There is NOTHING like New York City at Christmas time. It’s the most magical time of year. New yorkers go “all out”. Christmas in New York is something I’ve always wanted to do.
So on a wim & a last minute flight+hotel deal, we packed up the kids, a stroller, two backpacks and headed to the airport!
We flew out of Miami late, around 10pm. The kiddos slept the entire plane ride. I highly recommend booking overnight flights with kids. After a short taxi ride from the airport we arrived at the Westin on 42nd ave. Staying in Midtown is a bit more expensive but worth it. It’s a central location and you can walk to everything.
Here is how we did New York in 2 days with 2 kids!
Day 1: We woke up early (actually the kids woke us up early. The norm!). We bundled up, packed the stroller with snacks & diapers and headed down 42nd ave. Just walking the streets of New York is a treat. The buildings and energy of the city is something to behold. There’s nothing like it. We walked to Grand Central Station and basked in the enchantment of that building. The outside alone is beautiful. We went inside and found the entrance of the “Oyster Bar Restaurant” In the dining concourse. There is a hidden secret about these arches and corners. You must stand in one corner and whisper while facing the corner. Someone else on the opposite corner, stands facing the corner and listens. Through the architecture of the archway, you can hear PERFECTLY what the other person is whispering. Its Amazing. These are called the “Whispering Arches”.
Next we head up and west a few blocks to 30 Rockefeller
(this has always been my FAVORITE building in Manhattan).
We stopped at the Bouchon Bakery (across the street) for a quick breakfast and much needed second cup of coffee.
Inside the 30 Rock plaza is where the TODAY show is filmed every morning. Also, in this plaza is the world famous Rockefeller Christmas Tree and Ice Skating Rink. This tree is the largest decorated REAL Christmas tree in Manhattan. (It is the tree Kevin stands in front of in Home Alone 2). The building of 30 Rock is like a city. The bottom floors have restaurants and shops. The top floors of 30 Rock is where they film “Saturday Night Live” ,” Live with Kelly and Michael”, “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon”, “Late Night with Seth Meyers” (just to name a few of my favorites!) – so you never know who’s going to be walking around the plaza headed into work.
There is a “Top of the Rock” observation deck on the top floors of the building. Tickets are reasonably priced. We bought a “sun&stars” ticket that allowed us to go once during the day and once at night. Trust me, the 70th floor of 30 Rock is hands down THE BEST VIEW IN MANHATTAN!!! It will blow you away and leave you smiling.
After 30 Rock, we walked over to St Patricks Cathedral. It’s a gorgeous cathedral and a nice break from the cold to change a diaper and feed the kids.
We walked back to our Westin hotel down 5th avenue. All the shops (Like SaxFifthAve & Michael Kors) have giant Christmas decoration window displays. Lunchtime is a perfect time to stroll past these stunning windows. (They can become very crowded at night.)
We got a pizza to go at a small mom&pop place and headed up to our hotel room.
After lunch, we all took a nap!
At around 4pm we bundled up again and took a short stroll out to Bryant Park and the New York Library. (But first stopped at the nearest starbucks for a caffine boost. BTW there a starbucks *literally* on almost every corner.) There are Christmas booths and a small ice skating rink at Bryant Park. They were playing classic Christmas music throughout the park. (This is the same park where the big designers have all the shows for Fashion Week). It’s a quaint park compared to central park, but it is not to be missed!
Now that the sun had set we walked over to Times Square. Wow, its an overwhelming amazing experience to be in the middle of all that. It was a special treat to see the New Years Eve Ball already up and ready to drop. We walked back to midtown through broadway and saw all the theaters and posters for the plays. We picked up a ToGo order from a local eatery and headed back to the Westin for Bathtime and Bedtime.
Day 2: The last day should never be rushed. We woke up and took our time. We walked back to grand central station and spend a little more time soaking in the details of the ceiling and history. On one of the bottom floors there is a cute kid-friendly restaurant called “Juniors”. It was not pricey and very yummy.
After a big breakfast, we walked it off as we headed north to Central Park. We left the rest of the day to explore and see the park. There is so much to see and do. From the park benches to the bridges – it’s a fairytale in there. There are commonly street performers and artists painting on the walkways. There are plenty of horse and carriages if you want to see the park that way. Central Park is quintessential New York. Feel like a local and grab a copy of the NY Times (or my fav – the NY Post) and have a read on a central park bench. You’ll feel like you’re in a movie.
We ended the afternoon lakeside at the LOEB Boathouse Restaurant. It was undeniably one of the most elegant & kid friendly dining experiences.
(But be sure – if you go- to make a reservation!)
We strolled back slowly to the hotel, gathering every last little bit of New York that we could. We picked up our 2 bags from the concierge and hopped in a taxi for the airport. Our flight left at around 8pm and we were home in Miami Beach in bed by 11pm.
And that’s how you do it!
NYC at Christmas time, don’t miss a thing!