#New York City at #Christmas with a Family #FamilyTravel

nycIt’s been awhile since I put up a review here on my travel site.  As we just got back from our annual trip to New York City for the holidays, I thought that now was a great time to get posting again!

For years, my husband’s family used to do an annual group family thing to New York.  We’re in Philly; it’s an easy trip to get to New York for a weekend.  Once some us started having kids, the annual thing stopped happening.  But then a few years ago, my husband and I decided we wanted to keep the tradition up with our own family and for the third year running we’ve gone and we just love it.

Here are some of the things we do – I’d love to hear what you do at Christmas in New York or hear about any feedback!  Next time, we’d like to do New York in the summer to do some of the warmer weather New York attractions (like the Statue of Liberty!)

Our Favorite Place to Stay:

Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 2.37.58 PMWe’ve stayed a number of places in the city with family including the Hilton in midtown and the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.  The Marquis is smack-dab in the middle of the most bustling part of the city and can be fun but also daunting.

After trying a few spots, we have found our favorite hotel to be the Residence Inn in Bryant Park.  It’s only a short walk to the shows and midtown but set next to Bryan Park so it’s not as crazy as Times Square but there’s still PLENTY to do.  Plus every room has a kitchenette AND there’s free breakfast daily – you can’t beat that in New York!  By the way, note that it’s called the Residence Inn Times Square.  Trust me, it’s not Times Square.  It’s a few blocks away and you’ll be grateful for those few blocks.

Here’s the view we had this year from our room:
Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 2.43.05 PM

Broadway:

We always do a Broadway show with the kids.  We’ve seen Peter & the Starcatcher (fabulous), the Lion King (stunning visuals) and this last time, we saw Spiderman on Broadway.  Spiderman was a bit hokey for the adults but my boys (10 & 7) absolutely loved it.  And you can’t beat the special effects – watching Spiderman fly around from the ceiling is just a sight to behold.  Unfortunately Spiderman on Broadway is ending in January of 2014 but if you can get there before it closes, it’s worth it to take the kids to.  Also note – a great place to look for discounted Broadway tickets ahead of time is by visiting SeasonofSavings.com.  Many Broadway shows including the Radio City Christmas Spectacular are listed there with discounted ticket prices.

After the show, a great pick is Madame Tussauds in Times Square.

Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 2.44.47 PMRadio City:

Radio City at Christmastime is a must.  The decorations surrounding the Music Hall are worth the trip alone.  And watching the Rockettes is a Christmas tradition and it’s a fun show for all ages.

And of course while at Radio City, it’s a no brainer that you have to visit the tree at Rockefeller Center.

Where to Eat:

There’s certainly no shortage of good eateries in NYC!  A couple I can recommend include:

Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 3.24.14 PMEllens Stardust Diner – near Times Square.  The waiters and waitresses perform and sing Broadway tunes while you eat!

Heartland Brewery & Chophouse – I’ve never quite understood the combo of the brewery with the chophouse but for 2 years running this has been our pre-show lunch spot.  Great beer, friendly for the kids (all the tables have brown paper over them so the kids can draw all over them with the crayons that come with the kids meals!)  Near Times Square.

For dinner, this year we ate at Parker & Quinn.  It was an off the beaten path spot with some decent reviews on Open Table and near our hotel in Bryant Park so we thought we would check it out.  It had a very Roaring 20s/speakeasy feel and the menu was full of tapas and small portions so we liked it – we’re big on sharing!  It wasn’t exactly a kid-oriented place but they were kid-friendly and the staff was really nice to the kids so I definitely recommend it!

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