When a close friend mentioned the idea of taking our daughters to NYC around Christmas time for a girls trip, the only thought in my head was “YES.” There’s not that many things that I instantly say YES or NO to. I like to weigh my options, price it out, chat with the hubs, blah blah blah. But NYC with my daughter, friend and her daughter? Hell YES.
Luckily the hubs was on board, and we started planning months ahead of time to make this happen. This helped to make it an exciting , highly anticipated trip, rather than something we just squeezed into the crazy month of December. I am in no way a NYC expert. I’ve never lived there, only traveled there several times. But this time with a 5 year old, was a little different. Here’s what we did in the big apple.
Day 1 Friday
We left at 8am from Austin and traveled non-stop to JFK. We hailed a cab at the airport and made it to what is now my new favorite hotel in NYC, Park Central Hotel. It is super cute, friendly, and walking distance to EVERYTHING! Check out our hotel.
After we got settled we did a quick outfit change and headed for the famous Plaza Hotel. I’m am like the biggest fan of the movie “Home Alone.” Like THE biggest. And I’ve never gotten the chance to check out this hotel.
We booked an Eloise tea party with Santa at the Plaza for the girls. The tea party was great and the girls loved listening to a story read by Santa. We had the girls watch and read Eloise before the trip which got them even more excited for the tea party.
After tea, we toured the hotel, marveling at the gorgeous detail. There are very few times in my life when my breath has actually been taken away, but this was one of them.
After tea, we walked to Radio City Music Hall to see the Christmas Spectacular show featuring the Rockettes. I had heard that this show was just kinda cute and nothing amazing. Maybe it was the wine but I was pretty amazed. This was one of the girls’ favorite things that we did. They loved all the dancers, characters, and Christmas music.
DAY 2 Saturday
We hung out at our cute little hotel and then went for a stroll through Times Square. We ended up at Serafina for lunch (check out their martinis ) and then walked ourselves on over to the Minskoff Theatre on broadway to see the Lion King.
The Lion King blew us away. It was 2.5 hrs long with a short intermission. I will say that the girls were getting a little tired half way through. But we loaded them up with skittles and popcorn at intermission and they bounced right back. My friend and I couldn’t get over the set and all the props. They followed the movie word for word and we loved singing along. It’s a pricey show but if you can swing it, I would highly recommend seeing it.
We walked out of the theatre and it was 4:30pm and dark! We decided it was time for hot chocolate and the Rockefeller tree. I had been seeing the tree on morning news and couldn’t wait to see it in person.
Pictures don’t do it justice. This tree is huge! We stood there, in awe of this tree, snapping selfies, and watching the ice skaters for a long while. We weren’t really dong anything, but we were all SO happy.
Day 3 Sunday. Last DAY
We decided, well maybe the kids decided, they were ready to brave the long line at FAO Schwarz. This iconic toy store has been in NYC for over 150 years. We waited in line, just to get in the store for 45 minutes. Noone seemed to mind as the giant window displays and people watching made the time fly by.
We took our new toys and treasures and headed for Central Park. We stopped along the way at Pazza Notte for lunch and to be honest, a glass of their Malbec.
With full bellies we ran through Central Park, playing tag and climbing trees. The final thing we crossed off the list was a horse carriage ride through Central Park. The girls got hot chocolate and snuggled up under a velvet blanket for our 20 min ride.
Things I found useful:
+ Fleece lined tights for girls. Both my daughter and her friend wore them. They are very soft and warm, and look cute under dresses and skirts.
+ Make reservations for ice skating at Central Park or Rockefeller Center ahead of time online.
+ The Mifold booster seat for the cab ride from JFK to the hotel. get booster seat here
+ Allow EXTRA time at any of the NY airports. Residents said this time of year is extra busy and the airports get backed up. JFK also has a rule that all bags must be dropped over 1 hr before departure time. This is the only airport in the country with this long of bag drop policy.
Christmas time in New York City is truly magical. I’m so glad that I got to experience it with my daughter. It will forever be in my heart as one of my favorite trips.