Back in December (yes, think way back, over a month ago feels like years to me right now) my husband and I took half of our little entourage to New York City for the holidays. Though my husband and I had been there a handful of times, the kids had never seen the Big Apple. Their first trip across the country was last fall when we took them to Washington, D.C. Needless to say, we were ecstatic about bringing them to New York, especially during the holiday season when city sidewalks are busy sidewalks dressed in holiday style.
If you follow me on Instagram (#RMLVNYC), you kept up with our jammed packed days in Manhattan. Regardless, you may be wondering how we managed to fit it all in. Here is our 4-day itinerary with RSMLV Tips at the end.
Day 1- Getting Warmed Up
- We flew into JFK International on Jet Blue Airlines (I now know for next time to look for flights and airlines that fly into La Guardia Airport), and arrived around 12:30pm. Found our driver and headed into the city where we stayed at the Trump International Hotel and Tower, located across from Central Park in Columbus Circle.
- Once checked in to our fabulous home base, we let the kids rest, had a drink and snack, changed our clothes and headed out to dinner at Balthazar Restaurant.
- Since Balthazar’s was more than walking distance away from our hotel, we grabbed a taxi. Dinner reservations were made via the Trump International Hotel and Tower’s concierge prior to our arrival with a 6pm suggested dinner time.
- The restaurant was busy and full of life. Great French bistro dining and the room was laced with holiday greens and trimming. We enjoyed dinner, skipped dessert, and instead headed to Dylan’s Candy Bar.
- Closer to 8pm, the kids were still wide-eyed and bushy-tailed as we walked into one of the most fascintating candy stores any of us have ever seen. It was truly like walking into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory with candy-filled steps, lollipops and gummy bears bigger than your head and any concoction of candy and flavors you could imagine.
- Upstairs is the Candy Cafe & Bar. The kiddos indulged in an ice cream while the adults imbibed a traditional Egg Nog. To burn off some of that sugar high, we opted to walk back to the hotel, which was now a few blocks away.
- Once we reached the edge of Central Park, the little ones’ legs began to give in, and my husband grabbed a horse and carriage. We rode just enough to get the experience and were dropped off curb side at the hotel by 10pm. Happy to be home with a great end to our day!
Day 2- Action Packed
- We started our morning off with breakfast in our room. Before arriving, I had placed a grocery order with the Trump International Hotel and Tower. Our kitchen was stocked with fruit, cereal, milk, juice and coffee. This was a fantastic idea for us, giving our kids the energy they needed to at least get out the door, and time to find places to eat along the way.
- The concierge at the hotel also arranged our passes to visit the 9-11 Memorial for 10am. The concierge was obviously quite savvy on times to suggest so we would not hit traffic and avoid rush hour. This was great information as it took us less than 20-30 minutes to get everywhere we needed to go during our stay.
- Following our visit to the memorial, our starving children wanted to try some snacks from a street cart vendor: hot dogs, pretzels and roasted chestnuts it was!
- The 9-11 Memorial is located near Battery Park, which is a beautiful residential area that all of us really enjoyed. We found a small little pizza spot and bakery, where we ate the most amazing curry soup and the kids had spiced cider. The friendly waitress told us about ice skating overlooking the Hudson River, New York Bay, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
- As we made our way over there, we came upon a playground and let the kids enjoy a bit while we drank our coffee and snapped some great shots of them climbing and playing with the new World Trade Center (Freedom Tower) being built in the background.
- Alas, the ice skating was not open, but we did manage to show the kids the Statue of Liberty, which is not accessible right now due to damage from Hurricane Sandy.
- We grabbed a taxi and headed back to our hotel. As we drove through Manhattan, the taxi went through the Financial District, where we saw glimpses of infrastructure and building damage from the storm. From the cab, we also pointed out the United Nations Headquarters to the kids, which for them, being able to see all the world flags was cool enough.
- After a brief break and change of clothes, once again headed out into the city that never sleeps. We enjoyed the “8-blocks or so” walk from our hotel to the Radio City Music Hall where we caught the Christmas Spectacular. If ever in New York during the season, you have to see it. It was fantastic!
- Following our nightly entertainment, my husband hailed a pedi-cab to take us to dinner at Rue 57 Brasserie Parisian et Sushi Bar. Another lively, French bistro with delicious food and decorated to the nines for the holidays. This, by far, was my favorite family dinner during our stay.
- Once again, the hotel concierge steered us in the right direction with timing, and suggested a trip to Toys R Us after dinner. The wonderful thing about New York, much like in Las Vegas, is that many of these places are open fairly late into the evening, allowing your day to extend into the night. A quick cab ride to Times Square (which my children were in amazement at the bright lights and gigantic bilboards), and we were happily perched in a Barbie car riding to the top of the 60′ ferris wheel located inside the Toys R Us store.
- Tired kiddos (ok, tired parents) were ready to head back for the night just prior to midnight. We were happy to oblige, as another long day awaited us.
Don’t miss Part 2: How to Manhattan With Your Little Entourage, plus RSMLV Tips!