Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas in New York

Earlier this month, we took Mary Tilman to New York City. I say that but really visiting NYC at Christmas has always been a bucket list item of mine. While it was cold and it was crazy, it was magical! Definitely an exhausting weekend, but I would do it again! The memories make it all worth it.

I wanted to provide a travel breakdown since I couldn't find any great resources when planning our trip.

We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in East Midtown. This was largely due to the outrageous prices for hotel rooms during this particular weekend. The location was actually really convenient and the room was huge for New York standards. While not a suite, the pull-out sofa was a nice-to-have. I much prefer to stay in Tribeca or Soho but with a little one, this location was great for easy access to the spots in Midtown.

Grand Central Station | After an early room check-in, we walked over to Grand Central for a quick bite to eat. If you have never been, there are plenty of places to grab a bite although the fight for seats was the struggle. If you have a longer time to spare, eat at the Oyster Bar for some great fresh options. This is also a great spot to hop-on or off the subway.
Rock Center Cafe | The view could not be beat. We weren't rinkside but could see the ice skaters, lights and holiday decor from our table. The menu and environment were extremely kid-friendly which made me feel much better. The best part was we were already at Rockefeller to pop up and see the tree.

The Plaza Hotel Food Hall | We had a late breakfast so grabbed a flatbread to share. The food court was packed but had plenty of options to choose from...everything from sushi to seafood to pizza and sandwiches. The Eloise store is also located in the back corner, complete with her pink piano.

Landmarc at Columbus Circle | This was another great kid-friendly option without having to forgo a nice meal in the city. The restaurant is on the top floor of the Columbus Circle shopping plaza so you can shop if there is a wait.

One World Trade Center | We ventured downtown our first afternoon and the worst part was the cold. Being right by the water, it was frigid and the wind was brutal. (Tip for families - if there is a wait, get one parent to wait in line, while the other passes the time across the street at the new mall). The process to get to the top is a little drawn out in my opinion but the view is incredible. Next trip (sans kiddo), I would love to visit the memorial museum.

Breakfast with Santa | This was hands-down my favorite part. The Santa was phenomenal and really spent time with the children. He was the actual Santa from the Macy's parade (or his twin). Mary Tilman was mesmerized and looked at him longingly which was a first for our Santa pictures. The food was pre-fixe but actually really good. The view was also incredible with a look out over Broadway and the Empire State Building.

Rockefeller Center & Fifth Avenue | Of course we saw the tree but so did the rest of Manhattan. The tree was incredible but it was packed! (Tip - I would not recommend a stroller). Mary Tilman loved the light show at Saks so make sure you stick around to watch that which plays every few minutes. I would also venture down Fifth Avenue at your own risk. There were way too many people for my liking.

Sightseeing | We did the usual haunts and the little one loved them. Go to the Natural History Museum early to bet the crowds and don't try to visit every exhibit. We also attempted to visit The Plaza Hotel but they closed the lobby for guests only. If you really want to see the decor, book a reservation at their sit-down restaurants for access inside. Central Park was also on our list but it was a swift walk to beat the cold. We chose a carriage ride for our little princess who proceeded to take a nap. If you can pass, I would as it is quite steep.

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