. My kids are 13 and 8.5 and have almost gone every year for a few days. My oldest is tired of it. My youngest is not.

Skip the Empire State Building. Rockerfeller Center is nicer (cleaner) faster to get up there (no winding lines) and has a gorgeous view. Might be more expensive. AG store is across the street.

- Central Park Zoo (pedi cab ride in the park)
- Walk through CP
- Museum of Natural History
- Popover's Restaurant on the Upper West Side - the kids love going there
- Annie definitely (We scored $25 tickets to Wicked on our last trip. Student Rush seats - it's a lottery day of the performance.)
- Toys R Us in Times Square has a giant ferris wheel inside. My kids love Times Square.
- subway, bus and taxi rides

I took them to Soho on the last trip and they enjoyed it. Especially the older one who was sneaker shopping at the time.

I've never taken them to the Statue of Liberty. Maybe if I go in the summer. I hear the crown is open now, but there are limited tickets to go up.

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answers from New York on

7 and 9 are great ages. They will remember for sure. Empire State Building is a must for sure. Statue of Liberty too. If you do. OT want to foot the Statue, take the Staten Island Ferry. The kids can get a good view ands it is free.

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answers from Cumberland on

Go! The last trip with all the children together was 1994-they were 11,9,7,5,3-my girlfriend took her twins-age 11-we had a blast-went during Christmas-the best!

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answers from Philadelphia on

Definitely old enough and they will LOVE Annie. We started taking our girls to Broadway shows when they were 3 yo. They are now 10 and 15 and like me, they love NYC.
We some times stay in Jersey (Jersy City /Hoboken area) and take a 15 minute ride on the Path to Times Square. Hotels run around $200/night which is much less expensive then staying in the city. Also parking is only $10 / night.

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answers from Kansas City on

My son and I were in the city last year when he was 4 1/2 and it was the perfect age! He loved(!) the Empire State Building, the Natural History Museum, the food everywhere and just walking around. I loved that at that age he still rode subways, NJ transit and LIRR for free and was discounted admission to things. :)

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