So many questions have popped up about our recent trip to New York with kids: our itinerary, how were the crowds, where did we stay, proof of vaccination, how did the kids manage, etc... so I figured I'd just include all of that information here for you all as a resource if you plan to travel to NYC with your kids anytime soon.
Did you feel safe flying?
Yes. We have flown multiple times during the pandemic with our children. Put a mask on them, wash their hands a lot, keep your distance from others when possible, and have fun!
What were the procedures for Broadway?
It wasn't that bad. Each person attending the show had to show proof of vaccination, or medical / religious exemption. For children under the age of 12, you need a negative PCR covid test OR a negative antigen at home covid test within 6 hours of the show. Everyone had to wear masks at all times anywhere inside the theatre. More info can be found online here for various shows. The theatre was sold out and the show was incredible.
How did the kids dine in restaurants with you?
Most places only require proof of vaccination for the adults at restaurants and you must be masked until you are seated. If you are not vaccinated, you will have a bit of trouble dining inside in NYC. We also had proof of negative covid test for our kids, so we had that as extra backup.
How were the crowds?
I feel like it was less crowded than usual, but we also normally only gone to NYC around the holidays. Times Square was the most crowded area we visited, but it wasn't that many people.
What was the kids favorite thing you did?
Seeing the Lion King was, hands down, their favorite thing we did over the weekend.
What restaurants did you go to with the kids?
We took the kids to Vicolina, Serendipity3, and Tavern on the Green.
Vicolina was amazing Italian food, and where we celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary with the entire family and my friend and her family as well. We had the back room, so the kids being excited and loud wasn't too much of a problem. We had a table for 12 this night.
Serendipity3 was a very fun atmosphere where the kids were able to order burgers, mac n' cheese, and the most outrageous ice cream deserts you've ever seen. They have a minimum of $17 per person minimum to spend at this restaurant, so don't go there expecting to only get ice cream to split amongst your table. Our family of four ordered one sundae for desert after dinner and between the four of us, we couldn't finish even half of the sundae.
Tavern on the Green was so fun and a unique atmosphere, of course also a beautiful location in Central Park. They can accommodate big tables of people, we had a table for 14, as we went with the entire extended family who had come in town for a celebration of life ceremony. The kids loved watching the chefs cook as they have a huge open area where you can see the entire kitchen operation. The chefs were so nice and friendly, smiling to the girls and showing off some of their knife skills. They have three areas you can dine: outside, which is OK for non-vaccinated people, inside in the glass room, or inside in the old traditional building of the restaurant. All indoor spaces are for vax'd adults or kids with vax'd parents. The food was amazing for adults and kids. The kids menu even had toys / puzzles you can order to be brought to the table to entertain the children.
What were the kids favorite shops?
We went to Rockefeller Center area which had a lot of highlights: American Girl, FAO Schwarz, LEGO, Saks 5th Avenue, NIKE, and Bloomingdales to name a few. American Girl had a game zone where the kids can play basketball and video games, all free. They also have a cafe to eat, an area to get your ears pierced, and an entire salon if the girls want to get their hair done.
FAO Schwarz had toys everywhere to play with. Josie loved playing with a remote control car, Sadie enjoyed the magic show, they got glitter tattoos, launched in a rocket ship, and enjoyed looked at the huge candy section at the bottom of the store. LEGO was very cool to see all of the huge creations like a NYC Taxi Cab, the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, as well as an area to create your own LEGO character and building stations. Hand sanitizer was everywhere. We went to Saks 5th Avenue to get perfume testers for the girls. They thought that was really special and enjoyed smelling all of the different perfumes. Apparently there is a vial shortage right now, so not all counters were able to give out testers, but if you ask, many counters did. We were able to spend hours in Rockefeller Center with the kids having a blast, and we didn't spend a dime while shopping the first day. There are so many more awesome experiences that you can do in that area, and the best part is you don't have to spend money to have a blast.
What was one more "must do" for the family?
The Edge. The Edge at Hudson Yards and seeing "the Vessel" was a very cool experience for all of us. Going into the Edge was like a Disney attraction. They checked vaccination status and you had to go through a line and an indoor maze that reminded us of Space Mountain. Reserve your tickets in advance You go into an elevator and get taken up (120 floors?) and walk out - it feels like you are walking in the clouds, on top of the city. If you are afraid of heights, this maybe isn't the place for you. They also have an area in the observation space that has a clear floor, where you feel like you are standing very high in the air, I had a hard time stepping foot on it, the kids laid down and felt like they were flying. Gives me the "heebie jeebies" just talking about that part. It was incredible views of the city.
One more thing to mention, if you are planning to travel internationally anytime soon, check your passport expiration date and pay for the expedited service. We are traveling internationally as a family over Christmas and New Year's, Josie and I both had to renew our passports this year. We paid for Josie's to be expedited at the suggestion of the US postal service worker at her in-person renewal visit. We got Josie's passport back within a month of applying for it with no issues. My passport has been "in process" at the passport agency since August 5! I mailed my passport in to get renewed in preparation for our trip at Christmas, and it is still "being processed". I have called the agency, waited on hold on the phone for over an hour, paid for the passport to be expedited, and they haven't even processed my payment to get my passport expedited now. It's still "in process". I know I have a bit of time but I don't wan to mess around anymore. The bottom line is, if anyone needs a passport renewed, the wait times are insanely high and weeks and weeks and weeks of processing time due to covid, the best advice I can give is pay to get it expedited from the beginning! Save yourself the stress!
That's all for now! Hope this was helpful to those who had asked for advice and tips for traveling with kids.
Hoping to provide an update on the books soon!
Blair has travelled extensively all over the world. She and her husband enjoy taking their kids on big adventures together. Blair writes children's picture books for all ages! Most of her stories are inspired by life events. They feature kid’s curiosity, love of the environment, laughter, and fantasy.