Taking the kids to New York City a couple weeks ago was such a special treat! Beth and I haven’t been to New York in years and only my oldest child has been when she was just two, so it felt extra fresh and new to all of us. The buildings are so very tall, the streets are bustling with people and cars, and it is a bit of sensory overload, lol. There are many new places and things to do since we were last there, but we decided to go with New York classics and packed our itinerary with fun activities for both adults and kids. Come along today as we share our tips for our favorite spots and see some pics of us ice skating, too!
We love researching for vacations and spend a lot of time thinking through everything from schedules to logistics. There is honestly so much to do and see in New York that you can extend your trip many more days (we were there one extra day for our press launch, but we didn’t include that day above). But for a quick 2 night trip, this covers a lot of ground!
Where to stay – We originally stayed at The Benjamin with our family back when we were just out of college and remembered the rooms being spacious. When we were looking for accommodations that could fit four to five people, we went straight there and found them to have the best family-friendly rooms and prices! Their one-bedroom suites can’t be beat with a kitchenette, living room and king-size bedroom. The couch in the living room pulls out plus you can get a rollaway, so there are plenty of beds. It’s clean, comfortable and you will love the location, as it is close to most of the things you’ll want to do with kids!
Where to eat – New York City vacations basically revolve around eating, lol. There are so many yummy spots to try, so eating out every meal and adding in-between meals is just what you do. Lots of places have popped up since we were there last, but this trip was built around the classic places we have been to and truly love. Here is a break down of the classic, family-friendly restaurants we suggest with side notes so you know what to expect:
- Tea at The Plaza – This was at the top of Beth and the girls’ bucket list, and it was super cute, fun… and pricey (don’t say we didn’t warn you)! We kicked off our trip with this and it was over the top… the adults are treated to adult drinks and treats and the kids had the cutest Eloise tea spread. We also enjoyed going down to the Eloise Shop for souvenirs. If tea isn’t your thing, we love the Food Hall downstairs where they offer a variety of foodie options from lobster rolls to pizza for less $.
- PJ Clarke’s – This is a great old-school, casual spot for burgers! Their location on 3rd Avenue is within walking distance from the hotel, so that made it easy to get to, too. It was packed and noisy, so our family fit right in… but our strollers did not! 😉
- Sarabeth’s – It began in Sarabeth’s tiny bakery-kitchen in 1981 and grew from there. We love having breakfast here and knew their Central Park South location was the perfect spot to fuel up before ice skating in Central Park. Their food was delicious, their staff was a delight and everyone was happy!
- Tavern on the Green – This iconic, landmark restaurant will always be special to me because my husband, Jason, and sister, Beth, planned the best engagement dinner here after Jason popped the question to me in Central Park in 2005. We go back whenever we are in NY and it was extra special sharing it with the kids, too!
- 230 Fifth Rooftop – This was definitely one of our very favorite things we did this trip. During the daytime, this rooftop bar is the perfect spot for the family to grab hot chocolate in one of the fun igloos. The sky was bright blue, and we had so much fun taking pictures on the roof with the best views of the Empire State Building!
- Rolf’s – Not a super kid-friendly spot, but totally fine to pop in during the day to get a peek of their amazing Christmas decorations that they have up from Nov to April. We stopped in, had a quick German beer and loved checking out the decor! During the day is a great time to have it all to yourself because it gets packed at night.
- Bubby’s – This classic American spot has been open for 30 years, and we love them for their comfort food! Biscuits, fried chicken and chicken pot pie were just a few of our faves. We go to the one in Tribeca, but they also have one near the Highline!
- Serendipty 3 – It’s been around for more than fifty years and is known for their famous Frozen Hot Chocolate and over-the-top desserts. The whole fam will love!
- Serafina Osteria – We didn’t make it here this time, but Serafina is a great Italian spot with locations all over the city. We always go to Serafina Osteria on 58th and their Spaghetti Carbonara is so yummy, you’ll find yourself daydreaming about it!
- Penelope – This delicious breakfast spot was first introduced to us by our friend, Jessica, when she lived in the area. It’s a straight cab ride from the hotel making it easy to get to and you’ll love their comfort food. Breakfast sandwiches, sticky buns, blueberry pancakes and more – there is definitely something for everyone here!
What to do – In between meals, there are lots of fun things to do all over NYC. Here is a list of our favorites that are walkable or a cab/uber or subway ride. On one afternoon for a couple hours, we rented a sprinter van from NYC Limo so we could easily bounce around the places listed after lunch on Day 2. It was so fun and the driver was very helpful and just pulled over at each stop making it really easy to get on and off. He also shared all the new things that have popped up lately and the best spot to take a pic near the Statue of Liberty!
- Rockefeller Center – It is walkable from the hotel and full of fun things to do like Top of the Rock Observation Deck, American Girl, FAO Schwarz and Lego stores, ice skating rink, Radio City stage tour, NBC Studios tour, Today Show, shops and more!
- Grand Central Station – It is walkable from the hotel and pretty cool to visit. They have restaurants and shops and a whispering gallery where you can hear your friend whispering all the way down the wall. Don’t forget to stop by Vineyard Vines here!
- Central Park – It is walkable from the hotel and our favorite place to stretch our legs. We went ice skating here, although they didn’t have the little push carts for small kids (we heard Bryant Park has them, which is another fun place for the whole fam). There is also the Central Park Zoo, horse carriage rides, tours, and lots to explore!
- West Village – You’ll have to take a cab/uber or subway or book a car service to take you all around like we did. This is our favorite cute area to get out and walk around. They have great stores like LoveShackFancy and yummy treats like Magnolia Bakery.
- Freedom Tower – Take a cab/uber or subway ride to see the new largest building in the United States. Visitors also come to pay respect to the people who lost their lives in 9/11 and show appreciation to the city of New York. Take a ride to the top in the SkyPod elevators that climb 102 stories in just 47 seconds. Ahh!!
- Statue of Liberty – While you’re down at Freedom Tower, be sure to hop over to coast where you can view the Statue of Liberty on the horizon. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can also take a ferry across and get tickets to visit the pedestal and even crown! For more information on planning your visit, click here.
Thanks so much for following along! We hope this itinerary is very helpful for your family’s next trip to NYC. If you want ideas on what to pack for NYC in the winter, don’t miss this post! And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to message us on Instagram at @PalmBeachLately or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org! xo
Photography: Carter Fish
Clothing: What to Pack for NYC