Cities make great getaways -- short or long -- for families. They are hubs for direct flights, ample accommodations, top-notch restaurants and iconic, innovative attractions that appeal to all ages. In these cities, kids (and parents) will be wide-eyed with amazement. Plus, all of these cities provide a touch of history, making them both educational and fun.

Written by Lissa Poirot

New York

You didn't think we'd begin the list anywhere else, did you? In the Big Apple, there is something for children of all ages, from Broadway to Central Park. In just a few blocks, you can fill an entire weekend. Hop aboard the ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty or ride the elevator to the Top of the Rock or One World Observatory for awe-inspiring views. Pop into the American Museum of Natural History or Metropolitan Museum of Art for a bit of culture, and then grab a slice of cheesy pizza from a street vendor or let the kids sample their first frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity. No matter what you do, the family is bound to have fun!

Recommended Hotel: Casablanca Hotel

Washington, D.C.

There is so much history and culture in Washington, D.C., including free activities for families. The Smithsonian Institute offers 19 free museums, including the Air & Space Museum, Museum of Natural History, Museum of American Art and even the National Zoo. The area is also famous for several iconic monuments, such as the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial, located around National Mall, where you can also enjoy views of the White House and the Capitol Building. This city makes kids' history books come to life and cannot be missed.

Recommended Hotel: Hilton Garden Inn Washington DC Downtown

San Francisco

San Francisco is filled with sunshine (when the fog doesn't roll in), ample beaches and parks, interesting quirks (the zigzagging Lombard Street and Haight-Ashbury), and kid-size fun for all ages, including a visit to Fisherman's Wharf, where wild seals bathe and bark in the sun. One of the San Francisco Bay’s most iconic settings is the backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge and the island where Alcatraz rests and our most notorious bad guys once lived when it was a jail. San Francisco is rich in culture, and its diverse neighborhoods provide an international flair -- just turn the corner into Chinatown and you'll forget you're even in California. Plus, just short drives away are some of the state's most beautiful national parks, such as Point Reyes National Seashore.

Recommended Hotel: Holiday Inn Express Fisherman’s Wharf

Chicago

The Windy City's Magnificent Mile truly is magnificent, as are the beaches lining the shores of Lake Michigan, which is so large that it looks more like an ocean. The Museum Campus houses the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum and the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, while Navy Pier will give kids a glimpse of the lake from a Ferris wheel vantage point. Another world-famous ballpark, Wrigley Field calls Chicago home, and kids can catch the Cubs, Sox, Bulls, Bears or Stanley Cup-winning Blackhawks in stadiums across this sports-loving city. While you're in town, don't pass up a visit to Skydeck Chicago at the Willis Tower -- it often affords views of four states!

Recommended Hotel: Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago

New Orleans

In this romantic city, you’ll see architectural influences from France, Spain, the Caribbean and Africa. Take the kids to immerse them in New Orleans' jazz music pouring out of Jackson Square, ride the Mighty Mississippi in an old-fashioned steamboat, discover the colors of Mardi Gras at Mardi Gras World, and play with bugs at the Audubon Insectariums. Outside of the city, introduce them to swamp life with airboat adventures.

Recommended Hotel: Drury Inn & Suites New Orleans

Seattle

The family will be sleepy in Seattle-- only after a day spent exploring this city in the Pacific Northwest. Visit the famed Space Needle, Seattle Great Wheel and Kerry Park -- all of which provide spectacular views of the city and neighboring Olympic National Park. Be sure to visit the Ballard Locks for a little history, and Pike Place Market for a fresh, delicious bite to eat (and a "show" -- watch workers toss fish in the air at Pike Place Fish Market). Don't miss the city's beaches either. Alki Beach and Golden Gardens Park are among the best for families.

Recommended Hotel: Sheraton Seattle Hotel

San Antonio

Deep in the heart of Texas is the uber family-friendly city of San Antonio. Although the city itself is large, its downtown River Walk means you can ditch the car and enjoy the old town, from a visit to The Alamo to a relaxing dinner cruise down the river. The vibrant River Walk is filled with restaurants and shops and is located near plenty of kid-friendly attractions, such as Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! and the Children’s Museum. Just outside the city awaits SeaWorld San Antonio and Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Visit Texas Hill Country while you're in San Antonio, too -- the area features a series of small towns and outdoor adventures galore.

Recommended Hotel: Embassy Suites San Antonio Riverwalk-Downtown

Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale's long stretch of golden sand rests along a large pedestrian sidewalk where roller blades, strollers and bikes merge in this sunny playground. But just a few blocks away from the beach awaits Las Olas Boulevard, a street filled with art galleries, boutiques and restaurants, and the site of several family-friendly festivals throughout the year. At the end of the street, the Museum of Discovery and Science is a perfect last stop in a day of exploration. Cruise along the Intracoastal Waterway by riverboat or even just a water taxi for views of the city and great sunsets.

Recommended Hotel: Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

San Diego

In Southern California, San Diego is a must-visit destination for families. It offers near-perfect weather year-round, as well as several iconic attractions and beaches. Visit spots such as Balboa Park, where you'll find beautiful green spaces, museums and the San Diego Zoo. In the downtown area, families can walk through the historic Gaslamp District and visit the Maritime Museum and the USS Midway Museum. Be sure to visit neighboring Carlsbad, home of LEGOLAND California and Carlsbad Beach, as well as Coronado, where you'll enjoy another beautiful beach and a look at the historic Hotel Del Coronado.

Recommended Hotel: Omni San Diego Hotel

Boston

Beantown -- as everyone but locals calls it -- is a small, big city with a healthy dose of old and new. Boston's past remains a fixture of its present, with cobblestone roads that Bostonians have navigated since the 1700’s. In this very walkable city, you’ll find the country's oldest standing baseball stadium, Fenway Park, shopping and dining in the city's historic and original "mall" at Quincy Market and a beautiful green space at Boston Common. The Freedom Trail is worth a visit in itself, too, with 16 historic sites along the way. Newer buildings house the Children's Museum and New England Aquarium, as well as the Museum of Science, all of which provide kids with hands-on learning opportunities that are also fun and exciting.

Recommended Hotel: Hotel Commonwealth

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Casablanca Hotel Reviews
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Hilton Garden Inn Washington D.C. Downtown Reviews
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Holiday Inn Express Fisherman's Wharf Reviews
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Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago Reviews
tracys - Nov 30th, 2011

It was a pleasant suprise for everyone in the family. It was a work trip that I took my family along, since it was my daughter's birthday. My husband and kids had a blast! The hotel and service is impeccable--5 star entrance and greetings. We had ... read more
Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago reviews
Drury Inn & Suites New Orleans Reviews
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Sheraton Seattle Hotel Reviews
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Embassy Suites San Antonio Riverwalk-Downtown Reviews
rhale - Mar 11th, 2013

I have to say this hotel was a huge disappointment. 1st I was called the reservation number. I get connected to a lady that informs me that this hotel has Sleep Number beds and free guest parking. Both were flat out lies. This hotel charges ... read more
Embassy Suites San Antonio Riverwalk-Downtown reviews
Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa Reviews
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Omni San Diego Hotel Reviews
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Hotel Commonwealth Reviews
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