Sex and the City is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of New York. It must be the same for my husband because when I suggested we visit The Big Apple with our babies, he looked very confused.
I had been to NYC before with girlfriends and it was before I had kids, so I knew this trip would definitely be different. We decided to book our trip for April to celebrate our son’s 2nd birthday. We were also celebrating our first trip as a family of four.
We live in Texas where it seems that it is summer year round, so traveling to New York where it is still cold in April was a bit challenging for us. We made sure to pack warm coats for the whole family and blankets for the babies. Two of most important things we were glad we brought with us were our baby carrier that helped keep our 4 month old sound asleep and secure while we explored and our Chicco stroller from our travel system that was easy to use and small enough to maneuver around the crowded city.
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Central Park & Zoo
Central Park is a must when you are in the city! It is so relaxing to just walk around and explore, but make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes, because the park is HUGE. You probably will not get to visit the whole thing because of its size, but that’s ok, you can always come back another time and continue the fun. The park itself is free, but if you want to take your little ones to visit the Central Park Zoo, that does require you to purchase tickets.
The zoo was not too big and not too small for our kids. Our toddler had a blast exploring while our baby slept in her carrier. The sea lion show had my toddler mesmerized. The monkeys being silly made him chuckle. The goats were fun to feed. All the other animals were also a joy to watch. Overall, we loved that the zoo was so fun and had so much to do, see, and hear without it being over-stimulating!
Before turning 2, our son had never had chocolate before. So, M&M’s World in Times Square was the perfect place for him to enjoy his first piece of chocolate. All the different colors and lights around us added to the experience. If you know me personally, you know I’m a sucker for “baby’s firsts” so this was a huge deal for me. Watching my little one indulge was quite the moment!
Visiting the Statue of Liberty is also a must when you are in the city, but traveling with babies can be a bit of a challenge. A challenge doesn’t mean you have to give up on your plans, you just have to get creative and be flexible. We took the subway from Times Square to Whitehall opted to take the FREE round-trip Staten Island Ferry. We were able to admire the view and take amazing pictures of the statue and the New York skyline!
I have to admit, thinking about the crowds in Times Square gave me a bit of anxiety, specially trying to get by with two babies, but honestly it was not as big of a deal as I thought. Our hotel was in the Times Square area so we were out there a lot. Every time we did walk, I had the baby in the carrier bundled up and our toddler in the stroller. Both babes thoroughly enjoyed the hustle and bustle!
Empire State Observatory
The 360 degree view you see when you are at the Empire State Building is breathtaking! Even though it was April, it was still super chilly and the wind up there was no joke! Our coats and hats were lifesavers. Tickets here are a bit pricy, but kids under the age of 6 are free so we only had to pay admission for my husband and me. I know some think the visiting is overrated, specially with the new Top of the Rock observatory now available, but nothing is more iconic than the Empire State Building!
There are plenty of vendors on the street trying to sell tickets for everything. It can get quite overwhelming. One thing hubby and I wanted to make sure we did was take a bus tour. My best advice is to look online and really pay attention to the routes and packages each company offers. You can then decide which package best fits your family’s needs. We opted for a 2 day package deal that offered a night tour and hop on and off service. Our night tour guide was hilarious and made the experience a wonderful one. The hop on and off part came in handy when we needed to get from one place to the other and didn’t want to walk. Again, make sure to really look at the maps and routes because there are plenty of different buses and stops.
If you are a Sex and the City fan like me, you will remember the scene where Miranda meets Steve on the Brooklyn Bridge and forgives him. One of my favorite scenes for sure, so when hubby and I contemplated walking the bridge, I was ecstatic!! The day we chose to go was still pretty chilly but the sun was shining so beautifully. The jaw dropping architecture of the bridge was not difficult to photograph at all! Our toddler loved the view and because he was in his stroller, he didn’t get restless or tired at all.
Taking your toddler to a huge toy store where all the toys and candy are within reach WHILE he is going through the Terrific Two’s may not seem like a bright idea, but hear me out, this store is too amazing to skip on. The entire store is set up beautifully. These people have seriously thought of everything! Their designated nursing room may have been what won me over completely. Barbies, Legos, STEM toys, cars, anything and everything a kid’s heart desires is right here in this store. I’ll be the first to admit I may have enjoyed it more than our birthday boy!
Don’t let the thought of the big city discourage you from traveling to NYC Mami. There are tons of food and activity options that can fit every family and budget. Some days we ate out in nice restaurants, other days picking up and eating in our room with our littles was easier. A couple of days we planned and did several activities, while other days we took it easy. The entire trip was one we will treasure and talk about for a long long time.
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