Have you ever thought about taking your kids to New York City for vacation? Mine have been asking to go since watching Home Alone 2: Lost in New York years ago. I can honestly say that I wasn’t really sure about taking kids to the city, so my husband suggested we visit Washington DC first to see how they did in a smaller city and how they would handle all the walking and public transportation. I agreed, so we went a few years ago and they did so well considering their ages. (Click here to see our DC trip.) So, when an idea for a summer trip to the northeast popped into my head, I knew the time was right to add NYC to the list!
I feel like I need to mention that we got a very mild, tame version of the city, I am sure due to the pandemic. It was really a fun time and I can’t even explain how easy it was to maneuver around with less crowds, which was awesome considering it was just Carrie and I with the kids, the hubbies stayed home to work on this trip. We had a few ideas of things we wanted to show the kids, here is that list (I did not include things that we wanted to do that were closed, like Broadway, etc.):
- Statue of Liberty
- Central Park
- Empire State Building
- Times Square
- 9/11 Memorial
Here is how we packed all of these activities into 3 days!
Day 1: Arrival & Times Square
If you follow along on our adventures, you might already know that we drove into the city from New Jersey and dropped off our rental car back at LaGuardia Airport. That was an adventure in itself and I do not recommend driving in this city ha! However, after a tense couple of hours, we made it to the rental car place and I had never been so happy to return a car in my life! We had no issues ubering to our hotel, Hyatt Place New York Midtown/South from LGA. It was in a great location for us – The Empire State Building was outside of our window and it was only a few blocks to Times Square and Penn Station! By the time we made it back to the hotel, it was already mid-afternoon and I was tired from the stress of driving. We also had done some sightseeing earlier in New Jersey before heading into the city. So, the first day was pretty low-key and we spent most of the afternoon and evening close to the hotel.
On our first evening in New York, we decided to walk down to Times Square and show the kids this area after checking in to the hotel and unloading all of our luggage. It was crazy because it felt like we had the city to ourselves! The kids loved the lights and sounds and I was happy that it wasn’t so crowded. We grabbed a quick dinner close to our hotel and just took in the sights. After we had our fill, we called it a night to get some rest for the busy day ahead.
Day 2: Statue of Liberty and 9/11 Memorial
Today was the day to visit The Statue of Liberty and the 9/11 Memorial. We started off the day at the Statue of Liberty. We took the ferry, it was a very quick and easy check in process, but you do have to go through airport style screening before you are allowed to get on the ferry. Click here to pre-purchase tickets. We rode on the top deck to get the best view of the statue! While we were really sad that the museum was closed and that you can’t climb the stairs into the crown, we were thrilled to get to see Lady Liberty up close! And we were able to grab lunch at the Crown Café right on site while we were there. The kids thought that it would be bigger, so they were surprised with the size. This was a fun excursion and a must see if you’re visiting NYC!
Since the ferry left from Battery Park, we decided to walk on over to the 9/11 Memorial while we were in the area. I think this was an emotional visit for all of us, the kids had a lot of questions and we answered them honestly. It was hard to think about that day and not get emotional. The kids really wanted to see the museum, but we felt like they were still a little too young for this one. Carrie and I both visited the museum together a few years ago, so we knew what was inside. I will definitely be taking them back when they are older, we must never forget that day or the victims. The memorial is very beautiful.
We rode the subway back to the hotel and just spent the rest of the day being typical tourists. We ventured by Radio City Music Hall, ate dinner in Times Square, danced with a street performer and just had a really good night together!
Day 3: Museum of Natural History, Central Park, & Top of the Rock
This was our last full day on the trip! We knew we wanted to visit a museum, so we picked the American Museum of Natural History because I really wanted to see the dinosaur fossils! We had a great time exploring the museum, there are several really cool exhibits, besides just dinosaurs. However, our time was cut shorter than I would like because our kids were starving and the food court in the museum has not yet re-opened. So, we left the museum after a few hours and grabbed a quick lunch at one of the food trucks parked right outside of the museum entrance. We did see lots of animals, an ocean exhibit, early life on earth – think cave people, dinosaur fossils, & meteors!
We took our lunch to Central Park and had a quick picnic and then walked all around the park. There are some areas that really feel secluded and like you aren’t even in the city at all. The kids loved this part of the day, they are always up for running, climbing, and exploring. We grabbed ice cream once we left the park, walked by the Plaza Hotel, and then headed to the subway for some rest back at the hotel.
After we rested, we decided to go to Top of the Rock. This was a little more expensive than I like to pay, but I really wanted to see the views! The kids liked it and I got some good photos of us. It was so windy, I am not sure if it’s always like that or not. Even though it’s pricy, I think this is one place you should visit if you have the time. The views are stunning!
We really had a quick, but fun-filled trip to the Big Apple! There were many things that we didn’t get to see or do on this visit, but I hope to one day bring my boys back, along with Jereme. I have big goals to visit over Christmas! If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask, I am always happy to help answer questions, provide my honest opinions, and assist with any planning you may need!
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