Aging Expectations

A City Vacation with Kids?

Yes, you can!

Big cities are full of fun and adventure, but sometimes bringing the kids along can make a metropolis vacation seem like more hassle than it’s worth. To keep stress levels down and the kids happy, we have rounded up some tips to make family travel to a big city more enjoyable.


Find free activities

The word free is sometimes synonymous with bad, but not when it comes to family trips in large cities. Below are some cost-effective options for you to explore:

  • Public Libraries: Public libraries are a free and educational source of entertainment for adults and kids alike. If you are traveling with young children, many public libraries offer cushioned play areas, toys and games to keep children occupied. Kids of all ages will love taking a break from sightseeing to read a good story or simply sit in a comfortable chair. If you are taking a trip to San Francisco, their public library is ranked one of the best in the nation and features Fisher Children’s Center, complete with an interactive play-to-learn space.


dolores park panorama 1


  • Parks/Playgrounds: Having a new park to run around will always delight children. This option provides a win-win situation because parents can sit down and relax while the kids play.

Pack snacks

Kids get hungry. Feed them sooner rather than later so you don’t hear complaints about rumbling tummies all afternoon. Homemade trail mix is an easy and healthy alternative to giving your kids candy or chips every time they are hungry.

Make time for relaxation

Even adults get tired from sightseeing, so it is important to take a break during the day if everyone is at the point of exhaustion. Try to head to the hotel around 4:30 p.m. for a brief afternoon nap so that children are energized for dinner and nighttime sightseeing.

Brush up on history before you visit

Highlight exciting battles, romances and legends to peak your children’s interest in historical sites that they may otherwise write off as a snooze-fest. If you are visiting Central Park, tell your children about the famous sled dog Balto, or have them watch the movie so they will have a greater appreciation for his statue in the park.
Central Park
Pack light

No one likes to carry around heavy bags, especially children. Packing lighter allows for easier mobility on crowded city streets. Give family members a backpack for their essentials, but make sure they are difficult for pick pocketers to open when you’re in high-volume areas

Ask locals for recommendations

Nobody knows a city like a local. Instead of feeling obligated to see every major tourist attraction, ask a local about some of their favorite urban activities. Sometimes a quiet side street café can be a better family dinner option than a bustling celebrity restaurant.

Keep children busy on public transit

Every parent’s worst nightmare is their child repeatedly asking, “Are we there yet?” in a public setting. If your family is taking the train or subway for a significant amount of time each day, it is best to keep the children busy. Electronics and books are the perfect solution to ward off boredom. Be sure your kids have charged their iPods, phones and Kindles if you are relying on public transit to get around.


This blog post was provided by Marriott International, which operates more than 3,700 hotels and resorts representing 18 brands across 70 countries.


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