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New York City, New York
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Statue of Liberty, New York City


Photo by Gail Benun

By Nicole Frank

There is no classroom that can enthrall and educate children like New York City. Where else can you expose your children to the cultures and cuisines of the world, all within a few city blocks? Or introduce them to opera, drama, ballet and art in a weekend? What's more, a trip to New York City offers families a peek at world history without having to travel the globe. And many New York City attractions are family friendly and numerous activities are free!

New York City is home to vibrant communities from Asia, Latin American, Europe and Africa, all with their own delicious food and unique customs. The many immigrant groups, which have built the city, offer a fascinating smorgasbord of cultural experiences. Each community has an annual parade or festival featuring that culture's traditional dress, dance, music and food. From Little Italy's San Genaro festival to the colorful Caribbean Day parade, most of these events are free and offer endless delights even for the youngest members of the family.

If you prefer an old world approach you will find New York City's museums, theaters and concert halls offer unparalleled riches. Most of these venues offer deep discounts for students and many are accessible to children. Don't miss the annual Kids' Night on Broadway when children as young as 6 are welcome to attend shows open only to adults and with the purchase of an adult ticket, their attendance is free.

From a recreation of a colonial-era farm town to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, the story of New York City speaks of the birth of America itself. Both Ellis Island and the Tenement Museum take great pains to help the immigrant's stories come to life.

Though Manhattan can be an expensive place for a family vacation, nowhere else can you tour the world with nothing more than a subway pass.

Copyright © Nicole Frank. All rights reserved. Nicole is the author of Home Exchange Travels an informative blog on home exchange travel and travel with children and seniors.
Navigating Manhattan
New York City Subway Map

New York City Subway Map


Knowing the layout of a city makes it easy to find your way. Most of Manhattan, one of New York City's five boroughs, is laid out like a grid. Avenues run north-south and streets run east-west. Broadway crosses Manhattan on a diagonal and Fifth Avenue divides the borough into east and west. If you are at W 42 Street and 7th Avenue and want to get to the Empire State Building you have to walk 8 blocks south and 2 blocks east. Alternatively, you can walk down Broadway and cut your journey in half. Of note, the grid only works above 5th Street. In lower Manhattan - Greenwich Village and SoHo - all of the roads are streets, they run north-south, east-west and diagonal, and they have names rather than numbers.
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