This summer we took a trip to NYC and DC with our then 6-month old. I was a little hesitant about taking the trip with her and didn't know if New York would be a very kid-friendly place. Update: We had a blast! We ended up very glad that we took her and besides Broadway she didn't really hold us back from anything we wanted to do. Here were our highlights:
First Bonus: NYC must not see babies that frequently because people were always stopping to smile and make faces at her. We found security to be extra nice and accomodating once they saw we had a baby, and some even made special exceptions for us. Having our baby with us actually ended up blessing us in many ways.
CENTRAL PARK: This was one of our favorite places to take our baby girl! We rented bikes from Central Park Sightseeing and had a very good experience (they aren't located directly in Central Park, so we found them to be cheaper). They also had a little baby carriage to hook on the back (they had baby seats that hook directly onto the bike for the same price, but we found a lot of parents passing us and wishing they had gone with the cart). We did the loop around the park which was so beautiful and made a couple stops for pictures and food. There were also plenty of private spots to stop and nurse if you aren't comfortable nursing in a crowd (I had a nursing cover so it didn't bother me).
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STATUE OF LIBERTY/ELLIS ISLAND: Because it was such a hot day and there were big crowds we decided to stay on the ferry rather than get off and look around. The breeze felt so good and the ride was very relaxing after a lot of walking around. If you are doing Statue of Liberty BUY YOUR TICKETS AHEAD OF TIME. Seriously. This step will save you about 3 hours. The line for those that had paid ahead (Statue Cruises) was SIGNIFICANTLY shorter than the other. Had we not done this we would have never gotten on the boat (nor would it have been worth it). This was another time that having a baby helped our situation (security helped us through much faster because we had a baby).
TIMES SQUARE: This was surprisingly more kid-friendly than I would have thought. Our favorite was the Toys R Us store. We took her on the ferris wheel and just walked around looking at fun toys (they also have giant characters walking around that you can take pictures with). You will also have many opportunities to stop and watch the street performers if you need a break. If you go into big stores with multiple stories, ask where the elevator is. The security guys aren't fond of parents trying to take their strollers on the escalators (Although we felt perfectly safe doing so…it was probably just a liability thing).
THE SHAKE SHACK: This was by far our favorite place to eat in New York City! Everywhere we went people were telling us to eat there, and once we finally did we went back again the next day. They have the best burgers! There are several locations in New York, but if you have kids I would recommend the one in Madison Square Park. It is beautiful with plenty of room to relax or if you need to, nurse your baby.
FAIRFIELD INN: We stayed at the Fairfield Inn located in the flower district and were very pleased with our choice. It wasn't directly in Times Square so the rates were amazing. I had read hundreds of reviews for different hotels and finally went with this one. All of the Trip Advisor reviews proved to be true for us and this hotel was a GEM! The staff was amazing, the location was perfect (only about 12 blocks from Times Square and less than a block from subway locations in case you don't want to walk much). Because it was located in the Flower District, we always enjoyed the wonderful smell of all the flowers as we walked out the front doors every morning. Such a beautiful little street! we were able to reach a lot of places via walking from our hotel. Plus, they brought a pack-n-play to our room for our baby which most NYC hotel rooms probably wouldn't have any room to fit one.
THE SUBWAY: The subway was what I was most nervous about before leaving on our trip. I kept battling whether we wanted to take a stroller, a Baby Bjorn, or some kind of baby backpack. We took all three and only used the stroller the whole time. It was not bad taking the stroller on the subway and we never ran into any problems. However, if you are coming into the city from JFK airport I would definitely take an airport shuttle service like we did. Taking a stroller AND luggage that much of a distance on a subway would probably be too stressful. Quick note on the stroller: I also battled whether to get a cheap umbrella stroller for the light weight option with all the walking around. We ended up going with my mother-in-law's stroller which is a step-up from the umbrella and that is what I would recommend. These were the 2 things we were most grateful for in the the stroller that we took:
1. The reclining option. Umbrella strollers don't have this, and had we deprived our baby of comfortable naps throughout the day we might not have had such an enjoyable trip.
2. The quick folding option. You have to walk down stairs to get to the subways, so you will want a stroller that you can quickly fold. Many times we were able to just carry the stroller down, but there will probably be moments when you need to be quick, and the folding stroller with make the situation less stressful.
I will find out what stroller we used and update this blog when I found out, as I found it to be perfect for NYC.
ROCKEFELLER: We went here as well. Did not spend a lot of time, but it was fun to walk around the different stores (Visit the Lego store if you go).
CHINA TOWN: We went here also, but it wasn't one of our favorite places so we didn't stay too long, just long enough to grab some silly sunglasses.
MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY: The admission here is a SUGGESTED price. Meaning if you can't afford $25 bucks a person you can offer a lower amount. We weren't there very long (it was kind of an in-and-out for us), so we were glad that we only paid $3 a person. This was a place that had a lot of kids, but we weren't too interested in museums for this trip.
That's all for now. Feel free to ask me any questions if you are planning on taking your baby to NYC. I planned for this trip for a very long time because I was a little nervous about taking a 6-month old.
If you are continuing on to Washington D.C. like we did, we recommend the BOLT bus. Very comfortable and the best price-wise that we found.