New York City with kids and grandma can be done and still be fun! We spent two days and one night in NYC and everyone got to choose their site to see.
First step to a successful visit is to find a family friendly NYC hotel that can sleep everyone comfortably. We stayed in a tower suite at the New Yorker in Herald Square. Great location, close to Penn Station, Macy’s, Grand Central Station.
Our suite offered a separate bedroom and living room. Both rooms had amazing views of the city, the beds were large and comfy and the pullout couch had a real mattress. Housekeeping made up the sofa bed for us and brought in extra toiletries because we ran out of shampoo. There was plenty of room to move around.
My daughter and I checked out the fitness room in the basement. Not impressive but should be soon – it’s under renovation. I liked that security checked our room keys before allowing us entry to the elevator bank.
We dedicated Day 1 to hotel check-in and one tourist stop: Ripley’s Believe It or Not! The PR company gave us passes but we wore our Yankees gear anyway in honor of their latest Yankees exhibit and promotion they were running. Grandma and my kids – ages 13, 11, and 9 – were excited about touring the museum but I was dreading it a bit. I imagined peering at a lot of cheesy circus-like spectacles. And some of their exhibits were just that. But most, like the neck stretching jewelry, the very disturbing torture chamber, and the picture of Abe Lincoln made from pennies were really interesting. It didn’t take long before was waving the kids over to see my latest discovery. No regrets except for letting my kids try their luck more than once (at 5 bucks a pop) dodging lasers in a laser mine (a 27 second thrill).
Our only plan for Day 2 was to max out our one-day NY Passes. Each of the kids and Grandma got to choose one attraction from the choices in the NY Passes booklet. Luckily, the concierge at the New Yorker gave us very detailed subway info (like ride in the middle car so we can exit the right stairwell), which saved us loads of planning time.
Even though we had a huge itinerary to accomplish, we didn’t get started until noon. Being in a hotel room was part of the fun so we hung out and enjoyed it.
That fueled us for several subway rides up and down Manhattan including an organ demonstration at St. John the Divine (my 13 y/o’s choice), my pick – a visit to Bodies Exhibit, Top of the Rock (9 y/o) and Madame Tussaud’s (11 y/o). If the sun had been cooperating, we would have opted for at least one of the cruises included in the pass. Grandma let the kids take a photo with just about every wax celebrity in Tussaud’s, my daughter played the magnificent organ at St. John’s and I know my kids will never smoke after holding the black lung on display at bodies.
The NY Pass is a money and time saver. Cost for tickets, per attraction, were at least $20 each for kids and more for adults. We didn’t need the line-skipping feature this time but I was glad to have it. The last time I visited Top of the Rock, we waited for days it seemed. Note: Beware of Monday sightseeing! Many of the attractions are closed (i.e., Intrepid).
You have to be prepared for a packed itinerary to get the full use of the 1-day pass, and flexibility when traveling with grandma and kids is key. We all were exhausted at the end of the day but it was worth it.
One day New York passes are $75 for adults and $55 for kids. New York Pass also offers two-day passes, $110 for adults, $90 for children; three-day passes, $140 for adults, $120 for children; and seven-day passes, $180 for adults and $140 for children. Ripleys offers different promotions regularly.
The NY Passes, Ripley’s tickets and room at the New Yorker were comped for this mini-cation.