New York City Family Summer Vacation

We serendipitously ended up traveling to NYC in the summer, never “planning” to go as a whole fam.

I had some sky-miles and randomly heard about Google Flights. You just type in your preferred dates and preferred departure airport. Leave the destination blank. Hit search, now you can scroll for the least expensive flight. That is what I did! The least expensive flight from Atlanta was to NYC (and again today it is :).

Heading there with virtually no expectations, we were so pleasantly surprised! It far exceeded our imaginations. All six of us Loved our vacay! Maybe its was the sensory overload (sights, smells and noise galore) or the contrasting culture? There was something to see and absorb on every corner. We walked around 8 miles daily and my 5 year old rarely complained. He did notice, however.  Now that we are home, Gaines will say “let’s go back to NYC, but not walk this time.”


Day 1

Arrive via Uber 11:30 am

  • Made by Melissa cupcakes
  • Stowed luggage
  • Grand central station
  • Shake Shack 
  • Subway to battery park
  • Staten Island ferry- We didn’t get off at either stop. I heard Ellis island is really boring. The ferry ride was fun. We also didn’t actually go to the Statue of Liberty- I had heard it is difficult to get through security and it’s crazy hot. We were able to see it great from Brookfield Place and all were happy with just seeing it 🙂
  • Sea glass carousel
  • Trinity cathedral
  • Wall Street saw the bull
  • Kids bought $10 snow globe 
  • Back to hotel
  • Snack supper with our amazon prime delivery and “mandatory” Hyatt market credit – our hotel rate included money towards this little market … thumbs down. I hated to waste the money so we often ate from here even when we didn’t want to.
  • Walked down 42nd to FDR to watch fireworks (It was the fourth of July 🙂 unfortunately there were No food trucks or bathrooms anywhere near us)
Family New York City Vacation

Day 2

  • Plaza hotel downstairs food hall – adorable but didn’t see anything Kids’s would actually eat
  • 10:45 Moved to Sara Beth’s got the lemon ricotta pancakes enough to split w child
  • 12:15 Central Park official carriage ride so hot best and fastest way to see it all
  • 1:30 American Girl store
  • 3p St Regis tea for girls (This was super expensive and the food is definitely over priced, underwhelming. However, it was definitely one of the Most memorable parts for my girls)… Lego store, FDNY fire station (Gaines got the cutest T-shirt here) and Nintendo for guys
  • M&M store
  • Sat across Fox in a plaza snacked on smoothie and pretzel
  • 5:30 Top of the Rock Times Square 
  • Then Stardust Diner – there was an 1.5 hr standing outside wait. We all enjoyed it. The waiters and waitresses are also the entertainment -they take turns singing Broadway songs and they are REALLY GOOD! It was so fun- Definitely something great to experience if you can. Oh And… the food is great! We all split the Chocolate chip lava cookie w vanilla ice cream for dessert- amazing, as well as the French onion soup (we didn’t split the soup, ha! I ate all of mine)
  • Times Square again late, bought fake purses and quick family pics and walked back to hotel.


St Regis Tea New York City

Day 3

  • Breakfast in hotel.
  • Creme brûlée Doughnuts from doughnut plant.
  • The Museum of Natural History (used app to find way) I’ve heard of friends kids being bored here but we watched the movie prior to our trip and all kids thoroughly enjoyed the museum. I also bought this book in advance to read with Gaines. I recommend you buy your tickets in advance. We did not and had to wait in line a long time outside in the rain.
  • Patsy’s pizza -meh
  • Back to museum -G devastated no real tablet of akmenerah
  • 9/11 Memorial Brookfield Place- Beautiful views over water.  Upscale shopping center near the World Trade Center. There are some sit-down restaurants that look out on the river too. There are basically two parks out back and a marina all with an awesome view of the Statue of Liberty. Great for nightly stroll and makes beautiful pictures.
  • Ate at Mighty Quinn’s in Brookfield Place – bbq brisket, wings, sp casserole, corn nuggets 
  • Sprinkles cupcakes chocolate marshmallow 

Day 4

  • Breakfast in room
  • Bryant Park for an early lunch 
  • Walked down 42nd Shopped a bit
  • New Amsterdam theater for Alladin
  • More shopping near Times Square Rock center cafe
  • Dylan’s candy store
  • Long walk back to hotel… collapse, ha!


Other Random thoughts:

  • My friend ate food from their Amazon delivery in their hotel room each night, but that didn’t work for us bc we stayed out so late.
  • To save money, we only ate two real-meals per day. Brunch and Dinner – with snacks along the way, splitting a street pretzel or something out of backpack.  Worth mentioning, my favorite meal of the trip was the Wafels and Dinges food truck (Belgian waffles).
  • I carried my Longchamp bag with a lightweight raincoat (which doubles as sweater for colder buildings) and my wallet w strap. I kept thinking I would get rid of the large tote but actually carried the whole time even though Keith had a backpack. Gaines’ transformer dinosaur from the museum and his rain jacket, room key, medicine, phone, snacks were all in my tote.
  • We traveled using the Metro and wished we had bought the unlimited Metro card. If your family is smaller you can get away with just grabbing a cab.
  • Lectrofan micro -this sound machine was saving us in our hotel room. Many of the NYC hotels can be super noisy.
  • I took my list and opened up Iphone Maps app. Search each item and then make it a favorite. Once you’re done with your list those appear on your map and you can see it better because you for sure wanna stay in same area as much as you can. Then they are saved on your map in 5 years when you go again and cant remember. 
  • I ordered amazon prime now to have delivered when we arrived. Bottled water, cheese, turkey, peanut butter and jelly, paper plates, milk, etc.

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