11 Reasons New York City Is The Best Place To Raise Kids, No Matter What Anyone Says

by Shannon Fiedler

When people think about raising kids in New York City, they probably harp on small spaces, crowded streets, and noisy nights. But by focusing on these less attractive attributes, they're overlooking all of the reasons New York is the best place to raise kids. Sure, space is tight. Yeah, it's busy and, OK, sometimes it smells. (Many New Yorkers will argue that these are actually part of the city's charm.) But these things are a small price to pay for the privilege of living in the most wonderful cities there is.

Raising your children in New York puts the entire world on their street corner. At any given moment, they are just a blocks away from some of the most important landmarks in our country; they are interacting daily with people of different backgrounds; they are surrounded by some of the most creative, innovative and insightful people in the world. By living in NYC, they are a part of the most exciting experiences and invigorating happenings in the world.

Of course, there are many benefits to having a home and starting a family in the suburbs. But there are certain things you can only give your child if you're raising them in this major metropolis. New York is like no other place in the world, which makes it a pretty amazing place to call home.


The Diversity

One of the best parts about raising a family in New York is that your kids will be exposed to all types of diversity at an early age. People from all walks of life call NYC home, which means your kids will be living among people from every country, upbringing and background. How cool is it to live somewhere that, at any given time, you can stand on a street corner and hear multiple languages being spoken? There's a lot to learn from the melting pot that is New York, and the earlier you can experience it, the better.


The Array Of Parks And Playgrounds

New York City often gets a bum wrap for it's lack of greenery, and while that might be true, the Big Apple is certainly more than just a concrete jungle. New York has some of the most beautiful green spaces in the world, like Central Park, Prospect Park, and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. And in addition to these big spaces, the city is peppered with smaller parks and playgrounds in every neighborhood. So while a suburban youngster might have the benefit of their own backyard, city children have the luxury of options. You and your kids can easily commute to a different park to play in every day of the week, so they'll never get bored.


The Food Variety

Easily expand your kid's palette beyond chicken fingers and french fries — at least one night a week, anyway! Cuisines of every culture are at your fingertips, meaning you can have Chinese tonight, Ethiopian tomorrow and southern barbecue this weekend. Growing up a New Yorker makes it simple to sample dishes from around the world without ever having to leave your city. And if your tot isn't the adventurous eater yet, don't worry. You know what kids like? Pizza. And you know what New York is famous for? Pizza.


... And The Delivery

Oh, and what makes all of that amazing and accessible food even better is that you can have any of it delivered right to your door — at any hour of the day. When you don't feel like like packing up your little ones to go pick up the delivery (like, all of winter — ugh, layers), you can just log on to Seamless and be one click and 30 minutes away from a magnificent meal.


The Necessary Exercise

New York is a city of walkers, and your kids are no exception. Sure, they can milk some stroller miles, but if they want to make it in this city, they have to be ready to walk...a lot. Raising your kids in New York means they have to be active, which means they'll be all around healthier.


The Culture

Anyone who has ever visited New York knows it's home to some of the most incredible museums in the world — and kids can enjoy these national treasures as well. Imagine learning about dinosaurs in school and then taking a trip to The Natural History Museum? But it's not just museums like The Met and The Guggenheim that will culture your kids; New York is an art epicenter of the world. The theater scene is unparalleled, and there are plenty of family-friendly shows on and off Broadway (hello, Lion King). There's live music, public art, and performance pieces happening all around the city on any given night, and you can definitely find your fair share of child's entertainment among them.


The Activities

One of the greatest things about New York is that it's nearly impossible to be bored. With amazing activities on every block, your kids will be growing up in a city pulsating with things to do. Go to the Bronx Zoo for a day of animal fun, or head to Chelsea Piers to climb the rock wall. Take a walk through Chinatown or take a day trip to Coney Island. The options are pretty much endless.


The City At Christmas

New York is wonderful every time of year, but the city really shines at Christmas. Literally. During the holiday season in NYC, kids can go to Macy's iconic Santaland, see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular or The Nutcracker, or just enjoy the elaborate decorations that are everywhere you look. There's really no better place to celebrate the season.


The Fandoms

Having pride in your hometown is a tie that keeps you close to your roots, and if New Yorkers have anything, it's pride in their city. That pride comes through strongly in their sports fandoms. The Jets, the Knicks, the Rangers, the Mets, the Yankees — whichever team a kid latches onto, as a native New Yorker, they'll be able to accurately identify as lifelong fans.


The Independence

You can't grow up in New York without having to become at least somewhat independent. The city requires that you learn to handle yourself, and also gives you the opportunity to do so. With the incredible public transit system, kids don't have to wait until they're 16 to commute to and from school or friends' houses on their own. They can walk to get a pizza at the parlor on the corner. In a city like New York, they have to learn to watch out for themselves at a young age, which means they're all the more prepared to handle the "real world" when they finally leave the nest (as far off as that may seem).


The Community

Say what you want about New Yorkers, but anyone who lives here will tell you that New York really is a community place. When you live here, you have relationships with everyone you encounter, from the guy who runs your fruit stand to the doorman at your building to the people you see every morning on your commute. And despite what people think, even total strangers are willing to lend a helping hand to someone walking down the street. There's a sense of shared identity New Yorkers all have with each other, and that's part of what makes it not just a city, but a home.

Images: Günter Hentschel, Guilherme Nicholas, nancy smith, Don DeBold, Erik Drost, Anthony Quintano/Flickr; Giphy (6)