For all the travel we do, we rarely get pictures of ourselves with our own kids when we're on the road. So as summer was coming to an end, Passported's director of travel Monique scheduled a shoot with Flytographer, our favorite on-demand photography service, to capture a few moments for her family's scrapbook. But this got us to thinking. We also rarely talk about what to do in our own hometown, New York City. So we mapped out three perfect days for families of any age, from babies and toddlers to the tween and teen crowd. Whether you live here, too, and just want a fun weekend day, or are coming to visit with your brood, these are a few of our picks for what makes NYC the most magical city in the world. Be sure to book your own personal photog with Flytographer so you have more memories than those only in your head.
Babies and Toddlers
Who says cities aren’t great with babies? We love a good urban getaway with the younger set since everything is walkable, and when your little one gets cranky and in need of a nap, you can cruise your way to lunch then let them snooze in a stroller while you enjoy a meal or visit a museum.
Hotel: The Lowell, which feels as intimate as a townhouse and has kitchenettes in many of their rooms (essential with a baby).
Morning: Your morning may start early, so grab the stroller and head out to stroll Madison Ave, window shop and get coffee and croissants at Sant Ambroeus. Afterwards, take advantage of a morning kip to visit the Met Breuer, the contemporary outpost of the Metropolitan Museum of Art that opened this spring. The Diane Arbus exhibit is worth the trip alone (running through November 27th).
Afternoon: Lunchtime! Walk down to East Pole, a hip (yes, cool lives on the Upper East Side!) tavern with a casual atmosphere that will work for babes but food that’s good enough to keep mom and dad happy. Afterwards, it’s a straight shot to Central Park where you can visit the Central Park Zoo and go for a romp in the Sheep Meadow.
Evening: Tots knock out early, so get your baby settled then book a sitter and sneak in a date night. Drinks and dinner at the Mark are always fun, or head over to Sushi Seki. The decor isn’t anything special but the fish is so good, it’s some of the best sushi in the city. Reservations essential. Stop by the Mark Bar for drinks on the way home.
Curiosity piques at this age, and there’s a lot more learning you can do once kids hit kindergarten and beyond. Just be sure to always have snacks and some playground time to balance out more intense sightseeing. A hotel with a swimming pool is a big perk at this age.
Hotel: Mandarin Oriental, which overlooks Central Park and has a huge, family-friendly pool for afternoon dips. Bonus points for having a Whole Foods just an elevator ride away for picking up healthy snacks before heading out for the day.
Morning: Start your day at the American Museum of Natural History, where everyone from dino lovers to budding environmentalists will find something of interest. Make sure to pre-purchase tickets to skip the line, and to include time for one of the IMAX shows.
Afternoon: After a long morning in the museum, grab burgers and milkshakes at Shake Shack and head to Central Park. There may be a good show on at the Marionette Theater (just off Central Park West), which is a fun way to have some entertainment that doesn’t require mom and dad to police everyone’s behavior. Then return to your hotel for some swimming before dinner.
Evening: You’re walking distance to all the theaters, so if your kids are keen to do the Broadway thing, plan ahead and purchase tickets to a show. Note that the theater district isn’t known for good restaurants, so eat at Landmarc, which is in the same building as the Mandarin. If not doing a show, head down to the West Village and eat at Morandi for simple pastas done to perfection. Get there on the early side to stroll some of the shops along and between Bleecker and Greenwich Streets.
Tweens and Teens
Tweens and teens can often behave like little adults (and demanding ones at that), which makes New York the perfect destination for them. They can eat in the cool restaurants, hit the hip shopping areas, handle some of the city’s darker history, and yet still have the innocence and sense of wonder to appreciate an awesome skyline view.
Hotel: Four Seasons Downtown, downtown’s newest and most talked about opening.
Morning: Start your day with a ride up to the One World Observatory, where the elevator ride itself is part of the experience. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of the city and can plot out your next stops from here. Afterwards, return to sea level and head to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, a sad yet important reminder of New York’s darkest days and strongest hours as the city came together to rebuild.
Afternoon: Lighten the mood by wandering the shops in Westfield World Trade Center then have a waterfront lunch at Le District followed by a walk along the river. When you’re ready, catch a taxi up to Soho for more shopping. Although many of the shops you’ll find on Broadway will be household names you may have in your own town, skip to the side streets to find more unique styes. (Elizabeth Street is a great one to explore.) McNally Jackson Books on Prince is great for the literary types, and then stop in Victory Garden for an ice cream and/or a coffee to revive after retail therapy.
Evening: Cool kids will love being able to see some of the New York scene, so take them to the Standard Grill. Although it’s not brand new, it remains one of the most fun spots for dinner and there’s even ping-pong tables in the adjoining beer garden in case mom and dad want a post-dinner drink while the kids play. Grab a milkshake from Black Tap and finish the night with a walk along the High Line.