We planned one or two places to tick off everyday and took in what we could getting to and from these spots. I think travel to a big city works best that way…Don’t plan too much. Leave room for discoveries, wandering and getting lost a bit!
Some tips for NYC:
Find a great base to crash and travel from. I could not be more excited to recommend our hotel, The Affina Fifty. You could go nuts looking at all the Trip Advisor reviews, there are so many hotels in Manhattan. Thanks to a recommendation from my friend Jill, I found this gem. To me it had everything- location, views, chic spacious rooms, excellent service, and a good price…oh and great beds and bedding! I loved the Midtown (on Fifty and Third), location as it’s easy to get to most anything in the city, and walking distance to so much, as well as close to the subways.
To me a nice hotel is part of the vacation. My husband would disagree and say we just need someplace to crash not too pricey. The Affina was perfect for the price and a joy to return to each evening!
We stayed in a junior suite and also a corner suite a few days later when there was availability. That one had a balcony. Both rooms were nicely decorated, open, bright, had views! Both rooms had a small kitchen with stove and refrigerator, perfect for breakfast, snacks and drinks. You could even cook if you wanted.
The Affina has an optional morning buffet breakfast and complimentary coffee and tea as well as a wine hours hosted by various wineries with snacks and lemonade for kids too, a nice touch. Prices in early June when we traveled were around $300 a night. I loved the boutique feel and how everyone knew our names. Lovely people here staffing the entire Affina.
|Our cute kitchen in our suite.|
Be flexible about food when traveling with a family. When you are in the heart of a big city there are little grab and go bakeries on almost every block. This was the case here too in our Midtown location. Ultimately, we opted to grab breakfast to go at Pret-a Manger one of my favorites from London. Across the street on Third there was Ess-a-Bagel (you have to go at least once- HUGE NY bagels). My boys liked having cereal in the kitchen here.
|Our little dining area and terrace.|
Lunches we had out wherever we happened to be. We grabbed lunch one day in Bryant Park at Le Pain Quotidian, (try the avocado toast), and also at the little sandwich kiosk at Tavern on the Green in Central Park. All were good for lunch when you’re on the move.
We also got to popular Buvette in the West Village for a little fancier lunch of Croque Monsieurs and lemonade on a very hot last day in New York.
Charming as all get out…
We squeezed in time for treats, (sometimes to motivate!) like a visit to the famous Milk Bar…
We also escaped the heat on our last day with gelato popsicles from Pop Bar in the West Village.
I recommend having a few dinner reservations. I made them for four nights for a 7 night trip, from recommendations and reading about some of the hot new restaurants. That said, we cancelled all, but one. After hoofing it all day, kicking back in the hotel felt great and we didn’t feel like venturing out much again.
Great people watching, cool cocktails and amazing food, but yet a casual vibe at The Smith. There are three locations and we ate at the Midtown one. This has open air eating where the doors fold away and it’s a young crowd. My sons thought the unisex bathrooms with a photo booth was very interesting…This restaurant stays open until midnight or 1:00 a.m. every day!
Being wiped out a few nights we grabbed slices of pizza from a little Italian joint around the corner from our hotel. It was terrific and they have every kind of pierogi, stromboli, and as New Yorkers say, ‘chicken parm’ heroes. We loved this hole in the wall and it was a lifesaver a few nights when we were beat.
Another evening we succumbed to the cute vibe and street dining experience of Dos Caminos, on our way to a show. Being native Californians were skeptical about the Mexican fare here, but it was fresh and innovative. Fun spot and great street side dining to have a margarita and people watch.
Be open to changing plans. We had some classic NYC things on our list, but we changed our mind during the week when we realized we wanted to do a few cooler things and dropped others and also went back to some like Central Park.
First day there everyone walked many blocks to hit Central Park. That was great and we got the lay of the land, had a lunch outdoors.
The park is amazingly huge and though we got there three times we still missed some of it.
I loved the pretty rows of Brownstones and tree lined streets. Having grown up in the 1970’s, all I could think of was Sesame Street and my husband said the same! Being Californians this kind of neighborhood was so different to us. It also reminded me very much of Amsterdam.