NYC walking tours for the whole family
By Holly Rosen Fink
Mario Batali Food Walking Tour of New York City (Courtesy Walks of New York)
It’s possible for New Yorkers to live in the city for 20 years and still never see or experience every neighborhood. The city is huge, and there is always an area yet to be explored, and what better way than by foot. Since kids aren’t the greatest walkers, it’s fortunate that there are family-friendly walking tours for all interests including foodies, history buffs, architecture fanatics, people with a sweet tooth and born to be photographers.
The walks are a great way to learn more about the city that never sleeps and discover local treasures one wouldn’t find otherwise. Equip your kids with a notebook and a camera, and make them citizen journalists. Here’s our list of five family-friendly walking tours in and around NYC:
A Tour for Foodies
For foodies with a palette for culinary delights, Walks of New York offers a Mario Batali Food Walking Tour, a walk that celebrates the West Village’s Italian culture and history from the perspective of one of the country’s top chefs and restaurateurs. Children will find it hard to get bored when provided with Batali’s finest dishes, starting from arrancini (rice balls), followed by tastings of cheese, salami, and bruschetta at Otto Enoteca Pizzeria, gnocchi at Lupa Osteria Romana, and dessert in the heart of the Village. The tour was developed in collaboration with Batali and his team and is led by vibrant guides who will find a way to capture any child’s attention.
A Tour for Burgeoning Photographers
NY Photo Safari (Courtesy New York City Photo Safari)
NY Photo Safaris are photography classes designed for small groups and people who want to learn how to “capture the life and allure that’s distinctly the Big Apple”. It’s a walking photo safari and kids with burgeoning photography futures will love it. They have a wide range of tours/classes around the city that are family-friendly, however an adult must accompany younger participants. Those aged 14 and up may attend at a $35 discount with a fully paid patron. For those between 8 and 13, they offer a Mommy/Daddy photo safari, as well as a class called Candid Kids for those wanting to learn to photograph their babies and toddlers.
A Tour for People with a Sweet Tooth
Sweeter than Sugar Tour (Courtesy Sugartooth Tours)
Tour goers on the Sweeter than Sugar Tour with Sugartooth Tours will have the opportunity to indulge in delicious treats, including half-pound cookies, artisan hot chocolate, and more. While traveling through Chelsea, guests will feed their minds with the tasty and colorful culinary past of Chelsea and brush up on their Valentines Day history and trivia as they cuddle close with their sweethearts to mosey down the High Line. Children 0-3 years of age are free of charge unless you would like a separate tasting portion for them. Anyone 4 years and older will need their own ticket. (Note: they are able to accommodate small strollers.)
A Tour for History and Religion Buffs
Visit Hasidim Walking Tour of Williamsburg (Courtesy Visit Hasidim)
For something completely different, take the Visit Hasidim Walking Tour of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and immerse yourself in its history, culture and traditions. Frieda Vizel is a New York City licensed tour guide and student on Hasidism. With the sensitivity of an insider and the knowledge of a scholar, she takes you through its streets and tells its unusual history, teaching with empathy, insight and nuance. The tour begins with sampling of Hasidic pastries and then sets out through the main streets of Williamsburg to explore the history, culture and lifecycle with cultural sensitivity and an emphasis on understanding the social underpinnings. At the end, you’ll settle down for some kosher deli food. Kids will enjoy the walk, as well as the food, both offering ample heritage and history.
(MORE: Find affordable rates on kid-friendly hotels in New York City.)
For Architecture Fanatics
Adults and kids alike will enjoy the Big Onion Chelsea and High Line Tour by Big Onion, which offers a tour of the historic and architectural side of Chelsea with stops at The Chelsea Hotel, “Death Alley,” the birthplace of the Oreo cookie, General Theological Seminary, and sites associated with Dylan Thomas, Clement Clark Moore and Janis Joplin. Kids will love snapping photos of the Highline. The tours are two hours, and children are welcome on each one. Some streets and sidewalks are narrow and may be difficult to navigate with a stroller. They do not charge for children younger than school age on public tours.