Exploring Manhattan Using Public Transportation

After we have kids, the convenience of the subway is no longer so convenient. The necessary evils of strollers, diaper bags, etc. make it difficult to enjoy an outing in Manhattan, especially when you have to contend with all of the steps to get into and out of the subway. We’ve made it a little easier for you by rounding up some stroller friendly stations and giving you suggestions for fun day trips into the city.

Luckily there several stations in Queens that have elevators to ease the struggle of getting into the City*:

  • 21 St-Queensbridge – 
  • 74 St-Roosevelt Ave. – 
E, F, M, R, 7
  • Flushing/Main St. – 
7 (Easy transfer to N or Q across the platform at Queensboro Plaza)
  • Jamaica-179 St – 
  • Jamaica Center/Parsons-Archer – E, J, Z
  • Jamaica-Van Wyck – 
  • Junction Blvd – 
7 (Easy transfer to N or Q across the platform at Queensboro Plaza)
  • Kew Gardens-Union Turnpike – 
E,  F
  • Middle Village-Metropolitan Ave. – M
  • Queens Plaza – 
E, M, R
  • Rockaway Park-Beach 116 St. – A, S
  • Sutphin Blvd-Archer Av/ JFK Airport – E, J, Z
  • Woodside-61 St. – 
7 (Easy transfer to N or Q across the platform at Queensboro Plaza)

*Check the “Accessibility” section for details on where the elevators are located at each station.

Depending on the train you ride, there are many wonderful places you can take your children to in Manhattan, with elevator access to welcome you!

The Children’s Museum of the Arts offers children not only the opportunity to view art, but to make art of their own. Located near the West 4th St. train station (B, D, F, M, A, C, E), the CMA is an amazing spot for children of all ages to explore their artistic side. From clay to fine art to a quiet room, they have it all. In addition to areas for casual artistic fun, they offer classes for everyone from beginner to advanced (see the schedule and pricing on their website). They even have classes for students who want to create their own films using a variety of media. There is something for any artistic taste. General Admission is $10.00 for adults and $10.00 for children over 1, but Thursdays from 4:00-6:00 are “pay what you wish.”

If you want a little bit more of a work-out, check out Karma Kids Yoga or High Line Park near the 14th St. stop on the A, C, E line. Karma Kids Yoga is a fantastic yoga studio that introduces yoga to kids from 8 weeks to teenagers. Their fun, energetic approach to yoga has great appeal. Mommy and Me classes begin with babies as young as 8 weeks, and watching your baby go from laying on the mat to doing tree pose is exciting.

If strolling through a park is more your style, check out High Line Park. There is elevator access at the 14th St. and 10th Ave. entrance. This converted train track is now home to a high-rise walkway bordered by beautiful gardens (in the warmer months) with views of the Hudson River and beyond. There are often gardeners present who are eager to answer any questions you might have about the landscape. Eclectic artists sell their wares, and even if you aren’t interested in buying, they are more than willing to talk to you about their art.

After a long day of doing yoga and/or exploring the High Line, stop off at Empire Bakery for one of their delicious, gourmet snack cakes. Twinkies have nothing on them!

Union Square (N, Q, R only; 4, 5, 6 are not accessible) offers numerous options of kid-centric activities, but here are a few you don’t want to miss. If you are on the 7 line, there is an easy transfer across the platform at Queensboro Plaza for the N or Q trains. You can start your day at the Union Square Playground, which has separate sections for younger and older kids.

After running around for a while, walk a few blocks to Books of Wonder, a unique little book shop with a gallery of artwork from children’s books. On Sundays at noon and Fridays at 4:00 and 5:00 they have story time.

When you’re ready for a bite to eat, head across the street to City Bakery. In addition to their focus on creating healthy, delicious food, they offer the most decadent hot chocolate, not to be confused with hot cocoa. You won’t find any powder in this drink! Be sure you get it with one of their giant, homemade marshmallows. From Union Square you can also get to Karma Kids Yoga and the High Line, but it’s more of a walk.

Central Park is always a great trip to make, especially on an early spring day. At the southwest entrance closest to the 59th St. – Columbus Circle train stop (A, B, C, B, 1), kids can find a variety of activities to do at Heckscher Playground. Aside from the usual swings and slides, there is an enormous sand play area with a rope spiderweb for climbing and a stone fort. In the summer there are sprinklers next to the fort. The Time Warner Center across the street has several great places to grab a bite to eat, namely Whole Foods.

If you’re up for a walk, you can visit the Central Park Zoo, about 15-20 minutes from the Columbus Circle entrance. It’s a small zoo, but it offers a great variety of animals to learn about: Polar bears, penguins, red pandas and more! There is also a children’s section with a petting zoo.

For kids who are interested in technology and its many fun and exciting uses, Sony Wonder Lab is a must-see! Located off the Lexington Av/53rd St. stop (E, M), the Sony Wonder Lab not only teaches children about the history behind various forms of technology, but gives them to the opportunity to mix their own music, create their own video games or movies, and much more. Be sure to make a reservation, because this is a popular spot, especially when school is out. If you just show up, you have to wait for the people with reservations to go through. There is no charge to go in, but if you decide to sign up for one of the special programs, there is a fee for some of them. While some of the special programs cater to younger kids, most of the regular exhibits and activities are geared more towards kids 7 and up.

Times Square-42 St. (N, Q, R, 1, 2, 3, 7 only, S is not accessible) is a great stop with so many things to do and see. Aside from the usual draws of Dave and Buster and the ferris wheel at Toys ‘R Us, a short distance away are Bryant Park (42nd St. and 6th Ave.) and The New York Public Library.

At Bryant Park, don’t miss the beautiful Le Carrousel. They have odd hours, so be sure to check out their website before you go. The park itself is a great place to grab a bite to eat, or enjoy a book in their reading area.

The New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd St. and 5th Ave. has a Children’s Center where they have regular story time for children from birth to age 12 and discussions of stories for older children.

So now that the weather is getting nicer, find the stroller accessible subway station nearest to you, and have an adventure in the city! Enlist other friends with kids for moral support. The more you get accustomed to taking kids into the city, the easier it gets!


By: Megan Ross