New York isn’t the classic city for family holidays, but a trip to the US isn’t complete without a visit to New York. Any family member of any age will be impressed with the huge, busy city, its amazing variety, its tall buildings and its many sights to see. No one can remain indifferent to this lively city. Some hate it, but others are enchanted by it and return again and again.
New York is the only city in which I don’t recommend families to rent a car. The roads are busy and congested every hour of the day and driving is difficult and scary even if you know the city well, so it is especially so for tourists who don’t know their way around. On top of that, it is incredibly difficult to find parking in the city. Since most of the city’s attractions are concentrated in a fairly small area of Manhattan, you can get around just fine on foot and with public transport and taxis.
For families, especially ones with young children, the most comfortable (and not necessarily expensive) way to get around is by taxi, particularly for short distances. Cab fares in the city are affordable and while riding you get to see the city instead of going underground for the subway, having to bother with maps and changing trains. You should take the subway at least once for the the experience, but do not do this during rush hour: 8:00AM-9:30AM and 5:00PM-6:30PM. There are many cabs driving around the city (12,000!) but remember that during rush hour it’s hard to catch one. A light at the front of the taxi means it’s not taken. It is customary to add a 15-20% tip on top of the cab fare. Yellow cabs are the only licensed taxis – don’t take any others!
A fun way to see Manhattan’s views is by boat tour. Circle Line Cruise offer two and a half to three hour tours around Manhattan, allowing a great view of New York’s big, busy harbour and the city’s skyline. Tours are on from March to December.
The most cost-effective boat ride is the Staten Island Ferry, which goes between Manhattan and Staten Island. During the ferry ride you will pass by beautiful views including the statue of liberty, ships in the harbour and the skyscrapers of Manhattan. And the price? Hard to believe, but it is free!
A popular and inexpensive way to tour the city is by foot. This is the best way to get a sense of the city’s enormous scale. Walk between skyscrapers, visit museums and shops and discover the city for yourselves at your own pace. When you get tired of walking, catch a cab back to your hotel. Keep your children close and keep an eye on them! It’s easy to lose a child among the vast crowds walking through the city.