Manhattan is one of those great American cities that’s on everyone’s list to visit. While it’s busy and overstimulating at times, New York City with a baby can be an incredible family vacation. We visited NYC when our daughter was 10 months old. It was our third time visiting NYC, but we were thrilled to spend a week in NYC with our baby.
New York City with a Baby
- What makes New York City with a baby so great?
- Where to Stay in NYC with a Baby
- Getting Around New York City with a Baby
- Getting from the Airport to your Hotel with a baby in NYC
- Best things to do with in NYC with a Baby
- Walking Across the Brooklyn Bridge with a Baby
- Brooklyn Bridge Park
- Top of the Rock with a Baby
- Central Park
- Iconic Midtown Buildings
- The American Museum of Natural History
- Times Square
- New York Yankees Game
- Chelsea Market
- Walking the High Line NYC with a Stroller
- Empire State Building with a Baby
- Staten Island Ferry with a Baby
- Battery Park
- 9/11 Memorial & Museum
- Museum of Modern Art
- What to pack for NYC with a Baby
- Pin It For Later!
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What makes New York City with a baby so great?
Traveling with a baby means getting to still see what you want to see, which is perfect for visiting NYC. We consider a place to be baby-friendly when parents traveling with babies are made to feel welcome. And this was definitely the case when we were in NYC with our baby.
In addition, we love a city where there’s plenty of things to do and it’s easy to get around. Even better if we can get almost everywhere by walking with our baby in a stroller or a carrier. Getting around NYC with a toddler or a baby is pretty straight forward as you can walk almost everywhere.
Finally, we especially like it if we can pack for a trip with our baby as minimally as possible. We look for ways that we can avoid traveling with all that baby gear. New York City with a baby was pretty easy to do this.
We didn’t need to travel with a car seat, the hotel provided a travel crib and we rented a stroller, which was waiting for us at our hotel.
Where to Stay in NYC with a Baby
The best location for your hotel depends on what your priorities are while in New York City:
If you are visiting New York to see the major tourist attractions (Empire State Building, Broadway, Times Square and Central Park), your best bet will be to stay within Midtown Manhattan. This neighborhood has it all for traveling parents.
The vast majority of NYC’s attractions are in Midtown and can be easily reached by walking. In addition, there are tons of baby-friendly restaurants, amenities, pharmacies and grocery stores.
If you are visiting New York City primarily for shopping, your best bet will be to stay in the Upper East Side. This area features less tourist attractions, but is a little more upscale and is focused more on high-end shopping and restaurants. This is a very nice area, but the downside is its distance from Midtown.
Since we were traveling with a 10 month old, we were content to stay in a hotel. We wanted to enjoy NYC take-out and not worry about cooking. All we needed was a hotel on a quiet street that provided a baby crib.
We decided to stay at the Jewel Hotel near Rockefeller Center in Midtown. It was central to most of the NYC attractions we wanted to visit and allowed us to get around by walking. It was also conveniently located within two blocks of four subway stations.
Out of habit, we booked a hotel room in New York City. On our next trip to London, we discovered that Airbnb’s are often a better option for traveling with a baby. You will appreciate having a separate room for your baby, laundry facilities and a kitchen. There are plenty of family-friendly Airbnb’s in Manhattan.
Getting Around New York City with a Baby
The easiest way to get around New York City with a toddler or a baby is walking! NYC is a very walkable city and you can walk freely with your stroller on the sidewalks virtually everywhere.
Taking the Subway
Public transit in NYC is amongst the best in the world. A testament to this fact is that more than half of New Yorker’s do not own a car, despite being in a country where nearly everyone has a car.
Given how walkable NYC is, you will likely use the subway only if you need to go somewhere further afield. If possible, try to take an Express subway, as they don’t stop at every station. Local trains, on the other hand, stop at every station along the way and therefore take longer.
Hop-on Hop-off Buses
Hop-on Hop-off buses are an easy and interesting way to see the top sights in NYC. From the open-air upper deck you’ll have an excellent vantage point to view the town while en route. Just be aware that this can be a slow way to get around, if you are short on time.
You can’t bring your stroller to the upper deck, but there is room to store your stroller on the bottom deck. Make sure your lightweight travel stroller is easy to collapse. If you hope to sit on the upper deck, bring a baby carrier instead of (or along with) your stroller and be sure to bring along some sun protection for your baby.
CitySightseeing is a world-wide leader in Hop-on Hop-off buses. Easily see all corners of Manhattan with CitySightseeing’s four bus routes. You can even see the Statue of Liberty and the famous Manhattan skyline from the water with the included 90-minute sightseeing ferry tour.
Getting from the Airport to your Hotel with a baby in NYC
Don’t bother renting a car in NYC. Traffic is awful and parking is very expensive and hard to find.
Taking an Uber in NYC with a Baby
New parents visiting New York with a baby are lucky – NYC is one of the only locations in the world where you can request a car seat for your Uber ride. Simply select “Car Seat” from the list of available vehicle types.
Sign up for Uber and get a discount on your first your first ride…
We have a great post about using ridesharing services with a baby.
NYC Private Transfer
If you want a little bit of affordable luxury after flying with your baby, book a private transfer. You can prebook an infant car seat (9+ months old) and your driver will meet you at the arrival gate. Strollers are also acceptable luggage, but factor this in to the size of car you order.
If you wish to leave your infant car seat at home, a private transfer is your best bet.
NYC Taxi with a Baby
Although you can take your baby in a NYC taxi without a car seat, why take the risk? Use the Uber Car Seat program or book a private transfer instead.
Taking an Airport Bus
An airport bus is a convenient alternative to travel from the NYC airports to Manhattan. These specially designed buses have a section for luggage as well as a seating area.
NYC Airporter – offers service between the JFK & LaGuardia airports and Manhattan. In Manhattan, the bus stops at three locations: Grand Central Station, Penn Bus Terminal and Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Newark Airport Express – offers service between the Newark airport and Manhattan. In Manhattan, the bus stops at three locations: Port Authority Bus Station, Bryant Park and Grand Central Station
Taking the Subway/Train
Getting into Manhattan from the NYC airports can get expensive. If you are traveling on a budget, traveling from the NYC airports to Manhattan by public transportation is a good option under the right circumstances.
The NYC subway system is very crowded and the stations have turnstiles and stairs to deal with. We recommend taking public transit from the NYC airports only if you are traveling light and have your baby in a carrier (not a stroller).
Here is how to get from the NYC airports to Manhattan by public transportation:
- JFK Airport: There are two ways to get to Manhattan from JFK. Both options begin by taking the JFK AirTrain to the MTA Jamaica Station. From there the cheaper, yet longer way entails taking an “E” line subway train into Manhattan. The faster, but more expensive option is to take the Long Island Rail Road to Penn Station.
- LaGuardia Airport: Travelers arriving at LaGuardia may access the NYC subway system by taking the Q70 bus from the airport to the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Av subway station. From there you may connect to an E, F, M, R or 7 subway train, all of which serve different areas of Manhattan.
- Newark Airport: There are two ways to get to Manhattan from Newark. Both options begin by taking the Newark AirTrain to the Newark Liberty Airport Station. From there you may take the Amtrak or the NJ Transit train to Penn Station in Manhattan. Each option takes approximately 30 minutes from the departure time of your train.
Best things to do with in NYC with a Baby
Walking Across the Brooklyn Bridge with a Baby
Built in 1883, this iconic bridge spans 1,595 feet/486 meters and is a National Historic Landmark. Walking across it from Brooklyn to Manhattan is a quintessential New York experience and definitely one of best things to do with babies in NYC.
Prior to walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, we went to the Brooklyn Bridge Park to enjoy views of the bridge and to take some amazing pictures of the skyline. From the park it was a 1km/0.6mi walk to the stroller friendly entrance to the bridge (found at the intersection of Tillary Street and Adams Street).
Once we found the entrance to the bridge, the walk was very enjoyable. The views of the skyline, the other bridges, the Statue of Liberty, etc. are all so amazing. The only downside is the crowds, so we suggest going as early as you can to make the walk more enjoyable.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Sitting on the shore of the East River in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge, this eighty-five acre park offers world class views of the Manhattan skyline. It’s a great place to stop and enjoy the views before heading across the Brooklyn Bridge.
The park has paved pathways and is fully accessible by stroller.
If you are visiting NYC with a toddler, there is a playground specifically for kids aged 0-4 at Pier 1, a beach at Pier 4 and a sandbox at Pier 6. If your baby is old enough to sit upright, the carousel within the Empire Fulton Ferry section of the park will be fun for them
Top of the Rock with a Baby
The Top of the Rock is a three story observation deck on the 67th, 69th and 70th floors of 30 Rockefeller Centre. Once at the top, incredible views of the iconic NYC skyline are everywhere. They have thick glass panels from the floor which you can look through to get unobstructed views of New York.
Perhaps it was the time of day or because there are three floors of observation decks but it never felt crowded throughout our visit. We easily walked around to get the views from all sides and even gave our daughter some time to play, something we have found is crucial when traveling with a baby.
Though we didn’t bring our stroller, the Top of the Rock is fully stroller accessible, however their rules state the stroller must be collapsible.
Top of the Rock tickets are assigned an entry time. You can skip the line by buying your Top of The Rock tickets online and selecting what time you wish to go to the top. Selecting the exact time may be difficult for some parents traveling to NYC with an infant, baby or toddler, but the option is available if you are confident in your arrival time.
The New York CityPASS includes admission tickets to Top of the Rock, allowing you to reserve your timed ticket in advance.
A masterpiece of urban design, this 843 acre park is a National Historic Landmark and the heart of New York City. As you’d expect, Central Park is very stroller friendly.
Visiting Central Park is one of the best things to do in NYC with toddlers or a baby. It is the perfect place to slow down when traveling with a baby in NYC or let your toddler burn off some energy. We laid out a blanket and enjoyed a picnic lunch. Our daughter quickly discovered what grass tastes like (she didn’t like it) and how funny squirrels are. She loved to watch them chase each other!
We stopped at Central Park often during our time in NYC with a baby. It was the perfect place to let our daughter play and burn some energy after being in the stroller.
Iconic Midtown Buildings
Manhattan is home to many of the world’s most iconic buildings. There’s just something about walking the streets of Manhattan, and seeing buildings like the Chrysler Building, Grand Central Terminal, the Empire State Building and the Flat Iron Building. Walking the NYC streets to see these iconic buildings is a great thing to do during nap time!
The American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s most respected scientific institutions. With displays ranging from dinosaur bones to a replica blue whale, this museum is fun for all ages.
The entire museum is stroller friendly. The stroller entrance can be found on the north end of the museum on 81st Street.
This is not your ordinary, quiet museum. It will likely be crawling with hundreds of very excited (and loud) school kids on field trips. Do not count on this as an easy place to bring your baby for a nap.
Admission to the American Museum of Natural History is included with the New York CityPASS.
Times Square is home to the Broadway theater district, the world famous New Year’s Eve ball drop, towering billboard ads & TV screens, countless stores and restaurants. It’s easy to see why this is one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions.
Times Square is a stretch of six city blocks. As long as you don’t mind the crowds, you will have no issues pushing a stroller here.
Traveling to Manhattan with a baby or toddler, you are not likely to go out and enjoy the spectacle late at night unless your baby is good at sleeping on-the-go. If not, don’t worry it doesn’t mean you have to go without. Try going to Times Square just as it starts to get dark out to see all of the lights and screens turned on.
We decided to walk through Times Square on our way to and from dinner and were able to see what it looks like all lit up at night.
New York Yankees Game
What is more American than baseball? And who is better at baseball than the Yankees? They have won more World Series’ than any other team in Major League Baseball. Going to see a New York Yankees game in the Bronx is a great excuse to leave Manhattan.
You can theoretically get here with an Uber, but it’s far enough that realistically you should take the subway. The “D” line is an express train that skips most stops from Midtown to Yankee Stadium, meaning you can make the trip in approx 30 minutes. The 161st Street – Yankee Stadium subway station is literally at the front door of the stadium.
Strollers are allowed within Yankee Stadium, however they expect you to store them under your seats. If your stroller is too big to store under your seats, you can leave it with the Guest Relations department, adjacent to Gate 6 in the Great Hall.
There can be up to 50,000 fans going to any given Yankees game, plus a 3 hour game (+ travel time) can be a long outing with a baby. We recommend arriving a little late and leaving a little early.
We also recommend getting seats in the shade, as Yankee Stadium is an open air stadium. The only area where you will be able to find shade for the full game is the “Grandstand Level” seats.
Our daughter got tired after a few innings, so I took her in the carrier and walked around the concourse level until she fell asleep. She stayed asleep until the bottom of the eighth inning, when we left to beat the crowds. Looking around, at least half the people leaving a little early had a baby with them!
Housed in the reclaimed National Biscuit Company factory, the trendy Chelsea Market is home to over 35 unique food vendors and is also home to the Food TV studios (which isn’t open to the public).
Strollers can easily navigate the main hallways of the market. We didn’t go into all the stores, but it seemed that most were accommodating to strollers.
This is the perfect place to stop for a bite before or after walking the High Line.
The market is a very fun and trendy place to be. It’s filled with all kinds of interesting shops and good restaurants. We stopped and had a very tasty lunch at Los Tacos No. 1, which at the time of our visit was ranked #3 (out of 12,000) restaurants on TripAdvisor for all the restaurants in NYC.
Walking the High Line NYC with a Stroller
An excellent example of urban renewal, the High Line is a 1.5 mile/2.4km long park created on a disused section of an elevated railroad track. Walking through the park is a fun and easy way to see the trendy Manhattan neighborhoods of Chelsea and the Meatpacking District.
There are five elevators along the route which allow for easy access with a stroller up to the park: Gansevoort Street, 14th Street, West 16th Street, 23rd Street and West 30th Street. Once up in the park, you will have no issues with your stroller.
The High Line is a great place for a walk with a baby or toddler in NYC. The urban designers did a wonderful job with this former eyesore, turning it into a beautiful park which gives the public a chance at seeing the city from a unique perspective. Our only complaint was that it was over too quickly! It took us just over 30 minutes to walk from end to end.
If your visit to the park is around midday, walk from the south to the north so the sun will be at your back, not in your eyes.
Empire State Building with a Baby
As we were walking back to our hotel from The High Line, we decided to check the line at the Empire State Building. The line-up to buy tickets went quickly, but the security was painful.
Similar to an airport security check, we had to remove everything from our stroller. Some people in line were taking their stroller apart to put it through the security scanner machines, but we were able to get a manual screening of ours.
Between security lines and “optional” souvenir photos, there were five separate line-ups to get to the top…Once we got to the 86th floor, we were greeted by a set of stairs which takes you outside to the observation deck, so we lifted our stroller up the stairs (no one told us about needing to fold up your stroller at the top).
It was nearly impossible to get a good view through all the people taking selfies, unless you were very patient or pushed your way through to get right up close to the cement wall and metal bars. Needless to say, we did not stay long.
Tips for Visiting the Empire State Building with a Baby
You may bring a stroller to the Empire State Building, but it must be collapsed to go through the airport-style security checks, in the elevators and again on the observation decks. We recommend leaving the stroller at home for this attraction and bring a wrap or carrier instead.
If your schedule permits, visit between 8-11AM to avoid the peak crowds. You can save time by buying your skip-the-line tickets in advance.
Granted the time of day for our visit and the fact that we were dealing with a stroller played into the frustration during our visit to the Empire State Building, but we found the Top of the Rock to be a noticeably better experience. Not only are the views just as good (or better) but you actually get to see the Empire State Building!
Admission to the Empire State Building is included with the New York CityPASS.
Staten Island Ferry with a Baby
Though it is officially in service to transport commuters between the boroughs of Staten Island and Manhattan, many tourists take advantage of the free Staten Island ferry service to enjoy the excellent views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the Manhattan skyline.
You can easily take a stroller onto the Staten Island ferry, but the outside areas where people crowd in to get pictures of the Statue of Liberty will be too crowded for you to bring your stroller.
It’s only about five minutes after departure when the Staten Island ferry approaches the Statue of Liberty. We got close enough to get a decent view of it, but had difficulties getting a good picture as people were jockeying for position.
Once the ferry passed the Statue of Liberty, the madness subsided a little bit. We took a stroll to the back of the ferry to get a spectacular view of the Lower Manhattan skyline.
Twenty minutes after departure, we arrived in Staten Island and we had to disembark the ferry. Like most people on the ferry, we weren’t staying so we followed the crowd to reboard the ferry for an immediate return trip.
The Staten Island ferry departs Manhattan at the Whitehall Terminal near Battery Park.
Located at the southern tip of Manhattan, Battery Park is one of the oldest parks in NYC. In addition to offering a touch of green to the financial district, it offers a nice view of the Statue of Liberty.
We got off the ferry and took a walk through nearby Battery Park. The views of the water and of the Statue of Liberty are quite nice from here. We would have liked to spend more time here, but we really wanted to visit the World Trade Center memorial.
9/11 Memorial & Museum
Located at the site of the World Trade Center 9/11 attacks, this memorial and museum remembers and honors the thousands of innocent men, women, and children murdered by terrorists in the horrific attacks of February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001.
You can easily take a stroller to the memorial and museum, however oversize and jogging strollers are prohibited inside the museum and cannot be stored at the coat checks.
The two Memorial pools at the World Trade Center site are beautiful. We both thought they were a perfect way to remember those who lost their lives on this site.
Museum of Modern Art
Home to artwork by Picasso, Cézanne, Dalí, Matisse, Monet, van Gough, Warhol and many more, the Museum of Modern Art is one of the foremost museums of modern art in the world.
If you wanted to visit another museum in NYC, MoMA is very stroller friendly. You will be able to access all floors via an elevator and you can easily navigate your way through all the exhibits.
Friday nights are free between 5:30-9PM. MoMA has a private restroom on the 5th floor for breastfeeding.
Admission to the Museum of Modern Art is included with the New York CityPASS.
What to pack for NYC with a Baby
We have a complete packing list for travel with a baby, but we included a few items to pack for NYC with a toddler or baby below. We also recommend reading our tips for flying with a baby. If you are traveling to NYC with a toddler, we also have tips on flying with toddlers and the best ways to get your toddler to sleep on an airplane.
- The most important things to pack for traveling to NYC with a baby is a good baby carrier for travel and a lightweight travel stroller.
- We also recommend a CoziGo Stroller Cover to keep your baby out of the sun.
- We had a My Little Seat travel seat for feeding our baby in our hotel room. This was our favorite portable travel high chair because it packed down so small and was easy to bring with us on our daily outings too.
- If your hotel doesn’t offer a baby crib, you can pack your own baby travel crib or a toddler travel bed. If you are sharing a hotel room with a baby or toddler, we recommend a SlumberPod privacy pod to create a private sleeping area for your baby.
- For the international flight with our baby, we packed her favorite toys from this list of best airplane travel toys for babies and toddlers.
- Other items to pack for New York City with a baby are a portable change mat and a good baby sun hat.