It’s been coming for a while now, and Hudson Yards, the zillion dollar live/work/play/shop development on Manhattan’s west side is now officially open! New York City’s newest neighborhood (located left of The Highline between 10th and 11th Avenues and 30th and 34th Street) is a sight to behold, and it’s packed with activities for young and old. (Yes, particularly if you’ve got some cash to spend.) Still, it is possible to enjoy Hudson Yards with the kids without going broke. Here’s our guide to doing Hudson Yards with the kids: what to do, where to eat, and what to see!

The Basics

photo: Related/Oxford

In case you missed the memo, Hudson Yards is the largest private real estate development in the history of the country and the largest development in the city of New York since Rockefeller Center. 

When it is fully completed, it will include more than 18 million square feet of commercial and residential space, more than 100 shops, a variety of restaurants and 4,000 apartments. 

There's also a public square and gardens area at the center of it all. 

 Vessel

photo: Forbes Massie

Looking like the spaceship of some alien invaders come to rule us humans, Vessel is a structure of 154 intricately interconnecting flights of stairs, totaling nearly 2,500 individual steps and 80 landings. Designed by British designer Thomas Heatherwick and Heatherwick Studio, the copper-colored structure is free to climb and explore and offers views of the Hudson River and the surrounding area. It measures 50-feet wide at its base and widens to 150-feet across at its full height, and serves as the center of the public square and gardens area. 

Take note: while it is free to climb, you need a timed ticket to enter Vessel. You can get those here. (While many slots are booked, a block is opened every day at 8 a.m. to reserve a spot for same day entry.) Click here for more info on ticketing for Vessel. 

Also: if you and the kids are too tired, there is an elevator that will take you right to the top. 

The Shed

The Shed is a new non-profit cultural organization located where The Highline meets Hudson Yards. Featuring an innovative design, the structure can be utilized in a variety of ways (intimate galleries, theater spaces, cavernous performance or exhibit halls). To see what we mean check out this video.

The Shed officially opens April 5, and promises to host a mix of established and emerging artists representing a wide range of traditions and mediums. You can check out upcoming programming here.(Bjork's playing a couple dates in May and June. It's already sold out.)

Online: theshed.org

 

Snark Park

photo: Snark Park

From the New York-based design studio known as Snarkitecture comes Snark Park, a monochromatic mashup of art, design, playhouse and yes, unique Instagram-friendly immersive experience. Snark Park is the first entirely Snarkitecture-designed experience, and it will change three times a year. The first installation, Lost and Found, is described as a "modern-day enchanted forest" – built from a series of massive, inhabitable columns, each offering a unique, tactile experience. A series of totems lines the space and many of them are inhabitable and built with custom materials: EPS foam, mirror tile, acoustic paneling, cork, latex, ping-pong balls, faux fur, among others. Deeper into the installation, visitors discover a hidden, two-way mirrored room. 

Rounding out the high-concept experience, Snark Park will also sell its own KITH Treats ice cream flavor "Snark Bite", with traditional KITH menu items. (Lots of sugary cereal mix-ins.) And of course, you can purchase a Snark Park souvenir, including the stuffie mascot "Snarky."  

Tickets must be bought online for a specific time slot. 

Tickets: $28/adults; $22/kids; free/kids four and under 
2nd Level
Online: snarkpark.com

HYxOFFTHEWALL

photo: Mimi O'Connor

Throughout Hudson Yards, you'll find fun and funky large-scale murals, interactive/3D displays and tableaus from 13 artists, a collection curated and produced by @CultureCorps. Again, plenty of fodder for Instagram feeds of young and old, but don't miss Lara Schnitger's "I Was Here" (pictured), an enormous "interactive sequin tapestry" you're encouraged to leave your mark on. (On view through the end of 2019.)

Online: hudsonyardsnewyork.com

The Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards

A glittering, multi-level luxury emporium, the mall at Hudson Yards is home to numerous ultra high-end brands (Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Brooks Brothers, Chanel, Dior) as well as dining options that range from destination and special occasion to foodie-friendly fast-casual. Here are the most kid- and wallet- friendly spots.

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Shop

photo: Mimi O'Connor

Micro Kickboard

The first brick-and-mortar location for everyone's favorite scooter, this storefront showcases all of Micro Kickboard's  products (for both kids and adults) and even has the ride-on luggage model for kids 18 months and up so you can actually get through the airport. Most amazing feature: the scooter track so you can take a few models for a literal spin. 

Level 4
Online: hudsonyardsnewyork.com

photo: Mimi O'Connor

Dylan's Candy Bar

Dylan Lauren continues her candy-coated march across New York, with the opening of her sixth Candy Bar location. This store has all the technicolor candy and decor of the chain's other stores, with bulk candy, nostalgia candy, candy you can customize, ice cream, and tons more treats. (If the response the store got from the candy-crazed adults on opening night is any indication of the shop's appeal, your kids will go bonkers for this place.) 

Level 4
Online: hudsonyardsnewyork.com

photo: Mimi O'Connor

PiQ

Another colorful retail spot in Hudson Yards, PiQ is full of nothing you and the kids actually need but at least a few things you'll desperately want. (The chain also has locations in Rockefeller Center and Grand Central Terminal.) From cute, cuddly, and kawaii merch to New York City-themed goods, fun books, games, sparkly jewelry, gag gifts, writing and art supplies and much more, this is a store that's fun to browse, is a great place to pick up a birthday present or two, and you can make it out of without bankrupting yourself. 

Level 4
Online: hudsonyardsnewyork.com

photo: Mimi O'Connor

milk & honey babies

Residents of The Garden State may remember milk & honey babies' first store in Englewood, New Jersey, which closed. The sweet store is back and in Hudson Yards, selling adorable and high-quality layette, toys, nursing supplies, books, and super cute stuffies (we're partial to the fluffy, glam ostriches by Jelly Cat). You'll also find gifts for New York City babies (taxi-themed items) as well as a baby feeding room! (Now that's service!)

Level 2
Online: hudsonyardsnewyork.com

photo: Mimi O'Connor

H & M

Yes, there are other H&Ms around the city, but Hudson Yards is now home to the new flagship for the retailer. In a similar vein, there's also a Uniqlo here if you're in the market to upgrade your kid's duds. 

Eat

photo: Mimi O'Connor

Eat: Quick Bites

As mentioned, you can dine in style at any number of chef-driven restaurants (Thomas Keller's Tak Room, modern Asian at Wild Ink, Michael Lomonaco's Hudson Yards Grill, etc.) but with the kids you'll probably want something a bit moire casual.

Choices abound. Shake Shack is here (level 4), with a new kids menu item, "chick'n bites."  fuku, from David Chang, sells fried chicken sandwiches, chickpea mac n cheese, slushies, and even a mini sando without seasoning for picky palates (level 2). 

Milos Wine Bar (level 5) has a greek yogurt and toppings bar you can enjoy on site or take to go. 

Need an organic burger? Head to Balcampo on level 4.

And to graze a marketplace of Spanish tapas and dishes,  explore Mercado Little Spain from chef José Andrés on level 1. 

You can also grab something healthy at sweetgreen at 10 Hudson Yards. 

photo: Mimi O'Connor

Eat: Treats

There are numerous spots to satisfy a sweet tooth at Hudson Yards, from classic to gourmand.

The complex is home to the newest Van Leeuwen ice cream store (it's vegan and made from scratch in Brooklyn); the store will be selling the limited-edition flavor "Off the Rails"  for the next month—it's a nod to Hudson Yards' train depot origins and is a mix of peanut butter cups, pretzels, marshmallows, and salted caramel swirls.

Vegan treats and coffee can also be found at Jack's Stir Brew. You'll also find the "Little Joey" and "Little Zoe" hot chocolates, specifically made not-too-hot for the kids. (Level 4) Co

Coffee fanatics will be pleased to learn that Blue Bottle has a store here as well, located on level 2. 

For some familiar favorite treats, William Greenberg Desserts sells kosher baked goods including its famous black and white cookies (level 3), and Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery has fine pastries in addition to coffee and heartier fare.

Fancy chocolate can be picked up for gifts or immediate consumption at Li-lac Chocolates, Manhattan's oldest chocolate house, located on level 4.

Getting There

Train, Bus, Stroll

You can stroll (or roll a stroller) right into the mall from The Highline, and it's a short walk west on street-level as well. 

There is also a shiny new subway station that empties out right onto the public square area near The Vessel and The Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards. It's served by the 7 train, and features some lovely mosaics to look at as you take the long escalator ride up or down. (It's deep, and is accessible with an elevator.) 

You can also take the A or C to Penn Station and catch the M34 select bus across town to 10th Avenue. 

—Mimi O’Connor

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