Sunday Family Exploration: Manhattan Musts

At ages 8 and 12, my kids are finally at a stage in childhood where we no longer need to lug juice boxes, strollers or a diaper bag when we go out. We’re completely mobile, which means this Big Apple of ours is ripe for some good old family exploration.  And September is the quintessential time to peruse all the tourist attractions they could ever want. Of course, all of these day-long excursions will begin on the iconic and most quintessential New York City attraction, the Staten Island Ferry — still the cheapest and breeziest way to make it into the city.

Picture courtesy of
Picture courtesy of

So if you find yourself home on a weekend with nothing to do — keep reading for attractions that are literally right in our back yard.

Here are just a FEW New York City Museums worth HITTING UP!

El Museo del Barrio (212) 831-7272

Museum of the City of New York (212) 534-1672

The Jewish Museum (212) 423-3200

Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution (212) 849-8400

National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts (212) 369-4880

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (212) 423-3500

Neue Galerie New York (212) 628-6200

Goethe-Institut New York/German Cultural Center (212) 439-8700

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (212) 535-7710


The Full Island Cruise provides families with three hours to discover the secrets of the city’s three rivers, seven major bridges, boroughs, over 25 world-renowned landmarks and, of course, a magnificent close-up of Lady Liberty.

Address : Pier 83, West 42nd Street and Hudson.

What kids will go gaga for : Being out on the open water, getting up close to the Statue of Liberty, seeing Yankee Stadium and learning fun facts from their tour guide.

Parent perks : Using the tour as a way to bond with their children while taking in the sights of the city and learning some new facts about the Manhattan themselves.

Overall : The Full Island Cruise offers exquisite views of the Manhattan skyline and its harbor landmarks. It will be a lifelong memory for kids and parents.

Information : Call 212-563-3200 or visit


Families can wander around this waterfront area, which includes Piers 15, 16 and 17 and be privy to street performers like mimes, musicians and jugglers. They can explore the Seaport Museum, which houses the city’s largest concentration of restored early 19th-century commercial buildings and partake in its family programs and arts and crafts — all with a nautical flair. Families also can peruse historical ships like The Peking.

Address : South Street Seaport, entrance on Fulton Street and Water Street. Museum is at 12 Fulton St.

What kids will go gaga for :Daily: Perusing the ship and the Seaport’s Imagination Playground at Burling Slip and South Street, where they can play with wheelbarrows, buckets, rope, foamy blue shapes, sand and water.

Parent perks :Kids will get a sense of the Seaport’s historic past traversing its cobblestone streets, exhibition galleries, a working 19th-century print shop, archaeology center, marine life conservation lab and the largest privately owned fleet of historic ships in the country. Parents will enjoy the Fulton Stall Market, a local food and crafts market, and a distinct mix of shops, restaurants and cafes.

Overall :The perfect chance for kids to interact with city history in a fun, carefree manner.

Information :Visit


This pass offers free entry to your choice of 55 attractions — from the Empire State Building’s Observation Deck, a backstage tour of Lincoln Center to free admission to museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And its 170-plus page planning guide with localized maps offers families an opportunity to plan their own itinerary.

What kids will go gaga for : Creating their own themed itinerary and enjoying attractions sans long lines. For Harry Potter fans, free admission to the exhibit at Discovery Times Square; for wannabe theater divas, a backstage tour of Radio City Music Hall; for adventurers, a New York-themed scavenger hunt.

Parent perks :New York City and American history are a large part of many attractions. Embarking on a family adventure without having to pack up and drive somewhere far away is an added bonus; the included department stores discounts are redeemable for a year.

Overall: The New York Pass provides a chance to experience the cultural and recreational treasures in your own back yard.

Information Visit or call 877-714-1999.


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