traveling with kids has got to be one of the most daunting tasks. sure, as a parent everything you do with kids is pretty damn unpredictable, but when you’re heading out of town there are way too many variables going on…you just can’t prepare for it all. i always do a big online search every time we are going to visit a new city. see what there is for families, good activities and places to stay. you know what? it’s really hard to find! with the amount of access we have to information, you’d think there’d be a place where i could find a very detailed itinerary. nope. at least i haven’t been able to find anything like that. maybe i’m not looking in the right places. so, as we go on these adventures, i just want to share what we did. what worked, what didn’t work, some good places to go with the kiddos. that way, you and i can learn together.
i mean, that’s what this is all about right? let’s make it a little easier on each other, because so much of it is so dang hard.
one tool that i think you should definitely use is google maps. it’s the simplest, yet one of the most helpful things you can do before you leave. you can ‘save’ the locations and then a little star pops up on the map. we did that with all the places we might want to visit, including our hotel. you can mark all the locations, and then see what is close to each other. when you can get a visual like that, you can plan to see things in proximity to each other on the same day. it truly simplified things for me – even on the ground in NY, i already had all the addresses and locations on the map, so literally just had to pull it up on my phone and we were off.
check out the screenshot below – all those stars are the locations that i ‘saved’. i did it on my desktop computer, which seemed a little easier and then i could access it on my phone when we were out and about.
where we stayed: hotel hugo
this was a great location for us – restaurants and shopping in walking distance. we could go over to the water and there was a wide path for the kids to really let loose on. easy to get to public transportation to get around too.
we got a room with two queen beds, and because we weren’t going to spend a ton of time in there, this was just perfect. the room wasn’t huge (i mean, we are in NY), but for relaxing in the afternoon and sleeping at night, it was perfect. they also have a restaurant downstairs and rooftop bar for some amazing views. i find food on site to be a very important thing with kids – you just don’t know when you’re going to need to stay put.
here’s how we broke out our days:
day 1 (arrival/half day):
- first, food. boqueria was such a lucky find! insane good – and we might have sat next to a celebrity who my boys were dying over. we got the pan con tomate, pimientos de padron, croquetas cremosas, albondigas and churros con chocolate. all amazing. can’t go wrong. and, now the boys keep asking for churros wherever we go…
- blue man group show – perfect for the whole family! so fun, and we were all laughing through the whole thing. the venue is super small, so you really feel a part of the show.
- for dinner: il principe cucina it is a nicer place, but since we tend to eat early with the boys it was never busy and the food was great. pizza, pasta, soups and salads all delish. and night 1, we were soooo tired and needed it to be easy.
- then we headed up to the rooftop bar at the hotel to catch the sunset. the bar isn’t quite the kid place. a pretty big scene, and plenty of music going on…but the view is worth the elevator ride up and the effort you have to put in trying to keep them from knocking over drinks on low tables.
- central park & central park zoo – just take your time through central park. climb on the rocks, watch the police on horseback, rest on the grass. then the zoo. man, it’s such a great place for getting up close with animals. super accessible.
- lunch at isabella’s – you can go straight from the park to lunch. perfect location right next to the natural history museum…and some great food and wine.
- american museum of natural history – if there is one thing you do with your kids, do this. just amazing and awe inspiring. so much to learn and in such a fun way.
- union bar & kitchen is a cool little spot close to the hotel – at the end of this day we were tired! after spending a little time relaxing in the room, we still needed a place that required very little effort. they over-delivered with good food, drinks and even a kid’s menu. we ate early, you know, kids hours. it worked out well because i think the place can get a little busy.
- breakfast at westville was so dang good. i had poached eggs over kale salad…and need to replicate that business real quick.
- one world trade center & observatory is seriously magnificent. for kids that don’t know the background, the view is amazing. they can see it all. for those of us who know, it’s pretty intense.
- lunch at bubby’s – perfect because it’s right at the end (beginning?) of high line, and really great lunch food, kids menu and good drinks.
- high line – just a fun walk, some art to see, good conversation with the kids about the tracks…
- l’arte del gelato for some, well, gelato (in chelsea market off of high line, and a good walkable distance for the kids to travel). and chelsea market is really fun to explore if you have the energy. another great spot for lunch if it happens to be the right time.
- blue bottle coffee – because come on. by this time you need a little something to keep up with that kid energy (the wine from lunch has started to wear off).
- we had dinner at the hotel again this night. long day and it got late fast! good thing we didn’t need to go anywhere. to be honest, i didn’t think the menu had a ton of great stuff on it, so night two we should have just stuck with what we liked from our first time there.
day 4: departure day
- we got a quick breakfast at chobani soho, which is one of the best ideas i’ve seen. they’ve gotten so creative with how you can serve up some yogurt! i took away quite a bit of inspiration.