Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square

 

 

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square pin

New York City is the number one destination for many travelers, and with all it has to offer it is easy to see why. Since the Big Apple is famous for its bargains and souvenirs, here are our top five shopping spots around Times Square for kids and parents.

 

nyc shopping macy's

 

Macy’s on 34th

The first place to take visiting kids is the most famous store in all of New York City, Macy’s. Built in 1902, Macy’s was originally a dry-goods store that continuously supplied the American population. It eventually became part of American culture.

Featured in numerous movies, this flagship store was considered the largest store in the entire world until 2009 when South Korea opened up Shinsegae. Despite the loss of their title, Macy’s is still the largest store in the US and its popularity grows with each generation.

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square macy's

Children can explore and ride the original wooden escalators while parents shop for fashionable clothes at unbeatable prices. Those who decide to visit New York around Christmas time will be amazed at Macy’s famous window displays. Each year the Macy’s staff comes up with a different animated theme with elaborate scenery to get people even more in the holiday spirit.

 

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square american

American Girl Store

Next stop is the American Girl store, located in the heart of Manhattan. American Girl features all of the characters including the classical favorites and the current Girl of the Year. While visiting the Truly Me section children can design their very own American Girl doll with different skin tone, hair color/style, eye color, and clothing options.

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square dolls

Visitors can also stop by the doll hair salon to give their American Doll a fresh look. In the ‘Dress like Your Doll ‘ section, kids and their dolls can share the same outfit and hairstyle.

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square injured

 

The store features an exclusive Doll Hospital for dolls who get sick aka need repairs. Depending on the severity of the ‘injury,’ recovery can take anywhere from two to three weeks. However, they will ship the toys home.

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square brunch

 

Travelers feeling a little hungry should check out the café serving a themed brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner. After dinner, visitors can swing by the bookstore. Here, all of their children’s favorite characters and their stories are on display.

 

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square sweets

M&M Store

Families in the mood for something sweet should make a pit stop to the M&M store.
Located in the heart of Time Square, the store offers three floors filled with delicious little m&ms.

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square liberty

The store is New York’s biggest candy store with a fifty foot, two-story high wall of chocolates containing seventy-two tubes from which guests can fill containers. Of course, guests can also purchase themed clothing, dishware, watches and piggy banks.

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square hersheys

Hershey Chocolate Store

For more chocolatey goodness, families can make their way across the street to the Hershey Chocolate Store. This store specializes in the brand’s favorites like Mr. Good Bars, York peppermints, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.Those who can’t get enough of the stor’e merchandise should check out the entrance lamps shaped like authentic kisses.

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square lamp

Like in the M&M store, there are plenty of logoed souvenirs here for fans to purchase. These include a giant-sized kiss ideal for birthdays and Valentine day gifts.

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square kiss

Disney Store

A trip to New York wouldn’t be complete without experiencing some Disney Store magic. From the up and coming movies to the classic Disney films, this store has something for everyone who has ever grown up watching Walt Disney animation.

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square diz

Visitors can find stuffed animals, games, costumes, travel cups and movies in this two-story marvel. Kids needing a rest after the extensive shopping spree can relax in the castle, read a Disney tale or watch a short animation clip. Also not to be missed is the NYC souvenir section with items that are sold in this store only.

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square castle

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents should advise kids to stay close to them while walking the streets of New York City, especially at night.
  • For travelers wishing to fly with less luggage, most stores offer a ship to home option.
  • Parents wanting to partake in any American Girl activities should book tickets ahead of time. They should also mention any necessary accommodations to staff.
  • Parents of children with noise sensitivities might wish to avoid the area during peak hours.
  • Hershey’s has a strong smell of chocolate throughout the store that might present a challenge for smell sensitive patrons.

 

Top Five Kid Friendly Stores in NYC Times Square street

Family Fun on New York’s Coney Island

Family Fun on New York's Coney Island pin

Visitors from all around the United States and the world stop by every summer to soak up the sun on Coney Island’s beach. However, besides  the sand and water, New York’s Island boasts old-fashioned amusement parks along with a popular boardwalk that all family members will like to explore. For those who haven’t visited yet here are our recommendations on how to have some family fun while visiting the iconic area.

Family Fun on New York's Coney Island duck

History

Coney Island was originally slotted to become a beach resort area after the construction of the Coney Island Hotel was completed in 1829. The island likely got its name from an old Dutch word for rabbit, “conyn,” which makes sense with the many rabbits that once roamed around the island. Other possible sources of the name include the island’s Native American tribe, the Konoh, or the  family surname of the first Dutch settlers in the area.

Family Fun on New York's Coney Island walk

The island saw wealthy vacationers in the 1830s and 40s who used Coney Island as a way to spend a holiday without actually need to travel far. By the 1880’s the area became a local attraction with three large parks – Luna Park, Steeplechase Park, and Dreamland operating. Today, Coney Island still has the Luna Park as well as Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park- a nod to bygone glory days.

Family Fun on New York's Coney Island wheel

What to See

As mentioned, Coney Island’s two amusement parks Luna Park and Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park are still operational. The island also features several rides that aren’t a part of either park, as well as other attractions and events.

Historic Rides

The Parachute Jump a  bonified New York City Landmark. The ride, originally constructed as the Life Savers Parachute Jump during the 1939 World’s Fair, was the first of a long line of similar rides. The ride has been closed since 1968 but is still a landmark worth gawking at when visiting the Island.

Family Fun on New York's Coney Island face

Another Luna Park  landmark is the Cyclone,one of the country’s oldest operating wooden roller coasters built in 1927. Wonder Wheel is the third ride that is a protected landmark, constructed in 1918. The Ferris Wheel, located in Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, features stationary and rocking cars. Visitors at night can see the Wonder Wheel lit up in bright neon lights.

Family Fun on New York's Coney Island tower

Furthermore, visitors can take a ride on the B&B Carousell, purposefully misspelled by its builder William F. Mangels who built the frame in 1906. This ‘carousell,’ considered the last of its kind, was auctioned off to the city of New York after the death of its operator. During its restoration, painter Theresa Rollison mixed over 80 colors to replicate the original colors of the carousel. She even used brushes made from squirrel, badger, and hog hair to imitate methods likely used during the carousel’s original construction. Today, the B&B Carousell sits at the entrance to Luna Park surrounded by furniture stores.

Modern Attractions

The central section of the park includes the usual roller coasters, tower drops, swings, and even an area with milder rides for young children. Families can enjoy three separate bumper car rides throughout Coney Island, on 12 Street, Eldorado’s Arcade, and in Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. There are also two haunted houses, Spook-a-Rama at Deno’s Wonder Wheel and Ghost Hole on 12th street that families can ride through.

Family Fun on New York's Coney Island carousel
Thrill seeking family members can try the Thunderbolt. The Thunderbolt roller coaster opened in 2014. It was based off the original Thunderbolt constructed in 1925. The coaster features a 90-degree drop, 100-foot loop, and zero-gravity roll. Visitors not interested in coasters can still enjoy arcade games like skeeball, shooting, and ring tossing.
Family Fun on New York's Coney Island shops

Beach 

After all the fun at the amusement park, visitors to Coney Island can enjoy the local beach. Coney Island’s sandy beach runs from West 37th Street all the way to Manhattan Beach, for 2.5 miles. The city keeps the beach clean and facilities stocked. Visitors can enjoy full access at any time of the day, with no charge.
Coney Island’s Riegelmann Boardwalk runs the entire length of the beach. The boardwalk was named for Edward J. Reigelmann, a politician who opened the boardwalk in 1922. Most of the areas famous attractions can be accessed from the boardwalk, including the Wonder Wheel, Aquarium, and MCU Park. Families can enjoy its many water fountains, restroom facilities, benches, and restaurants.
Family Fun on New York's Coney Island beach
In the winter, travelers might see members of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club swimming the ocean. The club is made up of people who swim around Coney Island usually on New Year’s Day. The beach is also the training grounds for the Coney Island Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers, who host open water races all year round.

Other Unique Features

Families can enjoy the MCU Park, home of The Brooklyn Cyclones. Visitors can watch short, budget friendly games in the small stadium.

Family Fun on New York's Coney Island balloon

On some summer nights, visitors can see fireworks in some areas of Coney Island. The beach and boardwalk areas have shows from June 24th through Labor Day Weekend starting at 9:30 pm around Deno’s Wonder Wheel.

Though it was mostly devastated by Hurricane Sandy, visitors can still see parts of the New York Aquarium with reduced admission. The admissions are a great way for guests to show support and help with renovations.

Family Fun on New York's Coney Island candy

Families can also enjoy the Coney Island Museum, with its many kitschy exhibits. The museum hosts a 3D-printed to scale model of the original Luna Park by Fred Kahl. Kids can enjoy the funhouse mirrors and check out the thermos collection dating back to the 50’s.

Next to the museum, families can explore the Circus Sideshow with fire eating and sword swallowing performances. Moreover, younger kids can enjoy the “Magic at Coney” show every Sunday at noon.
Family Fun on New York's Coney Island beach

Restaurants

There are many options for food on the boardwalk, making it easy to find something for everyone!
Just about everyone has heard of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs. This venue got famous by hosting an annual Fourth of July hot dog eating contest. Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs offers  plenty of topping options for all hot dog lovers.
Family Fun on New York's Coney Island RUBY

Other food venues are Tom’s for traditional diner food, Ruby’s for State Fair cuisine and Rippers for burgers. Also, families can head over to Totonno Pizzeria Napolitano for a slice of traditional thin crusted New York pizza.

 

Not to be missed is Williams’ Candy conveniently located next to Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs. Here, travelers can finish the day off with a Coney Island ice cream.
Family Fun on New York's Coney Island HOTDOGS

Cost 

Entrance to the beach is complimentary. The Luna Park attractions are a bit of a money pit with each ride costing a few bucks. Parents can buy a punch card with a few credits to get a discount. However, they should expect to shell more than planned by the end of the day.

Family Fun on New York's Coney Island RIDES

Autism Travel Tips:

  • There are well kept public restrooms with showers to clean off after being in the sand and water.
  • There are also certain sections that have water fountains that shoot up out of the ground to cool off kids (or adults) on a hot day!
    This fact could be surprising to some children. Therefore, parents to special needs kids should warn them or have them watch the other children first to know what to expect.
  • At one part of the beach, there is a palm tree fountain that shoots water into the area. Many kids love it, but it makes a very wet sandy/muddy area that some kids might not like.
  • The beach front itself is clean, and there is plenty of room for families to set up a picnic or umbrella.

Family Fun on New York's Coney Island distant

  • There are fireworks every Friday night at 9:30 pm from the last weekend in June until Labor Day. Parents of kids who are afraid of fireworks might want to avoid the area at this time.
  • The boardwalk itself is broad. While it can get crowded on the summer weekends, there is lots of room for wheelchairs, strollers, etc.
  • Families who want to see The Cyclones play should plan ahead and buy tickets ahead of time, as the team is popular.

 

Family Stay at DoubleTree Times Square

Family Stay at DoubleTree Times Square1 pin

 

When our family finally decided to take a trip to NYC, we chose to stay at the DoubleTree Suites in the middle of Times Square. The hotel on the corner of Broadway and 47th street is perfect for families who want to stay right in the center of the action and still enjoy the comfort of a suite at a moderate price.

What Makes it Family Worthy

Families will love the property’s convenient location. The hotel is next to a metro station and across from the TKTS Discount Ticket Booth. The place was ideal for sightseeing, shopping, and, of course, attending Broadway shows.

Family Stay at DoubleTree Times Square night

Our Requests

We contacted the hotel to ask for a quiet and feather-free room as we normally do and were thrilled to hear of their hypoallergenic bedding and in-room air purifiers.

Our Arrival

When we arrived at midnight, we were a bit overwhelmed by the crowds of people walking around and gawking at the makeshift artisans displaying their work on the street corners.
The reception area on the 3rd floor was surprisingly congested for midnight, and we had to wait patiently in the small lobby area to check in. Though tired from our long flight, our son with autism did manage to devour the warm chocolate chip cookies the staff welcomed us with and even asked for more.

Family Stay at DoubleTree Times Square city

 

Lobby Decor

The lobby as mentioned before was compact. Whites, creams, and browns mostly decorated the area with marble tiled floors. Off to one side, guests could find an extensive seating area with plenty of light brown couches and pillows for a comfortable wait. In the back, there was also a small bar area with some stools for seating.

The Suite

The decor of our suite on the 31st floor boasted 80’s brown hues. The hotel dedicated the entire 31st floor as a hypoallergenic floor, so our room had an air purifier. A door separated the bedroom and the living room, allowing parents to enjoy some privacy when traveling with kids.

The living room consisted of a desk and opening sofa (perfect for one older kid or two younger ones). The cabinet that the 40 inch TV stood on held a moderately sized mini fridge. On the side, the room was stocked with a small bar with a sink, microwave, coffee maker, and good sized safe.

Family Stay at DoubleTree Times Square bed

 

In the bedroom, we had a comfortable queen sized bed with two nightstands. The bedroom also had a closet which we found to be on the small side. It was easy to recharge electronics as both rooms had multiple places to plug into, however, the WiFi in the room was temperamental.

We appreciated the two TV sets, one in each room. The two sets allowed us to relax and watch the news while our son enjoyed his Nickelodeon shows. The double curtains helped darken the bright neon lights of the iconic billboards, a feature which we appreciated. And finally, the hotel staff left warm cookies in our room as a greeting, which we found to be a very nice touch.

Family Stay at DoubleTree Times Square sink

The Bathroom

Though the bathroom suite configuration was somewhat oddly shaped, we found it surprisingly convenient.
As we first walked in, we saw that there was a lot of counter space, almost enough to have fit two sinks, but there was only one.

The long and narrow bathroom had a door separating the combination curtained shower/tub and commode from the sink area. This fact allowed two family members to use the bathroom area without disturbing each other which was helpful. The tub had a grab bar with an adjustable, not handheld, shower head.

Family Stay at DoubleTree Times Square street

The Breakfast

The breakfast buffet at Ginger’s Restaurant on the fifth floor served the American staples of scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausages and bacon along with cereals, cut up fruits, cheeses, and pastries.
The best part was Joseph, the staff member who efficiently ran the delicious pancake/waffle/omelet station. He was friendly and helpful, especially with our special needs son.
For more budget-friendly options, there are numerous restaurants in the immediate area such as Sbarro’s, Olive Garden, and McDonalds.

Amenities

Additional hotel amenities included a morning kiosk, Ad Lib Lounge, and a complimentary 24-hour fitness center that we didn’t get a chance to check out as we were too busy walking around the city. The hotel had tight security, and guests had to show their room key to enter the building, which we found reassuring.

Family Stay at DoubleTree Times Square sky

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Make sure to ask for a top floor room that doesn’t face Times Square as the lights and noise will bother kids with those particular sensitivities.
  • Bring an anti-slip bath mat, like the hotel, does not supply one.
  • Due to the configuration of the suite, pack one or two night lights so you can see your way around the furniture at night.

Family Stay at the Westin Grand Central Hotel NYC

Family Stay at the Westin Grand Central Hotel NYC sign
As frequent travelers to New York, we’ve always opted to stay in one of two areas-Times Square or Central Park.Last month, for a change of pace, we decided to try the Westin New York Grand Central Hotel and see how family friendly it is.The property with over 700 rooms and suites is close to Grand Central Terminal  and the Chrysler Building in Midtown Manhattan. Based within walking distance to Times Square’s shopping and dining venues, the hotel is moderately priced (for Manhattan standards), and a convenient location for guests arriving into town via rail. The hotel also has event halls for conventions and weddings as well as a rooftop garden where the hotel grows its own herbs.

Family Stay at the Westin Grand Central Hotel NYC lobby

Décor

The outside of the 41-story building is contemporary looking with glass walls, and metallic-colored pillars at the entrance. The lobby and public spaces sport a neutral upscale looking decor in tones of cream, brown and tan accented by splashes of color in cushions and the artwork on the walls.

Family Stay at the Westin Grand Central Hotel NYC reception

Our welcome

My husband and son arrived a day earlier than I did and experienced a smooth, quick check-in.
I arrived at 4 AM the following morning  on a red eye from Europe and managed to get lost while walking a few blocks in the dark from the airport shuttle station to the hotel. When I called the hotel, a staff member not only explained how to get to the hotel but stayed on the line (for a good five minutes) making sure I was alright. Now THAT was great service!

Family Stay at the Westin Grand Central Hotel NYC bar

The room

We were allocated a king bed with opening sofa room on the 32nd floor. We were a bit leery about getting a room facing the 42nd street, but we heard very little noise.Our carpeted room was reasonably spacious, clean and comfortable. Storage was no problem in the room with both closet hanging space and a large chest of deep drawers. There was also a decently sized work desk, nightstands and a mini sitting area compiled of a chaise and ottoman.

Family Stay at the Westin Grand Central Hotel NYC
The bedside reading lights ,decent sized safe and large mirror at the entrance to the room all added functionality to the room. There was a proper distribution of power outlets throughout the room which is good for a family who have multiple electronic devices that need charging at once. The large screen TV proved challenging to watch from the opening sofa since it couldn’t be moved but didn’t bother us too much as we were busy sightseeing and meeting with friends.

Family Stay at the Westin Grand Central Hotel NYC desk
The hotel supplied bottled drinking water and replenished it daily. There was also a coffee machine with complimentary coffee and tea. At our request, housekeeping provided a no-charge fridge we could fill with snacks and refreshments we purchased for our son. There is a surcharge minibar that is well stocked but be aware that when it comes to the contents you should know that if you move it you pay for it.

 

The bathroom

The bathroom was moderately sized and well-lit with a granite-like, sturdy countertop and tan colored tile and wallpaper. It featured a combo bathtub and shower with a handheld attachment as well as an overhead showerhead that was placed a tad too high up for me.

Family Stay at the Westin Grand Central Hotel NYC ammenity

This bathroom featured a convenient safety grab bar, magnifying mirror and a typical amenity kit with shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion.

Family Stay at the Westin Grand Central Hotel NYC bathroom

Dining

Though the hotel itself had only one restaurant with a limited menu, there are various dining options for all budgets in the immediate area: from fast food to elegant sit-down restaurants.Be sure to stop by Grand Central Station and check out all the food venues there :especially those offering desserts.

Family Stay at the Westin Grand Central Hotel NYC restaurant

Autism Travel Tips

  • The hotel windows are all fitted with are special locks that should be reassuring for safety – in particular on the upper floors of the building.
  • If your child is light-sensitive, there are double curtains that effectively block out the light.
  • Request a feather-free room  if  your child has feather allergies
  • Though the property has built-in grab bars, we brought our non-slip mat as a backup
  • Be sure to ask for extra foam padding to place on  the sofa bed if your child feels the mattress is too stiff.

 

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