There’s no place like New York City, “the city that never sleeps.” The lights of Times Square, the Broadway musical signs, and the skyscrapers that surround you as people hustle and bustle to cross the street. It’s as much the legend (and Frank Sinatra song), as it is the actual place that captures the imagination.
The city is recovering from October’s Superstorm Sandy, and despite it all, still remains one of the world’s most exciting metropolises. If you visit this year during the holidays, consider joining Four Seasons Hotel New York in its “Our Neighbors in Need” efforts to assist storm victims.
Families will love the energy and excitement of this city. The perfect time to visit? Now! Autumn means incredible fall colors and the holiday season brings a magical, fairytale feeling to Manhattan.
With autumn in the eastern U.S. comes crisp weather and clear sunny days. Comfortable weather means happy kids, too! When in Manhattan, you walk everywhere; so the right weather matters. If you visit in autumn, the leaves are turning every color from red to orange to yellow—Central park set against the backdrop of skyscrapers is stunning and brilliant. If you visit in winter, you and the kids can ice skate in the park or at Rockefeller Center, savor a walk through the sparkling, frosty trees or jaunt along Fifth Avenue to browse the elegant window displays, all decked out for Christmas.
*Culture: People from all over the world, and all walks of life, converge in world-famous NYC to enjoy the plethora of museums, art galleries, theater, musicals, historic landmarks, sports games (baseball at Yankee stadium?) and primo shopping.
*It’s New York! Cross this one off your Life List.
*To catch a live show—on Broadway.
*A walking vacation: Four Seasons Hotel New York is steps away from Central Park and Fifth Avenue. Ideal. You can go on foot almost anywhere you want to: from Times Square to Broadway shows to the famous shops on Fifth and Madison Avenue without even needing to hop in a cab or ride the subway.
*A do-it-all family vaca: incredible food of all cuisines, ethnic ‘hoods, culture, art, drama, street performers, people watching.
*American Museum of Natural History: “One of the world’s preeminent scientific and learning institutions.” Learning that’s fun and… Dinosaur Bones Galore! You could spend days here…
*The Empire State Building: Go sky high to the observation deck on the 86th floor and take in all the views. Even the elevator ride is exhilarating.
*Toys central: A stop at the legendary FAO Schwarz is a must. Run on the famed Big Piano, browse all the incredible toys and interactive displays that let kids get hands on play, and buy a souvenir. During the holidays, this place goes all out.
*Central Park: It’s cliché, but too fun: take a horse-drawn carriage ride around Central Park. Find hidden playgrounds to climb, jump, slide and swing. Visit the Central Park Zoo and ride the carousel, more than 100 years old.
*A Broadway show: The kids will never forget the spectacle of a live production: “Mary Poppins,” “Annie,” “Newsies,” “Lion King”… (Ask the concierge about the best way to get tickets the day-of.)
*Times Square at night: to see all the bright lights and flashing billboards. They’ll be shocked that even late at night, it feels like the middle of the day in Times Square, thanks to all the lights.
*Window shopping on Fifth Avenue: Mom can browse and buy from every designer of her dreams, while the kids will be impressed with the glitz and glam of the window displays, particularly the elaborate Christmas scenes. The windows at Barney’s, Sak’s and Bergdorf Goodman are musts.
*Broadway musicals: Take in a family show with younger children or splurge on a night out without the kids to see “Jersey Boys,” “MAMA MIA!” or a handful of other spectacular shows.
*The Spa at Four Seasons: Need I say more? Time for a massage, facial and mani/pedi!
*Jogging in Central Park: Stay fit on your vacation. Carve out time to go for a run or walk just steps from your hotel. It’s the perfect chance to take in the entire city. You’ll feel like a real New Yorker when you immerse yourself in the park doing an everyday activity. (Book a hotel sitter and take your man with you.)
In Times Square: all the people dressed up as robots, the Statue of Liberty or a bazillion crazy costume creations.
Dine in—(For families) Kids and parents will love dining in the Four Seasons lobby at The Garden, an enchanting spot where your table is surrounded by trees. Brunch is spectacular! My daughter devoured Belgian waffles. Be sure to try the Gotham Burger, my husband’s fave, or go for the Grilled Chicken Paillard: spicy mustard glaze, Bosc pear, shaved fennel, caramelized onions. I swear it was the best chicken I’ve ever had in my entire life.
Dine out—(For families) Venture into the neighborhoods near the hotel to immerse yourself into the city and go local. For breakfast or lunch with the children, try Alice’s Tea Cup—a charming stop where the decor and scones are to die for. Your children get sprinkled with Pixie Dust on arrival and can even wear fairy wings if they choose.
While out and about, make the classic stop at the famed Magnolia Bakery for a cupcake treat. And visit a Jewish deli for a classic New York bagel with cream cheese schmear.
For dinner, try Serafina Restaurant, a cute, local neighborhood-style Italian eatery a few blocks from the hotel. You’ll feel like you live in Manhattan. Heaping servings of delicious pasta. Kids can order bite-sized mini penne pasta. Serafina even serves gluten-free pasta, too. (Ask the concierge for the latest family-friendly, or Mom-and-Dad date-night-out, dining recos.)
2. Tackle a day at the museum (ask the concierge to recommend, based on your kids’ ages) to absorb more of the culture the city has to offer. Start early for maximum energy and staying power. Then relax afterwards with a picnic and play in the park or unwind in your hotel room.
3. Take a family carriage ride in Central Park. Enjoy the beauty of the park without breaking a sweat. Plus, you’ll get the insider scoop on the architecture of the surrounding buildings from your driver and hear which celebs live where!
4. Visit the Theater District and see a Broadway show.
5. Be a tourist in Times Square to soak in the energy of The Big Apple, then hit FAO Schwarz on your way back to the hotel so everyone, including Mom and Dad can feel like a kid again.
*Babies: Pop your tiny little one into your baby buggy and stroll Central Park or window shop on Fifth Avenue. Wander by the famed St. Patrick’s Cathedral and take in the sights, sounds and energy of the world around you while your baby naps. Back at the hotel, make use of the in-room sitter service to provide peace of mind while you explore the city at night with your hubby.
*Toddlers: Head to Central Park and hit the playground, Central Park Zoo and the lovely 100-year-old carousel. I promise they’ll beg to ride again and again. Oogle at toys at FAO Schwarz. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the park.
*Kids 5-10: For little girls, be sure to hit American Girl Place: browse all the doll collections and dine in the café for lunch, tea or dinner. Visit the M&M Store in Times Square: everyone will love the smell of chocolate, M&M character photo opps, and of course, buying some chocolate! Little girls and boys alike will love FAO Schwarz and the Build A Bear Workshop on Fifth Avenue. See “Mary Poppins” on Broadway, then head back to the hotel to snuggle up with milk and cookies—or order a visit from the Candy Man, who will stop by your room with Dylan’s Candy Bar Cart. Or set them loose in the hotel with a treasure map and clues from the concierge on the Four Seasons kids’ treasure hut. They’ll come back with treats in hand and smiles in place.
*Tweens & teens: Take an NBC Studio Tour and hang out at the Nintendo Super Store at Rockefeller Plaza. Visit Times Square at night to see all the bright lights and giant billboards. Kids will be surprised that even late at night Times Square in New York City feels like the middle of the day, thanks to the glitz and flash. Take the kids to a Giants ball game or Broadway show. For girls, a hotel spa day with Mom for a pedicure?
Read more on New York in Four Seasons Magazine.
Read our Concierge Recommendations for New York in Four Seasons Magazine.
Social media consultant, mom expert and brand advocate Colleen Padilla is the author of The Digital Mom Handbook: How to Blog, Vlog, Tweet and Facebook Your Way to a Dream Career at Home and founder/editor of ClassyMommy.com. Colleen has an MBA from Cornell and has served as a spokesperson for Scrubbing Bubbles, Tide, Energizer, Mattel, and TJ Maxx/Marshalls. She’s been featured on “Fox News,” “Good Morning America,” The New York Times, MSNBC, The New York Post and Parenting. She writes weekly for Lifetime Digital’s Lifetime Moms website and lives in Philadelphia with her husband Mike and two young children.
View all posts from Colleen
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