Planning a visit to New York can be daunting, even more so with kids in tow. Where do you even begin when there is so much to see? You can visit the classic tourist destinations like Times Square or the iconic Empire State Building, but the real fun is learning what the locals do; where do they take their children to play and what restaurants and coffee shops do they frequent?
Two of the best neighborhoods to visit with children in NYC are Battery Park City (BPC) and neighboring Tribeca. Battery Park City, a neighborhood development created 30 years ago, is now bustling with families, amazing playgrounds and a gorgeous waterfront promenade. Adjacent to BPC is the classic New York neighborhood of Tribeca, home of the quintessential “New York loft” apartments, cobblestone streets, lovely boutiques and delicious restaurants. As a mother and resident myself, I can’t speak highly enough about the family-friendly nature of these two NYC neighborhoods (credit savannah). If you’re planning a visit, you’ll need to check out my list of recommendations!
Before I start listing my favorite neighborhood parks and playgrounds, let me answer the question I know you’re wondering: where should Mom and Dad stop for coffee? With two locations on Tribeca’s main drag, Greenwich Street, Kaffe 1668 appeals to coffee lovers by offering exotic beans and specialty brews. The shops offer an array of delicious treats, cold pressed juices, and teas if coffee isn’t your thing! Once you’ve finally awoken, it’s time to play!
The first stop is a true BPC staple, Nelson A. Rockefeller Park and Playground. Located in north Battery Park City along the Hudson River, Rockefeller Park includes a waterfront promenade with views of the Statue of Liberty and a sprawling green lawn with space for lounging, picnicking or tossing a football. Once at the park you will find Rockefeller Park Playground, a large fenced-in playground with a jungle gym, swings, a sand box and a one-of-a-kind pedal-operated carousel. For an extra bonus, Rockefeller Park has restrooms located across the street from the playground, a clubhouse that loans out games and equipment on a seasonal basis and a public art display of Tom Otterness sculptures.
After chasing your kids around all day, you’re bound to work up an appetite and Bubby’s restaurant in Tribeca is the place to be. Bubby’s offers traditional American food cooked from scratch with local and organic ingredients. I have never experienced a disappointing meal at Bubby’s and the low-key atmosphere allows you to sit back and truly enjoy your company. If you need any more reason to try Bubby’s, the kid’s menu includes a variety of foods such as healthy soups and vegetables, every mother’s dream!
If you’re interested in visiting yet another amazing playground, Pier 25 Play Area in Tribeca (At Harrison and N. Moore Streets) is a great option. Located just north of Rockefeller Park and along the water, Pier 25 has a state-of-the-art playground, soccer field, mini golf course, volleyball courts, an enclosed skate park, and snack bar. The playground features a futuristic-looking jungle gym, boulder rock-climbing wall, and swing sets. If you happen to visit in the summer, this metropolitan playground turns into a summertime waterpark retreat with tipping water cans and fountains.
New York City can be a bit overwhelming, even for a resident like myself. If you are visiting the city with children, it’s crucial to enjoy some downtime and escape the busy streets. The neighborhoods of Battery Park City and Tribeca allow you to experience New York City at it’s best, the beauty of the outdoors and fabulous restaurants!
Know Before You Go
- Kaffee 1668, 275 Greenwich Street (south location) and 401 Greenwich Street (north location)
- Hours: Mon-Fri 6:30am-10pm, Sat-Sun 7am-9pm (north location closes at 8pm on weekends)
- High chairs available? Yes
- Kid’s menu? No, but plenty of kid-friendly options.
- Bubby’s, 120 Hudson Street, Tribeca
- Hours: Breakfast/Lunch 7 a.m.- 4 p.m., Dinner 4 p.m.- 11 p.m. Midnight Brunch 11 p.m.- 7 a.m, Weekend Brunch 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.
- High chairs available? Yes.
- Kid’s menu? Yes.
- Nelson A. Rockefeller Park and Playground, north end of Battery Park City, west of River Terrace
- Bathrooms? Located across the street from the playground
- Hours: 10:00am until 9:00pm
- Perfect for ages 2 through 12 (all ages for the park)
- Pier 25 Play Area, cross at N. Moore Street at Pier 25 North
- Bathrooms? Yes
- Hours: 8 a.m. until dusk
- Perfect for ages 2 through 12