Bringing the family to New York City might just sound like cha-ching from your wallet at record speeds. Not necessarily true. Families, savvy travelers and everyone in between can enjoy New York’s wide variety of neighborhoods on a dime.
In the City That Never Sleeps, there are more options and locales than your family will have time to explore — this is actually a great budget-friendly tool you can use to your advantage. With so many options competing for your time and attention, families can shop around for the best price and best location near enough of the action to cut down on travel time, but without all the madness of Times Square — if this sounds like your family’s speed, head to SoHo for a high-brow locale on a low-brow budget.
The SoHo district of Manhattan covers the Lower Manhattan region, famous for its shopping, fun nightlife and Greenwich Village beatnik scene. Now, you can stroll the city streets enjoying the neighborhood’s iconic architecture with the Brooklyn Bridge in the near distance, window shop along quirky boutiques, sip cocktails with adult children and dine at an eclectic mix of cultural fare — all on the cheap.
Take yourself on a free tour of the city by foot, exploring Chinatown, Little Italy and all the scenic attractions along the way. This is an easy pleasure for kids of all ages and, if you’re into architecture, there’s a whole list of buildings you should swing by if you’re walking by the area, including the Ghost apartment from the 1990 film of the same name.
If you’re feeling peckish, stop in Dominique Ansel NY for sweets and a coffee, or, if you’re lucky, grab a world-famous cronut in its original home — it’s a hot commodity and famously drew hordes to the neighborhood when it was first invented.
For something with a little more substance, check out the menus lined under the arches in Little Italy. The street may be small, but it is literally packed with places to eat, so shop around for the best price. Some restaurant staff will linger outside the restaurants and try to lure your family in (it’s a thing, just go with it), but stay focused on the prize — a fantastic homemade meal for a reasonable price.
For something more grab-and-go or more bang-for-your-buck, Chinatown is also covered in stalls to check out, many reasonably priced.
Similar to its sister property Mall of America in Minnesota, American Dream Mall in Newark, New Jersey, 20 miles from Manhattan, is a destination mall to travel to for shopping and family fun. However, where Mall of America dedicates 45 percent of its square footage to entertainment and 55 percent to retail, American Dream Mall flips those figures.
While urban wine country might sound like an oxymoron, it’s actually a reality at the stunning City Vineyard in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood. The water-side venue is the perfect host for your next event — whatever that may be, from 20 to 200 guests and from cocktail party to plated dinner.
Fans of country music can explore Tennessee’s rich musical legacy across all 95 counties with hundreds of landmarks and attractions on the new Tennessee Music Pathways route, inspired by the latest documentary from Ken Burns.
There is something to be said for hitting a city’s most iconic neighborhoods, even if there is a steady stream of tourists milling about. On the other hand, there’s something delicious about discovering neighborhoods not yet on the tourist track.
As a teacher introducing artists and art museums to my French and Spanish students, I learned a key technique for museum visits: Don’t overstay their attention span! One hour is ample time and, for some youngsters, start in the museum shop where they can discover a few things they want to see firsthand. For most, a finale in the garden or museum café for ice cream or a meal is welcome.