We recently went back to NYC as a family. I sold it as a babymoon and me and the kiddos tagged along on David’s work trip. It was our first time returning to New York since we had moved, but it felt so homey. As much as I love our new life in the suburbs, it was nice to dive onto the old stomping grounds and pretend we were living the wayfarer life for a week. I felt right back at home without a car, pushing my stroller around and maneuvering the city with kids. We went to our favorite spots and adventured as long as my pregnancy legs could manage and spent the evenings with the hubby.
NYC can be intimidating, especially if you are hanging with the kids solo and need to find some activities to keep them busy. Thankfully the city is just as kid friendly as it is amazing for comedy clubs and rooftop views. If you’re a mama in NYC looking for some fun for the kiddos, or traveling with the family soon, here are some of our top hang outs and a few new favorites we found for next time. Also, traveling with kiddos can be exhausting, so I listed a few fun date night options that helped us relax in the evening.
Where to Stay
With tons of options in NYC, finding your home away from home can be taxing. Ultimately, I zero in on location and size when hotel hunting and we loved our accommodations at The Benjamin Hotel. Located conveniently in Midtown East, the hotel is close proximity to uptown museums and midtown excursions and the rooms were super spacious. We had a one bedroom suite, complete with a separate bedroom, living room (with pull out) and kitchen. The price was affordable compared to other luxury hotels with that square footage. Great place to stay with kids and family.
Where to Play
Traveling with young kids can be hard on the adults, but even harder on the little balls of energy that just want to RUN. Thankfully NYC is full of amazing, clean (clean bathrooms) and uncrowded playgrounds. These are our favorite play spaces to burn some steam! Click Photo for Playground.
Where to ZOO
We always have a fun time when we go to the Central Park Zoo. It is a pretty small zoo, so it’s a great addition to a day spent at Central Park. They have a small petting zoo for the young ones and my kids really loved the 3D theater show this time. My daughter loves getting her face painted and you are sure to find some great talent hanging near the zoo entrance!
National Geographic Encounter
I had read about the National Geographic Encounter experience after we moved and was probably more excited than the kids to check it out. Definitely a fun addition if you are visiting Time Square. I didn’t have any trouble with lines or buying tickets and they have stroller parking in the lobby. You are not allowed to bring the stroller in the exhibit.
Where to Shop
Let’s be honest, kids make shopping unpleasant. Unless, the shopping is for them and they can be interactive with the merch. Taking the kids to The American Girl Store and massive Lego store near Rockafeller plaza is always a hit. PSA* highly populated with tourists and lots of children. I also love going to the Westfield World Trade Center mall when we are in lower Manhattan. It is full of other fellow stroller pushers and filled with lots of fun treats.
Where to Eat and Sweet Treats
NYC is full of family friendly restaurants, but we always find our way back at The Smith. The NY chain restaurant is loud, busy and has a great American bisto vibe. They do not have a kid’s menu, but make a mean butter pasta or chicken and broccoli dinner just for the bambinos. Looking for a fun dessert restaurant? I highly recommend Coolmess on the Upper Eastside. The do it yourself ice cream shop has a variety of frozen treats, as well as serve yourself candy bins and a full restaurant menu.
Where to Date
David and I celebrated our 8 year wedding anniversary on our trip and took full advantage of date nights. We were lucky to have our same sitters come watch the kids, but I’ve had great luck using UrbanSitter.com or finding sitters through the Upper West Side Mom/ Upper Eastside Mom Facebook groups. I highly recommend squeezing in adult time and the romantic escapes right in Manhattan. We walked around Washington Square and hit up our favorite restaurant Il Mulino and even got really touristy one night and did a sunset cruise on a sailboat from Harbor Line Cruise at Chelsea Piers. We mostly went to restaurants we’ve frequented, but we tried Buddakan for the first time and it was so fun.
I hope some of these experiences bring inspiration for any upcoming family vacation to the Big Apple. If you have any specific questions of just want to chat regarding traveling with kids, feel free to send me an email or DM on Instagram!!