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What Are the Most Kid-Friendly Big Cities to Visit in the U.S.?

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Our family loves to travel, but we have two young school-aged kids, so not every destination is an option for us right now. There’s a certain appeal to traveling in big cities because there are so many restaurants, museums, and cultural opportunities, but not all cities are created equal when it comes to being kid-friendly for travelers.

First, before getting into specific cities that are great if you have kids if you do want to travel with your kids you can think outside of the box.

For example, even if you want to travel to a big city, you can rent an RV, so you don’t have to fly. Most big cities have plenty of RV parks surrounding them, which gives you some quiet at the end of the day, while still letting you enjoy all the appeal of the location.

Aside from that, from personal experience and some research, I put together a list of some great cities if you’re traveling with kids, whether by RV or otherwise.

New York City

New York City is one of the best cities in the world, and it’s also kid-friendly in so many ways. There are attractions like the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. There’s also the Natural History Museum, Central Park, the Highline Park, and plenty more options that are great for kids of all ages.

New York is a city where you’ll see plenty of other kids out and about, and even many of the nicer restaurants are good for kids, plus there’s always casual dining options to enjoy as well. New York City is a travel destination that seems to be a lot of fun for both kids and parents, and that can be tough to find.

San Diego

San Diego is a beautiful city with fantastic weather. The San Diego Zoo is probably one of the city’s most famous family-friendly attractions, but there’s more to do than that. There’s the TheNAT San Diego Natural History Museum and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.

There’s also the Palm Canyon Trail, and the San Diego Air & Space Museum. Other options you can enjoy if you’re taking a family trip to San Diego include the Cabrillo National Monument, the nearby beaches, and SeaWorld San Diego.

Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. can easily hold the attention of kids and adults alike. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History has fascinating dinosaur exhibits, and there’s the National Mall that can’t be missed.

The National Museum of American History is a fun stop for people of all ages, and there’s the National Zoo which is free to visit.

While you’re in the area, you can also make your way to the nearby Inner Harbor in Baltimore.


Undoubtedly one of the favorite family destinations in Chicago is the Shed Aquarium and the aquatic show. There’s also the Adler Planetarium and The Field Museum.

In the summer there are outdoor and water activities, and there’s also Navy Pier, and it’s Ferris wheel. What’s great about Chicago is that it can in many ways be more budget-friendly than a lot of other big cities, but you do have to consider the weather since the winters can be so harsh.

San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the pricier cities included on this list, but if you’re doing what was mentioned at the start of this post and renting an RV, you can stay outside of the city and then make your way in during the day.

The Exploratorium is on Pier 15, and it’s one of the world’s best science centers. The exhibits are hands-on, and there’s a lot to see and learn. There’s also Fisherman’s Wharf, and families can take a ferry to Angel Island for some of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Of course, your kids will also probably want to ride on a cable car while you’re there as well.

San Antonio

Finally, what about a trip to San Antonio? San Antonio is one of the largest cities in Texas and the U.S., and it’s also a relatively budget-friendly big city destination. There’s the zoo, a SeaWorld, and a Six Flags theme park all in and around San Antonio. There’s also the River Walk, which spans for 15 miles and offers boat tours, shopping, dining, music, and entertainment.

Morgan’s Wonderland features a butterfly playground, and there, of course, the history of the Alamo. There’s also beautiful Spanish architecture to enjoy in San Antonio.

The U.S. has amazing city travel options for families with kids, all of which are worth exploring if you have the opportunity.

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