New York City….a city of pure wonder and delight, and dirty streets and police sirens.
We did the unthinkable (according to many people who commented so) and brought three very young children to NYC with us. The trip wasn’t about me, relaxing spa days, fancy dinners, or going bar hopping. It was about the magical feeling NYC has at Christmas, eating all the yummy foods, and having fun! If that’s not kid-friendly, then I don’t know what is!
The only problem we ran into was using the double stroller on subways and busy streets and keeping up with all the hats and gloves everyone needed. We had five hats, ten pairs of gloves, and three blankets to keep track of while navigating the streets. We lost at least one glove every day and made three trips into H&M (on every corner) to restock. New York City has the best H&M stores, so I wasn’t mad about going in there so many times. 🙂
First lets talk about a stroller in NYC. You’ll see a stroller here and there on the streets, but you will not see one double stroller (besides ours). Three kids in NYC must be like black magic and people will look at you and make comments like “wow that’s a lot of kids!” or “you’ve got your hands full!” Then you smile and say things like, “Thank you for that obvious observation.” Yes, some of the subways have elevators, but not all, and some of the ones that do, don’t work. We got stuck on one and I had a mini heart attack. After that incident, we made the kids get out of the stroller each time and threw it down/up the stairs at each stop. It worked and we were free to move about NYC without obstacles. Will I bring that double stroller to NYC again? Not a chance. Here’s what I recommend. For babies 24 months and under, wear them in a baby carrier. They will be too distracted by the huge buildings, crazy loud people, and lights to kick and scream to get out. For kids between two and six years old, use a fold-up umbrella stroller. Kids over six years old should probably walk along side you, not taking their hand out of yours for a second. Let’s be safe!
Before we left, you know I did my research on NYC must-go-to places. I had a list with so many things on it that we didn’t get around to everything, even though we rarely took a rest. (I told you no relaxing spa days on this trip!) I’ll start by telling you about everything we did do, then leave a list of everything we didn’t get around to. If you go to NYC and do any of my unconquered list, you MUST tell me how it was!
- Central Park – Central Park is huge and if your kids are old enough to ride bikes, I recommend renting them to see all of the park. There are hills, professional bikers/runners, and horse buggies around so they should be strong bike riders. We walked around, played on the various hills, and then the kids all fell asleep. You’ll find various musicians and artists posted up, and maybe even have a Big Bird sighting. Central Park is home to an ice skating rink that’s a lot less crowded than Rockefeller Center, a zoo, and tons of wonderful people watching moments. You can also re-enact many scenes from Home Alone like at the Bethesda Fountain & Terrace.
- Washington Square – Located in the Greenwich village neighborhood and known for the beautiful, picture-worthy arch. They have a decent size playground for the kids to play on and is surrounded by great eating spots! New York University is right across the street so be prepared to be stopped by many people asking if you have a minute for various human rights issues.
- Radio City Rockettes – I don’t even think this needs an explanation. Sophia (5 years old) and I were in awe, Penelope (3) did great for about an hour, and Rockwell (7 months old) slept the whole time. Radio City is beautiful and the Rockettes are amazing! I can’t wait to bring the girl’s to more Broadway shows when they get older.
- Bryant Park – Pure heaven during the Winter Village. We went twice because there is so much to do and eat, it’s ridiculous. To name a few: Pickle Me Pete for the best fried pickles ever, Wafels and Dinges for sweet tooth satisfaction, and a goat cheese topped arepa from TopArepa for a little taste of Venezuela. The Winter Village is the best there is and runs from the end of October till beginning of March.
- Times Square – The ultimate tourist trap. This is my least favorite thing in NYC, but it’s a must-do at least once. It’s extremely crowded and full of stuff you can find elsewhere, like Applebees and the Disney store. The kids LOVED it for the M&M and Hershey stores, I loved looking at it from 42nd Street, but dreaded walking through it.
- UrbanSpace Vanderbuilt – Basically a food court with everything you’d want! We came here for dinner one night when we couldn’t decide on just one thing to eat. There are about 20 different food vendors available and long communal dining tables in the middle (that you may have to fight for). This is a popular “after-work” spot located right next to Grand Central terminal. We ate a burger and chocolate milkshake from Burgers, a Hai Chicken sushi burrito from Hai Street kitchen, and a fried chicken sandwich from Delaney chicken. Everything we got was delicious in it’s own way. I mean, you seriously can’t go wrong in this place.
- Tompkins Square Bagels – Bagels are everywhere in NYC, but take the hike to Tompkins Square bagels, and thank me later! Angelo said his Weezer bagel sandwich was the best sandwich he’s ever had. I had the French toast bagel with birthday cake cream cheese because it was extremely popular on their Instagram. They have gluten free bagel options, several cream cheese options (that look like delicious ice cream), and Lox! I can’t recommend this place enough! (Cash only)
- Dylan’s Candy Bar – I know there are candy bars around the U.S., but this is the three-story flagship bar! Stop in for a bag of your favorite candies, and get “The Best of Both Worlds” milkshake. Post of pic of Instagram right before your kids devour it! 😉 They have a full alcohol bar and food menu also.
- Ellen’s Stardust Diner – The only place worth going to in Times Square. You’re not going for the average diner food, you’re going for the entertainment. The staff is full of Broadway hopefuls who sing and dance the entire time. The place is loud, colorful, and absolutely perfect for kids!
- Lombardi’s Pizzeria – Proclaimed as the first pizzeria in NYC, we have been here on both trips to NYC and 100% recommend it! It’s located in Little Italy, so it’s a great area to explore. Grab a Buddy’s special pizza loaded with prosciutto and arugula and a Brooklyn lager to wash it down. This place is cash only, but there is an ATM inside.
- Rockefeller Center – Another extremely busy area, but a must-do if you’re there during Christmas time. We sat and watched the ice skaters, took pictures, and checked it off the list. This is the area where they film the Today show, so if you’re extra early you may be on TV! (Hi Mom!)
- Stroll down Fifth Ave. – Right now Fifth Ave. is a mad house because Mr. Trump lives there. All walking traffic is pushed to one side when you get close to the Trump Tower (right next to Tiffany & Co). If you go earlier in the day it’s not too bad and you’ll actually get a picture in front of the Rockefeller Christmas tree, but you’ll miss the light display on Saks Fifth Ave. So, this is a place you’ll have to brave twice, once in the morning and once at night. The store window displays are absolutely beautiful!
- Chelsea Market – Ah, I feel in love with this place and it’s now one of my favorite places in the whole city! There are so many different restaurants, shops, coffee bars, etc and you will not go wrong with whichever one you choose. We strolled through the market after dinner one night and grabbed a milkshake from Chelsea Creamline and a Matcha latte from Chalait.
- Subway rides – Coming from a Florida girl who thinks the idea of Subways are scary, just do it. The first two days I was hesitant to do the subway with the kids and stroller, but after walking 10 miles one day and two feet blisters later, I was desperate. You can always take taxis or Ubers everywhere, but then you’ll go broke. The subway is extremely affordable, quick, and rather easy to get a hang of. Once you understand the street/avenue grid that makes up NYC, you’ll never NOT use the Subway. You’ll be saying sentences like “take the L train to the 6, to go uptown to Grand Central” and sound like a true New Yorker. If you get lost, just ask the nice New Yorkers around you. 😉
- Eataly – Absolutely beautiful, but eat somewhere else! I wish we had rented an apartment just so I could go grocery shopping here and make a delicious Italian dinner one night. Eataly is a cool place to roam around, grab a drink, and maybe pick up some goods straight from Italy. We ate at the restaurant inside the downtown location and honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it for an Italian meal in NYC. My steak was great, but the spaghetti wasn’t.
- Ground Zero & Oculus – If there’s one place in NYC I wanted my kids to see, it was this. Although they may not understand now, this is a huge part of our country’s history. It became our classroom for the day. They have the memorial poles, a museum, and the newest Oculus. The Oculus is a new landmark in NYC and is stunning! Inside we strolled past high-end shops, restaurants (Eataly), stopped at the Apple store to charge my phone, and my favorite, Sugarfina, an adult candy shop!
- Grand Central Terminal – There was something amazing about standing in the middle of GCT and watching New Yorkers do their daily commutes. It was a movie-like experience! We were lucky to have this right next to our hotel and where we hopped on the subway every morning.
Things we didn’t get around to:
- Macy’s Santaland (in December)- If I hadn’t already gotten a great Santa picture of the kids before we left home this would have been a priority. We didn’t get out of the hotel early enough any morning to try and beat the line either, which is highly recommended.
- Dominque Ansel Bakery – Get a Cronut and cookie shot!
- By Chloe – Probably the only “healthy” place on my list. Get the Quinoa Taco Salad and sit in their swing chairs!
- Ottos Tacos – I really wish we would of gone here and eaten the Carne Asada taco because we love tacos so much and this place has amazing reviews!
- Koronet Pizza – They have the biggest slices of pizza! I must admit I have this on the list purely to get a picture of me holding a pizza slice that’s bigger than my head.
- Brooklyn Bridge – Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is weirdly on my bucket list, but not in 30 degree weather.
- The Statue of Liberty – Angelo & I have done the Statue of Liberty before and I had it on the list because I think kids would really enjoy it as well. It was just too cold for us to do it this time around.
- Eloise Tea at the Plaza – If the girls were just a year or two older I would have made reservations for this. “I am Eloise. I am six.”
- Serendipity3 – If you ever tell anyone you’re going to NYC, they will tell you to go here for their Frozen Hot Chocolate. We’ve been to the one in Miami (now closed) but never the NYC one. We tried to go in 2009, but they were booked solid. Make a reservation and squeeze in!
- Empire State Building – We walked past this building and I showed the kids the 5th tallest building in US. I wasn’t comfortable taking the kids up and they didn’t seem to care, so this is a older kid adventure!
- Milk Bar – They have a thing called ‘Crack pie’ and that’s all you need to know.
- Big Gay Ice Cream – Get their Rocky Road Ice cream cone or any of their delicious and Instagram picture worthy cones!
- Alice’s Tea Cup – This will definitely be a must-do on our next trip to the city. Make a reservation with your little ladies to go to this “most whimsical tea house”! I’m curious to know how it compares to the Eloise Tea at the Plaza.
- Children’s Room at the NY Public Library – A beautiful landmark, with a Hundred Acre Woods themed children’s room.
- The High Line – More of a spring-summer attraction for us Floridians. An abandoned railroad track where your kids can run through wildflower fields above the city streets.
- Coney Island – Bucket list item! Eat a hot dog on Coney Island in the summer.
- New York Yankee Stadium – Even during the off-season, Yankee stadium does daily tours.
- Madison Square Garden – Try to catch a game or concert here, but if not, they do daily tours as well! Go behind the scenes at one of the world’s most famous arenas.
Now go out there and conquer the Big Apple like a #momboss!