Visiting New York With Children!

New York With kids

We recently returned from a trip to New York City. We stayed for five nights over the half term break and much to a lot of people's surprise we took our six year old son and eight year old daughter. I can hand on heart say that it was one of the best holidays I have ever had. It was a non stop whirlwind of fun, shopping and a sprinkling of snow. I had a lot of DMs whilst I was away from people who said if it was suitable for children or not so I thought I would do a post on our experience. Here goes...

The Details
We got our holiday in the post Christmas Virgin sale. We bought a package that included flights via Delta (with extra legroom), transfers and a hotel. You must remember though in most hotels you also have to pay a service charge at the end of your stay that was around an extra £175. We stayed in the Park Lane Hotel that was opposite Central Park. The rooms were spacious and included wifi (a must for ANY parent on holiday) and a fridge which was great to keep drinks in. Each evening between 5-7pm the hotel provided free drinks and snacks and was a life saver as meals in NYC are not cheap.

New York With kids
Juniors is a must for oversized puddings!

One of the most expensive things whilst you are away in the big apple will be food. We went to the amazing Ellen's Stardust Diner. Where the servers sing as they bring your food. There are loads of fun things on offer to eat like rainbow bagels but the bill did total around £125 which is a lot for a breakfast. Also make sure you get there as soon as you wake up. The queues to get in are long. We also went to another diner and again it was again well over £100 for quite a simple breakfast so I would try and find a local Starbucks or supermarket and grab your food from there. One place to try and visit is Juniors which does the MOST AMAZING reasonably priced cakes (cheesecake being their speciality). But you may want to order one per two people as they were huge.

I took over my own snacks for the week. As well as water bottles and a travel size squash which cut down the cost considerably. We also popped to a few fast food places during our stay which my two children adored. Remember...if you want a boozy drink you must have your passport on you at all times. Many a cocktail was missed due to us forgetting.

New York With kids
A lovely stroll around the 911 Memorial Site

The main method of transport used when we were away were our legs. We averaged around 20K steps a day which is quite a lot for little ones. But we did find the Metro to be a great way of getting around when we simply couldn't walk anymore. We bought a card at our local station and topped it up throughout our stay. You can use one card per family. Just swipe it and pass it back to the next person. The Metro's weren't as busy as the tube in London and we found them to be clean and really reliable. Also the kids found them quite exciting which is always a bonus!

New York With kids
Central Park in the snow!

As you will be out and about a lot the children had proper walking boots which I got from Mountain Warehouse. They also had thick coats and a variety of hats, gloves and scarves. During February it is cold but be warned when you are inside you can get really hot. So the best plan is to layer up. Make sure you've got a rucksack to shove in any discarded coats. They will be searched in all attractions you visit but we didn't have to check them in anywhere.

New York With kids
Hanging out in Grand Central Station

Free Things To Do
Whilst NYC is pricey like any city you visit, there are various places our kids really loved going to that were free. They adored the Hershey's and M&Ms shop in Times Square, as well as Dylan's Candy Store. The Hershey's shop was really reasonably priced and you could grab some fun American sweets there. You also each get free chocolate when you walk in. Expect to pay a bit more in Dylan's Candy Store. Times Square is great to walk around but try and avoid it at night when it can become really overwhelming for small children.

My son's favourite part of the holiday was the free Staten Island Ferry. Running every 30 minutes the ferry takes you over to Staten Island swinging past the Statue of Liberty. It takes around 25 minutes but you do have to get off the other side and get back on again. He totally adored it. It's also not far from Wall Street and a short walk away from the 911 Memorial site so you can have a good afternoon adventuring there.

Another great afternoon which was spent walking The High Line. We popped to Grand Central Station (another fab free place to see), jumped on the Metro and got off at 34th Street and walked to The High Line. It's a lovely walk that is elevated and you get to see some great views of the city. Including the Statue of Liberty. We actually left near Chelsea Market which has loads of great things to eat. We then strolled to Greenwich where I had to pop and go and visit Carries doorstep. The kids may not have been interested. But I nearly wept! Central Park is a MUST. The kids could have spent a whole day there. There are loads of rocks to climb, things to see, swings to go on and really is beautiful. Defo make sure you have your camera to get some photos of the beautiful city sky line.

New York With kids
Seeing the Statue of Liberty on the free Staten Island Ferry

Paid Things To Do
We invested in the New York Pass. Which was $700 for the four of us for 3 days. It offers you free entry into most of the main attractions in NYC. It comes with an app which tells you the things to do in the area you are in and you can generally get straight to the front of the queue. We used it on: The Top Of The Rock, Madame Tussaud's (which is much quieter than the London one), American Museum of Natural History, National Geographic Encounter (probably only visit if you have the pass, it's not worth making a special trip to), Ice Skating In Bryant Park. I actually don't think we used it to it's full potential. Due to the snow, one of the days was a bit of a write off. But if you think you are going to do loads more then go for it! It just makes everything a lot easier.

If your kids are getting a little bored of all the walking you could go to Dave and Buster's which is off Times Square. Warning. It is loud. And hot. And manic and everything adults hate but kids LOVE! We went on a Wednesday where they do an offer and the tickets to play games are half price. This was one of the days we forgot our passports...and let's just say...cocktails were needed!

New York With kids
Checking out the amazing views from the Top of the Rock

The Average Day
Our days started really early. With jet lag the children were up at 5am each day. We just hung out in the room watching all the amazing American TV and left at 8am. We stayed out all day and returned around 6pm. We then spent our evenings in the room. Often falling asleep before 8pm! So I can't really chat about what to do with kids at night. We plan to return when they are older so will find stuff to do then for now we were happy to rest in bed eating junk food with their Mum and Dad.

New York With kids
Checking out Strawberry Fields in Central Park

We had the most wonderful and exciting five days together. And for a better look make sure you watch the vlog below. It really was a holiday non of us will forget. Sure we didn't get to go and see a Broadway show or have romantic cocktails overlooking the New York skyline but we had the most fun ever and I can't wait to visit when the kids are that little bit older. 

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