At first thought, New York City might not seem like the best place for traveling in a large group. Everything is too small and cramped to accommodate all of your friends or family, right? Wrong!
Our subways may be packed and our apartments tiny, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan your next vacation or reunion here… All it takes for a successful group trip to New York is a little research and a bit of planning ahead. And believe it or not, you can plan a perfect trip to NYC for your big group without even using a travel company! Read on for some tips for large groups visiting NYC.
SWEET DEALS – ATTRACTIONS HAPPY TO ACCOMMODATE GROUPS
Looking to get a little more for your money? These attractions offer discounts for groups on the larger side:
This ain’t LA, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a taste of Hollywood! Madame Tussauds features over 200+ celebrity wax figures, highlighting different eras for all generations to enjoy. You can save up to 30% on tickets with a large group on their website.
You can’t leave NYC without catching at least one Broadway show – it wouldn’t be right! Luckily, it’s easy to buy group tickets for plays such as Wicked, The Lion King, and Avenue Q on Broadway.com. You can even schedule a theatre tour or Broadway Workshop when making your purchase!
Circle Line Cruises
Shameless plug? Yes. But c’mon… doesn’t amazing skyline views, mixed with close ups of the world’s most iconic landmarks, all on a relaxing boat ride on the Hudson sound like an excellent way to spend your day? Trust us, it is. And we love entertaining groups!
Empire State Building
Over 3 million people visit the Empire State Building each year – certainly they can handle you and your squad! In fact, special rates are available to groups of 20 or more. Find out more on the Empire State Building website, and you can check out the best times to visit and other cool tips in our Landmark Spotlight!
American Museum of Natural History
Mummies, dinosaurs, galaxies, the ocean - no matter the age or interests of your herd, they will find something that amazes them at the AMNH. A variety of group rates are available on the museum website, where you can find special tours for your team as well!
Everyone loves a trip to the zoo, and the Bronx Zoo is the best of the best, with their camel rides, monorail rides, and exhibits featuring wild creatures like red pandas, tigers, sea lions, polar bears, and many, many more. The Bronx Zoo offers discounts to groups of 10 or more. Or you could visit on Wednesday, when admission is free, though we recommend making a donation to support the zoo’s programs!
You should most definitely also consider the many famous spots in the city that are not only perfect to visit with a large group, but are totally FREE to check out – like the New York Public Library, Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge Park, South Street Seaport, the High Line, and of course, Central Park!
GROUP EATS – RESTAURANTS IN NYC IDEAL FOR LARGE PARTIES
It’s true that it can be tricky to get a table for dinner in NYC no matter how many people you’re with. However, these restaurants are known for being great for big groups…and for being delicious! (Note: We still recommend making reservations at these spots to avoid a long wait!)
This New York favorite has extra-long tables perfect for your crew. Of course, that’s not the only reason to visit – the Peruvian cuisine is to die for. There are locations all over the city, including Brooklyn and Queens, so see which spot best fits you sched!
NYC Chinese food can’t be beat, and Oriental Garden takes it to the next level. Enjoy a variety of dim sum along with the eatery’s epic family-style Cantonese dishes. The best part about eating out with a lot of people? All the different stuff you get to try!
Beauty & Essex
Did someone say brunch? NYC’s brunch scene is highly regarded, and Beauty & Essex is the perfect place to go with your posse. The speakeasy-themed restaurant features unique twists on brunch favorites, like the red velvet waffles or pork belly BLT, along with elegant breakfast cocktails.
This famous Times Square restaurant is perfect for groups because of their family-style Italian goodness. Hopefully someone else wants to order your favorite dish, or you’ll have a lot of leftovers. Heaping portions make this place absolutely ideal for larger parties.
Dinosaur BBQ is known for its fun atmosphere, eclectic beer menu, and of course, the food – in fact, many say it’s the best barbecue they’ve had in the city. With a wide-ranging menu, even the pickiest eater in your group will find something to nosh on. There are locations in Harlem and Brooklyn, so take your pick!
STAYING TOGETHER & STAYING SAFE
Worried about keeping everyone together in the big city? Just follow these tips and you won’t lose anyone (though you may be sick of each other by the time you get home – better safe than sorry!).
- Keep your phone on you at all times. This one might seem obvious, but it’s always worth a mention! We suggest investing in a portable charger so you don’t have to deal with getting separated from your phone or a dead phone.
- Stay alert. When that crosswalk says go, people really go. Make sure you’re paying attention so you don’t get left behind…or swept away by the crowd!
- If you’re really concerned about losing someone from your troop, consider wearing matching shirts. Yes, you’ll be those people…but a brightly colored, matching shirt for each person can make it easier to spot all your friends or family in a big crowd. (Just don’t take it personally if you spot a New Yorker smirking at you.)
- Know your names, and make sure everyone with you knows the next destination! If you get lost, no one will be able to direct you to the correct hotel, restaurant, subway station, etc. with just a vague description. There’s just too much here! Keep the names of any place you’re going to on you in case you get lost. A native New Yorker (one who doesn’t look too busy) or your phone’s GPS will get you reunited with your group in no time.
These tips should make your group trip to the Big Apple easy, safe, and memorable. Now you just have to get everyone to agree on the agenda… good luck!
Need a place to start? Check out our guide to some of NYC's most iconic sights (and some lesser-known) here.