Your kids don’t need to sit in a classroom to get a history lesson in NYC; all they have to do is go outside. New York is always progressing, but don’t forget that the city has a rich and ever-present past. From former presidents to famous authors, there are historic homes in every borough that your family can visit and explore.
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace: The 26thpresident of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, was born in NYC and raised in a Manhattan townhouse. Today, you can take a ranger- or self-guided tour of the home’s period rooms and learn about Teddy’s rise from a sickly child to powerful politician. nps.gov
Sara Delano Roosevelt Memorial House: Teddy wasn’t the only Roosevelt to call New York home. Travel to the Upper East Side and see the Sara Delano Roosevelt Memorial House, occupied by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s mother throughout her life. You’ll need an advanced reservation to see this home, and once inside, you’ll find ongoing photo exhibitions on the Great Depression and the New Deal as well as the FDR Library where some of the president’s fireside chats originated. roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu
Langston Hughes House: If you visit Harlem, you’ll find the home of the great American poet Langston Hughes. Although this house is currently closed for tours, you can still view the home where the innovative African American writer wrote some of his most famous works. nyc.gov
Lewis H. Latimer House Museum: At the Lewis H. Latimer House Museum in Queens, your family can enjoy a guided tour of the home of the African American inventor who worked with Alexander Graham Bell, Hiram S. Maxim, and Thomas Alva Edison. Check out special programs like historic plays and arts classes. historichousetrust.org
Edgar Allan Poe Cottage: Over in the Bronx you’ll find the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage where the renowned writer spent the last years of his life. The home has been restored to its original appearance with authentic furnishings, so when you tour the house, you see it just as it was when Poe resided there. bronxhistoricalsociety.org
Lefferts Historic House: Step inside the Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park and you’ll find yourself in one of the few surviving farmhouses from Brooklyn’s Dutch settlement period. Built around 1783 by Continental Army Lieutenant Pieter Lefferts, today the home is a great way for you and your family to learn about life in Brooklyn in 1820s by touring the house, playing with traditional tools, making crafts, and even doing some farming. prospectpark.org
Historic Richmond Town: Staten Island’s Historic Richmond Town offers an entire village for you to discover with your family. During the spring and summer, a visit to this unique part of NYC is a true step back in time as period re-enactors occupy the town’s farmhouses, trade shops, and country courthouse. They also offer book clubs, quilt making workshops, and English country dancing to really step back in time! historicrichmondtown.org