In November, we took an extra long weekend trip to New York, and even though we have been there a few times already with Caleb, this was the first time that he was really aware of what was going on and the fact that we were in a new city. We planned a lot of activities based off of things we thought he would like, and decided to visit some major landmarks, even though we had already done a lot of them, because we knew he would enjoy them.
We spent a few weeks leading up to the trip talking about how we were going to go visit New York City, and talking about some of the sights we were going to be seeing. We watched a few movies that took place in New York and made sure to point out the landmarks, and he was more than excited once the day of the trip finally rolled around.
We flew out of Miami into LaGuardia, and because Caleb is over the age of two, he needs his own seat now. Let me tell you, purchasing a seat might be more expensive, but oh my goodness was it so much more comfortable! While Caleb does watch TV at home, I don't usually let him handle devices unless it's a real necessity, but trips are a different story. I made sure to download a few of his favorite movies onto an iPad and we got him headphones. We also brought along a few snacks and some of his favorite toys. Since the flight wasn't a long one I wasn't really concerned with much else.
Once we arrived, we picked up our bags and took a car into the city.
The Statue of Liberty
One of the landmarks we talked about a LOT was the Statue of Liberty. We figured she is so iconic that he would always recognize her. I booked the tickets online ahead of time with the service that the National Park Service recommends, so we wouldn't have to wait in line. We went on a Thursday at noon and the lines weren't bad at all anyway.
Caleb absolutely LOVED the ferry ride there. He kept looking around, and looking at the water. Once we got to Liberty Island, we walked all the way around, stopped in front of the Statue of Liberty, and then kept strolling. His attention wouldn't have held for much longer than that.
Make a stop at DO, Cookie Dough Confections if you've ever enjoyed a piece of raw cookie dough in your life (and who hasn't?). Don't go overboard, it's super rich. But Caleb loved this stop for sure.
Okay, so we typically avoid Times Square, unless we are going to see a show or something. But we knew that it would have a major draw for Caleb, and boy, were we right! He loved looking at all the lights and buildings. He even took a picture with Spider-Man (albeit a little wonky-looking Spider Man), and he is still talking about Times Square a few weeks after the trip. We popped into the Renaissance Hotel, which has some amazing views from the lobby, and then we walked around a bit. We also strolled through the Disney Store, because why not?
We walked over a couple blocks to Bryant Park, too and he really enjoyed watching the ice skaters. If you're there during the holidays, they have the cutest holiday village set up so you can go shopping for Christmas gifts from local artisans.
Books of Wonder
After reading about the most whimsical children's book store, Books of Wonder, I knew we had to make this a stop. We all enjoyed perusing the vast number of children's titles, and they have an adorable little area where you can read books with your kids. It's definitely worth a stop if you're in the area.
Central Park & Tavern on the Green
There is just so much to see in Central Park. From the views of the city, to the ponds, to people watching. We were there so I could take maternity photos of my brother-in-law and his wife, but Caleb liked being pushed around through the little pathways and looking at all the big trees around him.
We made a reservation for brunch at Tavern on the Green, which is right on the edge of the park. The food was delicious, and they had a great selection for children, as well.
New York City Subway
Go for just one subway ride. The sights, the smells, the sounds - kids will be enthralled. We headed to Brooklyn on our last day there, and we decided to take the subway. Caleb liked going on the "fast train" and asked all kinds of questions about it.
We got off the subway and stepped right into DUMBO (short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). It's a really beautiful area filled with families and beautiful views of Manhattan. We walked over to the Brooklyn Bridge Park and took a ride on Jane's Carousel. It was built in 1922 for a park in Youngstown, Ohio, and was moved to Brooklyn in 1984 for restoration. It was opened to the public in 2011. It is enclosed in a glass "jewel box," and you get the most gorgeous views of the city while you are on it.
Either we talked about the bridge a lot, or Caleb latched onto it when we did talk about it, because the entire trip, he talked about how he wanted to see the Brooklyn Bridge. So when we finally made it there, he was so excited to see it. We walked across it (it was a Sunday afternoon when the weather was glorious and it was packed), and now he knows he was on the Brooklyn Bridge.
There were a few other places we stopped in at, mostly food places, that I wouldn't necessarily say are great for kids, but that we really enjoyed. Here's the short list.