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Our Favorite City Splurges for Families

By November 8, 2015October 7th, 2017No Comments

The Tower Bridge in London, England, UK


There’s something so electric about visiting a brand new city sprawl. Seemingly everything’s at your fingertips when it comes to endless options for cuisine, entertainment, and overall amazement. So grab the kids, hold tight to their hands and let’s venture through some of our favorite cities for families around the world.


As the second biggest European city, London has almost everywhere beat when it comes to vacation options. For families looking to introduce themselves to Europe, this can also be the perfect option, as communication and ease of navigation is easier than in other foreign locales. Pick a base as central as possible to be near the iconic landmarks like the London Eye Ferris wheel, or choose a trendier neighborhood outside some of the chaos for a truly local feel. Some of the best include fancy Marleybone, laid-back Clapham Common, trendy Islington or scenic Richmond. With stellar public transportation options, almost anywhere you stay in London proper is no more than one hour away from the center. Skip the crazy lines at the tourist traps and instead go for high tea at the kid-friendly Chesterfield Hotel which serves up Willy Wonka-styled treats in the afternoon. Or, take a look at the bizarre Grant Museum of Zoology for free that displays all sorts of animal oddities and creature facts.


New York City? Forgetaboutit! Head northeast instead to this city that seems to have been created just for families. It’s smaller than the average metropolitan destination, making for easy, breezy vacations where you get to experience a little bit of everything. Our favorite part is being on the harbor and enjoying that salty air, as well as walking along the red brick Freedom Trail that stops along some of Boston’s most historic sites. Bring the kiddos to the North End for some amazing Italian cannoli’s at Modern Pastry, then don’t miss the chance to explore the Aquarium or the Science Museum. If you can swing a midweek trip that can be ideal, especially for some of Boston’s most popular spots.

San Francisco

On the other coast is another coastal city that packs a big punch. Activities abound keep visitors in this city super busy and thrilled, from walking through Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square for some chocolate sundaes, to taking a ferry out to Alcatraz Island or riding a Segway through the winding streets. Although many restaurants have perfect seafood, such as Hog Island Oyster, they often provide a wonderful kid’s menu too if the littles are picky eaters. Enjoy San Fransico’s other neighborhoods too, such as Chinatown, the Mission District or the Presidio, where you’ll find the Golden Gate Bridge.


No one ever stops in Barcelona, whether they’re briskly walking through the colorful city streets or dancing the night away. Families who love a balance between the outdoors and urban adventures will fall in love with Barcelona. Stay near one of the city’s beaches for some sun time, then venture downtown for prime shopping and sightseeing. Kids have a blast at Casa Batllo to see the incredible, quirky designs of Gaudi’s architecture. Head to the Museu de la Xocolata as well and watch their eyes grow wide at the countless exhibits dedicated to this sweet treat.


Don’t be intimidated by big cities in new places! Taipei is the capital city of Taiwan and can be an incredible space for families to grow and explore together. Find a great hotel in a central place to keep things simple and accessible. Many of the higher end accommodations include breakfasts and turn down treats, as well as the helpful concierge who can book drivers and taxis for your family to help you get around. The strange and over-the-top eateries are a huge draw for the kids, especially the totally pink Barbie Cafe and the ridiculous restaurant that celebrates bathrooms! Everyone will marvel at a trip to Taipei 101 as well, which is the world’s second highest skyscraper with sweeping panoramic views of city and mountains.


Sydney is the best of all worlds – half beachy atmosphere, half a whirlwind of high rise buildings and innovative attractions. Make a beeline for Sydney’s most iconic hotspot – the Sydney Harbor. Here you will find the Opera House, Sydney Harbor Bridge and tons of space for exploring public parks. While there, check out the shows and performances happening at the opera house and the city’s other great theater venues, which host wonderful kid-friendly concerts and musicals year-round. Then, hop on a bus and take a ride down to Bondi Beach to watch the surfers do tricks in the waves and have a burger on the beach.


Eileen Cotter Wright

Author Eileen Cotter Wright

Eileen Cotter is a freelance travel journalist and owner of Pure Wander. She's our resident expat extraordinaire and falls down a lot in yoga class. Follow her on Twitter @Crooked_Flight

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