I’ve been to Manhattan several times – but every single time has been some sort of work-related event. The first company I worked for out of college had its headquarter near Times Square and an operations office in New Jersey. I went to BlogHer in 2010. However, each of these trips included minimal sightseeing (or seeing sights if they were on the way to a destination) and did not include kids.
So walking from x street to y avenue with kids in tow was sure to be a challenge. However, I’m proud to report that my kids were in it to win it. They were troopers and never really complained about all of the walking we did. They were too busy looking up and looking around.
We stayed at the Hampton Inn Times Square North. This hotel (regular-sized to most, small by NYC skyscraper standards) was in a perfect location, 8th Avenue and 51st Street) and was everything my family needed – comfortable beds and a free, hot breakfast.
We had tickets to the Gray Line Bus Tours so we headed to the open-air top deck of the bus to start exploring the city. You can hop on and hop off the tour, so we got off at Battery Park and got in the long and winding line for the ferry to the Statue of Liberty.
It was a perfect boat ride to see the city skyline and to cruise up to Lady Liberty herself. The day was a bit cloudy but warm and the kids were excited to see the statue in person.
After visiting the statue (and trying hard to get the right angle of people vs. the statue in the back of a photo), we took the ferry back to Battery Park (skipping Ellis Island because we were all starving by this point) and got back on the bus for the next loop of the tour.
We departed again near Central Park and walked to Patsy’s Pizza, which turned out to be a perfect location for a casual meal with hungry kids.
Once we were refueled, we were ready to see more tourist sites. We stopped into Dylan’s Candy Bar, American Girl, FAO Schwarz (and the famous piano from Big) and then wandered through Times Square. We also had a brief encounter with the Naked Cowboy, capping out the tourist must-sees.
The next day, we wandered around Central Park and then checked out to head to our next destination in New Jersey.
We’d love to come back to the city again, going up into the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock and to see a Broadway play. But for now, we’ll take our memories and make plans to return.
(Disclaimer: My husband, a golf writer, received a complimentary stay and access to various amenities with our family.)