Our New York City Trip: Fall 2019

I'm so excited to finally have this post done to share with you all. I got so many questions when we were in the city and I hope I get them all answered for you.  This was our second year taking the kids up to NYC for the weekend and I think it's going to be a yearly tradition.  We're lucky enough to only live about 3.5 hours from NYC so it's easy for us to travel up there. Kyle and I love it there and are so happy we get to share that with the kids.

The main reason for our trip this year was to see the T.Rex: The Ultimate Predator exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History.  If you're been following here long enough you know that my boys LOVE any and all dinosaurs.  This is a limited time exhibit (ends August 2020) so we wanted to get up to see it before it's gone.  If you have kids that love dinosaurs this exhibit is amazing!  Miller loved it and could have stayed there all day.  Matthew was doing well until he saw the real life T.Rex model and then he got a little scared. I'm not going to lie I was a little spooked by the realistic model, it was just so life like! 

The rest of the museum is incredible. We went through most of it last year so this year we scaled it back a little bit after the T.Rex exhibit and just did the 3rd and 4th floors. If you get a chance though try to devote at least 3 hours to the museum to see it all.

After the museum we headed into Central Park.  The kids were so excited to get back there to play on the rocks and walk the trails.  We decided to try lunch at The Loeb Boathouse but the wait was over 30 minutes so we opted to eat at their Express Cafe.  The food was really good and it was a much better atmosphere for my kids.  I don't think their hungry lunch attitudes would have gone well inside.

After lunch and hanging out in Central Park we grabbed a cab and headed to 42nd Street for our show at Pip's Island.  Pip's Island is an interactive off Broadway show for kids.  It was so amazing and I highly recommend it if you're in the city!  I would say the perfect age range is 4-10 years old, possibly just 4-8 years old depending on your kid. The kids are the "explorers" trying to save a lighthouse from a bad guy and the parents are the "assistants". Then the actors lead you through an interactive show. You stay with your kids the whole time but kind of just sit in the back and watch.  The actors are amazing with the kids and they're even fun for the adults to watch too. You can't take pictures during the show which is a bummer but if you check out their website and instagram you can get an idea of what it's like.

We had originally planned to just have dinner in Times Square/Midtown/Hell's Kitchen area but the kids were pretty tired so we decided to head back to our hotel to rest and regroup before dinner.
We stay at the Essex House Hotel at Central Park South when we bring the kids up.  We picked this location because the American Museum of Natural History is on the Upper West Side and we wanted to be walking distance to that plus we really prefer to stay away from the crowded Times Square area when we're in NYC with the kids. This is a JW Marriott hotel which works well for us since Kyle has points from traveling so much. We always get a suite when we travel with our kids, this is a total personal preference, but it's what we've found has worked best for us.  The suite usually has a living area, bedroom area a powder room and full bathroom. As far a NYC hotel rooms this suite was huge and plenty of space for us.

We got a little bit of a Central Park View which was awesome! We were on the 38th floor this year so we could see so much.  

We never made a reservation for dinner so we ended up at an Italian Restaurant around the corner called Pazza Notte.  It was actually just what we needed and was perfect for us because the kids were not in the best moods and this place was loud and busy so it could handle our kids.  Last year we took them to The Smith in Lincoln Square which was also really loud and perfect for kids. It also has really good food.

The next morning we started our day at Sarabeth's for breakfast. This was our second year coming here and it was just as good as we remembered!  They have a really good breakfast and brunch and take walk-ins which is good with unpredictable kids.

After breakfast we decided to try the Central Park Zoo.  This was a bit of a last minute decision but we're so happy we did it. We took the kids to Top of the Rock last year and had wanted to do the Empire State building on Sunday but they woke up a little tired and cranky so we improvised and decided to go to the Zoo instead.  The Central Park Zoo is really cute, but definitely a small zoo, so if your kids are used to large zoos they may be disappointed.  Our boys loved it and could have stayed there all day.  I also felt like it was a really manageable zoo so it was easy to walk around and go back and see each animal a few times.  They also have a little children's zoo where the kids can feed the animals and climb all over things which of course my boys loved.

After the zoo we spent some more time walking around Central Park and taking it all in.  It was such a beautiful weekend we couldn't help but want to be outside the whole time.  My kids second favorite activity in NYC after seeing the dinosaurs is trying to climb every rock in Central Park.  

The only family photo we took all weekend 

After that we headed out of town around lunch time on Sunday before the Columbus Day parade started through city. We were lucky none of the roads we needed to get to were blocked off but we didn't want to get stuck just in case.
As with any trip with kids we had our fair share of meltdowns, tantrums, bad attitudes and crankiness! If I'm being honest probably more this trip then we have in a long time! We always try to make sure have a loose schedule when we take these kinds of trips so that we can adjust as needed for extra rest time, longer lunches, or skipping things as needed.

Last but not least I wanted to answer a few questions I got asked multiple times while we were away. These were ones I thought would be easier to do at the bottom:

1. How do we get to NYC, train or car?  We are only about 3.5 hours from NYC and last year we took Amtrak and it was great until our return trip. We ended up missing our train home, having to rebook a train which cost us $400 and then had to wait 4 hours for that train to leave NYC making it an almost 8 hour trip home.  As you can imagine with two young kids that was not fun. This year Kyle was dead set on driving so we did it.  I will admit I was no into this plan at first but it ended up being great. The kids watched DVDs the whole ride to NYC and slept most of the way home.  We did love the freedom of not being on anyone's schedule and being able to leave when wanted.

2. How do we travel with the kids around NYC?  We always use Taxis or Uber to travel around NYC. I know this might now be a popular opinion but we just carry these Mi-Fold booster seats with us and use them. Honestly this time we only rode in a taxi twice and went very short distances so I didn't feel the need to get an Uber with car seats. Again this is a totally personal decision but I felt comfortable with how we got around.

3. What bag did you bring to NYC to carry?  Since we were taking the kids I brought my Fawn Design Bag (Last year before I owned mine I borrowed my sister's for our trip and that is what sold me on the bag).  It truly fits everything I need and is easy to carry.  I have a full Fawn Design bag review in my Instastories that you can watch if you follow me on Instagram (@eastcoastnat).

If you made it to the bottom thank you!  I'm not an expert on NYC but feel like it gets a little easier each year we go.  I'm happy to answer any questions anyone has about our trip or let me know if there is anything I didn't cover! 



Thanks for stopping by my blog! Your comments make my day. If you have a question feel free to email me at eastcoastnat@gmail.com

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