Explore The Big Apple: Best Online Ways To Take A Virtual Tour Of New York City

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By taking your kids on one of these virtual tours, you can visit the sites of the city without the hassle and stress of travelling with children or getting jet lag. After all, New York really is a must-see for families to experience.

The Big Apple has so much to offer for families to entertain themselves - so don't let lockdown get in the way of your exploration. Take your minds on a trip further than the four walls of your home! Luckily, so many of the sites, such as museums, parks, performing arts centres and libraries - have risen to the challenge of lockdown, to provide virtual access to their buildings and collections. So, if you're looking to explore somewhere further afield than your one-hour daily exercise, then you should try these free online tour ideas that your whole family is bound to love.

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The Met 360° Project

This award-winning series of six short videos takes viewers around the world to virtually visit The Met's art and architecture in an immersive way from your sofa. Created using 360° technology, it allows viewers to explore some of the Museum's iconic spaces like never before. This popular museum tour has been viewed more than 11 million times, so it isn't one to miss for young, budding artists and architects!

If you and the family enjoyed this experience - why not visit their behind the scenes footage about how the films were made here.

NYBG At Home

Since the pandemic, New York Botanical Gardens has been closed to the public - however, they have opened up their virtual gates to allow the power of plants to connect people and inspire them at this difficult time. They have released a virtual research expedition and an EcoQuest challenge, so that you can experience the amazing Spring display that the city has to offer. If your family enjoy plants and gardens, then this is a great way to spend the afternoon at home. It is also appropriate for all ages to enjoy.

Their new content hub features videos, plant guides, virtual events, recipes for kids, and so much more. As spring unfolds, the NYBG will be your go-to to experience the brightness and colour of the season - a reminder of how the natural world brings us joy!

view of New York street with yellow cabs and skyscrapers

Central Park

If you're dying to see the famous Central Park - check out this amazing 360 tour of the park. Put it on your big screen and allow the kids to choose which way they want to go next, as you check out all of the amazing things that the park has to offer. You can see the Alice in Wonderland Statue, Cherry Hill, Conservatory Water and so much more!

Food Tour Of NYC

This one is great for a family of foodies - a 24-hour food tour of New York City. The host spends the day in New York, tasting the cuisine that the city has to offer - including the best restaurants from cheap eats to fine Italian dining. This video 'WHAT TO EAT IN NEW YORK! 24 Hours NYC Food Tour' by CupofTJ has an impressive 312,152 views - it's not one to miss if you want to check out the New York food scene.

13 Tours Via Helicopter

These 13 NYC Virtual Tours explore the Big Apple from the perspective of a helicopter. So, if your kids love helicopter rides or plane journeys, they are bound to love these videos. They have an interactive 360 view, so that you can look whichever way you want - as if you were there! This virtual experience, filmed and created by Scholastica Travel was set up to especially for use in schools - with the view to inspire children to visit. They also provide a service for you to plan a trip that aligns with your child's curriculum and travel interests! Be sure to check them out.

Woman looking out at city skyline

Handy Map Of Nature

Explore NYC’s urban wilderness with this handy map of all of the nature that the city and it's surroundings has on offer. New York has more than 20,000 acres of forests, wetlands, and grasslands - which is something that many people don't expect. And now you can cover all of this land from the comfort of your own home.

Lush forests, babbling brooks, and expansive wetlands are not what New York City is known for, but the Natural Areas Conservancy, a nonprofit that works to manage the city’s uncultivated landscapes, hopes to change that. Check out how they are doing this using their handy map, which includes details of the restoration and preservation of the natural landscapes.

El Museo

In a partnership with the New York Latino Film Festival, each week El Museo del Barrio will feature shorts, films, and documentaries from the fest on its website. While the Museum is temporarily closed - they are encouraging guests to explore the site to learn more about Latino art and culture through their online resources! Culture from your sofa - what more could you want?

'Tourist In Your Own Town'

This interactive set of videos was made for residents of New York to see their beloved city whilst they're stuck inside. They discover the best of the city, from hidden gems to iconic landmarks, through their series - with an interactive map to show the placement of each site. The virtual tour is free to view however there is a section at the bottom of the website where you can donate if you wish.

Outside the Hard Rock Cafe New York at night

The Greenbelt

The Greenbelt, a City of New York flagship park located in the heart of Staten Island, is comprised of almost 3,000 acres of land dedicated to mostly recreational activities. It holds forest, wetlands, lakes, ponds, and streams - where people can hike, explore nature, and relax. You can enjoy a day of golf at La Tourette, play a game of tennis, or compete in a game of softball at Willowbrook. The wide variety of environments found within The Greenbelt allows it to function as a major attraction for all of Staten Island.

However, since having to close due to the pandemic, it is now offering virtual tours to keep it alive! They have 10 tours listed on their website to view and they also have 3 free printable maps for families to read as they virtually tour the city.

Coney Island History Project

History lovers among the family will love to listen to these 350+ oral histories from New Yorkers on the Coney Island History Project’s website. As some of you may know, Coney Island is a residential and commercial neighbourhood and entertainment area, located on a peninsula in Brooklyn, NYC.

This project is not a visual virtual tour, but more of an auditory walkthrough of the history that the area has. It was set up to preserve Coney Island's memories by recording interviews in person and over the phone, both in English and other languages, with immigrants who live or work in Southern Brooklyn. It gives another amazing dimension to New York that some people may not have known about.


If you have enjoyed these virtual tours, why not try some more? Leave the city to take a look at these 12 virtual tours from all over the globe for outdoor explorers - that can be done from your sofa! Or this one for interactive learning.

Disclaimer

Disclaimer

At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things, that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents. 

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it's important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.  

Kidadl provides inspiration for everything from family days out to online classes, arts, crafts and science experiments. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong. 

We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.

Annabelle Beaumont
Passionate about recycling

Originally from Bournemouth, Annabelle spent her childhood travelling and exploring. She moved to Bahrain at the age of 13 and then to London at 19 where she attended Chelsea College of Arts, UAL. She loves all things creative - especially if they involve recycling materials, as this is what she is most passionate about. Aside from art, Annabelle also enjoys walking her dogs and cooking for friends and family.