Before You Go
Best time to go: Anytime
We went: Mid November
When travelling long haul with children it is important to think about jet lag and it's effects. Adjusting to new time zones is a major problem for us all but especially hard for children.
We have been to New York on many occasions with the children and although hotels can be good fun, apartments are a fantastic solution to the strange sleep patterns that occur when travelling long distance. An apartment offers freedom to get up and eat or even watch the television at any hour, without disturbing neighbouring guests.
Booking ahead for restaurants, especially if a popular and special choice, is essential. Top eateries sometimes need at least a month to secure a table for four or more. Always a good idea to mention the children's ages when booking too as the laws in the U.S. (relating to bars and alcohol licenses) are different to the U.K.
If like us you are travelling with teens, shopping is going to be high on their list of priorities in NYC. We have found that flying into Newark and visiting Jersey Garden Mall - www.jerseygardens.com - a great way to get more for your money and eliminate the need to queue to get into the usual suspects (A&F and Hollister), once in Manhattan. The mall has an Abercrombie for adults and kids and also a Hollister store, offering amazing discounts. The mall has many more stores including Juicy Couture, Converse, American Eagle, to name but a few.
Staying local to the airport and mall in one of the many nearby hotels (we have tried a couple and our choice is the Hilton Newark), means that you can arrive and shop through the jet lag before an early night.Top Tips
www.hotelaka.com - amazing luxury furnished apartments with complimentary concierge services and hotel amenities. Check out the website for all locations and for more information.
AKA Times Square is our top tip.
Wake up early to get into the city. Take the train as quickest and cheapest way into Manhattan from New Jersey. Drop bags at apartment/hotel.
The meatpacking district is always a great place to start the trip. The highline is a must, both by day and night as each experience is so different - www.thehighline.org
Grab a burger at The Spotted Pig (no bookings available) arriving at 5.30 when seating begins makes it easy to get in with the kids, fantastic burgers for all and guinness for the adults – www.thespottedpig.com
From here it is a five minute walk to the start of Bleecker Street where the delights of Marc Jacobs and the iconic Magnolia Bakery from Sex and the City awaits – www.magnoliabakery.comTop Tips
www.njtransit.com - look in advance to find out train times and preferred routes.
Head over to the Brooklyn Bridge for an early walk across to neighbouring Brooklyn Heights. The cobbled streets and the promenade park are great after a fabulous lunch at The River Café.Top Tips
www.rivercafe.com - Book The River Café at least three weeks in advance. Brunch is fantastic and the kids will love the views of Manhattan whilst eating their chocolate Brooklyn Bridge.
NB: Dress up a little.
The MOMA shop housed opposite the museum is a treasure trove of cool, modern and sophisticated gadgets and trinkets, this is a must visit!
The American Museum of Natural History is another great way to spend a few hours. www.amnh.org - Book in advance to see the space show double feature, The Search for Life, Are We Alone? Narrated by Harrison Ford is superb.Top Tips
Watch Night at the Museum featuring Ben Stiller (part two is to be avoided,) before going to the Natural History Museum, the kids love seeing all of the exhibits and rooms that feature in the film.
You will need a whole day set aside to enjoy Soho. Too many great shops to list and all so different. After a quick coffee and a pumpkin muffin at the original Dean and Deluca (121 Prince and Broadway) head for some retail therapy. Be sure to visit both sides of Broadway with the East side offering one off unusual shops and undiscovered finds. Check out Mott and Elizabeth Street.Top Tips
www.kelleyandping.com - perfect lunch spot on Green Street, cheap noodles and delicious soups. No need to book as you queue to order food and grab a table. Delicious!
Start the day with a walk past the iconic Flatiron Building before entering Union Square with it's weekly market. The market is a fantastic place to visit to find exciting new talent offering their wares amongst the fresh fruit and vegetable stalls. Try samples of homemade jams and juices on your way to cutting edge art and fashion. Check with concierge for confirmation of the days that the market is on whilst you are there, it does not run every day.
A five minute walk away is a fantastic chocolate/lunch stop called 'Max Brenner, Chocolate by the Bald Man'. Stop here for a huge salad followed by an amazing chocolate experience. Hot fondues, a vast array of hot chocolates and brownies are some of the delights on the menu.Top Tips
www.maxbrenner.com - 'Chocolate by the Bald Man' also has a shop at the entrance to the restaurant. Buy the chocolate syringes from the shop to bring home or the innovative 'hug mug'. Great gift ideas and a perfect reminder of a great holiday.
Always great to leave the last day for the trustworthy shops that you know you will all enjoy.
Bloomingdales – 59th Street and Lexington, is a must, as is Dylan's Candy Bar, (just behind Bloomies). Owned by Ralph Lauren's daughter this shop will not disappoint, filled floor to ceiling with candy and with a café upstairs it offers a fun place to grab a shake and a slice.
Fashion is not forgotten here with mannequins dressed in gowns embellished entirely from candy, a must see – www.dylanscandybar.comTop Tips
Upon entering Bloomingdales, head straight to the customer service department with your (UK) passport. You will get 10% off on all purchases with the voucher that they give you along with a promised free gift if you manage to spend $250.
Top Trip Tips
www.centralparkbiketour.com - Manhattan now has a vast array of cycle friendly routes so hire a bike and see the city from a new perspective. Helmets are also available to hire and they do have children's sizes available.
If staying in an apartment, filling the fridge is half the fun. The Food Emporium which is very close to the AKA Times Square (our hotel apartment of choice), is a fantastic food store offering a vast array of exciting American foods - www.thefoodemporium.com - This store also has a Blockbuster opposite (829 8th Avenue at 51st Street), purchasing second hand movies is a great way to organise a movie night in.
www.raysfamouspizza.com - this may also come in useful! New York's finest pizzas and they deliver straight to your apartment door.