This past weekend I had the pleasure of going to New York City with my family. I’ve been there a lot of times over my lifetime, but we always find something new and fun to do. So, here’s your guide to a family-friendly budgeted weekend in New York City!

1. Take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry

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~Enjoy a ride on the water from New York to New Jersey while getting a beautiful view of    the Statue of Liberty. A boat comes every 30 minutes and each terminal has seating areas and food places for you to tend to while you are waiting. And the best part is, the boat ride is free!

2. Have a stroll through Central Park

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~It’s no secret that Central Park is a very beautiful place. It’s featured in most movies/tv shows that take place in New York. Whether it’s in the large, green area, by the playground, or near Bethesda Fountain, there is plenty of things to do and see in this stunning, famous park. The best part? It’s free as well!

3. Watch the New York Botanical Garden Train Show

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~Enjoy a cute (not so little) train show in the NYBG. This has miniature versions of many famous buildings in NYC while the train runs through the little city. Unfortunately, this isn’t free like the options before, but the prices aren’t too bad (I hope). Adult: $30, Senior (65+): $28, Student(with ID): $28 Child(2-12): $18. Try looking on Groupon for discounts!

4. Visit Bryant Park Winter Village

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~This is a fun, pretty place to visit with the kids. From ice skating, to shopping, to free games and art supplies, this place has it all. It also has a beautiful Christmas tree on display. $20 (skate rental) or free admission (no skating)

5. Visit the Rockefeller Center

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~I’m not going to lie, when I visited here, it was a lot smaller than I thought. TV and movies make it seem and feel a lot bigger than it is. Nevertheless, I would highly suggest visiting here. If not, just to look around, you could also go ice skating. The price of skating depends on what time of the year you go and what age you are. Skating sessions are an hour and a half and the rink is open daily. While you are at it, go take a look at the Radio City Music Hall and if you can, book a show to see the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular.

6. Check out the window displays in different stores

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~Stores are no strangers to putting up Christmas decorations, but they take it to a whole new level by putting up window displays. These Christmas displays are super festive and can be found in many different stores. Some examples include Saks (5th avenue), Tiffany and Company, Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Lord and Taylor, and Macys. This is all free, all it costs is your time (in a good way, of course).

7. Visit FAO Schwarz

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~Since Toys R Us is now gone from NYC (and everywhere), FAO Schwarz is the next best thing. I remember, fondly, that the Toys R Us in Times Square had a Ferris wheel. To my knowledge, there is no Ferris wheel in FAO, but it’s a giant toy store with a giant keyboard on the floor that you can walk on and make music, so I think it’s pretty great.

8. Take a look around Times Square

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~Times Square is a pretty “magical” place. All the glowing lights and street sounds, cabs honking, and so many people. It’s the stuff out of movies, so make sure you take it all in and take lots of pictures. One of the best places to take a picture is on the red steps, at least, it’s one of my favorites. This, of course, is free.

9. Go to the Central Park Zoo

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~You may not see Alex, Melman, Gloria, or Marty (in reference to Madagascar), but you’ll see some pretty cool animals. The zoo is open daily from 10am-4:30pm. Adults: $13.95, Children(3-12): $8.95, Children(2 and under): Free, Seniors(65+): $10.95

10. Take a ride on the Subway or in a cab

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~It might be a cliche, but if you have never been to NYC, then it seems like a good thing to experience. Be careful though, taxi cabs can be pretty pricey if you don’t know what you are doing, but the subway isn’t too bad. The subway is a quick way to get around, trust me, I’m from the DC metro area and getting around takes a lot longer.

I hope you enjoyed my list of things to do in NYC during the holidays and I hope you get the chance to make it there, if you haven’t been to New York already. It truly is an interesting place to visit, if not live there. Stay tuned for my post detailing what exactly I did in New York City with my family for the weekend!

Signing Off,