Don’t schedule more than one big event/exciting stop/important thing to see or do in one day. Getting around the city, even when you Uber (an SUV) like we did most of the time to accommodate our party of 7,  takes time. Traffic, construction and millions of people crammed onto a small island take their toll. You can’t get anywhere fast, so make sure you include plenty of travel time in your itinerary so you don’t miss those must do’s.

The highlights of our spring time trip were visits to Central Park, the zoo and a carriage ride followed by lunch at the Plaza Food Hall, the ferry to Statue of Liberty and riding the Ferris wheel in Toys R Us at Times Square. Save some things for next time. We were super excited to get to see the Statue of Liberty up close and in person, however even in the middle of the week on a rainy April day, the ferry was packed. You wait in line at every opportunity and good luck finding an actual seat on the ferry, it is standing roomUp on the roof with Aladdin Travel and Meeting Planners in Winston-Salem, NC only. I really wanted to take advantage of the stop at Ellis Island and see the museum there as well, but we realized pretty quickly that waiting in more lines and standing longer was not going to end well for our crew. So, I had to let that dream go and put it on my never ending list for my NEXT trip.

Eat a big lunch. We found that making an event out of lunch worked well for our group. We ate breakfast at a restaurant around the corner from our hotel every morning (Bubby’s High Line!), set off on an adventure and then relaxed for a long and leisurely lunch most days. That allowed everyone to rest in the middle of the day and it also meant the kids, who might show signs of needing a nap, could return to the hotel after lunch while the rest of us soldiered on. It also meant they weren’t that hungry for dinner and we could get them into bed at a reasonable hour … something that was important for everyone’s well-being. The little people’s favorite lunch stop was Max Brenner, the adults preferred Lafayette.

Carry a phone charger in your day bag. Your iPhone battery won’t last all day if you are checking email and using it as a GPS. Take it from a mom who got lost in the East Village, miles from our hotel with a dead iPhone and a poor sense of direction, take a charger and charge it every chance you get.  Uber can’t find you if your phone is dead!  

Take care of yourself. Make time to exercise, or meditate, or sleep 8 hours, or whatever is important to keeping you sane and healthy and happy while traveling. We took turns watching the kids so that each of the adults could have some  “me” time.

I ran two of my favorite running routes,  the High Line Park and along the West Side Highway. I also tried out a barre class at the Exhale Spa. My mom took advantage of quiet evenings in the room after the kids went to bed while my sister and I enjoyed evenings out with friends. And of course, we all took turns shopping!

Take advantage of the unique dining opportunities. There are so many fabulous restaurants in NYC, we stayed close to our hotel for dinners at Dos Caminos (they have an amazing kids menu!) and Salinas, a really romantic spot with lots of unusual dishes.  We also enjoyed the pre-show fixed price menu at Aureole one night. It was expensive but well worth it!

Choose your hotel and neighborhood carefully. I am a huge fan of the West Village, not only because it is home to one of my dearest friends, but because it’s beautiful, with cobblestone streets, low buildings so you can see the sky (and often the river!) and it has great access to my favorite running routes and stores. We chose the Gansevoort Meatpacking District for our stay. We had a suite so we all had room to spread out and we were impressed with the soundproofing and enormous bathrooms. While the roof top bar is a hip place to be late on a weekend night, it also is home to a fabulous heated pool where we enjoyed several afternoons with the kids. We all thought we had died and gone to heaven. Emily

About Emily Dunn

I joined Aladdin in 2004 and my favorite destinations are Africa, Italy, anywhere in the Caribbean and Costa Rica. I love to travel with my family, have extensive international travel experience and am passionate about helping others explore the world. I have managed events all over the globe. Whether it is a high touch board meeting abroad or a large medical convention in the Caribbean, I bring passion for travel and industry knowledge to work for every single client.

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