Christmas morning had come and gone, the presents were unwrapped, and our Christmas day was coming to an end… or so the boys thought! Turns out we had one final gift in store for them on Christmas night. Using clues and a scavenger hunt that sent them all through house – they finally made it to the final clue revealing the big surprise…
WE WERE LEAVING FOR NEW YORK CITY THE NEXT MORNING!
The chaos of packing ensued (picture that scene in Home Alone with suitcases flying down the stairs) and then we were all nestled all snug in our beds as visions of NEW YORK CITY danced in our heads!
The boys have been begging to go to New York City and visiting New York at Christmas was also high on my list of things to do. So when we realized we had some flight credit that was due to expire- our plans quickly formed. We would take the boys to New York City for the first time. And Brian and I would visit New York at Christmas for the first time. And we would keep it a surprise!
Our trip was quick but we still managed to fit everything we wanted to in. Here is a brief outline of our time in New York City at Christmas.
Christmas in New York || FRIDAY ||
We left our house at 4:45am and the boys were beyond excited. Flying on planes are still a novelty for them! Upon arriving in NYC, we dropped our bags and immediately started exploring the city.
First stop was the St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Always a beautiful spot to check out and we all said our prayers before we left.
Next stop was Rockefeller Center to see the tree and hit the surrounding stores such as FAO Schwartz and the Lego Store. The area was definitely busy and high energy. The Lego store had this huge display (this was only a small portion of it) and I loved how they created Rockefeller Center using Legos!
After exploring all morning, we returned to our hotel to get checked in and freshen up in our room. We grabbed a late lunch at the nearby Hillstone restaurant(very similar to our fave restaurant here in Atlanta Houston’s) and then we were ready to continue tackling the city. We went to Times Square and while the boys thought it was cool, of course the M&M store was the highlight there. Let’s not talk about how many pounds of M&M’s we ended up with.
That afternoon we grabbed a pedi-cab (a carriage pulled by an electric bike) and ventured into Central Park on a guided carriage ride through the park. We saw all of the highlights of the park, the locations where films were made, and even went to the John Lennon memorial. Our driver did a great job hitting the highlights.
This was one of the highlights of the entire trip and the perfect activity for all ages. Here we are at the fountain that inspired the beginning of Friends and here you can also see our attempted jumpy pic. We are going to have to work on this one.
After the carriage ride, we grabbed a taxi. And of course we had to document it because riding in a taxi and getting hot dogs and pretzels from the street vendors were top highlights for the boys. 🙂
Christmas in New York || SATURDAY ||
Saturday morning we crossed another thing off our to-do list: riding on the subway! We rode it down to check out the World Trade Center memorial as well as go on top of One World Tower. If you haven’t been to the WTC Memorial- I highly recommend it. We haven’t done the museum yet, not sure if I will ever be emotionally ready for that one.
As I’ve mentioned before, my husband was in the World Trade Center on September 11th, so this was a very special place to show the kids. Our older son asked lots of questions and we tried to answer them the best we could.
The boys really wanted to see the Statue of Liberty so we were able to see it from the top One World Tower. We didn’t do any closer ferry rides and I think they were a bit disappointed so we will be sure to add that to the top of itinerary on our next trip up. We enjoyed this, but I would also add that this was not our favorite activity and I would not say it was a “must-do” if you have limited time.
That night we geared up to see all of the city Christmas lights. We wandered around and enjoyed the twinkle! Stopped for hot chocolate and to warm up at the St. Regis. One highlight was stopping in Dylan’s Candy Shop. I get the hype! The place is really cool and the boys really liked meandering through here.
Christmas in New York ||SUNDAY||
We had an open window Sunday morning and collectively agreed that the best spot to hit would be the American Museum of Natural History. Honestly, I think most of the original appeal of going was due to watching the movie Night at the Museum. Which turned out great because it made it fun to be on the hunt for the various things we had seen in the movie and helped to keep the boys interest!
Thanks to Instagram, a local friend saw my post and reached out letting me know they would also be in the city on Sunday. So after the musuem we were able to plan an impromptu lunch with some old friends before we all went to the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular. What a fun addition to our day!
The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular was our final spot and we were able to squeeze it in before we had to head to the airport. After researching lots of show options, I decided on this one because it was festive for Christmas, only 1.5 hours (instead of 3 hours like many Broadway shows) and had early afternoon show times (as opposed to an 8pm start time like many). It was great, and even the 5 year old was entertained. (Mostly, although there were times he was antsy)
WHERE WE STAYED
Courtyard Manhattan / Midtown East
In addition to using flight credits, we were able to use our Marriott points. (hey, there is a perk to having a husband that travels for work, right?) This hotel was centrally located and worked great. There is a bistro that sells a light breakfast and the common computer and printer were helpful to print some tickets we purchased and needed to print.
Have you been to New York at Christmas? I went in to the trip keeping my expectations low knowing that the boys were young and there was simply no way to get it all in. But it definitely exceeded all of my expectations and has me so excited to do more travel in this sweet spot of our family.
Oh and that’s one more thing off my 45 x 45 Bucket List:
#9. COMPLETE! Visit NYC with family (The boys are dying to see the Statue of Liberty and I am dying to take them!)