Are all your summer plans set? If you’re still looking for some where to go you should give New Your City a thought. While we absolutely love vacationing on white sandy beaches or in stunning mountain towns, we also like exploring metropolitan cities with our kids. I think it is great to show our kids all kinds of different things and experience life outside of our hometown, teaching them about diversity.
My husband and I, along with our kiddos, were in NYC for 4 days last summer before heading off to Rhode Island to meet our Boston family for a week. Our kids love going there!
Have you been to New York City? We’ve been twice with our kids in the couple of years so I thought I’d share with you some of the things we did during our last two trips incase it’s on your “to-do” list 🙂 By no means am I an expert on New York City! Just a mom that has been there twice in the last couple of years with her 7 and 10 year old kids…
While 4 days is hardly enough to see all of The Big Apple, and it’s boroughs, if you are willing to go, go, go all day you can see & do a lot in that amount of time!
Two summers ago (2015) when we went we stayed 4 days in the Grand Hyatt by Grand Central Terminal. While all of NYC is busy, it seemed extra busy there. I liked it, but on our last trip (2016) I wanted something a little less “hectic” and a place where we could settle in better at the end of our busy days and not be stepping over suitcases! I love feeling like we live somewhere different for a few days or more. So this time, we rented an apartment in the Meatpacking District near Chelsea Market. I found the apartment on VRBO, as I have done in the past for many of our vacations and I have never been disappointed. After browsing the available properties for our dates and reading the reviews, we rented a 2br apartment on W 14th Street. A bedroom for my husband and I, and a bedroom for the kids! It was a great location with a subway station less than a block away. Ideal for getting around the city on mass transit!
So here goes! The places we went and things we saw in NYC with kids in tow… In no particular order 😉
The High Line Park: The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long New York City linear park built in Manhattan’s West Side on an elevated section of a disused New York Central Railroad spur called the West Side Line. It is 30 feet above street level with Hudson River and city views. It spans from the Meatpacking District to Greenwich. We visited the High Line both times we have been to Manhattan with the kids. It’s a nice stroll with art installations, vendors, different flora & fauna, and sitting areas. There is a covered area where you can purchase various snacks, cold drinks, and coffee. I highly recommend visiting La Newyorkina. The popsicle vendor with the yellow umbrella. I wish I had gotten a picture of the stand, but it is out on the uncovered walking path area. They sell all natural popsicles called “paletas” like, mango, coconut, blueberry, strawberry, watermelon and my favorite, cucumber lime! So good! There are a few other interesting seasonal flavors to choose from too.
I highly recommend the High Line for a nice diversion with the kids!
Chelsea Market: Our apartment was an easy 5 minute walk from Chelsea Market which was awesome if we didn’t feel like venturing out too far for a snack or drink. Chelsea Market is an indoor food hall offering a variety of restaurants & cuisines, shopping concourse, office building and television facility (with the likes of Food Network, Oxygen Network, and MLB.com) located in the Chelsea neighborhood. The complex fills and entire city block bounded by 9th and 10th avenues and 15th and 16th streets. Since it was so close to our apartment, we went there upon our arrival and ate Italian food at Rana. They make their pasta fresh, on-site, daily! It was so good and our waiter James was super nice! I know that there are many, many Italian restaurants to choose from in NYC, but if you’re hungry and at Chelsea Market I highly recommend it!
Central Park: What can I say about Central Park? Just go! There’s tons to do with the kids! Too many things to list. But I will say, every major city we travel to with the kids we always search out their most famous carousel. The Central Park carousel is one to visit and ride. It was crafted in 1908 by Stein & Goldstein, and it remains one of the largest carousels in the United States!
Brooklyn & The Brooklyn Bridge: On our first trip out with the kids, summer 2015, we made a point to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. It opened in 1883 and connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning across the East River. You can walk, bike, or drive across the bridge. We chose to walk the first time because hey, you have to do it at least once! It takes 30-60 minutes to cross depending on how many times you stop for photos. I’d recommend putting aside an hour and a half to cross just for planning purposes. It really is a beauty, and the views back towards Manhattan and towards Brooklyn are fabulous! The second time we elected to take the subway. We took the subway many places. It’s quite an adventure in itself!
Once we got to Brooklyn we were on a mission for several things. First, food!! After all, we just walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and were hungry 🙂 We decided ahead of time that we wanted to eat at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. We heard it was great, and it was super close to where we exited the bridge. They serve coal-fired pizzas in a very small space. We waited outside in line for about 20 minutes before going in. Although unassuming inside and average service we were very pleased with the pizza!
Next on our list was Jane’s Carousel in the Dumbo area of Brooklyn. A short walk from Grimaldi’s. Remember, we hit up carousels everywhere we go. Mostly for our daughter Lola, but I secretly like them too 🙂 Boy, is this one a sight! Imagine an exquisitely carved, wooden carousel created in 1922, enclosed by a modern glass structure, sitting next to the East River! Absolutely stunning! Jane’s Carousel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The first carousel to receive such a designation!
Panoramic view of Jane’s Carousel with the Brooklyn Bridge in the background
Another stop in Brooklyn was mostly for my 10 year old basketball-loving son. The Barclays Center, where the NBA team the Brooklyn Nets play. Unfortunately, we did not get to go inside, but we did visit their apparel shop and buy the kids some Brooklyn Nets gear. Score!We also ventured over to Prospect Park. Prospect Park is a beautiful 585 acre park that is home to the Brooklyn Zoo, among other things. For you fans of the movie “As Good as it Gets”, one of my all time favorites, this is the area where Carol (Helen Hunt) lived with her son and mom. On our cab ride over it began to rain a bit so we didn’t get to do all the things we wanted to do there. But!! We did make a point to go to and ride the carousel located in the park’s Children’s Corner. Mission accomplished!
Times Square: Another place that needs no explanation… It’s crowded and crazy, but my kids love it! I will admit, I like to see the huge, digital billboards at night. Pretty cool. I guess everyone should go to Times Square once. At least you’ll know where the New Year’s Eve ball drops every December 31st 🙂 My kids always like to go to the huge M&M’s World store at 48th and Broadway. Per Wikipedia, at 24,000sf, it’s the city’s largest candy store. After going there twice in a year I think I’m good for a while…
Grand Central Terminal: Grand Central Terminal… What can I say? It is one of the most recognized train stations in the world, if not the most recognized! It has been featured in a multitude of films. The terminal is one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions, with over 21 million visitors a year. It resides at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. It covers over 48 acres and has 44 platforms, more than any other railroad station in the world. So, for the history. When the station was built in 1871, it was actually called Grand Central Depot; it was rebuilt as Grand Central Station in 1900. Two years later, 17 people were killed in a train accident, leading to yet another reconstruction which finished in 1913. The new station was renamed Grand Central Terminal. Grand Central Terminal is, well, grand! Much more so than I even imagined. It is clad in marble, limestone, and granite with gorgeous, grand chandeliers, and a celestial ceiling. Its interior has restaurants, such as the Oyster Bar, and various fast food outlets surrounding the Dining Concourse on the level below the Main Concourse, as well as delis, bakeries, newsstands, a gourmet and fresh food market, an annex of theNew York Transit Museum, and more than 40 retail stores. Among them are chain stores, including a Starbucks coffee shop, a Rite Aid pharmacy, Aveda, L’Occitane, Tumi, and an Apple Store. Other chain restaurants include a Shake Shack. So, to sum things up, you just must go see Grand Central Terminal! It truly is magnificent!
Miscellaneous things we did and places we ate….
Boat Ride: We weren’t able to fit a boat ride in on our first trip out in 2015, but we made sure we did in summer 2016. I’m glad we did! After reading reviews on Tripadvisor, as I always do, we chose Classic Harbor Line. There are several types of boats to choose from. We chose the Yacht Manhattan. The boats are classically designed for a contemporary experience. There isn’t a bad seat anywhere, if you want to sit inside. It’s like a solarium. There are huge windows (that will open) on all sides that reach up to the ceiling. We did the Statue of Liberty and Skyline Sightseeing Tour that lasted just under 2 hours. You pass by Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and Governors Island. Pass under the Brooklyn Bridge & Manhattan Bridge. All while taking in the gorgeous skyline of New York City! It was very reasonably priced and each person gets 1 complimentary beverage, including wine & beer.
Sarah Jessica Parker’s Apartment (aka..Carrie Bradshaw’s for all you Sex and the City Fans): Yes, I am a huge fan of Sex and The City. After all, I was in my late 20’s when it aired. I could totally relate. My bestie Michelle and I couldn’t wait to watch Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda every Sunday night while drinking some wine or Cosmos 😉 So, of course I had to go see the infamous apartment that Carrie “lived in” as a single gal. Where Mr. Big would drop her off, and where she kissed many other beaus on the stoop. So, off we went to 66 Perry Street in the charming West Village. My kids were like, “Who is Carrie Bradshaw, and why are we going there?” 🙂 In any case, we took a few pictures on the stoop (there is a chain and you can’t go all the way up) and I sat and reminisced for a few moments of all those memories of my youthful 20’s with Carrie and the girls…
Performance of Stomp: So, you’re in NYC and you want to take your kids to a Broadway show. You need to appeal to mom & dad and a boy & a girl. I chose Stomp. Which is now actually “off broadway”. Created in the UK in 1991, Stomp came to the US in 1994. We ventured over to the East Village’s Orpheum Theater to watch the 1 hour 45 minute show. It was a hit! We loved it! My kids loved it! Here’s a description I found on Broadway.com – “Stomp is a joyful, witty and wordless show that has been seen all over the world. An eight-member cast with energy to burn creates beautiful music and sly humor with found objects: Zippo lighters, push brooms, wooden poles, hammer handles, garbage cans, inner tubes, matchboxes—and yes, even the kitchen sink. There’s no traditional narrative; both household and industrial objects find new life as musical instruments in this unique combination of percussion, movement and visual comedy. It is a journey through sound, a celebration of the everyday and a comic interplay of characters wordlessly communicating through dance and drum.” Go see it if you get a chance!
Mr. Throwback: What is Mr. Throwback, you ask? It is a small store in the East Village at 428 E 9th Street that sells original 80’s and 90’s “vintage” basketball apparel as well as their own Mr. Throwback line. Remember, I have a 10 year old, sports loving son. Especially of anything basketball. I’m not quite sure how I found Mr. Throwback. I was searching for something on the Internet and ran across it. As soon as I told my son, that was it! He had to go! So we went. It’s on a quaint, tree-lined street in the East Village. Greeted by the super nice owner Mike, we perused the racks of basketball jerseys. My son was on a mission for a vintage Michael Jordan jersey and found one! Score! Pun intended…. Check them out on Instagram @ mrthrowbacknyc.
Le Relais de Venise: Ok, so I know we are in New York City, but one of our favorite places to eat is a restaurant straight out of Paris. Call me crazy, but my husband and I, as well as our kids, CRAVE this dinner! My husband visited the original Relais de Venise location many times as a kid growing up in Paris. He took me there years ago on a trip to Paris when were dating. There is no menu. Gasp! It’s straight up steak & fries with the most amazing, delectable “secret” sauce you can imagine. So, when you can’t get to Paris, but you can get to NYC….Le Relais de Venise. When we went to NYC in 2015 Le Relais de Venise was our first dinner and our last dinner. This year in 2016, it was our first dinner and our last dinner. I’m not kidding. That’s how much we love this meal! Go! Order their house red wine and sit back and wait for a simple, yummy salad with walnuts in a mustard dressing, then 2 separate servings of tender steak covered in that amazing sauce, and french fries. And all for $29.99 per person! It’s heaven on earth! At least for my clan 🙂
Lombardi’s Pizza: America’s first pizzeria! Licensed by the city of New York in 1905! We had to go there for that reason alone! That, and the fact that they serve amazing Napoletana style coal-fired pizza. We definitely were not disappointed! Lombardi’s Pizzeria is located at 32 Spring Street in the Nolita neighborhood of Manhattan.
Numero 28 Pizza: Pizza is tops in New York City. It’s no surprise that both times we visited we ate pizza multiple times 🙂 We really love the West Village of NYC so when we decided to go spend an evening in that area we opted for a simple, delicious dinner of pizza. On Trip Advisor, Numero 28 had excellent reviews. 4.5 stars out of 5 and it was in the West Village which is where we wanted to go for the evening.
911 Memorial & Museum: While not a highlight for the kids, mainly because of their ages, we thought it very important to take them to the 911 Memorial. My husband and I had never been either. The day we went was drizzling most of the time followed by quite a rain storm so I didn’t get to take any pictures there. Nonetheless, we walked around, viewed the waterfall that was built in place of one of the towers, and shared with our kids the historical importance of this site. We decided not to go into the museum. I was told by many people that it may not be appropriate for kids under 10 years old. We will visit NYC again and take our kids once there are a little older.
So there you have it. Some things we did on our trip to The Big Apple. There is still so much to see and do (and eat!) in this, one of our greatest US cities! I guess we will just have to go back and take another bite 🙂
What are your recommendations of things to do with kids in NYC? We’d love to hear!