The Upper Westside with Kids

The Upper Westside with Kids, New York, New York (A)

Further afoot from the bustle of midtown, the Upper West Side is a good base for seeing the rest of Manhattan. Lined with brownstones, museums, and adjacent to Central Park, this neighborhood emits a low key residential feel while possessing several unique sightseeing spots. When visiting NYC with children, base yourself here.
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Walk Route

Guide Name: The Upper Westside with Kids
Guide Location: USA » New York
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 4.0 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Author: Melissa Ruttanai
Author Bio: An avid traveler, Melissa Ruttanai has visited over 25 countries and lived in both Japan and Thailand. Her travel articles have been published by and On Holiday Magazine. She currently lives with her husband in New York.
Author Website:
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Children’s Museum of Manhattan
  • Hayden Planetarium
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • NY Historical Society
  • Alice’s Tea Cup
  • The Carousel in Central Park
  • Columbus Circle
Children’s Museum of Manhattan

1) Children’s Museum of Manhattan

Here, playtime is all the time. Geared for newborns to 8 year olds, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan has five floors of permanent and temporary exhibits that are fully hands-on and imaginative. Two floors house permanent exhibits for kids to run, build and navigate through. Watch your kids climb bridges with Dora the Explorer and Diego. Or head up to the 3rd floor for the Playworks Rooms full of buses, miniature houses, castles, slides, grocery stores, and couches. Temporary exhibits are rotated often to keep loyal members entertained. Walk-in workshops are held every half hour and cover an range of topics from biology to citizenship. Artwork adorns the walls so your kids are literally running along side Peter Rabbit and the Frog and Toad. Outside, kids can play in the City Splash, a water jungle that cools kids off while teaching them about the water cycle and environment. Admission is free on the first Friday of each month. Check schedules for special classes and shows. Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm. 212-721-1223.
Hayden Planetarium

2) Hayden Planetarium

With a Supersaver or Museum Plus One Combination Ticket, enter the Hayden Planetarium on the first floor of the American Museum of Natural History. Supported in part by the Rose Center for Earth and Space as well as the AMNH, the planetarium focuses on “the frontier of astrophysics” with exhibits, programs, and online resources all geared toward a better understanding of topics including: the Milky Way, NASA, and UFOs. Hayden Planetarium is comprised of two floors. The Star Theater offers high-resolution, full dome videos such as journey to the stars, meteorites, and cosmic collisions. On the second floor, the Big Bang Theater is a permanent exhibit, showcasing a brief history into the origins of time and space. In this hall, investigate the Heilbrunn Cosmic Pathway and Scales of the Universe. Hours: Weekdays 10:30am-4:30pm. Weekends: 10:30-5pm. 212-769-5100.
Image Courtesy of Fritz Geller-Grimm.
American Museum of Natural History

3) American Museum of Natural History

At the American Museum of Natural History, kids drop their jaws at gigantic dinosaurs staring them down and a 94-foot whale suspended in mid-swim. 45 halls represent evolution allowing kids to explore the sea, land and air. Watch as your children get up close and personal with the exhibits, circle a T-Rex, measure themselves against a Sequoia tree, and dodge a stampede of elephants in the Hall of African Mammals. Plan ahead and your children can experience one of the best programs at the AMNH, a sleepover called Night at the Museum. When the regular visiting hours have ended, kids and guardians get extra time with dinosaurs, bears, lions, and birds. At bedtime, settle into your sleeping bag under the great whale in the Hall of Ocean Life. Call ahead for reservations. Free Tours are available. iPhone/iPod Touch users can download a free Explorer App for the halls or borrow one from the Explorer’s Desk. In the main hall, purchase the Supersaver or Museum Plus One Ticket to gain access to the Hayden Planetarium. Museum hours: 10am-5:45pm daily except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. 212-769-5200.
NY Historical Society

4) NY Historical Society

Founded in 1804, the New York Historical Society chronicles over four centuries of American History. With over 40,000 objects in its permanent collection, this museum houses important artifacts and relics from Dutch settlement to present day. Their focus remains on the foundation of the nation as well as the role of New York and its people within the greater perspective of American history. The collections range from early European settlements to the Underground Railroad and 9/11. The library is one of the oldest research libraries in the US with over 3 million print artifacts such as books, maps, and photographs. With renovations set to finish in November 2011, the museum will house several new galleries, a film theatre, café, and Central Park West façade. Self-guided audio tours are available. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10-6pm. Sunday 11-5pm. Fridays open until 8pm. 212-873-3400.
Image Courtesy of Opal_Art_Seekers_4.
Alice’s Tea Cup

5) Alice’s Tea Cup

Step into Wonderland for a Mad Hatter Tea Party. Alice’s Tea Cup is designed just for kids. From the purple awning and massive cookies to artwork on the walls and dreamy lights twinkling from the ceiling. Afternoon tea in this fairytale restaurant offers a pot of one of their 140 teas, scones with preserves, and sandwiches. Ala carte is also available for salads, eggs, croquettes, cakes, muffins, biscotti, and ice cream sandwiches. Alice never had it so good. Young patrons get a sprinkling of pixie dust and fairy wings to wear during afternoon tea. Cakes can be delivered. Birthday parties welcome. Hours daily 8am-8pm. 212-799-3006
The Carousel in Central Park

6) The Carousel in Central Park

Nothing’s better than enjoying a stroll through open fields and along wide paths. Neighborhood kids come to Central Park to practice soccer and pitch a baseball. Head south toward the carousel and visit small playgrounds along the way. Break out a Frisbee or spread a blanket for some afternoon sun. Stop to view the sculptures such as the Falconer and Daniel Webster and then throw a penny into the Cherry Hill Fountain. Close to a quarter million people ride the Central Park carousel each year as the music plays and 57 horses gallop away. Restored fully in 1990, the carousel is open daily, weather permitting.
Image Courtesy of BrokenSphere.
Columbus Circle

7) Columbus Circle

Columbus Circle is a sparkling conglomerate of utility and sophistication. Come here to find fine dining, excellent shopping, and even music and arts. A major transportation hub, thousands of people pass through the circle every day, making this spot a great place to people watch once you’ve had your share of browsing the elegant boutiques. If you’re hungry, find a snack at the massive Whole Foods Market or commit to a longer meal in one of the restaurants. While here, ask the concierge desk about events offered within the complex or wander through the Time Warner Center, a cross roads of business, culture and art. Check out Jazz at the Lincoln Center, the first venue dedicated solely to jazz and housing recording studios, classrooms, and performance halls. Hours: Monday-Saturday 10-9pm. Sunday 11-7pm. 212-823-6300
Image Courtesy of Aude.

Walking Tours in New York, New York

Create Your Own Walk in New York

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
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Columbia University Walking Tour

Columbia University Walking Tour

Established in 1754, Columbia University is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and the fifth-oldest in the U.S. It is one of nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence, a member of the prestigious Ivy League, and is ranked among the top universities in the world.

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Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
NYC's Chinatown and Little Italy Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Times Square to Central Park

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
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New York's Central Park Walking Tour

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The first public park built in America and the most famous in the world today, Central Park has been called the lungs of New York City – literally “central”, it is where Manhattanites go to get a sense of space and air. Plan for at least half a day to wander along its many pathways, take a rowboat on the water, enjoy the landscaping and the numerous man-made wonders, spend some time at the...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles
Grand Central Station to Union Square

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Despite being smaller than almost everything around it, including the humongous MetLife Building that dwarfs it from behind, the Grand Central Terminal is just so gorgeous and palatial-looking that it still manages to be the centerpiece of the whole East Side of Midtown Manhattan. Passing from here to Union Square, our self-guided tour is bound to introduce you to some of New York City’s most...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles

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