Staycation New York City: 11 Family-Friendly Ideas In 2020

By Duane Beckett
Credit: Tiqets

If you live in NYC and are looking for a break that won’t empty your bank, why not try one or all of our 11 “staycation New York City” ideas?

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1. Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock is a major attraction for out-of-towners, and the perfect starting point for your staycation in New York city.

From the the observation deck you can pick out your first adventure, just remember to go early.

2. Bike Rides in Central Park

What’s more family-friendly than a bike ride through Central Park? That’s if you’ve got younger children. If your kids are teens, or older, cross this one off the list.

A visit to Central Park is an easy way to fill the day with cheap fun. And best of all, whether you go from a bike ride to climbing on rocks, playing tag, and even tossing a ball around, it’s healthy.

If keeping costs down and fitness up is your staycation New York city plan, put Central Park high on your to-do list.

3. Enjoy a Timeless Night Out at the Metropolitan Opera House

Metropolitan Opera House - Staycation New York City destination
Credit: Blehgoaway / Wiki Commons

Whether it is in your wheelhouse or not, there’s one thing every family must try. And that’s watching an opera.

Not only is it the perfect excuse to dress up as a 19th-century European aristocrat, but its a blast of culture that everyone will remember.

The Metropolitan Opera House at the Lincoln Center produces operas that are always high-quality. So strap in for some serious culture (or embarrassment if dad snores).

4. Big Bus New York

We all do it. Head to big cities for careers and then never actually explore its tourist attractions. So if you’re one of the many family’s who have lived and worked in or around the Big Apple, why not take a Big Bus tour?

You’re guaranteed two things; to see the sites, and find at least one new eatery to try.

5. Enjoy Surf and Sun at Rockaway Beach

During the summer, the beautiful Rockaway Beach is a major destination for those seeking surf in NYC. Its actually the only beach in New York city where surfing is legal.

Simply put, if the weathers not bad you can fill half a day swapping city-lights for sand and sea. Plus, if you’re looking for fish tacos and fresh coconut juice, the famous Tacoway Beach should make it on to your “staycation New York city” itinerary.

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6. 9/11 Memorial and Museum

9/11 Memorial and Musuem - Staycation New York City
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This poignant memorial reminds us all of the events of 9/11. For a family struggling, it can be an emotional re-awakening, a means to re-connect, and stop taking each other for granted. It really is that powerful.

For a young family who may have grown up after the events, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum offers a chance to educate them about the extraordinary events that day. If you’re a family who needs to re-connect, put this destination top of your to-do list.

7. American Museum of Natural History

If history is high on your “staycation New York city” list, then the Museum of Natural History is the place to go.

Not only does it have exciting permanent collections, the museum has fun and informative temporary exhibits that rotate seasonally, so there’s always something new for you and your kids to explore.

If you have kids under-12, you should definitely visit the Discovery Room for interesting and interactive ways to access the museum’s collection.

8. New York Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Garden is an excellent place for nature lovers. If you have never visited this Bronx treasure before, you’ll be amazed by the variety of flora you can find right in NYC.

You can book a tram for a short tour of the gardens or wander about on the paths to see specific areas of interest. It’s a day out in nature, and that possibility is not to be missed on a staycation New York City adventure.

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9. Central Park Picnic

Central Park Picnic - Staycation New York City ideas
Credit: Pixabay

Eating out in New York city can get expensive, especially for a big family. So why not have a picnic in Central Park?

For sure, you need the weather for it but it is a great family-friendly way to enjoy the outdoors in an inexpensive way.

10. Harbor Lights Cruise: Circle Line Sightseeing

If you are looking for something that is a little-more vacation-like on your NYC staycation, then the Harbor Lights Cruise could be both a new experience and a great family break.

The two-hour Harbor Lights Cruise departs at sunset and sails around the island. It also offers you stunning evening views of significant sites like Ellis Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, the USS Intrepid, and more.

11. New-York Historical Society Museum

Our last suggestion is a fun hidden gem. While you may have heard about the New-York Historical Society Museum, have you ever taken an hour or two to visit this magnificent museum?

You should. The museum offers a taste of NYC that’s as eclectic as it is fascinating. Here you will find everything from Native American artifacts from the Lenape to twenty-first-century industrial objects.

If culture and history is on your staycation New York City to-do list, then put this destination at the top.