Spend 24 Hrs In New York City {Family Trip}

24 Hrs in NYC

We recently had a lovely opportunity to attend a military family weekend in Upstate New York. So, we decided to venture to New York City for the first time, and take our three kids with us. Traveling with the kids has always been a priority ever since they were younger. Getting them used to travel and flexibility from a young age is extremely important. They are tough cookies, and are along for the ride despite the long distances we walked that weekend!

Twenty-Four Hours in New York

So, where do you start when you spend just twenty-four hours in a city jam-packed with things to do and places to see? The first thing one must do is recognize that they can’t possibly see everything and really pair down your list to some of the most important things. Where you stay is also important. We chose to stay just off Times Square at the Belvedere Hotel. It was a great hotel, with great staff, decent-sized rooms, and came with parking (which was a few blocks away near the Tonight Show theater).

Military Families! Make sure to grab your military discount at both the Empire State Building and the Central Park Zoo!!

Empire State Building

Head here with a couple of hours available on your schedule! You will enter through a new, tourist-looking entrance. But never fear, you will end your visit through the lobby you see in all the movies (which I know is what many people, including myself, were hoping for) like ELF and Sleepless in Seattle. You will go through several displays with the history of the Empire State Building, including old elevators and video presentations. The kids even enjoyed most of them. Several levels include different ways to view the landscape around the building and lots of windows so that you aren’t waiting around. Covid restrictions in place include masking, but there was still a good number of people around. The timed entry tickets made the waits almost non-existent.

Times Square

It’s busy, make no mistake about that; and watching out for the designated walkways and designated places to stop and take pictures is important. It is a fast-moving area and high traffic, but there are plenty of spaces to see all the things. I would also highly recommend passing through during the day and the night so you can truly see everything. Families beware though, you will see body-painted, basically naked ladies, so it is important to be aware of that. My younger two did not notice them at all. My fifteen-year-old did, and gave me the best parenting gift ever….he completely turned around and looked the other way.

Central Park

Central Park almost deserves its own post because it is so large! There are so many things to see in Central Park that it is easy to spend several trips seeing all there is. On this trip, we visited the Central Park Zoo, which was loved by all three of my kiddos, the “Friends” fountain, and Strawberry Fields with the Imagine Mosaic. We crossed across the park from the Zoo to hit those other two landmarks, and made our way to a great pizza joint!

New York Pizza

Experiencing some New York Pizza was high on our list of things to do. We chose two places – one was a “take a slice” type New York joint and one was a sit-down restaurant. Both with amazing New York Pizza!




We squeezed in a lot! What would you add to your 24 Hr NYC Trip?

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