Her Favorite Things to Do, See & Eat, Plus a Fun Map & Coloring Pages
Shannon Jones is a Guest Writer with KeeKee’s Big Adventures
New York City, The Big Apple, the City that Never Sleeps; it’s one of the world’s most popular and well-known cities with something for everyone in the family!
New York City has five sections called boroughs, each with its own neighborhoods and cultures. The core is Manhattan, and there’s the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.
The bustling city has it all, from iconic sites and world-class museums to Broadway theater and food from around the world.
When KeeKee, star of the award-winning children’s book series KeeKee’s Big Adventures & AAA’s Family Travel Mascot, visits New York City, here are her favorite things to do, see and eat.
Visit the Statue of Liberty
Officially called “The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World,” the Statue was a gift from France to the United States to mark the 100th anniversary of American independence. Dedicated in 1886, Lady Liberty symbolizes freedom, hope, and democracy around the world. She greeted millions of immigrants to start a new life as they came to America.
The Statue arrived from France in 350 individual pieces packed in 214 crates. She stands 305 feet tall (the height of a 22-story building) and weighs 225 tons (more than 40 elephants).
Her attire is designed after the Roman liberty goddess. Her tiara has seven spikes representing the seven seas and seven continents of the world. She holds a torch above her head in her right hand and holds a tablet in her left hand inscribed with Roman numerals of the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.
KeeKee’s favorite thing to do is visit the Statue of Liberty’s crown! Make sure you get tickets months in advance for this special activity.
You can reach the Statue of Liberty National Monument by taking the Statue Cruises official ferry from Battery Park in Lower Manhattan. Buy your tickets to enter there as well, or once your trip is booked, purchase your tickets in advance online.
Stroll around Central Park
Considered New York City’s backyard, the Park spans 843-acres and is 51 blocks long. There’s so much here to explore.
- Take a spin on the Carousel. Featuring calliope music and 57 horses, it’s one of the largest carousels in the U.S.
- Play on one (or all) of the 21 playgrounds.
- Make a wish at Bethesda Fountain. You’ll find it in the heart of Central Park, topped with the Angel of the Water statue. The fountain commemorates the opening of the Croton Aqueduct, which first brought fresh water to New York City in 1842. You and your kids may recognize it from the movie Elf.
- Rent a rowboat at the Central Park Boathouse.
- Go to the Central Park Zoo, one of the oldest in the country, with 7 acres of tropical birds, snow leopards, seals, snow monkeys, and one of the nation’s largest colonies of Antarctic penguins.
- Conservatory Water is full of fun for the kids. You can rent miniature boats from Kerbs Boathouse. There are also two great statues, one of Alice in Wonderland and one of children’s book author Hans Christian Andersen. Saturdays during the summer feature storytimes at the statue.
- Ice Skate in the Winter on one of the Park’s ice rinks, Wollman Rink or Lasker Rink. Both offer skate and locker rentals.
Central Park stretches from 59th Street to 110th Street, between Fifth Avenue and Central Park West.
Ride the Subway
The easiest way to get around is the New York City Subway, one of the world’s oldest public transit systems. Grab a MetroCard at the station and ride one of the 27 subway lines to one of the 472 stations. Service is 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Tip for navigating the city’s streets: Avenues run north to south, and streets run east to west. Low-numbered streets are downtown (to the south), and high-numbered streets are uptown (to the north).
Sightsee at Times Square
Where Broadway and 7th Avenue intersect at 42nd Street, you’ll find the world-famous Times Square intersection full of bright lights, neon billboards, colorful characters, and the home of the famous New Year’s Eve ball drop.
The lights are always on here in the city that never sleeps. Chain restaurants and shops abound. You’ll also find the TKTS discount booth here, which offers up to 50 percent off theater tickets.
See a Broadway Show
Broadway, the world-famous theater district, surrounds Times Square. There are over 41 professional theatres on Broadway to enjoy this quintessential New York City Experience.
From Disney productions like The Lion King to world-renown shows like Hamilton, there are shows for everyone. You can even take a behind-the-scenes tour of Disney’s landmark New Amsterdam Theater.
Explore the Empire State Building
This soaring skyscraper in the heart of midtown Manhattan is a symbol of New York City.
It was the world’s first 100+ story building; it’s currently the 4th tallest building in New York City, the 6th tallest in the United States, and the 43rd tallest tower in the world.
Two observation decks offer incredible views of the city, especially at sunset. There are open-air views on the 86th-floor Observatory and enclosed views from the 102nd-floor Observatory.
The top 30 floors shine bright every night with lights for all to see, celebrating different holidays and events.
There’s also a new museum featuring 12 interactive exhibits, including King Kong’s hands. It’s located on Fifth Avenue between 33rd Street and 34th Street. Buy tickets online in advance.
You Gotta Eat!
In the city, you can find cuisines from all over the world. There are more than 20,000 restaurants to choose from.
KeeKee loves ziti in Little Italy and dumplings in Chinatown. Her favorite city eats are a classic New York bagel with a schmear of cream cheese and a piled-high deli sandwich at the over 100-year-old Katz Deli. (You may remember it from the famous “I’ll have what she’s having” scene in When Harry Met Sally).
If you have more time, or if it’s rainy, here are more fun things to do from KeeKee’s list.
- Rockefeller Center is the hub of midtown New York, most famous during the holiday season for the iconic Christmas Tree and ice skating at The Rink below it. There are great views from Top of the Roc and many restaurants and retail. Just around the corner, you’ll find Radio City Music Hall. 30 Rockefeller Plaza is the skyscraper in the center of the area.
- New York Public Library is the nation’s most extensive public library system. KeeKee loves visiting the flagship library in midtown (5th Avenue and 42nd Street next to Bryant Park), where the famous marble lions, Patience and Fortitude, greet you. Inside, you’ll find the beautiful Rose Main Reading Room, AND be sure to visit the Children’s Center to see the actual stuffed animals that inspired the beloved Winnie-the-Pooh stories!
- Museums – The City is home to some wonderful museums for the kids, like the American Museum of Natural History (on the Upper West Side with the world’s largest collection of dinosaur fossils), the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (Upper West Side), and the Children’s Museum of the Arts (South Village).
- Walk the High Line. This 1.45 mile-long elevated public park was once an elevated railroad. You’ll find gardens, art, and fun food and beverage offerings along the walk. Entrances are at Gansevoort Street, 23rd Street, or 30th Street.
New York City Adventure Awaits!