Are you visiting Times Square with Kids? From free things to popular attractions this list share the best things to do in Times Square when visiting New York City.
Visiting Times Square on a family trip is a must when visiting New York City with kids. It is one of the best places to visit for the whole family.
Yes it is really touristy and busy but the heart of times square is a popular place in the big apple for a reason.
It is one of the top things to do in New York City because it is what most people think of when visiting New York City. If it is your first visit to NYC you should include it in your trip.
I suggest balancing a visit to times square with other popular NYC attractions like Central Park, Empire State Building, visiting the Statue of Liberty, exploring a museum like the American Museum of Natural History.
On our last couple of visits to New York City we wanted to stay in the center of the city and Times Square is a great location.
It is centrally located in Midtown Manhattan and close to subway stops. It is near the theater district, which is great for us because we love seeing a Broadway show when we visit NY.
Times Square is one of the most famous landmarks in the United States. These are my picks for the best things to do in Times Square with kids.
Top Things to Do in Times Square with Kids
The great thing about visiting Times Square is you will experience something different each time.
With live music and street performers around and lots of free things to see and do, like taking in the sights and sounds, Times Square is a fun place to visit with kids.
Be prepared that some street performers may not be suitable for small children. It is easy to avoid most things you don’t want your kids to see.
Visit the Unique Shops in Times Square
If you enjoy shopping you will find many of your favorite stores to shop in. I like to visit the unique places that we can’t find anywhere else when visiting Times Square.
Some of my favorite stores are the Disney Store, M & M World, and, Hershey’s Chocolate World. M & M World is a great place to explore.
If you are looking for NYC gifts check out the many Broadway and NYC themed stores.
There are a lot of NYC themed gift shops. Most have the same souvenir items for sale at around the same prices.
See a Broadway Show
One of the reasons people visit NYC is to see a Broadway show. If you are visiting with little kids I highly suggest adding the musical Aladdin to your itinerary. It is high energy and fun for all ages.
On our first visit to NYC Broadway was shut down because of the pandemic.
We made the best of it and walked around NYC finding the stage doors of all the shows we love. This is really fun if you have a theater lover in your home.
Thankfully shows are back open and we have made a few visits back to see some shows. A few popular shows with kids are The Lion King and Aladdin.
If you are visiting with older kids and teens consider Hamilton or Wicked.
If you want to find good deals on Broadway tickets you can check out the TKTS booth the day you are visiting for last minute deals.
Visit the Museum of Broadway
If you have a huge Broadway fan in your group you may want to consider visiting the Museum of Broadway. It is best for people who love Broadway and want to learn more about the history of Broadway and how it shaped New York. If you want to learn more check out this post: Is the Museum of Broadway in New York City Worth Visiting
Ellen’s Stardust Diner
Ellen’s Stardust Diner is part show, part dining experience. Guests can dine while listening to Broadway songs performed by the wait staff.
It is touristy and fun to enjoy a meal here. A few things to know about visiting Ellen’s. It can get very busy. Expect a wait during normal dining hours. The prices are pretty high, even for NYC standards.
The food is okay. If you are a fan of Broadway it is fun but if you not you may want to skip it. We would go again because it was a fun atmosphere and you are supporting the actors in the industry.
Madame Tussauds New York
Madame Tussauds is a “The World’s Greatest Wax Museum” as per their website. It is a fun experience to take pictures with the rich and famous in this walk through wax museum exhibit.
They have a Broadway section, NYC celebrities, as well as an 4D Marvel show that can be added on to admission.
Stay in Times Square
Staying in Times Square is a great way to be in the middle of all the excitement. Our recent stay at the Westin Times Square allowed us to easily walk to the Broadway shows and other attractions during our visit.
When visiting with kids you want to take into account how much walking they can do and what works best for your family.
Try NYC Street Vendors
My husband is the driving force when planning our meals during our trips and he was very excited for the food in New York City.
You will see food carts throughout the city and they are totally worth trying.
We loved the Halal Guys food and with locations all through the city this is a must try when visiting the city.
RiseNY is a new attraction in Times Square that is part ride and part museum. We didn’t have the opportunity to check it out on our recent visit but I am adding it to our list for next time.
Learn about the history of New York City then soar above the city on an immersive attraction. It is like Soarin’ at Epcot with a NYC twist.
This looks like a fun attraction for families and I look forward to seeing it on our next visit.
Attractions Close to Times Square for Families
There are a few attractions close to Times Square that are worth mentioning. You may want to add these to your itinerary.
We haven’t had the opportunity to visit them all yet but they are on our list for future visits.
Top of the Rock
If you are looking for views of the city check out Top of the Rock that allows guests to go to the top of Rockefeller Center. This is where the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon is filmed.
As fans of Universal Studios Florida we couldn’t help making comparisons to this and Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon ride at the park.
The Tour at NBC Studios
The Tour at NBC Studios has been on our list to visit since our first family visit to NYC. Unfortunately it has been on pause since the pandemic.
When it is open guests can get a behind the scenes look at SNL and The Tonight Show as well as history of the NBC studios. As of 9/2023 this has not reopened to the public.
Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal is a historic landmark with over 60 dining and shopping options. If you are looking for an indoor place to explore and grab a meal the Grand Central Terminal is a great choice.
There are a few unique stores we like to check out when visiting New York City. The Nintendo Store is two stories of Nintendo history and merchandise. The American Girl store is a destination in itself. You can enjoy time at the spa or on-site restaurant.
Nearby is also the famous toy store, FAO Schwartz. It is not the original location but a fun store to explore. If you don’t mind a further walk you may want to check out the Harry Potter Store too.
More Things to Do Around Times Square
- Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge
- Visit the Museum of Modern Art
- Spend time in some green space at Central Park.
- Visit Bryant Park, short walk from Times Square
Tips for Visiting Times Square with Kids
- Times Square is busy and fast. Keep your kids close and be aware of your surroundings.
- There are many “characters” walking around that will take pictures with you. These range from Elmo to Mickey Mouse. Unless you are planning on paying them for the photos keep walking with a simple “No, Thank You”.
- It is easy to rush from one place to another but find a spot to stop and take it all in. From the buildings to giant billboards there is so much to see.
- If you are concerned about crowds visit earlier in the day and around lunch time.
- Pick pocketing does exist and is often found in large cities. Keep your valuables close and remind teens to do the same.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
Visiting Times Square with kids is a fun way to spend your time in New York City. You will not run out of things to do and see as you explore New York.
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Leah has been traveling with her family of 5 since 2012 and sharing her expertise on planning family vacations and visiting theme parks since 2016. Leah has been featured in Visit Rochester, Undercover Tourist, and Home Publications. She has worked with brands like Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Hersheypark, Toyota, and various Tourism boards and destinations. Leah creates family travel itineraries based on real trip experiences with her family. Her guides and tips help others plan great family vacations. Learn more about Leah and Five for the Road.