23 Jun NYC. 48 Hours. 3 Kids. 12 Awesome Things to Experience.
New York City. The Big Apple. Gotham. The Empire City. The City That Never Sleeps. The Melting Pot. And at least 98 other nicknames . . . if you have the opportunity to experience New York City with your kids, take it. It’s fabulous. It’s crazy. It’s noisy. It’s crowded. It’s diverse. It’s exhilarating. It’s inspiring. And if you only have 48 hours to see the city, here’s a kid-tested itinerary for you to explore. Huge thanks go out to my college roommate, Suzi, who hosted our stay and planned this great itinerary, as well as her son and husband, whose good natured company we thoroughly enjoyed while we tested it out. Enjoy!
Day One (A train, 12,011 steps – 5.64 miles – and two cabs)
10:00 am: Take the train in to Grand Central Station; the station of all stations, the crossroads of the world, the coolest place in the world for any train lover, and tourist destination #1. It’s big. It’s certainly grand. And there are lots of trains there. There is also an acoustic secret. The Whispering Gallery is an unmarked archway located in front of the Oyster Bar & Restaurant. When two people stand at diagonal arches and whisper, they can hear each other’s voices from across the way. For the romantics in the crowd, it is rumored that many marriage proposals take place here. But for the kids, it’s just cool. Oh, and the bathrooms here are quite nice. And, as they say in New York, when you have a chance to go, go!
11:00 am: Walk about 12 blocks to the Empire State Building. Walk through the Disney-esque queues to get through security, tickets, a museum, and two elevators to finally get to the 86th floor, dodge an inordinate amount of selfie sticks, and take in the phenomenal 360 degree view of New York City. We enjoyed doing this activity first as we were able to get oriented to the various parts of the city before we visited them. You can beat the crowds more often if you visit between 8AM and 11Am. Note that kids under six are free. And, if you didn’t use the restrooms at Grand Central, use the restrooms on the second floor before getting in line for the elevators. Also like Disney, if you don’t like lines, they have an Express pass here too.
1:00 pm: Lunch time! Grab some lunch at any quick spot you find! Pretzel cart? Check. Hot dog stand? Check. Starbucks? On every corner. Check. Grab a cab to your next adventure down by the waterfront.
3:00 pm: Ride “the beast” and see the Statue of Liberty from a boat. This is not your sleepy boat tour. This is for kids – and kids at heart. Strap in. Hold on to your stuff. And get ready to get ready to have fun. This cool speed boat tour combines some snarky New York tour guides equipped with water blasters (they were no little, tiny, old-school, water guns), loud music, speed, and lots of water. Don’t get on the boat if you don’t want to get wet – seriously. We ALL got wet. It is truly a memorable experience for kids, and a great way to get up close to see Lady Liberty, as well as the NYC skyline.
4:00 pm: Next, take care of those suffering from a low blood sugar count. Hop a cab ride over to Serendipity 3 for some frozen hot chocolates (and maybe some dinner if you are hungry – but the desserts are better than the regular food). While you wait to get in (which you will most surely will), head on over to Dylan’s Candy Bar down the street. The store was opened by Ralph Lauren’s daughter, Dylan. If you want to see a whole bunch of candy (and candy-themed merchandise) in one place, this is your place.
6:00 pm: Walk on back to Grand Central Station by way of Park Avenue and The Waldorf-Astoria hotel. This is where the President stays when he comes to New York. We just had to step inside and check out the perfume scented air and the glamorous restrooms (did you think we were going to say people?). Certainly, if you have to go, this is one of the nicest places to go! From here, if you have a little girl and your timing is right, you can scoot over a few blocks to the American Girl Place on 5th and 49th. It’s open until 7:00 pm. They also have dinner dining options if you plan in advance and make reservations.
Day Two (a car and 13,124 steps – 6.37 miles)
10:00 am: If you are not staying in the city, and if you have an experienced city driver with you, drive in and park at the Met. Children under 12 are free. You can spend a full day (or week) here if you are an art aficionado. But, if you have limited time in the city, even a whirlwind tour can be memorable. You can get a Kids Q&A and a cool family map that can direct you to the most family-friendly exhibits. Our kids ran straight to the Ancient Egypt exhibits and were amazed to see things that were 5000 years old. They also enjoyed the old stone statues, which reminded them of the weeping angels in Doctor Who – don’t blink! Before you leave, check out the restrooms here too.
12:00 pm: Head out to Central Park and walk through the park. It’s a beautiful green respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Stop by Conservatory Water. You can rent a model sailboat to sail in the little lake (but there may be a waiting list on a weekend). This is also the site in the children’s classic, Stuart Little. For more fun, head down south to the Central Park Zoo. It’s a cute little zoo that was fun for the kids to zip through. You won’t find Alex the Lion from Madagascar at the zoo, but you can see the clock that is in the movie. Tickets are cheaper online than at the gate.
2:00 pm: See a matinee Broadway show. Don’t leave New York without trying this out. Tickets online are cheaper than at the door, and matinees are usually cheaper than evening shows. You can also find cheap tickets in Times Square to shows that are not sold out. Do check out the shows before hand to see if they are kid friendly. Not all of them are. The Broadway website provides some good descriptions for kids, and you can also check out this list of family friendly shows.
5:00 pm: After the show, stop for dinner and visit Times Square, or as it is more humbly known, “the center of the universe.” I am not sure Dr. Who would agree with this, but it is certainly a hub of activity any time of day. Hang on to your kids, and make sure you have a meeting place if you get separated in the crowd. This is where RoadID could come in handy 🙂 Be sure to visit Toys R’ Us to see (or ride) the indoor ferris wheel and watch the numerous employees demonstrating and selling the various toys. We were mesmerized by the guy demonstrating the Indoor Booma. There is also a giant T-Rex on display, as well as New York City buildings made from legos. If you are need of a sugar boost again, be sure to check out the M&M store to see America’s branding being used at its best. You can buy all kinds of M&Ms, plus exclusive flavored and colored M&Ms, and now even have your M&Ms customized.
At the end of 48 hours, there are still so many things to see. Time to start your list for the next weekend trip to the Big Apple!
And speaking of 48 hours, we have a little over 48 hours left in our Pack-n-Go Girls Kickstarter campaign. As of right now, we are at 87% of our goal – we have only $635 to go to have the project funded. We have a dozen unique rewards, including a limited edition Pack-n-Go Girls purse playset, a set of signed Pack-n-Go Girls books, and a signed early release of the next Pack-n-Go country—Brazil!
If you want to help us inspire little girls everywhere to go global and be adventuresome, please take a few minutes to check it out and tell your friends about our project. It only takes a few clicks to support the project. If you’ve never supported a project before, you’ll find it super easy. Even the smallest support helps–and there are rewards for every contribution level. We’d also love it if you’d share our campaign with your Facebook or Twitter friends. We’ve made this super easy too. Check out our easy sharing page!
Happy Travels! – Lisa